Two women from France and Belgium brought case
after being dismissed from work for refusing to remove Hijabs AFP/Getty Images
Activists Want UN Rapporteur to Probe Human Rights Violations by Pakistan
Sufi Muslim Leader Killed Amid Surge in Attacks
Can Ban Wearing Of Visible Religious Symbols – Top EU Court
Students in Florida Send Flowers to Jewish Organizations, Synagogues
Nawaz Orders Removal of Blasphemous Content from Social Media
Will Not Transfer Weapons Of Mass Destruction To States Or Non-State Actors: Aziz
Turkish troops to take part in ‘Pakistan Day’ parade
disowns ex-ambassador Haqqani in parliament
filed for removal of terrorism charges against Musharraf
may face ‘humanitarian emergency’: UN report
army agree to expedite NAP implementation
including two policemen injured in Lahore firing
hopes to rope in Taliban for Afghan talks
son-in-law wants ban on social media
winces hard at Haqqani’s revelations
Airstrike Targets Taliban in Paktika, 29 Including 2 Senior Leaders Killed
blast destroys bus in Afghan capital, killing at least one
policemen shot dead by unknown gunmen in Kabul city
suspects arrested as explosion leaves 1 dead, 19 wounded in Kabul
hopes India, Pakistan will improve ties through dialogue
Hopes To Rope In Taliban For Afghan Talks
and EU Plead For Calm As Tensions Between Europe And Turkey Escalate
Sanctions Are 'Bizarre', Says Dutch PM amid Diplomatic Row
Trump Gives CIA Authority to Carry Out Drone Strikes: Report
man sets American-Indian's shop on fire because he thought owners were Muslim
expert warns Myanmar may be trying to 'expel' all Rohingya Muslims
Mosul, a Heavy but Not Crushing Blow to Islamic State
Cover Of Rain, Islamic State Fights for Mosul Old City
chief says 90% of Mosul’s old city retaken from Islamic State
politician warns US of mounting civilian casualties in Mosul to drive out ISIS
extremism' top priority, says Bashar al-Assad
suspect dies after gunfire in Saudi Arabia
Suffers Heavy Losses in Syrian Armed Forces' Attacks in Deir Ezzur
Syrian Army Wins Back More Territories in Energy-Rich Regions
Army Scores More Victories against ISIL in Eastern Aleppo
in Last 24 Hours: Terrorists Sustain Heavy Losses in Army Offensives Near
Speaker Urges Saudi Arabia to Review Regional Diplomacy
trapped & going to die’: US reaffirms rules of engagement in Mosul
Seeks To ‘Expel’ Rohingya Muslim Minority – UN Expert
Filipinos Arrested In Sabah over Alleged ISIS Links
of world's largest Muslim group certain moderation will win
to deport fifty North Koreans despite ban: Deputy PM
empathetic toward Muslims: Witnesses
May Become Inclusive With Muslims after This Mandate'
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EU States Cannot Tolerate Turkey's Rise: Erdoğan
Voices Readiness to Cooperate with UNPF
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says EU exercising democracy selectively, wrong to stand by Netherlands
does not extradite terrorists to Turkey: Minister
to file complaint to United Nations, OSCE, Council of Europe against Dutch government
Islamists Target Somali Hotel
Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak to be released: lawyer
by New Age Islam News Bureau
Activists Want UN Rapporteur To Probe Human Rights Violations By Pakistan
Baloch political and human rights activists have demanded a special rapporteur
in the United Nations to probe gross human rights violations in Pakistan's
Balochistan province. Baloch activist Ahmar Mastikhan has stressed that
Balochistan is a graver crisis than Rohingya Muslims in Myanmar.
has been delayed. It could have happened a long time ago and we have a
situation of mass graves where there is no domestic redressed available to the
people of Balochistan. Has there been some domestic mechanism for them to have
their basic and birth human rights protected, we would not have raised this
question. We are happy over the Rohingya r rapporteur in Burma, but I assure
you, it is more serious issue than Rohingya issue. It is more multi-
dimensional and multi-faceted," Mastikhan told ANI.
Republican Party member Abdul Nawaz Bugti said the renewed impetus to conduct
investigations came after, he claimed, that a mass grave was discovered in
Pakistan's Dera Bugti in February this year where only women and children were
have always highlighted these issues we are facing in Balochistan, especially
the human rights violation. In the past two years. Pakistan has been targeting
and blackmailing Baloch activists in the UN and in Balochistan. They have now
stated to abduct women and children, who are being tortured and facing problems
like lack of food and medication," Bugti said.
gunmen killed a Sufi minority spiritual leader and his house help in northern
Bangladesh on Monday, police said, amid a surge in attacks on liberal
activists, minority sects and other religious groups in the Sunni
said Farhad Hossain Chowdhury, 55, and his teenage maid were shot and hacked to
death at his home in the northern district of Dinajpur, 350 km (220 miles) from
the capital, Dhaka.
are yet to ascertain who carried out the murder,” local police chief Arju
Mohammad told Reuters, adding they were not ruling out links to Islamist
one claimed responsibility for the killing but the South Asian country of 160
million people has seen a string of deadly attacks in the past years, the most
serious on July 1, when gunmen stormed a cafe killing 22 people, most of them
Qaeda and Islamic State have made competing claims for a series of killings but
the government has blamed domestic militant groups.
European Court of Justice (ECJ) has ruled that employers can ban staff from
wearing visible religious symbols at work in the first case of its kind before
the EU’s top court.
ECJ has ruled on the cases of two female employees in Belgium and in France,
fired after they refused to remove their headscarves at work.
the first case, a Belgian woman working as a receptionist for G4S Secure
Solutions, which has a general ban on the wearing of visible religious or
political symbols, was dismissed for refusing to remove her religious attire.
In the second, a French IT consultant was also let go when she refused to take
off the headscarf after a client complained.
internal rule of an undertaking which prohibits the visible wearing of any
political, philosophical or religious sign does not constitute direct
discrimination,” the court said in a statement.
ruling comes on the eve of the Dutch election, in which Muslim immigration has
been a key issue.
headscarves are a contentious issue in several European countries, with numerous
cases of alleged discrimination against Muslim women emerging in recent months.
December, a 14-year-old Syrian teenager was reportedly kicked off a tram in
Berlin for wearing a headscarf, after the driver shouted through a loudspeaker
that he refused to transport her.
this month, Austrian government officials sharply criticized a recommendation
by the Islamic Religious Community in Austria (IGGO) which states that Muslim
women must start wearing a headscarf from the onset of puberty, describing it
as an attack on integration and women’s freedom.
month, a Muslim teacher who wasn't hired by a Berlin school because she was
wearing a headscarf was awarded €8,680 (US$9,250) in compensation for
a court in the Czech Republic threw out a similar case in January, in which a
Somalian refugee claimed she had been barred from wearing her headscarf in a
nursing school. The case was said to be the first of its kind in the EU.
students in Florida send flowers to Jewish organizations, synagogues
— The Muslim Student Associations of Florida State and Florida A&M
universities delivered bouquets of flowers to campus Jewish organizations and
flowers and the accompanying notes were meant to show solidarity at a time when
both the Muslim and Jewish communities are under attack.
were delivered to the Chabad and Hillel organizations at Florida State and to
Shomrei Torah and Temple Israel synagogues in Tallahassee.
note said: “We are writing this message to extend a hand of friendship. In
times of great division, it is important that we stand together in unity so we
hope that these flowers can be seen as a symbol of our solidarity.”
gesture comes days after dozens of gravestones were overturned in a Jewish
cemetery in the St. Louis area and a day before the discovery of toppled
gravestones at a Jewish cemetery in Philadelphia. It also comes amid a series
of bomb threats called in to Jewish community centers and Jewish schools,
including in Florida.
up with the news lately has shown a plethora of very sad stories and hateful
crimes against many minority groups,” FSU Muslim Student Association President
Moneba Anees wrote in an email to the Tallahassee-Democrat newspaper. “Although
we could not think of a way to help our Jewish friends and peers directly, we
decided that we could show them that people are taking note of what is
happening and that they have our support, love and prayers.”
December, a hate-filled letter was found in the Shomrei Torah mailbox.
activists want UN rapporteur to probe human rights violations by Pakistan
Nawaz orders removal of blasphemous content from social media
Minister Nawaz Sharif on Tuesday said that blasphemy is an unpardonable offence
and directed the state machinery to find those responsible for putting
blasphemous content on social media and bring them to justice without any
to a statement released on Twitter by Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz official
account, the prime minister directed the authorities to remove the blasphemous
content from social media and to take measures to ensure that any such content
is not posted in future.
more: ‘Is criticising blasphemy laws blasphemous’
blasphemous content on social media is a nefarious conspiracy to hurt the
religious sentiments of entire Muslim ummah,” Nawaz was quoted as saying.
matter has already been taken by the judiciary,” said Nawaz, and ordered to
take necessary actions in accordance with the judicial guidelines in this
he also issued directions to ensure the accountability of those who misuse the
blasphemy law for their personal interests.
and affection of the Holy Prophet (PBUH) is the most precious asset for every
Muslim," said Nawaz Sharif.
also directed the authorities to approach international social media platforms
to put the blasphemous content off the internet.
premier directed Interior Minister Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan to take all
necessary measures against blasphemous content on social media and bring the
culprits to justice immediately.
urged the minister to completely uproot this heinous crime and sought daily
reports on developments in this regard.
will not transfer weapons of mass destruction to states or non-state actors:
to the Prime Minister on Foreign Affairs Sartaj Aziz on Tuesday reaffirmed
Pakistan's commitment not to transfer weapons of mass destruction to states or
a keynote address on the implementation of UN Security Council resolution 1540
in Islamabad, Aziz said as a responsible nuclear state, Pakistan will continue
to partner with international community to prevent non-state actors from
acquiring these weapons.
adviser underscored the need for striking a balance between advancing the goals
of non-proliferation and facilitating access of developing countries to
strategic and dual-use goods, materials and technologies for peaceful purposes
under appropriate safeguards.
this regard, Aziz expressed Pakistan’s willingness to share its expertise and
provision of technical assistance to developing countries in the region and
underlined that states which posses advanced capabilities should have an equal
opportunity to participate in and contribute to the export control governance
this context, he highlighted Pakistan’s credentials and expertise to become a
member of the Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG), while emphasising the need for a
transparent, objective and non-discriminatory criteria for the cartel's
membership of non-NPT applicants.
two-day regional seminar, organised by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in
collaboration with UN Office for Disarmament Affairs, brings together 13
countries from South and Central Asia, China, Russia, representatives of the
1540 Committee Group of Experts and international organisations including the
IAEA, OPCW and Interpol.
seminar aims to promote regional cooperation for effective national
implementation of resolution 1540 including through sharing of best practices
and national experiences.
1540, adopted by the Security Council in 2004, is one of the important
instruments in the global non-proliferation architecture as it seeks to prevent
non-state actors from acquiring weapons of mass destruction.
parade was started in 2015 after a gap of seven years when it was kept
suspended due to the threat of militancy.
and Turkish troops will for the first time take part in the ‘Pakistan Day’
parade to be held at Islamabad next week. Military spokesman Maj Gen Asif
Ghafoor said that foreign troops from friendly countries of China and Turkey
will be part in this year’s parade.
Army Troops and Turkish Military Band will participate in the parade,” Ghafoor
is for the first time that foreign troops are taking part in the ‘Pakistan Day’
parade, a defence official said.
armed forces parade accompanied by the exhibition of military hardware and
cultural floats are the key highlights of annual celebrations on March 23 to
commemorate the ‘Lahore Resolution’ of 1940 that vowed to set up a separate
parade is organised by Joint Staff Headquarters which oversees the three armed
forces of Pakistan and soldiers from the army, navy and air force take part in
said that special security measures have been put in place in Islamabad, where
the parade will be held.
from commemorating the Lahore Resolution of March 23 1940, the parade also
marks the day when Pakistan was declared a republic in 1956 with the adoption
of the first democratic Constitution.
Members of parliament — in both houses and on both sides of the aisle — came
together to denounce former Pakistani ambassador to the US, Hussain Haqqani,
for what they called “maligning the country’s armed forces at the behest of
most important remarks came from Leader of the Opposition in the National
Assembly Syed Khurshid Shah, who not only disassociated his Pakistan Peoples
Party (PPP) from the former ambassador, but even dubbed his recent article “an
act of treason”.
should not give importance to people who commit treason while sitting abroad,
despite being sons of the soil,” Mr Shah said after chairman of the foreign
affairs committee, Awais Leghari of the ruling Pakistan Muslim League-N
(PML-N), raised the matter in the assembly.
Shah said that Mr Haqqani’s claim came at a time when efforts were afoot to
isolate Pakistan at the international level.
was of the view that Mr Haqqani had written this column to seek the attention
of the new US administration and, therefore, “this person should not be given
Shah said the PPP government had replaced Mr Haqqani with Sherry Rehman as the
ambassador in Washington when they realised that his appointment was no longer
beneficial to the country.
Leghari said that Mr Haqqani had stabbed the country in the back only to seek
employment with the backing of some anti-Pakistan forces.
Leghari said that at a time when even US generals were praising Pakistan’s
efforts in the war against terrorism, the country’s former envoy was claiming
that Islamabad was not committed to the fight against terrorists. He called on
the PPP to rebut Mr Haqqani’s claim with full force.
Alvi of the Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf and Sheikh Salahuddin of the Muttahidda
Qaumi Movement (MQM) also expressed concern over Mr Haqqani’s latest tirade.
The MQM MNA called to make the report of the Abbottabad Inquiry Commission
public, so that the nation could know facts.
state minister for foreign affairs Khusro Bakhtyar said the PPP must admit that
Mr Haqqani was a bad choice for such a key position.
the adjacent Senate, PPP’s Farhatullah Babar responded when the issue was
raised by Nehal Hashmi of the PML-N.
Hashmi sought an explanation from former president Asif Ali Zardari over Mr
Haqqani’s claim regarding the issuance of visas to Americans who, according to
Mr Haqqani’s article, may have proved helpful in tracing Osama bin Laden.
Hashmi said that the former US ambassador had claimed that CIA had been allowed
to carry out its operations in Pakistan under the previous PPP government.
are people like Haqqani working for? No one can be allowed to target Pakistan’s
army and agencies while sitting in the US and New Delhi,” he said.
to the PML-N senator, PPP’s Farhatullah Babar said Mr Haqqani was doing all
this in his personal capacity.
PPP senator said that he was not a spokesperson for Mr Haqqani and would not
say anything about him or his article. He said he would confine his remarks to
the extent of the questions raised about Mr Zardari.
Babar said all visas issued to US nationals under the PPP tenure were given in
accordance with the laid-down procedure involving various state agencies and no
irregularity whatsoever was committed.
PPP members staged a walkout from the National Assembly to register their
protest over the remarks made by Minister of State for Water and Power Abid
Sher Ali about the recent attacks on PPP workers and leaders in Punjab.
after Question Hour, Khurshid Shah drew the attention of the house towards the
murder of PPP activist Sohail Butt in Lahore on Sunday, alleging that the slain
leader had complained that he was being coerced into joining the PML-N.
Shah said that PPP leader Shaukat Basra had earlier been attacked in
Bahawalnagar. Terming it “state-sponsored terrorism”, Mr Shah regretted that
the Punjab government had taken no action against the culprits so far and no
inquiry report had been issued.
minister from Faisalabad, however, denied that the PML-N was pressuring
opponents to defect, and claimed that the attack on Mr Basra was the result of
a personal enmity.
Shah said that instead of assuring the opposition members that action would be
taken against the culprits, the minister was terming the two incidents a result
this, all opposition members walked out of the house, leaving behind Nauman
Shaikh to point out quorum.
proceedings remained suspended for 20 minutes when Deputy Speaker Murtaza Javed
Abbasi found the house lacking quorum for which the presence of minimum of 86
members of the 342-member assembly.
of the members also spoke on the circulation of blasphemous content on social
media, calling on the interior ministry and the Pakistan Telecommunication
Authority (PTA) to take stern action against the responsible persons and the
management of the social media websites.
The counsel for former president retired Gen Pervez Musharraf field in the
Islamabad High Court on Monday two petitions seeking removal of terrorism
charges against him in the judges’ detention case and nullification of
perpetual warrants issued against him.
the first petition filed before a division bench comprising Justices Athar
Minallah and Mohsin Akhtar Kayani, Advocate Akhtar Shah challenged invocation
of certain sections of the Anti-Terrorism Act (ATA), 1997, against the former
dictator in connection with the judges’ detention case.
case is about the alleged detention of over 60 judges of superior courts soon
after the proclamation of a state of emergency on Nov 3, 2007.
Gen Musharraf was booked under some sections of the Pakistan Penal Code, but
Justice Shaukat Aziz Siddiqui of the IHC, while hearing the pre-arrest bail
application of the suspect, directed the Secretariat Police Station to book him
under the ATA for confining judges to their residences, thereby incapacitating
them from administrating justice.
to Advocate Shah, the prosecution could not bring evidence to justify the
application of ATA to the accused. The lawyer urged the bench to either quash
the entire proceedings or remove terrorism charges against his client and
remand the case to a sessions judge.
bench reserved its verdict on the maintainability of the petition.
counsel filed the second petition before Justice Aamer Farooq of the IHC
against an order of a trial court under which Gen Musharraf was declared an
absconder and perpetual warrants were issued for him in the murder case of a
cleric belonging to Lal Masjid.
Shah took the plea that since Abdul Rashid Ghazi, the cleric, had been killed
during the 2007 military operation on the mosque, such matters could not be
heard in courts under Article 245 of the Constitution.
claimed that the prosecution did not obtain the mandatory approval from the
government before filing a complaint against Gen Musharraf. He requested the
court to quash the proceedings against his client.
when Justice Farooq asked him whether any counsel could plead the case of a
fugitive of law, the latter sought time to respond to the question.
court then adjourned the hearing till the first week of April.
The situation in Tharparkar, Umerkot and Sanghar districts is vulnerable and
may slip to a ‘humanitarian emergency’, a joint United Nations observation
UN report made available on Monday observed that the situation might
deteriorate if no or little rains were received in the coming monsoon season.
The main vulnerabilities pertain to water scarcity, healthcare and remoteness.
contrast, Sindh government officials informed the UN mission that the situation
in all the three districts was not precarious as of now, and it was much better
as compared to 2014-15.
officials said the desert areas in Umerkot and Tharparkar practised
mono-cropping, but no cultivation was reported by the communities in Sanghar
during last year’s Kharif season.
Describing elimination of terrorism and extremism as a “policy imperative” for
national security, the political and military leadership on Monday agreed on
pacing up the implementation of the National Action Plan (NAP), considered as
linchpin of the antiterror strategy, but one that has floundered.
was reiterated unanimously that elimination of extremism and terrorism are policy
imperatives for Pakistan’s security,” said a press statement issued after a
closed-door national security meeting presided over by Prime Minister Nawaz
was the second civil-military huddle in 10 days for looking at what ails the
counterterrorism fight and reviewing progress on the recently launched
Operation Raddul Fasaad. The military, meanwhile, during this period had its
internal review of the situation at last week’s corps commanders’ conference.
contents of the statement looked to be a point-to-point response to some of the
issues publicly stated by the military after the corps commanders’ meeting,
which mainly included problems with NAP’s implementation, Pak-Afghan border
regulation and legal reforms.
people, including two police officers, were injured in Lahore on Tuesday
morning when they were fired upon by unidentified persons, DawnNews reported.
to reporters following the incident, DIG Operations Haider Afzal said three
people were injured, which included police officers Zafar and Rizwan, who
belonged to the Crime Investigation Agency (CIA), and a "private"
accomplice named Afzal.
team, along with Assistant Sub-Inspector (ASI) Shoukat, were headed towards
Tibi City area to conduct a raid when they were intercepted on Fort Road by the
assailants, DIG Afzal told the press conference.
wounded personnel were shifted to Mayo Hospital's emergency department where
the injured police officers were declared to be in critical condition, while
their accomplice Afzal is out of danger.
Shoukat remained unharmed in the incident, he added.
Issues of blasphemous content on social media and recent incidents of
mysterious disappearances of some bloggers once again resonated in both houses
of parliament on Monday but with different tone and notes.
upper house took the matter after a motion was moved by two opposition senators
whereas it was taken up through points of order in the National Assembly.
police register case against owners of ‘blasphemous’ social media pages
both the moves met the same fate. The NA speaker and the Senate chairman opted
to remain neutral.
the Senate, PPP’s Farhatullah Babar along with Senator Usman Kakar of PkMAP
broached the matter. They were joined by Col (retd) Tahir Mashadi of MQM to
support their point of view. Ruling party Senator Nehal Hashmi supported their
demand for a parliamentary probe but called the action of purported bloggers
not absolvable even if they had not committed blasphemy.
said that if the bloggers were guilty of blasphemy they must be severely
punished in accordance with the law. However, condemning them in the media
without proof and without trial raised serious questions about the motives
behind their disappearances.
for Federal Education and Professional Training Balighur Rehman said two of the
bloggers—Salman Haider and Samar Abbas— had gone missing from Islamabad. Haider
was back but the whereabouts of Abbass were still not known and efforts were
being made to trace him.
issue of alleged blasphemous material on social media dominated the National
Assembly (NA) on Monday where some treasury members went to the extreme,
demanding government the imposition of a blanket ban on social media.
the PM: Scandal mongers to face criminal prosecution, says minister
Minister’s son-in law Captain (retd) Muhammad Safdar made a emotional speech on
a point of order. He lauded Islamabad High Court judge, Justice Shaukat Aziz
Siddiqui for taking firm position on the issue.
said with blasphemous content still available on social media he does not see
Cyber Crime Act as being implemented. “Why are we being forced to lay our lives
on the issue? Why PTA does not impose ban on social media? This is going to
lead the country towards anarchy,” Safdar remarked.
Naeema Kishwar Khan asked the Interior ministry to take action on blasphemous
material on social media as IHC has already handed over the matter.
Qadeer Tanoli / Irfan Ghauri
The Pakistan Peoples Party faced a torrid time in both houses of parliament on
Monday as it defended the previous government and its leadership against
controversial claims that they wilfully facilitated the stationing of US
intelligence agents in Pakistan.
US envoy Husain Haqqani made the claim in a recent opinion-editorial piece that
appeared in The Washigton Post.
brought the request directly to Pakistan’s civilian leaders, who approved,” he
wrote in an article.
admits role in US spy deployment in Pakistan
comments placed PPP in an awkward corner, with lawmakers in both the houses of
parliament demanding explanations.
MNA Awais Leghari said: “By publishing such an article, Haqqani, who at present
is jobless, is seeking attention of the Trump administration.”
said he attempted to embarrass Pakistan by stating that the previous regime
facilitated the CIA in its operation in Pakistan. Moreover, he demanded a rebuttal
of the statement.
of the Opposition Khursheed Shah, while defending the credentials of the
previous PPP government in the National Assembly, said: “The government [of the
day] had no knowledge that Osama was in Pakistan.”
Haqqani was ambassador [to the US] during the [previous] PPP regime, he issued
an entirely different [set] of statements over the Abbottabad operation in
opposition leader was of the view that even condemning his article was
tantamount to giving him importance.
in the upper houses of parliament, PML-N Senator Nehal Hashmi said former
president Asif Ali Zardari owed an explanation to the nation over the issue.
to him, PPP Senator Farhatullah Babar said: “All visas were issued in
accordance with the laid down procedure involving various state agencies,”
adding, “No irregularity, whatsoever, was committed.”
said there were no complaints from any government organisation in respect of
the visas issued.
said he was spokesperson for the former president and added that he “will
confine his remarks to the issue raised by the senator and will not say
anything about Husain Haqqani and his article”.
Arif Alvi said: “By writing the article Haqqani has attempted to implicate the
PPP as well,” adding, “He is doing the job of mudslinging.”
panel to be constituted
the Senate has decided to constitute an oversight panel in an attempt to allay
fears expressed by lawmakers about transparency in the upcoming sixth national
population and housing census.
Haqqani vs the Pakistani state
upper house of parliament resumed its session after a two-day break with
Chairman Raza Rabbani in the chair. It was a private members’ day. The house
took up various bills, proposed pieces of legislation, motions calling
attention notices and points of order on a number of issues.
Senate chairman asked Leader of the House Raja Zafarul Haq to consult with the
government and report back to the Senate by Wednesday or Thursday before he
notifies the oversight panel. Senator Taj Haider of the PPP handed over a
letter from the Sindh chief minister to Haq in which the provincial chief
executive had raised apprehensions over transparency of the exercise.
unnecessary checks are being made in the name of secrecy and even the offices
of deputy and assistant commissioners will not be shared the preliminary
surveys of house listing, and later of the headcount.”
Parveen, a treasury member from Balochistan, raised the issue of blocked
identity cards and what she called some no-go areas of her province. Sensing
that the members would constantly keep on raising the issues linked with the
census, the Senate chairman decided to deal with them through a parliamentary
panel he would be constituting later in the week.
Technology Minister Anusha Rehman, in response to a motion of PTI Senator Azam
Swati, said that the heyday of the Telephone Industry of Pakistan (TIP),
situated in Haripur, K-P, was long over.
of TIP is the only way out,” was the conclusion of her briefing to the upper
house also passed with a majority vote a resolution moved by two PPP senators —
Sehar Kamran and Saleem Mandviwalla — calling for the revival of Waseeela-e-Haq
and Waseela-e-Rozgar schemes.
airstrike targets Taliban in Paktika, 29 including 2 senior leaders killed
Mar 14 2017
deadly airstrike targeted a gathering of the Taliban insurgents in southeastern
Paktika province of Afghanistan.
to the local government officials, the airstrike was carried out by the foreign
in Zeruk district.
governor’s spokesman Mohammad Rahman Ayaz said at least twenty insurgents
including three commanders of the group were killed in the airstrike.
said two of the commanders killed in the airstrike have been identified as
Afghan Waziristani and Hazifa.
further added that the Taliban gathering was targeted by the Unmanned Aerial
Vehicle as they had participated in the funeral of another Taliban leader Kerat
local officials are saying that Keramat Khan was a notorious Taliban who had a
major role in insurgency activities in this province.
is among the relatively calm provinces but the anti-government armed militant
groups including Taliban insurgents and militants of the notorious Haqqani
terrorist network are actively operating in some of its districts.
latest airstrike on Taliban in Paktika comes as the US forces based in
Afghanistan have stepped up airstrikes against the insurgent groups under a
broader role granted to them earlier last year.
interior ministry official confirmed an explosion but there was no immediate
word on damage or whether there were any casualties.
explosion in the centre of the Afghan capital Kabul destroyed a bus carrying
employees of one of the country’s biggest telecoms firms on Monday, killing at
least one person and wounding eight, Interior Ministry spokesman Sediq Sediqqi
forces surrounded the smoking remains of the bus, which appeared to be
completely burned out. A security official said earlier the blast was caused by
a suicide bomber on foot, but Sediqqi said it appeared to have been caused by a
explosion, as people were leaving work in a well-to-do area of the city, came
less than a week after dozens of people were killed and wounded in an attack on
the country’s largest military hospital by gunmen dressed in medical uniforms.
are still investigating that assault, which was claimed by Islamic State, but
the two attacks underline the broad security threat in Afghanistan, where the
Taliban have stepped up their insurgency against the Western-backed government.
least two policemen were shot dead by unidentified gunmen in Kabul city late on
Monday evening, security officials said Tuesday.
incident took place in the vicinity of the 8th police district of the city
after unknown gunmen opened fire on the policemen who were busy conducting
search operation in the area.
police chief Hasan Shah Frogh confirmed that the two policemen were shot dead
by unknown gunmen in Bani Esar area.
did not disclose further information regarding the incident but added that an
investigation is underway regarding the attack.
group or individual has so far claimed responsibility behind the incident.
comes as Kabul city was hit by some of the deadliest attacks during the recent
days which left scores of people dead.
incident in Bani Esar area took place hours after an explosion ripped through a
van carrying employees of a telecommunications company.
to the security officials, a woman was killed and at least nineteen others
including four women were wounded.
group including the Taliban insurgents has so far claimed responsibility behind
yesterday’s attack but the ministry of interior officials are saying that three
people have been arrested in connection to the attack.
least three people have been arrested in connection to an explosion in capital
Kabul which took place on Monday evening. (Photo Jim Huylebroek)
Ministry of Interior (MoI) spokesman Sediq Sediqi confirmed that one woman was
killed in the incident that took place in the vicinity of Taimani area.
further added that nineteen others including four women were also wounded in
further details have been given regarding the arrested individuals and the
circumstances regarding their suspicious involvement in the incident.
blast has reportedly taken place due to an Improvised Explosive Device (IED)
which was detonated close to a van carrying employees of a private
group including the Taliban insurgents has so far claimed responsibility behind
comes as a coordinated attack rocked capital Kabul last Wednesday leaving
scores of people dead and dozens of others wounded.
attack was carried out by a group of at least five people targeting the main
military hospital for which the militants affiliated with the Islamic State of
Iraq and Syria (ISIS) terrorist group claimed responsibility for.
China on Tuesday expressed hope that Pakistan and India will overcome their
differences through a renewed dialogue process that stalled last year following
increasing unrest in Indian-held Kashmir and Uri attacks.
India and Pakistan are China’s important neighbours and important countries in
South Asia. China hopes that India and Pakistan can enhance mutual trust and
improve relations through more dialogues. This is conducive to not only the two
countries themselves but also to regional prosperity and development,” said
Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Hua Chunying during a press briefing in
arms race among Pakistan, India and China
spokesperson added that China also looks forward to the early accession of
Pakistan and India to the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO) as full
members so they could work with other members for the security, stability,
development and prosperity of the region.
memorandum on the obligations for India and Pakistan to obtain membership in
the SCO was signed at the SCO Tashkent Summit in 2016. Currently, all sides are
going through relevant legal procedures in accordance with the memorandum,” the
spokesperson said while responding to a question.
between Pakistan and Indian worsened in September 2016, when militants attacked
an army base in the held valley of Kashmir and killed 18 Indian soldiers, a
raid New Delhi blamed on Islamabad.
had denied involvement, but the diplomatic fallout and India’s efforts to
isolate Pakistan internationally continued, though failed.
the first case, a Belgian woman working as a receptionist for G4S Secure Solutions,
which has a general ban on the wearing of visible religious or political
symbols, was dismissed for refusing to remove her religious attire. In the
second, a French IT consultant was also let go when she refused to take off the
headscarf after a client complained.
headscarves are a contentious issue in several European countries, with
numerous cases of alleged discrimination against Muslim women emerging in
Russia wants the Taliban’s political representatives to join the dialogue
initiated by China, Pakistan and Russia and expanded last month when
Afghanistan, India and Iran joined the process.
told The Express Tribune that Russia had indicated last month during a meeting
in Moscow that at “some stage it would also make efforts to get the Taliban to
attend the meeting”.
Iran ties with Taliban stoke Afghan anxiety
however, disagreed with the proposal. This could be seen as a setback for
reviving the political process, at least for now.
others (participants) had no comments on this proposal, the representative of
the Afghan government expressed reservation in this regard,” sources privy to
the meeting said.
sources say that Russia will convene the next meeting on April 14. Kabul had
angrily reacted to the first trilateral sitting held in Moscow in December last
Taliban’s political representatives in Qatar declined to comment about this
Taliban source earlier confided to The Express Tribune that Russia and China
would be acceptable as guarantors if and when peace negotiations begin.
said that the US and EU officials would also be invited to the next meeting of
the 6-nation consultations.
officials said they were suspicious about Russia’s actual intentions to invite
the Taliban to the next meeting because they did not want anyone else to take
is trying to legitimise the Taliban and if Taliban representatives take part in
that meeting it would mean that they are equal to the legitimate government in
Kabul,” an Afghan official said.
warns Trump’s generals: ‘Sort out Afghanistan mess or Russia will intervene’
is increasingly frustrated by Russia’s growing contacts with the Taliban in
Kabulov, who is President Vladimir Putin’s special envoy to Afghanistan,
however, insists that “peace must be between the Taliban and the Afghan
this (purpose), we should be asked in accordance with international law and
principles of foreign policy [of the] Russian Federation. Both sides should ask
us: ‘Please arrange such a conference, we want to make peace under your
auspices.’ We haven’t gotten such a request yet,” Kabulov told Turkey’s Anadolu
Agency in late December.
considered to be the man behind Moscow’s strong connections with Taliban, had
met several times with the Taliban political envoys in Qatar.
Taliban in their latest statement said they considered a political solution to
be the best solution to the Afghan conundrum.
establishment of the political office … conveys to the Afghan people and the
world that the (Taliban are) not … fighting for the sake of fighting. The
(Taliban) leadership … has appointed some … experienced diplomats … in its
political office,” the Taliban statement said.
statement said the political office had been set up in Doha (Qatar) because
Taliban wanted a peaceful solution to the Afghan issue and did not want their detractors
to claim otherwise.
and EU plead for calm as tensions between Europe and Turkey escalate
political feud between Turkey and Europe has escalated with NATO and EU chiefs
pleading for calm.
tense atmosphere follows developments over the weekend which saw The
Netherlands ban Turkish Minister Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu from entering the country.
was travelling to attend a rally in Rotterdam in support of President Recep
Tayyip Erdoğan’s constitutional reforms, which have raised fears the measures
could undermine Turkey’s rule of law and pave the way for a the erosion of
Mark Rutte also ejected a Turkish minister who drove to the city for the rally
response the Turkish president branded The Dutch government Nazis, echoing a
moment he made earlier in the week about the Germans.
Mr Erdoğan vowed to respond with force, imposing diplomatic sanctions on The
Netherlands, barring the return of the Dutch ambassador who is currently out
the country, closing Turkish airspace to Dutch flights, dissolving a friendship
grope between the two countries and suspecting intergovernmental meetings.
senior government spokesman, Numan Kurtulmuş, said: “Turkey will act
responsibly and decisively.”
Secretary-General, Jens Stoltenberg, issued a plea for calm on all sides, and
called on parties to focus on what unites us than separates us.
unrest led to members of the European parliament to call for a halt to
said: “I will encourage all allies to show mutual respect, to be calm and have
a measured approach … to defuse tensions and de-escalate the situation.”
important that we now focus on everything that unites us.
presence in Turkey is good for Turkey but it is also good for Europe and the
rest of the alliance.”
situation exacerbated already fraught relations between Turkey and Europe,
adding to fears a fragile deal which stems the flow of migrants into the
continent could collapse.
Turkey has repeatedly used the deal as a bartering chip to escalate its
accession to the EU, but the constitutional reforms look likely to undermine
has been cautious of Turkey’s actions since a failed coup last year led to a
swift and brutal crackdown, which saw hundred of civil servants, journalists
and military officials jailed.
unrest led to members of the European parliament to call for a halt to
accession talks with Turkey, still a formal candidate for EU membership.
latest constitutional measures are viewed as Turkey taking a further step away
from EU membership.
Erdoğan has been trying to drum up support for the reforms from Turks living
aboard by hosting rallies in various cities, something which was swiftly
stopped by logistics and red tape over public health and safety permits,
14 March 2017
Dutch prime minister has said that Turkish sanctions following a diplomatic
clash were “not too bad” but were inappropriate as the Netherlands had more to
be angry about.
sanctions include freezing all diplomatic communication but no economic
measures. Mark Rutte said: “I continue to find it bizarre that in Turkey they’re
talking about sanctions when you see that we have reasons to be very angry
about what happened this weekend.”
between the two countries, a dramatic escalation of Turkey’s row with EU
states, broke out on Saturday when the Netherlands blocked two Turkish
ministers from speaking at political rallies and the Turkish president, Recep
Tayyip Erdoğan, twice referred to the Dutch government as “Nazis”.
followed on Monday with a suspension of high-level political contacts with the
Netherlands and a threat to re-evaluate a key deal to halt the flow of migrants
to Europe .
Kurtulmuş, a deputy prime minister and chief government spokesman, said while
announcing the sanctions that the Dutch ambassador, who is on leave, would not
be allowed to return .
would also close its airspace to Dutch diplomats, Kursulmuş said, adding:
“There is a crisis and a very deep one. We didn’t create this crisis or bring
it to this stage … Those creating this crisis are responsible for fixing it.”
spokesman’s remarks came hours after Erdoğan defied pleas from Brussels to tone
down his rhetoric, repeating accusations of European “nazism” and warning that
his ministers would take their treatment by the Dutch to the European court of
human rights. Erdoğan also accused the German chancellor, Angela Merkel, of
“supporting terrorists” and criticised her for backing the Dutch in the row
over Turkish campaigning abroad before an April referendum on controversial
plans to expand his powers.
Merkel, why are you hiding terrorists in your country? … Why are you not doing
anything?” Erdoğan said in an interview with Turkish television. He added that
the position adopted by the Dutch and a number of other EU states amounted to
nazism. “We can call this neo-nazism. A new nazism tendency.”
had earlier pledged her “full support and solidarity” to the Dutch, saying
allegations made twice by Erdoğan this weekend that the Dutch government was
acting like Nazis were “completely unacceptable”.
Turkish remarks followed a request on Monday by the EU’s foreign policy chief,
Federica Mogherini, and enlargement commissioner, Johannes Hahn, for Ankara to
“refrain from excessive statements and actions”.
Turkish foreign ministry said in a statement on Tuesday that the EU’s stance on
Turkey was “short-sighted” and “carried no value” for Turkey. It said the EU
had “ignored the violation of diplomatic conventions and the law”.
threat made by Kurtulmuş to re-evaluate the deal the EU signed with Ankara in
March 2016 – which has successfully curbed migration from Turkey to Greece,
then onward into the rest of the bloc – will be seen as particularly alarming.
Netherlands, Austria, Germany, Denmark and Switzerland, all of which have large
Turkish immigrant communities, have cited security and other concerns as
reasons not to allow Turkish officials to campaign in their countries in favour
of a referendum vote on 16 April to give Erdoğan expanded presidential powers.
But with as many as 1.4 million Turkish voters in Germany alone, Erdoğan cannot
afford to ignore the foreign electorate.
chancellor, Christian Kern, called on Monday for an EU-wide ban on Turkish
rallies, saying it would take pressure off individual countries. But Merkel’s
chief of staff, Peter Altmaier, said he had doubts as to whether the bloc
should collectively decide on a rally ban.
said the Turkish president was using the crisis to show voters that his strong
leadership was needed against a Europe he routinely presents as hostile.
was “looking for ‘imagined’ foreign enemies to boost his nationalist base in
the run-up to the referendum,” said Soner Cagaptay, the director of the Turkish
Research Programme at the Washington Institute.
Pierini, the EU’s former envoy to Turkey, said he saw no immediate solution to
the crisis because “the referendum outcome in Turkey is very tight and the
leadership will do everything to ramp up the nationalist narrative to garner
standoff has further strained relations already frayed over human rights, while
repeated indications from Erdoğan that he could personally try to address
rallies in EU countries risk further inflaming the situation.
row also looks likely to dim further Turkey’s prospects of joining the EU, a
process that has been under way for more than 50 years. “The formal end of
accession negotiations with Turkey now looks inevitable,” the German
commentator Daniel Brössler wrote in the Süddeutsche Zeitung.
Trump gives CIA authority to carry out drone strikes: Report
drone strikes were halted in the last eight months of the Obama Administration
President Donald Trump has reportedly given CIA necessary authorisation to
carry out drone strikes against terror groups, a move that could have
implications for Pakistan. This is a change from the policies of the previous
Obama Administration under which the Department of Defence was authorised to
carry out such strikes and the CIA used drones to gather intelligence
information, The Wall Street Journal reported, citing unnamed sources. The
White House and the CIA have so far not responded to the news report. According
to the daily, Trump gave such an authorisation to the CIA not long after he
visited its headquarters on January 21.
Trump administration is also giving the military more authority to conduct
operations on its own without first getting a sign off from the Pentagon or the
White House,” the report said. The report said Trump’s unexpected decision to
give the CIA the strike authority created ferment inside the US government
within days of his visit, as US military officials scrambled to respond to the
to New America’s research — a Washington DC based think-tank — before Obama
changed his policy and only authorised the Department of Defence to carry out
drone strikes, CIA’s drone strikes were mostly used in Pakistan. It has
resulted in the death of at least 1,904 people and the figure could be as high
as 3,114, US scholars Peter Bergen and David Sterman wrote in CNN on January
21, a day after Trump was sworn in as the US President.
drone strikes were halted in the last eight months of the Obama Administration.
In recent weeks, top Pentagon generals have expressed concerns over the
continued presence of terrorist safe havens in Pakistan. CIA drone strikes were
quite successful in elimination of high profile terrorists from the safe havens
United States has killed more than 50 al-Qaeda and Taliban leaders in Pakistan
since the beginning of the CIA drone campaign,” Bergen and Sterman wrote in the
CNN op-ed. At the same time they warned that before taking a decision on
reviving drone strikes in Pakistan, the Trump administration should take into
account that the US is quite unpopular in Pakistan.
Obama, the drone war in Pakistan reached its height, and Trump, should he
choose to do so, can easily bring that war back,” the two American scholars said
and had predicted that Trump may well escalate the drone war in Pakistan and
there is not much to stop him if he chooses to do so.
Lloyd told police he wanted to 'run the Arabs out of our country'
Florida man has been arrested after trying to set a convenience store on fire
to "run the Arabs out of our country".
Lloyd reportedly told police he tried to buy a bottle of orange juice at the
shop in Port St Lucie but it was not in stock, and was also upset because he
assumed the owners were Muslim.
64-year-old said he had pushed a bin to the front of the Met Mart building
before setting its contents alight, according to a police statement. He told
officers he was angry because of what Muslims were "doing in the Middle
East". The store was closed at the time.
shop's owners were in fact of Indian descent, not Arabic, police said.
Lucie County sheriff Ken Mascara said: "When the deputies arrived, they
noticed the dumpster had been rolled in front of the doors and the contents
seeing our deputies, the man put his hands behind his back and said, ‘Take me
man, identified as Richard Lloyd, was read his Miranda rights and then told
deputies that he pushed the dumpster to the front of the building, tore down
signs posted to the outside of the store and lit the contents of the dumpster
on fire to ‘run the Arabs out of our country’.
will not tolerate violence based on age, race, colour, ancestry, ethnicity,
religion, sexual orientation, national origin, homeless status, mental or
Lloyd was due to undergo a mental health evaluation, Mr Mascara said, and state
prosecutors would decide whether to charge him with an intentional hate crime.
UN special rapporteur on Myanmar has expressed concern that the Southeast Asian
country may be seeking to "expel" all members of the persecuted
Rohingya Muslim community from its territory.
the UN Human Rights Council in the Swiss city of Geneva on Monday, Yanghee Lee
warned that a full purge could be the ultimate goal of the institutional
persecution and horrific violence being perpetrated against the Rohingya
who visited Myanmar twice in the past year, said that the country was still
making Rohingyas' lives difficult by conducting a household survey and
dismantling homes in the troubled Rakhine State.
a household survey - where those absent may be struck off the list that could
be the only legal proof of their status in Myanmar - indicates the government
may be trying to expel the Rohingya population from the country altogether. I
sincerely hope that that is not the case."
four-month crackdown on the minority group has seen some 75,000 Rohingya
Muslims flee to neighboring Bangladesh, where Lee said she had heard
"harrowing account after harrowing account."
heard allegation after allegation of horrific events like these – slitting of
throats, indiscriminate shootings, setting alight houses with people tied up
inside and throwing very young children into the fire, as well as gang rapes
and other sexual violence,” she said.
in her remarks, Lee also pushed for a high-level inquiry into abuses against
the Muslim minority community.
UN human rights chief, Zeid Ra'ad al Hussein, has said treatment of the
Rohingya merits a UN commission of inquiry and review by the International
Criminal Court (ICC).
has been under a military siege since October 2016 over a raid on a police post
that was blamed on the Rohingya.
violence against the Rohingya is a blow to efforts by Myanmar's de facto leader
Aung San Suu Kyi to reach a comprehensive peace agreement with the country’s
Mosul, a heavy but not crushing blow to Islamic State
and Iraqi officials say the senior IS leadership has escaped to regroup in
Syria and the deserts along the border to prepare for the future.
troops have surrounded western Mosul and military leaders vow it’s only a
matter of time until they crush the last major stand of the Islamic State group
in Iraq. But the militants are positioning themselves to defend the remains of
its so-called “caliphate” in Syria and wage an insurgent campaign in Iraq.
extremists are carrying out what looks like an organized, fighting withdrawal:
a core of fighters is holding out in the city using hundreds of thousands of
civilians as shields, tying down and bleeding the Iraqi military in urban
the Pentagon and Iraqi officials say the senior IS leadership has escaped to
regroup in Syria and the deserts along the border to prepare for the future.
know they will lose Mosul, but they want this to be a hard fight,” said Maj.
Saif Ali, a commander in the Iraqi special forces on the front lines.
civilian population is perhaps the main reason IS fighters have been able to
hold out so long and turn Mosul into such a grueling battle. It took months for
Iraqi forces to drive them out of eastern Mosul while trying to avoid high
casualties among residents amid house-to-house battles. Now some 2,000
militants, by a coalition estimate, are holed up in western Mosul with 700,000
civilians. IS fighters are holding most of those civilians hostage as shields,
while forcing some to flee as cover for their troops.
fall will be the biggest blow yet to IS, largely breaking its hold over
territory in Iraq and ending its rule over half the “caliphate,” which at its
height stretched from northern Syria through western Iraq. The largest city in
IS territory, Mosul provided the group significant financing from taxing the
population, factories to make weapons and space to gather freely.
the Islamic State group’s durable organization ensures it can fall back to the
weekend, Iraqi forces completely encircled western Mosul by capturing the last
road into the enclave of about 40 square kilometers (15 square miles),
comprising some of the city’s most densely built districts.
of the fighters who are left in Mosul, they’re going to die there because they
are trapped,” Brett McGurk, the special presidential envoy for U.S.-led
coalition against IS, said Sunday.
the month since the assault on the west began, troops have retaken the city’s
airport, a sprawling military complex, the main government compound and a
ribbon of neighborhoods on the southwest side of Mosul. The offensive is being
waged from three directions with two divisions of special forces and a force of
federal police advancing along the Tigris River, which divides the city into
its western and eastern half.
of artillery and airpower has been dramatically stepped up, mostly by the Iraqi
air force. “They are causing the real destruction,” said federal police Cpl.
Abbas Takleef, whose unit retook the government complex last week.
officers have frequently expressed impatience with extensive vetting of
airstrikes required by the U.S.-led coalition to avoid civilian casualties.
Recently, the coalition enabled more of its officers on the scene to approve
strikes, speeding up procedures.
more intense bombardment could translate into deaths among residents. Airwars,
an independent group that tracks casualties from the campaign, said several
hundred civilians have been killed in March alone.
trapped in western Mosul face dwindling supplies of food and fuel. Limited
provisions enter through smuggling routes still in use despite the siege,
according to a senior humanitarian official who spoke on condition of anonymity
in line with regulations.
prices have skyrocketed: the price of a kilogram (2.2 pounds) of sugar has
leaped from $1 to more than $20.
and his wife Asma, residents of a western neighborhood just recaptured by Iraqi
forces, said they survived because they began stockpiling provisions back in
October, before the Mosul assault began. Shops completely ran out of food more
than two months ago, they said.
couple asked to only be identified by their first names, fearing for the safety
of relatives still under IS rule.
50,000 civilians have fled in the past four weeks, according to the United
Nations. Escape is incredibly dangerous: IS has threatened to kill anyone
caught trying to get out, and residents have to cross dangerous front lines to
at times, the militants allow large groups to leave, giving cover for their own
fighters to move as well.
the special forces major, said that one night more than 5,000 civilians crossed
out through front lines near his position. Soon after, militants who had
slipped into government-held territory struck his forces from the rear, hitting
a house and nearby school being used by the Iraqi troops. A sniper with a night
scope killed a young soldier on the roof of the house, and a rocket-propelled
grenade wounded a soldier at the school.
attacks rattled the soldiers as they tried to regroup for the next push, said
Lt. Col. Nour Sabah, who was stationed at the school.
are trying to exhaust us,” he said.
Next For The Islamic State Group
well-organized IS counter-attacks point to how the militants are maintaining
command and control even as their grip on Mosul falls apart.
Islamic State group’s top leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi and his senior
lieutenants escaped Mosul even before the assault on the city began in
mid-October, Iraqi and coalition officials believe. They likely went to Raqqa
in Syria, though some may have set up in desert hideouts along the border.
not willing to share the risk that they demand of their fighters to fight to the
death,” U.S. Army Lt. Gen. Stephen Townsend, who heads the U.S.-led coalition
against IS, said at a Pentagon press briefing.
escaping are many middle-rank IS fighters, the rough equivalent of a military’s
captains and majors crucial to keeping structure. A lieutenant-colonel with
Iraqi intelligence estimated hundreds of IS fighters have fled west Mosul among
the civilians. He spoke on condition of anonymity in line with regulations.
fighters could form the backbone of an IS rebirth as an insurgent force.
the relative safety within the territory the Islamic State group still holds in
Syria and the pockets remaining in Iraq, along with any sleeper cells the
militant group has inside Iraqi government-controlled territory, IS can carry
out insurgent operations in Iraq including suicide bombings, much as it did
before 2014 in its incarnation as al-Qaida in Iraq.
Syria, the group can also plot attacks in the West.
Caliphate will not vanish,” IS pledged in an internal publication found north
of Mosul by Aymenn Jawad al-Tamimi, a researcher with the Middle East Forum who
studies the group.
said the document appeared to anticipate that urban areas like Mosul and Raqqa
will be lost.
adopts the idea that the Caliphate does not end with loss of territory, and the
West in particular should realize the next generation of the Caliphate’s
soldiers are being nurtured within their borders,” al-Tamimi said.
Next In The Fight
next likely target is Raqqa, in northern Syria. U.S.-backed Kurdish-led forces
are trying to cut off supply lines into the city, and U.S. officials have said
an assault could begin with weeks. There too, however, the militants are dug in
for long and potentially grueling fight.
there, the last stronghold of the militants could be the Deir el-Zour region in
eastern Syria, near the border with Iraq.
forces will likely need weeks of rest and resupply after Mosul. But then the
fight will also continue in Iraq to mop up the last pockets held by militants
along the border. Also crucial to recapture are Iraqi border crossings still in
the militants’ hands, a step that would crimp — though not completely stop —
IS’s ability to move supplies and fighters into Iraq.
military and intelligence officers warn that addressing Iraq’s political
divisions will be just as important.
the past, the militants have been able to rebound from defeat by exploiting
anger among Iraq’s Sunni Arab minority, which feels marginalized by Shiites.
And Iraq will have to deal with the monumental task of rebuilding cities
destroyed in the fight against IS. Slowness in doing that could fuel Sunni
U.S. ambassador to Iraq, Doug Silliman, said the next task will fall to the
Iraqi government to return services to territory retaken from IS to deliver a
lasting defeat to the group, at the Sulaimani Forum earlier this month.
military victories will not be enough,” he said.
cover of rain, Islamic State fights for Mosul old city
March 14 (Reuters) - The bombed out, battered streets, homes and buildings
around Mosul museum were eerily quiet, other than the hum from the engines of
Iraqi forces' armoured vehicles stationed outside. The usual sound of planes
and helicopter gunships attacking Islamic State positions in the city was also
absent, with cloud cover and rain making any air raids difficult to coordinate.
These are the conditions Islamic State fighters holed up in the city centre
relish. "They use the cloud and the rain to launch attacks, and it stops
any advances by us," said Sergeant Ali Abu Hamra of the Rapid Response, an
elite interior ministry force. Sure enough, as units moved up towards the front
line, mortar and gunfire began coming in, crashing down around the museum which
Iraqi forces seized last week. Troops took cover in a utilities room annexed to
the museum complex, while other units ran forward to shoot at Islamic State
positions and try to suppress incoming gunfire. Monday's weather was not a
game-changer. It was simply a boost to the stiff resistance of Islamic State
fighters who have retreated into more crowded urban areas including Mosul's old
city, making life difficult for the Rapid Response force. The deserted museum
and nearby government complex were recaptured almost a week ago, but the area,
where federal police have filled in as elite raiding parties try to move
forward, is far from secure. The struggle, rain or shine, to make significant
advances beyond this district which borders the old city limits, shows how
tough the fight for Mosul's heart is likely to be as jihadists hail shell and
sniper fire from inside. Islamic State have held out in Mosul, their last major
urban stronghold in Iraq, far longer than the government initially predicted as
it launched a U.S.-backed campaign in October to drive the militants out. Iraqi
forces in January brought all districts east of the Tigris river under their
control, and last month launched attacks in western Mosul, which houses the
Nineveh provincial government headquarters and the old city with its narrow
streets. The old city contains the mosque from which Islamic State leader
Abu-Bakr al-Baghdadi declared himself caliph over large areas of northern Iraq
and eastern Syria in 2014. The Federal Police and Rapid Response said at the
weekend they had entered the old city. But there was no significant progress as
the week began, and the militants, firing from inside, pinned down Iraqi forces
for hours. Rapid Response troops operating around the museum last week had
already said it was hard for them to consolidate gains from raids without areas
behind them fully secured. ALEPPO STREET Wounded troops sat or lay on
mattresses in the dark room next to the museum, making sure the metal door was
closed to stop shrapnel flying in. "The fight is in the old city now, but
it's tough, the streets are narrow," said Nasser Taleb, 34, a bandage over
his eye from a bullet ricochet wound he said he suffered on Aleppo Street on
the edge of the old city, where intense fighting took place at the weekend. The
fighting is set to cost many more lives and wreak further destruction as it
moves into the heart of the city. Near the museum, air strikes had pounded deep
holes in the roads and churned up tarmac. Palm trees along a central boulevard
were blackened, their trunks gashed open by explosions. As the morning's
fighting wore on and the rain came down, Iraqi artillery and rocket launchers
positioned further back began to pound targets in or around the old city.
Planes could be heard in the skies again, but did not launch many strikes. A
soldier at a base away from the frontline asked: "Who's advancing today,
us or them?"
by Mohamed Mostafa
(IraqiNews.com) Iraq’s Federal Police chief said Tuesday security forces had
retaken 90 percent of central Mosul’s Old City, a most-wanted target in
operations against the Islamic State in western Mosul.
Gen. Shaker Jawdat said in a statement that his forces recaptured Bab al-Jadid
and Bab al-Bid neighborhood. The troops recaptured Nineveh’s railway station
and a nearby garage a few hours earlier.
Rapid Response forces recaptured 90 percent of the Old City and became 100
meters away from the Old Bridge,” Jawdat stated, referring to one of the five
strategic bridges linking western and eastern Mosul above the Tigris River.
generals view the Old City, with its narrow alleyways and dense population, as
a major target whose recapture could be highly decisive for the outcome of
operations in the western region of Mosul.
government forces recaptured eastern Mosul from Islamic State on January 24th
after three months of battles. Security commanders recently said they became in
control of 30 percent of western Mosul since another offensive launched in
February to retake the region.
troops have made remarkable victories in the west by recapturing major
government facilities, a military base and the city’s airport.
the Iraqi government nor the US coalition have announced civilian casualties in
the biggest ground operation in Iraq since the US led invasion of 2003.
prominent Iraqi Sunni politician on Monday warned Washington the acceleration
in a military campaign in western Mosul to drive out Islamic State jihadists
was causing a sudden surge in civilian casualties that threatened to undermine
the effort to crush the militants.
Khanjar, who has used his leverage to lobby the US administration and the Iraqi
authorities to ensure the major campaign in Mosul minimises civilian losses
among its population, said at least 3,500 civilians have been killed since the
push into the western side of the side last month.
were heavy casualties due to speeding up of military operations and we see this
as a big mistake and residents who we are in touch with have much more fear
than in the past of the ongoing military operations,” Khanjar added in an
interview in Amman.
hope the US led coalition doesn’t hurry up in this way without taking into
consideration the human lives,” he added.
said the mounting casualties came mainly from air strikes and indiscriminate
shelling of heavily crowded neighbourhoods as the U.S trained elite Counter
Terrorism Service (CTS) forces push deeper into the Old City and city centre.
to drive Islamic State from western Mosul, its last major stronghold in Iraq,
has involved close-quarter street battles, with Iraqi forces advancing block by
block as they approach the most densely populated parts of the city. Some
850,000 people are still believed to be living there, according to Khanjar.
Until the latest phase of the battle to take western Mosul, the campaign had
gone well with lower-than-expected civilian losses, Khanjar said crediting the
professionalism of the U.S. trained elite forces.
Americans are mistaken if they think that a speedy decisive military solution
is the best approach in this battle,” Khanjar added.
will have dangerous repercussions on the post-Mosul phase..there will be anger
by residents and Daesh will benefit from the large human losses,” he added,
using an Arabic acronym for Islamic State.
is one of the main politicians in Iraq’s once dominant Sunni community and has
spent millions of his vast fortune on a network of charities that helps
supports thousands of displaced Sunnis whose areas have been battlefields.
also financed local tribal Sunni groups that fought Islamic State when it first
emerged in strength in Iraq.
the outset of the Mosul campaign, Khanjar financed the 3,000 strong
Turkish-trained force known as the Nineveh Guards Force that has now been
integrated in state-run forces.
fractious Sunni senior politicians and parties also met last week in Ankara for
the first time in years to chart a national reconciliation proposal in the
post-Mosul period, Khanjar said.
the meeting attended by Salim Jabouri, the head of parliament, Vice President
Osama Nujaifi and other Sunni politicians, leaders agreed an historic
opportunity existed to heal the rifts among Iraq’s warring sects and restore
shattered confidence by mainstream Sunni towards the state, Khanjar said.
the disenchantment of Iraq’s Sunnis would only further alienate them and risk
worsening the country’s security problems and even bring the emergence of even
more hardline Sunni groups once the militants are defeated, he said.
there is a political process that restores confidence of Sunnis in the
state..in a post-Daesh phase there may emerge more organizations of terrorists
that are even more extreme than Daesh,” he said.
Sunnis believe the Shi’ite led administration has discriminated against them
and also say Shi’ite Iran’s influence has expanded in the security forces and
future will be decided only after “getting rid of extremists” and achieving
political reconciliation, the country's President Bashar al-Assad said in an
interview published Monday.
the war that has ravaged his country approaches its seventh year, Assad told
reporters it was “still early to talk about” his vision for Syria's future.
a luxury now to talk about politics while you're going to be killed maybe in a
few minutes, you have terrorist attacks,” he told a group of Western
journalists, state news agency SANA said.
this is the priority, getting rid of the extremists, the political
reconciliation in the different areas, this is another priority,” he added.
you achieve these two, you can talk about every discussion you want to
regarding any issue.” SANA did not specify which outlets the Western
journalists were from.
comments come ahead of the six-year anniversary of Syria's conflict, which
began in March 2011 with anti-government protests.
conflict has since spiralled into a vicious and complex civil war that has
killed more than 320,000 people and displaced more than half the population.
peace talks brokered by Russia and Turkey are scheduled to start Tuesday in the
Kazakh capital Astana, with UN-sponsored negotiations in Geneva set to resume on
A teenage suspect has died from wounds after Saudi police “responded” under
fire in a flashpoint Shia community, the interior ministry said on Sunday.
officers came under heavy fire on Saturday morning while looking for suspects
hiding among abandoned homes slated for redevelopment in the Almosara area of
Awamiya, on the Gulf coast, the ministry said.
“responded as necessary,” wounding the suspect Waleed Talal Ali, aged about 18,
who died in hospital, it said.
a town of 30,000 in the Shia-majority Qatif district, was the home of Nimr
al-Nimr, a cleric put to death in January last year for “terrorism.” Nimr was a
driving force behind protests by Shia residents that began in 2011 and
developed into a call for equality in the kingdom. Awamiya has seen repeated
security incidents in recent years.
was among a group of nine wanted suspects, the interior ministry said, adding
that the derelict homes in Almosara had been used for planning “terrorist
Mar 14, 2017
(FNA)- The Syrian Army troops and Air Force pounded ISIL's positions and
movements in the Southern outskirts of Deir Ezzur city, inflicting major losses
on the terrorists.
army soldiers repelled ISIL's attack on Deir Ezzur's airbase and then launched
heavy artillery attack on terrorists' concentration centers and positions near
al-Maqaber cemetery region Southeast, Southwest and North of the airbase,
killing a number of terrorists and destroying their military equipment and
army aircraft also bombed ISIL's gathering centers South and East of Deir Ezzur
military airport, cement block making factory, al-Maqaber cemetery, Jonayd
Division district, al-Thardah mountain, power company, Tamin Brigade region and
al-Jafrah passageway, killing or wounding a large number of terrorists.
the army soldiers repelled ISIL's attacks on government forces' positions in
the Eastern direction of Deir Ezzur city and two other flanks near the city's
airbase and Tamin Brigade region in the Southern countryside of the city on
Monday, killing or wounding a number of terrorists and forcing the rest of them
to retreat from the battlefields.
the meantime, the army's artillery units shelled ISIL's movements and positions
in al-Maqaber region, near the Electrify Company, Tamin Brigade, airbase,
al-Makbat region, cement block making factories and in Jafrah village, killing
a number of terrorists and destroying several command posts of them and a military
(FNA)- The Syrian Army troops continued their advances against ISIL in Eastern
Homs, driving terrorists out of more regions near the oil and gas fields.
army men engaged in fierce clashes with ISIL Northeast of the newly-liberated
city of Palmyra (Tadmur) and pushed the terrorists back from the strategic
region of al-Sawameh along the road to Arak oilfield.
the meantime, the army soldiers took back al-Qabab region North of Tal (hill)
al-Ameriyeh and Palmyra from ISIL.
military source said, meantime, that the army's control over the Northeastern
and Southern fronts, Sabkhat al-Mouh, power convertor station, al-Kaziyeh and
Maktab al-Dowar Southeast of Palmyra, will restore more security to the ancient
source further added that a large number of ISIL terrorists were killed and a
number of its vehicles equipped with heavy machinegunswere destroyed in the
army attacks, including a vehicle with license plate number registered in Saudi
Monday, the army troops targeted heavily a long military column of ISIL
terrorists East of the newly-liberated city of Palmyra en route to Deir Ezzur,
inflicting heavy damage on the terrorists' convoy.
army units targeted ISIL's military convoy of vehicles that were retreating
from the Eastern direction of Palmyra towards the terrorist-held regions in
Deir Ezzur province, destroying several vehicles and killing or wounding their
the meantime, the Syrian Air Force carried out several combat flights over
ISIL's positions in Arak village and near the Third Station in Eastern Homs.
the army soldiers continued to attack ISIL's positons from Palmyra's military
airport towards Bayarat al-Sharqi and engaged in fierce clashes with them on a
road between Palmyra and al-Sukhnah town, killing and wounding a number of
in the province, the army men targeted badly the terrorists' positions and
concentration centers in Tal Zahab settlement in al-Houleh plain and in
(FNA)- The Syrian Army troops continued to hit the positions of ISIL in Eastern
Aleppo and managed to drive the terrorists out of one more key settlement near
the key town of Deir Hafer.
army units engaged in another round of intense battle with ISIL West of Deir
Hafer and managed to recapture Hamimeh al-Saqireh settlement, killing and
wounding a number of terrorists.
the meantime, the Syrian Air Force carried out several combat flights over the
positions and movements of ISIL in the Western direction of Deir Hafer, killing
tens of terrorists and destroying several positions and military vehicles.
local source said that the army's control over Hamimeh al-Kabireh and Hamimeh
al-Saqireh reinvigorated security to Kuweires airbase.
relevant developments in the province on Monday, the army troops engaged in an
intense battle with ISIL East of Kuweires Airbase and took full control over
Hamimeh al-Kabireh settlement a few kilometers away from the terrorist-held
town of Deir Hafer.
ISIL suffered heavy casualties and its military hardware sustained major damage
in the attack.
in Last 24 Hours: Terrorists Sustain Heavy Losses in Army Offensives Near
Ancient Palmyra City
(FNA)- The Syrian army inflicted heavy losses on ISIL terrorists by hitting
their military positions in the vicinity of the ancient city of Palmyra in the
Eastern part of Homs province.
terrorists were pushed back from their strongholds South of Palmyra city in
of terrorists were killed and wounded in tough battle with the Syrian
Syrian army and popular forces also continued their military gains in other key
provinces across Syria.
Syrian Army troops struck heavily ISIL's defense lines South of the
newly-liberated city of Palmyra (Tadmur), driving terrorists out of the city's
Power Convertor Station.
army men engaged in fierce clashes with the ISIL and managed to push them back
from Palmyra's Power Convertor Station and Sabkhah (lagoon) al-Mouh in the
Southern countryside of the ancient city.
military source in Eastern Homs said that the army's attack inflicted heavy
casualties on the ISIL and destroyed several military vehicles.
source added that the remaining pockets of ISIL fled the battlefield.
said earlier on Monday that the army units targeted ISIL's military convoy of
vehicles that were retreating from the Eastern direction of Palmyra towards the
terrorist-held regions in Deir Ezzur province, destroying several vehicles and
killing or wounding their crew.
the army soldiers continued to attack ISIL's positions from Palmyra's military
airport towards Bayarat al-Sharqi and engaged in fierce clashes with them on a
road between Palmyra and al-Sukhnah town, killing and wounding a number of
Syrian Army troops continued to hit the positions of ISIL in Eastern Aleppo and
managed to drive the terrorists out of one more key settlement near the
strategic town of Deir Hafer still under ISIL control.
army troops engaged in an intense battle with the ISIL East of Kuweires Airbase
and took full control over Hamimeh al-Kabireh settlement a few kilometers away
from the terrorist-held town of Deir Hafer.
ISIL suffered heavy casualties and its military hardware sustained major damage
in the attack.
Syrian Army troops continued their advances against Al-Nusra Front (Fatah
al-Sham Front) in Eastern Ghouta and drove a wedge between the Barzeh district
North-East of the capital and its nearby gardens, sources said.
sources said that the army men stormed the Al-Nusra positions and drove them
out of al-Bostan (garden) pool that is located in Barzeh gardens and was one of
the most important positions of Al-Nusra, and managed to advance against
terrorists 700 meters in length and 500 meters in width South of the pool
towards al-Hafez street in al-Qaboun district.
added that the army soldiers took full control over al-Hafez street from the
gardens of Barzeh and also seized full control over Darb al-Tawileh road that
connects Barzeh district to al-Qaboun and Barzeh gardens.
sources went on to say that with the army's control over Darb al-Tawileh road,
Bostans are now under the full control of the army men, and Barzeh district has
also been completely separated from gardens.
reports said that the Army soldiers engaged in fierce clashes with Al-Nusra
terrorists in al-Qaboun district in the Northeastern outskirts of Damascus city
and managed to take back control of the central prison and security post of the
terrorists with the back up of the artillery units.
army units also destroyed several tunnels of the terrorists connecting
al-Qaboun to the other parts of Eastern Ghouta.
the meantime, heavy fighting restarted between the army men and terrorists in
Karash front in Jobar district and al-Qaboun's gardens.
predominantly Kurdish Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) continued to advance
against ISIL in Northeastern Syria and managed to take control of more
strategic villages on the banks of the Euphrates River.
SDF fighters continued to attack ISIL's positions in Abu Khashab front and took
control over Matab and Khas Ajil villages on the bank of Euphrates River in
the meantime, the Kurdish combatants engaged in heavy fighting with ISIL in
Khashab front and drove ISIL out of Ka'as al-Jabal village Southeast of Raqqa
Syrian army troops engaged in fierce clashes with ISIL terrorists in the
Eastern and Southern countryside of Deir Ezzur city and managed to fend off
army soldiers repelled ISIL's attacks on government forces' positions in the
Eastern direction of Deir Ezzur city and two other flanks near the city's
airbase and Tamin Brigade in the Southern countryside of the city, killing or
wounding a number of terrorists and forcing the rest of them to retreat from
the meantime, the army's artillery units shelled ISIL's movements and positions
in al-Maqaber (cemetery) region, near the Electricity Company, Tamin Brigade,
airbase, al-Makbat region, cement block making factories and in Jafrah village,
killing a number of terrorists and destroying several command posts of them and
a military vehicle.
of the Popular Committees in the besieged towns of Fua'a and Kafraya fended off
an attack of Al-Nusra Front (recently renamed to Fatah al-Sham Front), killing
and wounding a number of terrorists.
Popular Committees' forces in predominately Shiite towns of Fua'a and Kafraya
engaged in fierce clashes with a group of Al-Nusra terrorists that tried to
prevail over their defense lines from Banish town toward a region between the
towns of Fua'a and Kafraya, killing and wounding a number of terrorists.
are still underway between the popular committees and Al-Nusra terrorists in
Fua'a and Kafraya, local sources said.
sources added that the terrorists have been targeting residential areas in
Fua'a and Kafraya from Banish front in last 48 hours, injuring tens of
(FNA)- Iranian Parliament Speaker Ali Larijani blasted Saudi Arabia for its
continued massacre of the Yemeni civilians, and called on the Riyadh regime to
adopt friendly policies towards its neighboring country.
should review their conduct in Yemen in order to come to a mutual understanding
with Iran," Larijani said.
remarks came as Saudi Arabia's fighter jets are killing the innocent civilans
Arabia launched its bombing campaign against Yemen in March 2015 in an attempt
to restore power to fugitive President Mansour Hadi, a staunch ally of Riyadh.
stepped down in January 2015 and refused to reconsider the decision despite
calls by Ansarullah revolutionaries.
Riyadh's claims that it is bombing the positions of the Ansarullah fighters,
Saudi warplanes are flattening residential areas and civilian infrastructures.
Monarchy's attacks have so far claimed the lives of at least 13,100 civilians,
mostly women and children.
the fighting in Mosul rages on, the number of civilian casualties and
displacements have grown significantly. While vowing to avoid civilian casualties
by all means, the US is adamantly helping to maintain the siege until every
single jihadist dies there.
strikes targeting Islamic State (IS, formerly ISIS/ISIL) fighters in the Iraqi
city of Mosul are frequently killing civilians, a number of residents who lost
loved ones have been telling RT recently. While the Islamic State is known to
use men, women, and children as human shields in Mosul, the city's residents
have also accused the coalition of indiscriminate bombing.
Sunday, the Special Presidential Envoy for the Global Coalition to Counter
Islamic State fighters, Brett McGurk bluntly warned that any remaining
jihadists in Mosul will be killed inside the besieged city.
is trapped. … Any of the fighters left in Mosul, they’re going to die there,”
McGurk said in a conference in Baghdad. “So we are very committed to not just
defeating them in Mosul, but making sure these guys cannot escape.”
McGurk's remarks which coincides with reports of growing civilian casualties,
RT asked the US State Department if Washington is still committed to its
earlier pledge to do everything possible to spare civilian lives across Iraq.
November, State Department spokesman Mark Toner said that the US takes “every
effort” and “every precaution to avoid civilian casualties” across Iraq event
to the point where the US will call off a strike “against known enemy targets
because they put civilians at risk.”
asked again on Monday by RT's correspondent Gayane Chichakyan if the rules of
engagement have changed in any way for the Mosul operation, Toner replied:
“they [rules of engagement] have not changed.”
try to have the best intelligence and information available that we can to
avoid any civilian casualties. And again, we stand – I stand by those comments
that we will sometimes, if we have information that indicates that there’s
civilians nearby or civilians in a place, then we will refrain from acting,”
spokesman said that if the reported allegations of strikes targeting civilians
are credible, “that would need to be investigated, looked into, and… if changes
need to be made in terms of targeting, then that’s something that Department of
Defense would look at.”
October 2016, Mosul has been besieged by Iraqi troops, backed by Kurdish
Peshmerga forces, Shiite militias, and the US-led coalition, trying to drive
Islamic State out of the city.
January, the eastern half of Mosul was recaptured and operations to liberate
the western side are ongoing. About one-third of Western Mosul has so far been
the civilian death toll is impossible to calculate amid the ongoing battle for
Iraq's second largest city, Sheikh Khamis Khanjar, the founder of the Office of
the Sunni Arab Representative for Iraq, said at least 3,500 civilians have been
killed in the battle for Mosul.
noted that most casualties are a result of US air strikes and
"indiscriminate" shelling of crowded neighborhoods by the US-trained
elite Counter Terrorism Service (CTS) forces, Reuters reported. According to
Khanjar, some 850,000 people are still believed to be living in Mosul.
seeks to ‘expel’ Rohingya Muslim minority – UN expert
(Myanmar) may be using bureaucratic means to get rid of its Rohingya Muslim
minority after a security crackdown against them caused an international
outcry, the UN human rights investigator on Burma said on Monday.
UN human rights office said last month the campaign of killings and rapes
probably amounted to crimes against humanity and possibly ethnic cleansing.
special rapporteur Yanghee Lee told the UN Human Rights Council Burma was still
making Rohingya’s lives difficult by dismantling homes and conducting a
a household survey – where those absent may be struck off the list that could
be the only legal proof of their status in Myanmar – indicates the government may be trying to
expel the Rohingya population from the country altogether. I sincerely hope
that is not the case,” she said.
ALSO: Burma: Full UN probe on Rohingya abuse unlikely after EU fails to seek
military launched the crackdown in the north of Rakhine state after nine
policemen were killed on Oct 9.
75,000 Rohingya have since fled to Bangladesh, where Lee said she had heard
“harrowing account after harrowing account”.
heard allegation after allegation of horrific events like these – slitting of
throats, indiscriminate shootings, setting alight houses with people tied up
inside and throwing very young children into the fire, as well as gang rapes
and other sexual violence,” she told the council.
visited Burma twice in the past year, including Rakhine state. But she was
blocked at the last minute from Kachin state, another area of ethnic violence.
must confess there were times I had seriously questioned the nature of the
cooperation,” she said.
ambassador Htin Lynn called the allegations of crimes against humanity
unverified and one-sided.
said security operations in Rakhine had stopped and the curfew was eased
earlier this month.
ALSO: Burma: Army defends Rohingya crackdown, denies abuses
situation in Rakhine state is very complicated in nature and thus requires
complicated answers. It also requires greater understanding by the
international community,” he said.
rights challenges could not be solved within a year, he said, referring to the
year-old government led by Aung San Suu Kyi.
Lee said Burma‘s number of political prisoners had doubled to 170 in that time.
human rights chief Zeid Ra’ad al Hussein has said treatment of the Rohingya
merits a UN commission of inquiry and review by the International Criminal
Burma is unlikely to face international scrutiny because a Human Rights Council
resolution drafted by the EU would leave the country itself to investigate. –
Filipinos arrested in Sabah over alleged ISIS links
of the arrested Filipinos are permanent residents of Sabah
Philippines – Five Filipinos and two Malaysians were separately arrested in
Malaysia in the past week over alleged links to the international terrorist
group Islamic State (ISIS), according to news reports coming from Malaysia on
Monday, March 13.
Filipinos who are permanent residents of Sabah were arrested over allegations
that they facilitated the transit of Indonesian and Malaysian ISIS militants
from Sabah to Mindanao. One was identified as a 31-year-old female immigration
officer in Sandakan while the other was said to be a 53-year-old ferry ticket
seller, according to Singapore's The Straits Times.
were arrested along with a Malaysian immigration officer. Channel News Asia
correspondent Sumisha Naidu posted the statement of the Malaysian police on the
Filipino permanent resident, 36, was arrested in Sandakan. Reports did not
detail his alleged links to ISIS.
other Filipinos, not permanent residents, were nabbed for supposedly
facilitating funds for Malaysian fugitives also linked to ISIS. One of them is
an 18-year-old who supposedly pledged allegiance to Abu Sayyaf senior leader
2nd Malaysian, 36, was arrested at the Kuala Lumpur International Airport after
he was deported by Turkey for trying to enter Syria.
executive editor Maria Ressa talked about the new terrorist cell in Malaysia in
a report back in January. Filipino Mohammad Reza Kiram appeared in a video that
called on fighters in Malaysia to go to the Philippines. (READ: Filipino
millennial joins ISIS in Syria)
is growing concern that ISIS militants in Syria could look for refuge in
Southeast Asian countries as the terrorist group continues to lose territories
in the Middle East.
January, Philippine Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana claimed ISIS has made
direct links with Hapilon to look for a suitable area for a caliphate in
also reportedly linked up with the Maute brothers in Central Mindanao.
Philippine military has stepped up its offensive against the Abu Sayyaf,
setting a deadline to significantly weaken the local terrorist group by the end
of June 2017.
concerns that hardline voices are growing, the leader of the world's largest
Muslim group, Indonesia's Nahdlatul Ulama (NU), is confident that the moderate
way of Indonesian Islam will hold firm.
one of the NU's 60 million members is a terrorist, Dr Said Aqil Siradj said
yesterday at a talk organised by the S. Rajaratnam School of International
are still huge. We have 22,000 pesantren (Islamic boarding schools), 240
universities affiliated to NU and 800,000 mosques throughout Indonesia. Nobody,
not even one body, has ever been involved in terrorism," he said.
to The Straits Times in Bahasa Indonesia ahead of his talk, he acknowledged
that social media had done much to erode NU's hold on followers and supporters.
are different now for NU than they were 30 years ago. These days, there are
more and more aspersions cast against NU," he said.
91-year-old organisation, formed in 1926 by a group of Muslim leaders to defend
the traditional, tolerant nature of Indonesian Islamic practices against
foreign influences, is finding itself having to counter the appeal of extremist
preachers once more.
arsenal includes its NU Online website, "cyber armies" and more than
100,000 "NUtizens" - a play on the word netizens.
Said Aqil said that he makes it a point to communicate constantly with NU's
extensive grassroots network in villages throughout the sprawling archipelago.
observers have wondered if the messages get missed.
month, for example, he was reported to not have discouraged NU members from
joining protests against Jakarta's gubernatorial candidate Basuki Tjahaja
Purnama, who is Chinese, Christian and known popularly as Ahok, and is facing
charges of blasphemy brought forward by hardliners.
to clarify his stance on Ahok, Dr Said Aqil told ST, citing Islamic
scholarship: "The number one criterion for leadership is fairness. So, a
fair non-Muslim leader is better than an unfair Muslim leader."
added: "When I told Indonesians this, many were angry with me. They said I
was defending him. But I was merely telling them what I had read in the
literature. I have no political interest in Ahok."
for the rising appeal of radical ideology which, he said, has caught on among a
small minority in his country, Dr Said Aqil attributes this to three factors.
is the shallow, literal reading of religious tracts. He said that once hardline
views have sunk in, nothing, not even the threat of death, could change
ideology-addled terrorists. "Death by hanging or shooting is what they
want because they think it will get them into heaven," he noted.
other two factors, he said, have economic roots: poverty and a lack of
education. On this front, Dr Said Aqil took issue with what he saw as an ethnic
imbalance in his country, saying: "In Indonesia, there are 50
conglomerates owned by the Chinese. Only eight belong to the Muslim 'pribumi'."
NU members who are poor "are very jealous of the rich Chinese and their
conglomerates", he said. "But they will not become terrorists because
I am able to manage them. They are loyal to NU's leadership."
said one way NU's leaders try to keep their followers in check is to provide
them with sufficient education, healthcare and financial support for their
businesses, with support from the government.
he has also remained critical of the administration and President Joko Widodo,
he added, albeit only in private. "He listens and he accepts such
statements without anger. He is a good man," he said.
his commitment to moderation and religious pluralism, Dr Said Aqil said:
"I always say our motherland must be peaceful before we talk about our
faiths. Why? Because we build mosques, madrasahs and hospitals on land and if
that land is not peaceful, what can we build these on? Air?"
diplomatic crisis erupted last month after North Korea attacked the Malaysian
investigation into Kim's killing as an attempt to smear the secretive regime.
will deport 50 North Koreans for overstaying their visas, the deputy prime
minister said today, in an apparent exception to a departure ban after the
assassination of Kim Jong-Nam. The killing of the half-brother of North Korea’s
leader Kim Jong-Un last month in Malaysia with VX nerve agent triggered an
angry standoff between Kuala Lumpur and Pyongyang that has seen them expel each
other’s ambassador and refuse to let their citizens leave. But today Deputy
Prime Minister Ahmad Zahid Hamidi told reporters that 50 North Koreans working
in the state of Sarawak on Borneo island — home to coal mines which often
employ foreign workers — would be deported from Malaysia despite the ban.
will send the North Korean workers in Sarawak who have exceeded their (working)
visa back to Pyongyang for overstaying,” he said. “They will be deported soon.”
did not say why the government had decided on the expulsion despite Kuala
Lumpur’s bar on North Korean nationals leaving the country — a tit-for-tat
measure put in place after Pyongyang prohibited Malaysians from leaving its
borders last week.
diplomatic crisis erupted last month after North Korea attacked the Malaysian
investigation into Kim’s killing as an attempt to smear the secretive regime.
Three Malaysian embassy staff and six family members are stranded in North
Korea as a result.
which has never confirmed Kim’s identity, has repeatedly demanded the return of
his body but Malaysian authorities have refused to release it without a DNA
sample from next-of-kin. The body, which is currently kept in a morgue in the
capital, has been embalmed to prevent it from decomposing more than a month
after the assassination, the deputy prime minister said.
an effort to preserve the body, because if it is kept in the mortuary it might
decompose so we did this to preserve the body,” he said. Two women — one
Vietnamese and one Indonesian — have been arrested and charged with the murder.
CCTV footage shows them smearing the 45-year-old’s face with a piece of cloth.
Pyongyang has insisted that he most likely died of a heart attack.
between North Korea and Malaysia had been particularly warm, with a reciprocal
visa-free travel deal for visitors, prior to the high-profile killing. Up to
100,000 North Koreans are believed to be working abroad and their remittances
are a valuable source of foreign currency for the isolated regime.
testifying in Jakarta Governor Basuki “Ahok” Tjahaja Purnama's defense on
Tuesday said that he always showed concern and empathy toward Muslims,
demonstrating that he had not intended to insult the Quran or clerics as
accused by prosecutors in his blasphemy trial.
Ahok's driver when the latter was in Bangka Belitung, said Ahok always insisted
on stopping at a mosque when it was time for Suyanto to pray on Fridays.
"Pak Basuki would say, 'just pray first, I'll wait in the car'."
added that in East Belitung, his hometown, Ahok often lent money to Muslim
neighbors who were in need and even financed some to go on the umrah (minor
haj) in Mecca, Saudi Arabia.
witness, Fajrun, one of the defendant’s neighbors in Bangka Belitung, echoed
the statement, saying Ahok cared about Muslims.
added that he was aware that a lot of people had tried to foil Ahok in the 2007
Bangka Belitung gubernatorial election by quoting Surah Al Maidah 51, a Quranic
verse that has become the basis of the blasphemy trial at the North Jakarta
were a lot of pamphlets [in Bangka Belitung] quoting Surah Al Maidah 51, which
urged people not to vote for a non-Muslim leader," Fajrun said.
testimony was in line with that of another witness, Juhri, former election
supervisor head in Belitung, who said that in 2007 a lot of pamphlets tried to
discredit Ahok for his religious background.
may become inclusive with Muslims after this mandate'
may turn to the BJP or may not come out to vote in great numbers like they have
in the past.'
can feel an increased sense of alienation, but that depends on the BJP -- on
how it includes them.'
Badri Narayan's scholarship has played a prominent role in the understanding of
author of several books on the Dalit movement, including a highly acclaimed
biography on Kanshi Ram, Badri Narayan spoke to Rediff.com's Archana Masih
about what Mayawati, Akhilesh Yadav and Rahul Gandhi need to do if they want to
reclaim relevance in the wake of Modi's March.
you see Dalit youth buying more into Narendra Modi's promises than Mayawati's
talk about caste identity?
are many aspects (of the election results) that are unexplored. We need to
explore what happened and how it happened.
still haven't received all the data as yet, we can only speak on the basis of
the 'feel' of the field.
the sense I get from the 'feel' of the field is that the BJP has been able to
mobilise the MBCs (Most Backward Castes) and non-Jatav Dalits to their
section of the Jatavs that lived in the cities and is aspirational has also
voted for BJP.
BJP has worked with the smaller Dalit castes.
are 65 Dalit communities in Uttar Pradesh, out of that only 4, 5 are visible.
The remaining are invisible, scattered and not very informed.
party is able to mobilise them, they end up voting for them.
Shah has been able to create a social coalition comprising of the Forwards, non
Yadav OBCs, non Jatav Dalits and MBCs.
BJP's ascent under Modi is compared to the Congress' growth under Indira Gandhi
in the early 1970s for using the weapon of populism to attract the poor -- what
are the similarities and differences between the two?
the moment, there is no parallel to Modi.
will not say he is like Indira Gandhi because they are two personalities. At
the moment the Opposition has no to response to him.
time will produce its own leader from the Opposition -- it could be Rahul,
Akhilesh, Nitish Kumar.
was unsettled by Rahul's remark of 'suit-boot ki sarkar' and took up the issue
of poverty after that.
a time may come when the Opposition will be in a position to reply back to
at the moment, Modi is the victor.
do you explain the transformation of Modi -- a man seen as close to the
corporate world -- to being the messiah of the poor?
he was attacked for his embrace of the corporate world, he shifted his politics
and started raising the issues of the poor.
realised if he didn't do this, he would be finished.
started fashioning a pro-poor image.
has the quality of making people believe what he says.
the poor on his side, does it guarantee 2019 for the prime minister?
he is able to maintain this alliance, then 2019 becomes easy for him.
also depends on who they select as the chief minister of UP.
the next UP chief minister does not do good work, it will have an impact on the
rest of the country in the 2019 election.
the BJP government does well in UP, 2019 will be winnable.
you expect the BJP sweep in UP?
is unexplainable. Politicians are more innovative than analysts. They adopt new
methods and we analyse those methods later.
the BJP made poverty a major plank in the election like Indira Gandhi had done.
spun demonetisation in a way that made the poor believe that the rich were the
reason for their poverty.
there was a parallel polarisation based on depravation between competing
parallel polarisation between the poor and rich, between the dominant Yadavs
and the non-dominant OBCs, between the Jatavs and the non Jatav Dalits.
will the Muslims read the UP verdict?
BJP broke the myth of the Muslim vote in 2014 and it has broken it again in
BSP did not get the Muslim vote, it went to the SP.
places where the BSP and SP did over-polarisation, the BJP countered it with
this make the Muslms feel disenfranchised?
might turn to the BJP or may not come out to vote in great numbers like they
have in the past. Anything can happen.
can feel an increased sense of alienation, but that depends on the BJP -- on
how it includes them.
BJP might become inclusive towards Muslims after this mandate -- that can also
be a possibility.
should Rahul Gandhi do now?
and the Congress have to reinvent themselves.
needs to introspect about how he can establish a connect with the people. He is
serious about it and has attempted to do so.
Congress needs overhauling.
Congress is like a defeated army. It has to be salvaged, it needs fresh
enthusiasm, new people.
Gandhi is not the problem; the Congress party is the problem.
has become like a presidential election -- we either credit Modi or discredit
it has been seen in Madhya Pradesh, Gujarat and Chhattisgarh, it is very
difficult to dislodge the BJP once it comes into power in a state. Will we see
this in UP as well?
is a complex state. It is a difficult to maintain and sustain social balance in
first test will be who they (the BJP) make CM.
if they waive off farmers' debt which was a poll promise.
will decide the future of their politics.
has been able to hold on to the 20% of her core vote base in UP, but what is
the point of maintaining this base if it cannot translate into electoral gains?
function of the 'core vote' is that it works as the 'base vote' to which other
votes can be added upon.
makes a winning alliance, but when no other votes get added on to it, then it
does not translate into electoral gains.
BSP has gone back to being what it was in the 1990s.
had told me in an earlier interview that Mayawati would be destroyed
politically if she lost two elections in a row -- where does she go from here?
ke liye bahut difficult time aa gaya hai. Mayawati has reached a very difficult
stage in her political life.
is no second rung of leadership. They have experienced the trappings of power.
have to once again win the trust in the people -- but who will do that?
is a difficult task and if that doesn't happen, the Dalits will shift in great
numbers towards the BJP.
she capable of reinventing herself?
is capable, but it has to be seen how much hard work she can do to achieve
has a sharp mind, is intelligent, and is receptive to her community.
did not do any work in the last four years (after she became a Rajya Sabha MP).
She had no direct connect with the people because she lived in Delhi.
she came to UP, she met the leaders and returned. She did not intervene in
issues or taken up new causes through movements.
BSP was basically a party of mass movements, but it stopped being so.
only started working for the election in the last one-and-a-half years. But her
Dalit-Muslim coalition backfired.
gave the BJP the space for counter-polarisation.
did not have the time to successfully create a Dalit-Muslim coalition because
she announced it just a couple of months before the election.
are the three things Behenji needs to do?
needs to reinvent herself and the BSP's politics. It needs a new language.
needs to reconnect with her own people and revive the 'movemental' character of
needs to build it like Kanshi Ram did. Mayawati knows how they did it because
she was a part of it.
both the SP and BSP need to go back to their basic politics?
have to build trust within their communities.
language of politics is no longer just the language of caste. There are other
elements that have added on to that.
speaks the modern language, he does not speak the language of caste.
will have to reconnect with his traditional roots.
cannot reach the marginal poor through laptops, metros and highways.
need to engage in a politics that fulfills their basic needs.
In yet another violation of the truce along Line of Control in border district
Poonch of the Jammu region, the Pakistani troops on Monday targeted the forward
Indian posts along the LoC for the third time in the last 24 hours, forcing the
authorities to suspend the Poonch-Rawalkote bus service and postpone
firing partially damaged the Trade Felicitation Centre (TFC), Chaka da Bagh, in
Poonch and forced authorities to suspend the Jammu-Rawalkote bus service,
sources from Poonch said.
Pakistani Army fired unprovoked in Poonch sector from 0640 hours on
Monday," Jammu defence spokesperson Lt Col Manish Mehta said here on
said, "Pakistani troops using 82 mm mortars, automatic weapons targeted
our forward defended locations along Line of Control (LoC) and the fire was
responded by our troops in a befitting manner, ensuing a heavy exchange of
firing is going on. No casualty in has been reported so far," he added.
Pakistan on Sunday also violated the truce agreement by firing heavily twice in
Krishna Ghati and Chakkan da Bagh areas of Poonch.
keeping in view the heavy shelling from across the border, the district
administration on Monday postponed the examinations and suspended cross LoC bus
service in Poonch district of Jammu and Kashmir. According to official sources
from Poonch border areas, district authorities postponed Class 6 and 7
examinations, scheduled to be held on Monday, in view of the crossborder firing
along the LoC.
Pakistan for the ceasefire violation, Union minister Rajyavardhan Singh Rathore
said, "It is an old habit of Pakistan. It always resorts to unprovoked
firing along the LoC whenever there is a festival."
MoS in the PMO Jitendra Singh said, "I think the Indian government and
Indian agencies are capable of meeting any kind of challenge. You must trust
the Modi government to give a befitting response."
EU states cannot tolerate Turkey's rise: Erdoğan
European Union countries cannot tolerate Turkey’s rise as an emerging power,
President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan said on March 13, accusing them of working
against the “Yes” vote in Turkey’s April 16 constitutional referendum.
part of the European Union countries, unfortunately, cannot tolerate the rise
of Turkey, and Germany is right at the top [of the list]. Germany relentlessly
supports terrorism,” Erdoğan said in an interview aired live on private
broadcasters A Haber and ATV.
lashed out at German Chancellor Angela Merkel who said earlier on March 13 that
the Netherlands had her “full support and solidarity,” amid escalating crisis
between Turkey and the Netherlands.
Shame on you! Stand by the Netherlands as you like. You are supporting
terrorists,” he said, adding that Turkey had sent Germany 4,500 files on
terrorists, but Germany had done nothing about it.
remarks came amid an ongoing standoff between Turkey and the Netherlands after
the Dutch government banned planned rallies of Turkish ministers ahead of the
March 11, the Dutch government first cancelled Foreign Minister Mevlut
Çavuşoğlu’s flight permit to the Netherlands and then blocked a convoy carrying
Family Minister Fatma Betül Sayan Kaya, forcing her to leave the country under
citizens protested the Dutch move in Rotterdam, but were met by police using
batons, dogs and water cannons, which some analysts said it was a
disproportionate use of force.
events have drawn strong criticism from the Turkish government, which, earlier
on March 13, sent diplomatic notes to the Netherlands in protest.
weeks ago, Turkish government ministers were also barred from holding public
rallies in two German cities.
said he would not be content with only a simple apology from the Netherlands on
this issue. “They will pay the price
for this sooner or later,” he said, adding the Dutch government would be called
to account for the recent events.
previously accused Germany and the Netherlands of ignoring the Vienna
Convention, and of being fascist and employing Nazi practices.
can call it neo-Nazism. That’s their understanding of the Vienna Convention,”
in 1961, the Vienna Convention is an international treaty that defines a
framework for diplomatic relations between independent countries. It also
specifies the privileges of a diplomatic mission that enable diplomats to
perform their function without fear of coercion or harassment by the host
president also voiced support for a proposed constitutional change that would
lower the minimum age to become a lawmaker from 25 to 18.
could be more beautiful than this? This is paving the way for all young people
in Turkey to take firm steps toward the future. Their energy will refresh the
Turkish parliament,” Erdoğan said.
slammed the main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) leader Kemal
Kılıçdaroğlu for criticizing the proposal, however Kılıçdaroğlu and many other
supporters of the “No” vote say the change paves the way for “political
aristocracy” and is a way for government politicians’ sons to avoid military
have reduced the minimum parliamentary candidacy age to 18 for their own
children and grandchildren. They will make them deputies at the age of 18 and
will exempt them from military service with an amendment,” he said on March
rebuked the “No” campaigners, saying, “They are not against the system. They
are actually against the Turkish people. They are siding with terrorists.”
(FNA)- Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif voiced Iran's readiness to
cooperate with the United Nations Population Fund (UNPF) on drawing new
population policies due to the country's aging society.
and the UNPF have had good cooperation in the past," Zarif said in a
meeting with UNFP's new Envoy in Iran Leila Joudane in Tehran.
Iranian foreign minister also called for boosting cooperation between the two
sides in accordance with cultural values of the Muslim countries.
presence of the new UNPF representative in Iran is a good opportunity for
participating in current projects of the Fund and creating a good model of
cooperation for other countries in the region,” he said.
for her part, deemed her presence in Tehran as good opportunity for the
continuation of cooperation between Iran and the UNPF, and said, "The
United Nations Population Fund supports the national strategic plan of the
Islamic Republic of Iran with regard to its population policy to obtain population
opportunities for the future."
also stressed that there are ample opportunities for cooperation between the
a relevant development in early September, UN Undersecretary-General for
Humanitarian Affairs and Emergency Relief Coordinator Stephen O'Brien hailed
Iran for hosting a large population of foreign refugees living in Iran.
is hosting over 3 million refugees which is praiseworthy," O'Brien made
the remarks in a meeting with Iranian Interior Minister Abdolreza Rahmani Fazli
also voiced his satisfaction in Iran's good relations with the United Nations
and the acceptable performance of Iran's Crisis Management Organization, and
said, "The Interior Ministry plays a key role in this regard."
(FNA)- Commander of Iran's Basij (Volunteer) force Brigadier General
Gholam-Hossein Gheib-Parvar blasted the US and Saudi Arabia's support for the
terrorist groups, and said Washington's footprints are seen in every crisis in
US should be blamed for the war in Yemen and the House of Saud acts like a
puppet in this regard," General Gheib-Parvar said on Tuesday.
are fighting against Islam under the name of Islam and by supporting the
Takfiri grouplets," he added.
Gheib-Parvar stressed that the US hand is seen in all crises in Yemen, Bahrain,
Syria and all Islamic countries.
relevant remarks in 2015, Chairman of the Iranian parliament's National
Security and Foreign Policy Commission Alaeddin Boroujerdi described the Saudi
attack on Yemen as a strategic mistake, and said the US interference is the
common cause of all crises in the region.
attacking Yemen, Saudi Arabia has made a strategic mistake," Boroujerdi
said in a meeting with Head of Iran-Ivory Coast Parliamentary Friendship Group
Mohammad Ouattara in Tehran.
also referred to the crises in Afghanistan, Iraq and Syria, and said, "The
common point of all the regional crises is the US direct or indirect meddling
as it (the US) has no reservations for violating human rights to reach its
(FNA)- India’s imports of crude oil from Iran in February increased by around
three times compared to the same period last year, the latest shipping figures
imports of oil from Iran rose to 647,000 barrels per day (bpd) in February,
Shipping data showed.
was 16.7 percent more than January, and almost tripled from February 2016.
jump meant Iran replaced regional rival Iraq as India's second-biggest oil
supplier - a role Tehran used to occupy before the US-led sanctions were
imposed against the Islamic Republic in 2011 restricting the country’s oil
sales among other limitations.
rise in Iran’s oil sales to India also came as the member countries of the
Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) started to implement a
plan to curb production by about 1.2 million bpd from the start of January.
plan was devised to boost prices and remove a supply glut. Iran, Libya and
Nigeria were, however, granted exemptions from the deal.
the first 11 months of this fiscal year, between April and February, India
imported about 542,400 bpd from Iran, compared to about 225,522 bpd for the
same period a year ago. Average oil volumes supplied by Iran over this period
were the highest on record, Reuters reported.
refiners, including Reliance Industries Ltd, operator of the world's biggest
refinery complex at Jamnagar, have returned as buyers of Iranian oil after
having stopped imports from Iran during the sanctions period.
imports of crude oil from Iran hit a record high in 2016 as some refiners
resumed purchases after the lifting of sanctions against Tehran, official
purchased about 473,000 barrels per day (bpd) of oil from Iran to feed
expanding refining capacity, the official figures by the two countries' customs
US-led sanctions against Iran restricted the country’s oil exports to around 1
million barrels per day (mb/d) among other restrictions already described as
the toughest in modern history.
sanctions were lifted last January after a nuclear deal that Iran had sealed
with the six world powers (the US, Russia, China, France, Britain and Germany)
came into effect.
on the deal, Iran restricted certain aspects of its nuclear energy activities
in return for the removal of certain economic sanctions, including those that
banned the exports of crude oil.
foreign ministry on March 14 slammed the European Union for telling Ankara to
refrain from excessive statements, saying it was very grave for the bloc to
stand by the Netherlands which it said has violated human rights and European
row over Turkish campaigning in the Netherlands has escalated into a full-blown
crisis between the two NATO allies. Ankara on March 13 said it would suspend
high-level diplomatic relations after Dutch authorities prevented its ministers
from speaking at rallies of expatriate Turks. The dispute also raised tensions
with the EU which Turkey aspires to join.
a statement, the Turkish foreign ministry said the European Union was exercising democratic
values and basic rights and freedoms selectively and that its comments calling
for calm had no value for Ankara.
Netherlands “doesn’t extradite terrorists” to Turkey, even though Ankara has
demanded the return of 11 outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) militants and
five outlawed Revolutionary People’s Liberation Party-Front (DHKP-C) militants,
Justice Minister Bekir Bozdağ has said.
remarks came amid increasing tensions between The Netherlands and Turkey, after
the Dutch authorities prevented Family and Social Policies Minister Fatma Betül
Sayan Kaya from meeting Turks living in the Netherlands after warning her that
she was not welcome in the country.
asked for the extradition of 11 PKK militants as part of legal processes, but
they returned only one.
We asked for the extradition of five DHKP-C
militants, but they didn’t give any of them back. These numbers are from just
the last 10 years,” Bozdağ said on March 13, adding that the PKK, the DHKP-C
and the Fethullahist Terrorist Organization (FETÖ) were free to “carry out
terrorist activities” in the country.
the Netherlands, it’s openly free for the PKK, DHKP-C and FETÖ terrorist
organizations to carry out their activities, spread terror propaganda, finance
terror, and recruit terrorists before sending them to terror groups. They have
the right to freedom of movement, right to assemble, right to travel, and right
to express themselves [in the Netherlands]. But Turkey’s legitimate government
is banned from using its rights, which were guaranteed beyond dispute under the
Vienna Convention,” he added, describing this as a “big contradiction.”
is able to carry out its activities with all freedoms and the [Dutch]
government supports that. The same goes for the DHKP-C. Some of those who were
involved in the coup attempt are being protected in the Netherlands,” Bozdağ
said, referring to the failed July 15, 2016 coup attempt, widely believed to
have been carried out by followers of U.S.-based Islamic preacher Fethullah
state it clearly: Whoever engages in acts against Turkey, the Turkish state and
the Turkish nation, is a friend of the Netherlands. They are under protection
there,” he said, while complaining that Turkey was being used for “election
material” in many European countries.
against Turkey are being elected in those countries. Material used for domestic
politics is being formed through enmity against Turkey, the Turkish nation and
xenophobia,” Bozdağ added.
to file complaint to United Nations, OSCE, Council of Europe against Dutch
will apply to three high-level international organizations to complain about
the Netherlands’ alleged breach of the Vienna convention on diplomatic
relations on late March 11 by detaining Turkey’s chargé d’affaires and other
diplomats and by temporarily seizing cars with diplomatic plates, diplomatic
sources have said.
to information gathered by the Hürriyet Daily News from diplomatic sources,
Turkey will file a complaint against the Netherlands with the United Nations,
the Organization of Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE) and to the
Council of Europe (CoE) on the grounds that the Dutch government violated Vienna
Convention on Diplomatic Relations from 1961.
March 11, Turkish Family Minister Fatma Betül Sayan Kaya was stopped by Dutch
security forces while on her way to the Turkish General Consulate in Rotterdam
where she was planning to meet representatives of the Turkish community. At the
time, she was being accompanied by Turkey’s chargé d’affaires to The Hague,
Alper Yüksel, and other Turkish diplomats.
the Turkish community in Rotterdam protested the Dutch government for stopping
Kaya and for refusing to permit Foreign Minister Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu’s planned
visit to the city, Dutch security forces intensified measures and detained
Yüksel and other Turkish diplomats, as well as drivers for the Turkish embassy.
to the Vienna convention, diplomats enjoy a large degree of immunity and cannot
be taken into detention. Likewise, cars with diplomatic plates cannot be seized
or even checked. After refusing Kaya and her entourage entry to the consulate,
the Turkish convoy was escorted by Dutch police back over the border into
happened on that night is a clear violation of the Vienna Convention,” a
diplomatic source told the HDN on March 13. “All these three organizations
acknowledge the Vienna Convention as the basis of conducting diplomatic relations.
They should have a say on the Netherlands’ clear breach of this convention,”
the source said.
plan was not to hold a rally in Rotterdam but to meet representatives of the
Turkish community, the source said, noting that her move would have reduced the
tension but that the Dutch government did not permit this. Stopping a Turkish
minister or Turkish citizens from accessing the Turkish consulate is also a
violation of the convention.
diplomats apologized for detention
to the information gathered, the Dutch Foreign Ministry verbally apologized for
the detention of the Turkish diplomats during discussions between the two
sides’ diplomats after the crisis. The Dutch police did not realize that they
had diplomatic immunity because of the mayhem of the night, the Dutch Foreign
Ministry explained to Ankara.
the meantime, Ankara has begun to consider sanctions on the Netherlands. The
sanctions, however, will not include economic measures or restrictions on Dutch
companies operating in Turkey.
will reduce the level of diplomatic ties with the Netherlands and will cancel
some joint committee meetings among other sanctions to be imposed after the
government reaches a decision.
Islamists target Somali hotel
Islamist insurgent group claims responsibility for car bomb attack on Wehliye
Hotel in Mogadishu
— A car bomb near a hotel on a busy street in the Somali capital killed at
least 13 people on Monday, police and the emergency medical services said,
hours after a man was killed by a blast as he tried to ram through a
said the blast damaged a house, but did not destroy its target, the Wehliye
Hotel in Mogadishu.
have carried 13 dead people and 14 others are injured. The death toll may rise
further," said Abdikadir Abdirahman, director of aid-funded Aamin
spokesman for Somali Islamist insurgent group al-Shabaab claimed responsibility
for the attack. "We were behind the Maka al-Mukaram street blast.
killed 17 people including senior officials of military and security and former
legislators," said Sheikh Abdiasis Abu Musab, al-Shabaab’s military
operation spokesman told Reuters by phone.
on Monday, police shot at a minibus in Mogadishu when the driver refused to
stop as it approached a checkpoint.
minibus exploded, injuring two bystanders and killing the al-Shabaab fighter
who was driving it said police officer Nur Osman.
al-Shabaab has in recent years lost most of its territory to AU peacekeepers
supporting the UN-backed Somali government.
the insurgents frequently launch gun, grenade and bomb attacks in Mogadishu and
other regions that a re controlled by the government.
attacks are aimed at military bases, but some of them also target civilians.
is a trend of increasingly targeting hotels since 2015," Greg Robin, an
IED expert at Nairobi-based think-tank Sahan Research, said. "This is
where government operatives stay or have ... meetings."
insurgents were also increasing their use of truck bombs, he said. Only one
such attack happened in 2015, but there were six in 2016 and two so far this
Mubarak, who was overthrown as president of Egypt in an uprising in 2011, will
be released from detention in a military hospital, the public prosecutor ruled
on Monday, his lawyers and judicial sources said.
will go to his home in Heliopolis,” Mubarak's lawyer Farid El Deeb said, adding
the ageing former president would likely be released Tuesday or soon after.
was cleared of murder charges this month in his final trial, having faced
various charges ranging from corruption to ordering the killing of protesters
who ended his 30-year-rule.
had one more jail sentence to serve but was cleared after serving time for the
murder charges, judicial sources and the state news agency said.
prosecution subtracted the time served in the murder case from the time he was
meant to serve for a separate case in which he was found guilty of
appropriating funds reserved for maintaining presidential palaces.
was originally sentenced to life in prison in 2012 for conspiring to murder 239
demonstrators during the 18-day revolt ─
an uprising that sowed chaos and created a security vacuum but also inspired
hope for democracy and social justice.
appeals court ordered a retrial that culminated in 2014 in the case against
Mubarak and his senior officials being dropped.
appeal by the public prosecution led to a final retrial by the Court of
Cassation, the highest in the country, which acquitted him on March 2.
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