India agree to work faster to complete Kartarpur Corridor
China’s Move to Block Masood Azhar’s Listing, A Strategic Reason
Pakistan Hold Talks on Kartarpur Corridor
Rights Lawyer Sentenced to 38 Years in Prison and 148 Lashes, Husband Says
Mujahid Thumbs Nose at Non-Muslims By Wooing Zakir Naik
Saudi Royal Forms Elaborate Opposition In Europe To Change Regime In Saudi
‘Rights’ Report Avoids Linking MbS To Khashoggi Murder Despite CIA Report
Administration Compares Chinese Prisons For Muslim Minorities to 1930s
Members Warn Of ‘Other Actions’ As China Blocks Bid To List Masood Azhar As
Regrets India's Refusal to Issue Visas To Journalists for Kartarpur Meeting
interlocutor Dineshwar Sharma helping Afzal Guru’s son to get passport
Imran Khan is such a statesman, give us Masood Azhar: Sushma Swaraj
gun down army deserter in Pulwama
let BJP crack down on Jamaat-e-Islami, Hurriyat: Mehbooba Mufti
blast case: Pakistan witness urges NIA not to oppose her application
Tells Rouhani: Arms Must Be Limited To The Control Of The State
says notorious Hezbollah commander building terror unit in Golan Heights
lashes out at Netanyahu as tyrant, child murderer
report drops the word 'occupied' from reference to Palestinian territories
House opposes resolution to end US support for Yemen military campaign
In Islam To Use Gov't Grant To Help Islamic Family Law Reform Cause
LGBT debate must not trigger violence, says US ambassador
Relocates ISIL Convoy to Military Base in Raqqa
Terrorists Resume Attacks on Kurds' Military Positions in Northern Syria
Army Destroys Tahrir Al-Sham Command Center in Idlib
Observatory: Russian air raids kill 13 civilians
Approves Ending US Role in Yemen As Trump Threatens Veto
assures ‘no change’ in its policy on the status of Palestinian territories
Taliban talks end for now with no Afghan peace deal
drops reference to 'Israeli-occupied' Golan Heights in rights report
report eschews bin Salman's role in Khashoggi murder
Party Faces Growing Pressure To Tackle Islamophobia
Won’t Risk Lives Returning Daesh Refugees From Syria
jets destroy terrorist weapons depot in Syria's Idlib
vote to halt accession process ‘worthless': Turkey
‘strongly’ backs Turkey's EU membership: Envoy
Khan expected to announce new visa policy for 170 countries
held in Mansehra were planning to target CPEC, police say
advocates strong Pakistan-Israel relations
Al-Qaeda Terrorists Including 9 Suicide Bombers Killed In Ghazni Airstrikes
to move Rohingya to island next month: Minister
armed forces repel Taliban attacks in Herat and Farah provinces
seeks ownership of Afghan peace talks
Lake Chad, Niger army kills 33 Boko Haram terrorists
vow to keep protesting as president digs in
blasts kill 5, injure more than 40 in Somalia
airstrike in Somalia kills 2 al-Shabaab militants
by New Age Islam News Bureau
China’s Move To Block Masood Azhar’s Listing, A Strategic Reason
number of reasons, including the role Pakistan plays in China’s ties with the
Muslim world and a sense of alarm that listing Jaish-e-Mohammed (JeM) chief
Masood Azhar will have spillover security problems in Xinjiang, could have
played a role in Beijing blocking the move to list Azhar as a global terrorist
in the UN Security Council (UNSC) on Thursday.
it readies a defence to explain its move later today, Beijing is likely to cite
India’s failure to provide “updated materials” on Azhar as the reason for
blocking the fresh move.
is, however, clear that strategic reasons were a crucial factor in the
the least would have been to ensure that Pakistan isn’t isolated in the
international community - “iron brother” Beijing stands by Islamabad through
the thick of global pressure to act on the JeM and Azhar.
is also evident that despite routine diplomatic talk about having a common
front on terrorism, India and China stand apart on the issue - the post-Wuhan
bilateral bonhomie can only gloss over the issue.
on Thursday, China blocked the latest international move to designate Azhar -
whose group JeM claimed responsibility for the deadly Pulwama attack in
February - as a global terrorist at the UNSC, allowing a major bilateral
irritant with India to fester.
statement issued by the external affairs ministry in New Delhi expressed
“disappointment” at the UN’s Islamic State and al-Qaeda Sanctions Committee
being unable to come to a decision on the move to sanction Azhar “on account of
a member placing the proposal on hold”.
statement did not name the Security Council member responsible for the outcome
in view of the official protocols followed for the working of the Sanctions
Committee, people familiar with developments confirmed that China was behind
the “technical hold” on Azhar’s listing.
has prevented action by the international community to designate the leader of
JeM, a proscribed and active terrorist organisation which has claimed
responsibility for the terrorist attack in Jammu and Kashmir on 14 February
2019,” the statement said.
the post-Wuhan upswing in Sino-India bilateral ties, what explains China’s
repeated blocking of the move to list Azhar as terrorist?
also suffers a lot from terrorists activities, to designate Azhar as a
terrorist won’t eradicate the origin of the problem and may cause more security
spillovers in the region. Therefore, China is cautious to take the stand,” Lu
Yang, south Asia expert at Tsinghua University, said.
China’s ties with the Muslim world, Pakistan is an important partner. China
worries the general security situation in the region which would also affect
China’s west,” Lu said, indicating the problems Beijing is facing in the
Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region (XUAR).
way China deals with terror threats within its borders is also clearly
different from what another country - like India - face.
and Kashmir are different: Kashmir is a disputed area while Xinjiang is not,
Xinjiang is a province of China. We negotiated with Pakistan and got
cooperation from Pakistan (to keep Xinjiang safe),” said Liu Zongyi, general
secretary of the Centre for China-South Asia Cooperation Studies at the
Shanghai Institutes for International Studies.
issue had been a problem between China and India in the past years even before
the Donglang (Doklam) standoff in 2017. This problem has heavily influenced our
bilateral relations,” Liu said
I think the reason is that the Indian government always connects one issue,
like the Azhar issue, with the whole bilateral relations; they think if China
cannot resolve this issue, it will affect the whole bilateral relations. And,
the Indian side thinks they are special so China should accept their
requirement,” he added.
Pakistan Hold Talks On Kartarpur Corridor
and Pakistan on Thursday held a meeting at Attari in Amritsar to discuss the
modalities and the draft agreement for facilitation of pilgrims to visit
Gurudwara Kartarpur Sahib using the Kartarpur Corridor.
Indian delegation was led by S.C.L. Das, Joint Secretary in the Ministry of
Home Affairs. The Pakistan delegation was led by Mohammad Faisal, DG (SA &
SAARC) of Pakistan Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
joint statement issued after the first meeting said that both sides held
detailed and constructive discussions on various aspects and provisions of the
proposed agreement and agreed to work towards expeditiously making the Kartapur
Sahib Corridor operational.
sides also held expert level discussions between the technical experts on the
alignment and other details of the proposed corridor,” said the statement.
statement added that it was agreed to hold the next meeting at Wagah on April
2, 2019. “This will be preceded by a meeting of the technical experts on March
19, 2019 at the proposed zero points to finalise the alignment,” it said.
Sahib is located in Pakistan’s Narowal district across the river Ravi, about
four kilometres from the Dera Baba Nanak shrine.
corridor will facilitate visa-free travel of Indian Sikh pilgrims to the
Gurdwara Darbar Sahib in Kartarpur. Pakistan has committed to open the corridor
in November this year on the occasion of the 550th birth anniversary of Guru
inputs from PTI)
has faced international condemnation after one of the country’s most prominent
human rights lawyers, detained for eight months, said she had been sentenced to
a total of 38 years in prison and 148 lashes, according to her husband.
agents arrested the lawyer, Nasrin Sotoudeh, at her home in June last year. The
government offered no explanation, but at the time Ms. Sotoudeh was defending
women who had been arrested after removing their hijabs, or head scarves, in
received the European Union’s most prestigious human rights award, the Sakharov
Prize for Freedom of Thought, in 2012, while serving a previous prison
Sotoudeh, held at Evin Prison in Tehran, told her husband about the latest
sentencing during a brief telephone conversation, the Center for Human Rights
in Iran, a monitoring group, said in a statement on Monday.
husband, Reza Khandan, described the sentences in a Facebook post on Monday,
saying that she had received a five-year prison term in one case and a sentence
of 33 years in another. She was also sentenced to 148 lashes, he said.
report the same day from a state-funded news outlet, the Iranian Students’ News
Agency, quoted a hard-line judge, Mohammad Moghiseh, as saying that he had
sentenced Ms. Sotoudeh to a total of seven years in prison and mentioning two
charges, of taking part in an illegal assembly and collusion against the state.
to the Center for Human Rights statement, however, the first case in which Ms.
Sotoudeh had been sentenced appeared to relate to a 2015 trial conducted in her
absence. Her husband told the center that she had faced at least seven charges
in the second case, among them propaganda against the state, disturbing public
peace and order, appearing in court without a head scarf, and encouraging
corruption and prostitution.
don’t know how many years she got for each of the charges because my
conversation with Nasrin only lasted a few minutes and we didn’t get to the
details,” the center quoted Mr. Khandan as saying. “I only know that the biggest
sentence was 12 years,” he said, for the charge of encouraging corruption and
verdict shows that making statements in our country comes with such a high
price that an attorney can be sentenced to 44 years for it,” he told the center.
say 44 years because in 2010 she was sentenced to six years in prison for
similar charges,” he added. “This sentence is unjust, illogical and unusual.”
the most recent sentencing, Judge Moghiseh “applied the maximum statutory
sentence” for each of her charges, and added an additional four years to her
prison term, Amnesty International said in a news release on Monday.
Tajani, the president of the European Parliament, called the sentence “utterly
outrageous” on Tuesday, and said on Twitter that the European Parliament stood
with Ms. Sotoudeh.
Hunt, Britain’s foreign secretary, also condemned the decision on Twitter.
to hear reports that dedicated Iranian women’s rights campaigner and human
rights lawyer Nasrin Sotoudeh has been sentenced to years in prison and 148
lashes,” he wrote.
rights should be defended, not prosecuted,” he added.
Sotoudeh was not the only member of her family to be sentenced to prison this
Khandan, her husband, was sentenced to six years in January for illicitly
posting updates about his wife’s case on Facebook, but he has yet to be
imprisoned on that charge, Hadi Ghaemi, the executive director of the Center
for Human Rights in Iran, which is based in New York, told The New York Times
Mujahid thumbs nose at non-Muslims by wooing Zakir Naik
So there we have it, Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department Mujahid Yusof
Rawa finds Zakir Naik “inspirational” – the preacher who, just before the last
general election, said that is was incumbent on Muslims to vote for a Muslim
leader who is corrupt over a non-Muslim leader who is upright.
posting that photo of the preacher on the run from India on his Facebook page,
Mujahid has destroyed his credibility in one fell swoop.
should stop lying about his lectures not being insulting to non-Muslims,
because if this is the case, why do non-Muslims who watch his videos despise
him so much?
must explain why he chooses to endorse and lovingly embrace a 'wanted man' who
is such a divisive character in Malaysia.
Mujahid is a minister worth his salt, he should have known that the Bangladesh
government has banned Zakir from entering the country to preach because they
considered him a security threat.
is accused of “inspiring” two of the seven young Bangladeshis who committed one
of the most evil and brutal mass killings in modern times in Dhaka in 2016. His
Peace TV channel has also been banned in Bangladesh.
is the de facto Islamic affairs minister thumbing his nose at non-Muslims in
Malaysia rubbing shoulders which such a notorious fugitive? What role can
Mujahid now play in bringing communities together given his provocative
LCC: Just what’s wrong with Pakatan Harapan? Are they intentionally
antagonising non-Muslims just to please some people?
has a history of poking fun and ridiculing other religions when engaging with
his audiences. Needless to say, it is useless to make a police report against
him, as he is amply protected and adored here.
Ponniah: It is very unfortunate that Mujahid has unnecessarily embarked on this
offensive foray, knowing very well some Malaysians are hurt by Zakir’s speeches
belittling Hinduism, Buddhism and Christianity.
feeling is that Mujahid has an ulterior motive. He likely realises he lost his
anticipated Islamic dominant personality being the minister in charge,
especially after the furore over the ratification of the International
Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination (Icerd).
is using whatever means to impress that he has a hardcore Islamic stand. It is
people like him who will ostracise a section of Harapan supporters – the
Malaysians who are very disenchanted with the fugitive Zakir contributing a
divisive situation in the country.
happens when individuals want to keep or recover popularity, putting
self-interest before unity.
@Albert Ponniah, the “some Malaysians” you speak of are not a big number,
percentage-wise. In four years, that “some” will be an even smaller percentage.
should realise by now this situation is here to stay. If Mujahid didn’t do
this, the next government would. It’s just a matter of time.
must feel that he is going lose in the next election. He won by a whisker due
to the split votes between Umno and PAS. So he has nothing to lose, nothing at
least, he can do what he thinks is right. Regardless of what the
Dass: They revert to the old ways. The feelings of non-Muslims do not count.
Harapan is just worried about pandering to the feelings of extremists.
runs down other religions. Not in honest debate but in front of people who are
ignorant of other religions.
converts to your faith by your example. Lead an exemplary life and cause others
to be inspired by you. Ridiculing the beliefs of another as a way to win
converts cannot be a good thing.
Mujahid is a very big disappointment, I thought he was more enlightened than
he heard Zakir’s lectures on ‘comparative religions?’ So Mujahid fully agrees
and supports what Zakir is saying about other religions being fake? Did Prophet
Muhammad sanction the belittling of others' faiths in doing dakwah (preaching)?
we to understand that the Harapan government is all for the Islamist agenda of
extremists? Zakir is sowing the seeds of enmity between Muslims and
non-Muslims, and yet he is revered as a great man by the government.
course, he is not organising anti non-Muslim activities, but the poisoning of
the minds is worse than that. He is intelligent and very subtle the way he is
sowing the seeds of future discord between Muslims and non-Muslims.
really surprising that our ministers cannot read him properly for what he is.
Statistics, logic, and syllogism have never been my strong suits (not that I
have strong suits elsewhere).
meri dost (my friend) Zakir, Islamic scholar, master of comparative religion,
font of philosophy, and general entertainer extraordinaire has been a source of
much confusion, mystery, and frequent doses of amusement.
me reduce my bewilderment to a simple roadmap. The last time I counted, India
had a population of 1,368,737,513. Slightly more if I include Zakir himself.
this number, 79.8 percent is made up of Hindus, 15 percent Muslims, 2.3 percent
Christians and the rest of other faiths.
the other hand, Malaysia has 29.7 million people, of which about 18.2 million
are Muslim (61 percent). It is clear that going by Zakir’s spiritual measure,
85 percent of India is destined to languish in hell when they finally say
“Goodbye, cruel world.”
being the case, dear friend, why are you not in India, bringing salvation to
close to 1.162 billion lost souls? Shouldn’t your responsibilities as a devout
Muslim preacher compel you to remain where, as the Bible says, the harvest is
come to Malaysia with its potential catch a pitiful 11 million (39 percent)? I
will hazard to guess that you had to flee from Dharavi, Borivali, Dadar, and
Bandra because your religious antics there had made you a wanted man being a
threat to your motherland.
a somewhat extended stay in Delhi’s Tihar jail was not quite appealing. So you
come to Malaysia, spout a few holy quotations and the whole bunch of local
morons are in awe of this outlaw-cum-divine messenger.
much so that they grant you permanent residence status and two islands to boot.
Heck, some are even inspired by you. Malaysia truly heaven!
Tarik: Someone insults a religion in Sarawak and is sentenced to 10 years’
jail. Another insults non-Muslims and is not only given permanent resident
status in Malaysia, but is even embraced by a Harapan minister.
looks like Harapan is even worse than BN when it comes to selective
this debacle, I hope Harapan loses Rantau. Non-Muslims should boycott the
by-election to send a message to the disrespectful Harapan confidence
tricksters, who in many ways are worse than the previous BN government.
There goes my vote in the 15th general election. Goodbye, Harapan. I will still
cherish that fleeting, temporary euphoria in GE14.
One step forward, two steps back – this is the New Malaysia.
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Saudi royal forms elaborate opposition in Europe to change regime in Saudi
exiled Saudi prince has formed a Europe-based opposition movement seeking to
change the regime in Saudi Arabia and end human rights abuses in the repressive
Khaled bin Farhan Al Saud, who fled to Germany in 2007 citing fears of arrest
by the kingdom’s authorities, has named the opposition group the Freedom
Movement of Arabian Peninsula People, he told The Independent on Tuesday.
movement primarily seeks to campaign for the realization of a “constitutional
monarchy” in Saudi Arabia as well as elections to appoint a prime minister and
cabinet. Such changes, Prince Farhan hopes, would replace the current absolute
monarchical regime, which is run by an exclusive branch of the Saud family.
measures are aimed at ending “endemic” rights violations and inequality in the
kingdom and “ultimately” placing power in the hands of the people, the daily
cited Prince Farhan as saying.
movement will also be trying to protect those dissidents who flee Saudi Arabia,
including by providing them with lawyers, specialist translators, and access to
the media to help them seek asylum in Europe.
need a new system in Saudi Arabia like other democracies, where the people have
the right to elect a government, to create a new Saudi Arabia,” the 41-year-old
Saudi prince said. “We have a vision for the judicial system, for human rights
and accountability; but right now, we need to focus on the constitution and on
activism to help Saudis in Europe.”
to the plight of fugitive Saudi dissenters, Farhan said, “I felt this suffering
myself. I want to help others who faced the same problems as me.”
was referring to the threats he received from Saudi authorities — right before
he fled to Germany — of detainment due to his criticism of the ruling family,
as well as repeated attempts by Saudi officials to lure him into the country’s
diplomatic missions abroad.
October last year, Saudi authorities notoriously lured US-based Saudi critic
Jamal Khashoggi into the Saudi consulate in Istanbul, Turkey, where they killed
and dismembered him on an order from Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman,
according to the CIA.
you make calls against the government, you need help,” Prince Farhan said,
hinging at the dangers Saudi dissidents face.
hails from a group of royals who have fallen out with Mohammed.
heir to the Saudi throne has been at the center of numerous controversies.
launched a Saudi-led war against Yemen in 2015. The war has so far killed tens
of thousands and turned the already-impoverished country into the scene of the
world’s biggest humanitarian disaster.
there have been increasing rumors that King Salman himself has developed a
negative view of his son due to the many controversies that he has caused,
according to The Guardian.
‘rights’ report avoids linking MbS to Khashoggi murder despite CIA report
its annual “human rights” report, the US administration attempts to whitewash
the Saudi crown prince’s role in the gruesome assassination of dissident
Journalist Jamal Khashoggi despite a CIA report blaming Mohammed bin Salman for
the section on Khashoggi’s murder, the US State Department report released on
Wednesday attributed the crime to “government agents,” without mentioning the
is while The Washington Post, for which Khashoggi was a columnist, reported
last November that the CIA had concluded that the heir to the Saudi throne –
also known as MbS -- ordered the assassination of the journalist, who was an
outspoken critic of bin Salman.
its account of Khashoggi's death, the State Department report acknowledged that
he “was killed by government agents during a visit to the Saudi Arabian
consulate in Istanbul, Turkey,” in early October 2018.
government initially claimed he had left the consulate in good health but
changed its story as facts came to light,” the report added.
a press conference unveiling the document, Ambassador Michael Kozak of the
State Department’s Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights, and Labor claimed that
the report relies on facts rather than speculation on Khashoggi’s murder case.
are two governments that have criminal jurisdiction over the case, the Turkish
government and the Saudi government, and they’re pushing towards a genuine,
transparent, thorough, factual investigation,” he said.
Istanbul and Riyadh have been conducting an investigation into the murder, but
the joint inquiry has made little progress, with the Turkish authorities
considering their Saudi counterparts uncooperative.
wants the suspects in the case to stand trial in Turkey, but Riyadh refuses to
have not -- and not only in the report but I think in any other format -- tried
to draw our own conclusions as to who was and who was not responsible,” Kozak
claimed. “Until we see that, trying to speculate about who might and might not
have been involved is just not productive.”
Secretary of State Mike Pompeo explained in a preface to the report that a
country’s rights record would not be a determining factor in shaping
Washington’s diplomatic engagement with that state.
policy of this administration is to engage with other governments, regardless
of their record, if doing so will further US interests,” he said.
was killed and his body was dismembered by a Saudi hit squad after being lured
into the consulate in Istanbul on October 2, 2018.
which said it was in possession of audio evidence of Khashoggi’s murder soon
after he failed to exit the consulate, has indirectly suggested that bin Salman
was behind the journalist's killing.
weeks of outright denial, Riyadh eventually acknowledged the “premeditated”
murder but has attempted to shift the blame to bin Salman’s underlings and away
from the prince himself.
murder has sparked an outcry from American lawmakers, many of whom believe
President Donald Trump is covering up the crime.
said last November that the US supports the Saudi regime amid the Khashoggi
scandal because any damage to bilateral ties could affect American interests in
the Middle East.
administration compares Chinese prisons for Muslim minorities to 1930s
Trump administration is increasingly calling out China for its detention of
Muslim ethnic minorities in the country's western region, even comparing those
prisons to detention camps in 1930s Nazi Germany and the Soviet Union.
is "in a league of its own when it comes to human rights violations,"
Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said on Wednesday as he introduced the
department's annual human rights report.
report, the first authored under Pompeo's tenure, details the human rights
record of every country around the world, bringing together information from
the United Nations, nonprofit advocacy groups, the media, and embassies and
this year's report again calls out partners like Saudi Arabia, the
administration has also received some criticism for appearing to pull some
punches or diverging from President Donald Trump's praise for dictators and the
grim reality on the ground in their countries.
particular, Pompeo laid out in his preface the Trump administration's approach
to human rights and foreign relations -- one that's been criticized for being
more transactional or praised for being more pragmatic: "The policy of
this Administration is to engage with other governments, regardless of their
record, if doing so will further U.S. interests," he wrote, but added
those interests "will only be served if governments respect human rights
and fundamental freedom."
haven't seen things like this since the 1930s -- of rounding up, I mean, some
estimations are in the millions of people, and putting them into camps, and
trying to -- torturing them, abusing them, and trying to basically erase their
culture and their religion," said Amb. Michael Kozak, the senior bureau
official for Democracy, Human Rights and Labor. "It's just remarkably
detention camps target Uighurs, a majority-Muslim, Turkic-speaking ethnic group
in western China, as well as ethnic Kazaks and other Muslim groups. In what the
U.S., U.N., and others have described as a worsening crackdown, the Chinese
government is increasingly using a new surveillance state, with tools like
facial recognition technology, to detain people "at record levels"
and "erase their religious and ethnic identities," according to
Trump administration has yet to sanction any Chinese officials or entities over
the camps, although Ambassador-at-Large for Religious Freedom Sam Brownback
said Tuesday it was under active consideration.
report's chapter on Saudi Arabia highlights the killing of Washington Post
columnist Jamal Khashoggi by "government agents" and criticizes the
kingdom for changing "its story as facts came to light," not
providing an "explanation of the direction and progress of the
investigation," and creating an "environment of impunity."
it makes no mention of any potential role by Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman,
who the CIA has reportedly assessed was involved in the murder plot -- a charge
the Saudis deny and Trump has cast doubt on.
said the report didn't try "to draw our own conclusions over who was and
who wasn't responsible. ... Trying to speculate about who might or might not
have been involved is not productive." But he added that the Saudis do not
have "a complete, by any means, investigation at this point, so we're sort
of in the middle of that movie."
in year's past, the report also highlighted accusations against the kingdom of
torture, executions, forced renditions and disappearances, arbitrary arrest,
and restrictions on freedoms of movement, religion, and more.
continues to praise his "friend" Kim Jong Un and recently came under
criticism for washing Kim's hands of American college student Otto Warmbier's
death after his detention in North Korea. But the human rights report again
calls out Kim oppressive regime for its insidious control of daily life in
North Korea, through killings, forced disappearances, prison camps with
80,000-120,000 souls inside, torture, rape, forced abortions and infanticide,
censorship, and severe restrictions of citizens' movements and other freedoms.
report omits the word "egregious" when describing North Korea's human
rights abuses, but Kozak said that was because of streamlining and use of a new
template that made country comparisons easier.
Trump's talks with Kim, Kozak said the U.S. hasn't "noticed any progress
on human rights ... It's still one of the worst human rights situations in the
world. It has not improved, and that's going to be part of our effort for some
time to come."
who has been the administration point person on North Korea negotiations and
says the U.S. raises it with North Korea, made no mention of the regime in his
this year's report reiterates the details of a fact-finding investigation into
Myanmar's military's attacks against the Rohingya in 2017, it again labels the
violence "ethnic cleansing" instead of "genocide," as the
U.N., the Holocaust Museum, Congress, and others have called it.
it seems now the administration has ruled out following suit: "The usual
reason you say something like that is you're trying to call attention to it.
Our feeling is we've called plenty of attention," Kozak told ABC News,
calling a designation a "messaging management tool."
"genocide" designation does not have legal implications, but critics
say it bolsters the pressure on Myanmar to stop this behavior, hold people
accountable for it, and create the conditions for Rohingya refugees to return
to their homes.
fact that he called legally defined crimes under international law a mere
‘messaging management tools’ is extremely troubling,” said Francisco Bencosme,
Asia-Pacific advocacy manager for Amnesty International, adding it undermines
the department’s fact-finding report: “All of those stories they heard, the people
who had to relive their trauma — that was not for a messaging tool, it was for
the U.S. to take a stand on what actually happened in Rakhine state.”
defended the steps the administration has taken, including sanctions and visa
revocations, and said they're focused now on reigning in the military and
supporting the civilian government in its efforts to take greater control.
members warn of ‘other actions’ as China blocks bid to list Masood Azhar as
permanent members of the UN Security Council plan to “pursue other actions” to
counter China’s continued opposition to designating Jaish-e-Mohammad founder
Masood Azhar, a Security Council diplomat said Wednesday, stressing the case
for listing the Pakistan-based terrorist was “undeniable”.
diplomat did not elaborate but other UN officials familiar with the rules and
regulations of the listing of terrorists by the UN said the stalled designation
proposal can be escalated to the Security Council itself now, which would be an
unprecedented move and a “public” rebuke of China, which will be forced to
“defend its defense of a well-known terrorist in full public view”. Open UNSC
proceedings are telecast live.
“should not protect terrorists from Pakistan or any other country from being
held accountable to the Council,” the diplomat said on background to Hindustan
Times. “If China continues to block this designation, responsible member states
may be forced to pursue other actions at the Security Council. It shouldn’t
have to come to that.”
diplomat, who spoke presumably for all three Security Council members who moved
the Azhar designation proposal, also criticized Pakistan for depending “on
China to protect it from the listing of Pakistan-based terrorist groups and
individuals”, tying Islamabad, at the same time, to the terrorists it harbors
and shelters from proscription.
was anger and frustration all around with China preventing the designation of
Azhar on Wednesday by putting a technical hold on the proposal moved jointly by
three Security Council permanent members, France, the United States and the
United Kingdom. India said it was “disappointed” by the failure of the
designation of the head of the outfit which killed 40 CRPF personnel in a
terrorist attack in Pulwama last month.
is the fourth time that China has placed a hold on this listing,” the Security
Council diplomat said pointedly. “China should not prevent the Committee from
doing the job the Security Council has entrusted it to do. China’s move to hold
the listing is inconsistent with its own stated goals of combatting terrorism
and furthering regional stability in South Asia.
official did not expand on what other actions were being considered by the
other UN diplomats familiar with the functioning and rules of the 1267
sanctions committee of the UN Security Council, which lists and delists global
terrorists, said the designation can be escalated to the highest level and be
presented before the Security Council itself for an open discussion and vote
that would force the opponents of Azhar’s designation to publicly acknowledge
their defense of terrorism.
has been critical of the opaque process by which the sanctions committee lists
terrorists. Its proceedings and decisions are confidential and members do not
have to explain their vote.
if the designation is put before the Security Council, speculated upon, China
will be forced to take a stand publicly, “in full view” of those watching the
live feed as it either defends its opposition to the designation of a man who
is undeniably a terrorist or give up”.
regrets India's refusal to issue visas to journalists for Kartarpur meeting
Pakistan on Wednesday expressed disappointment over India's decision to not
issue visas to Pakistani journalists to cover the first meeting between the two
countries on the Kartarpur Corridor.
meeting will take place on the Indian side of the Attari-Wagah border on
that India has not given visas to Pakistani journalists for the Kartarpur
meeting tomorrow," Dr Mohammad Faisal, spokesperson of the Ministry of
Foreign Affairs, tweeted.
that #India has not given visas to #Pakistani journalists for the #kartarpur
meeting tomorrow. Hope the… https://t.co/nhaVO7zzGr
Dr Mohammad Faisal (@DrMFaisal) 1552459883000
is not known how many journalists had applied for visas to cover the meeting.
the #PakKartarpurSpirit and meeting tomorrow will bring a change for the better
for people of both countries," he added.
Pakistani delegation will visit India on Thursday for the meeting, which would
be followed by an Indian delegation's visit to Islamabad on March 28.
also pointed out that the groundbreaking ceremony of the Kartarpur Corridor in
Pakistan last year was covered by over 30 Indian journalists.
also met Prime Minister Imran Khan and were hosted by foreign minister Shah
Mehmood Qureshi for a dinner during their stay," he tweeted.
than 30 Indian journalists covered the kartarpur ground breaking ceremony in
Pakistan last year. They also met… https://t.co/V6wJql5bqd
Dr Mohammad Faisal (@DrMFaisal) 1552459865000
and Pakistan agreed to open up a special border crossing linking Gurdwara
Darbar Sahib in Pakistan's Kartarpur - the final resting place of Sikh faith's
founder Guru Nanak Dev - to Dera Baba Nanak shrine in India's Gurdaspur
corridor will facilitate the visa-free travel of Indian Sikh pilgrims to
Gurdwara Darbar Sahib in Kartarpur.
Indian government’s special representative on Kashmir had a quiet meeting with
Ghalib Guru, son of hanged Parliament attack convict Afzal Guru, a few months
ago, HT learns.
Intelligence Bureau director Dineshwar Sharma, who was appointed the Centre’s
interlocutor in October 2017 to hold talks with all stakeholders in the state,
is now helping Ghalib secure an Indian passport. “I will do anything that can bring
happiness and satisfaction to any young person, including Afzal Guru’s son,’’
Sharma said, when asked about the help he is extending Ghalib, who applied for
a passport in 2012 but has drawn a blank for the last seven years. He even
approached the courts for help but has remained unsuccessful in getting a
a video released by Asian News International (ANI) last week, Ghalib appealed
that he be given the travel document. “I have an Aadhaar card and I should also
be issued a passport. I want to study abroad and have got a medical scholarship
in Turkey but no one is telling me why I am not getting the passport,” he said
in the video.
hit the headlines last year after he secured 88% marks in the school-leaving
exam conducted by the Jammu and Kashmir Board of School Education. He had
scored 95% in the Class 10 examination.
including Mehbooba Mufti, chief of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and
former chief minister of Jammu and Kashmir, congratulated Ghalib for his
should a child be victimised to pay a heavy price for his father’s actions? His
[Afzal Guru’s] son is a brilliant student and has every right to live a normal
life,” Mufti tweeted.
were raised by many over why he was being referred to as “someone’s son” and
not being treated as an equal citizen of the country.
Guru was hanged in 2013 for sheltering and aiding the heavily armed terrorists
of the Jaish-e-Mohammed (JeM) who attacked Parliament on December 13, 2001.
Soon after his hanging, the Jaish started an Afzal Guru squad. The bomber who
exploded an explosives-laden car into a Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF)
convoy that killed 40 troopers on February 14 this year was a member of the
same terror group.
government official said there has been a lot of pressure on Ghalib to join the
ranks of such groups. “Home-grown militants and foreign mercenaries of the
Pakistan-based terror organisations have been exerting pressure on Afzal Guru’s
son,” the government official added on the condition of anonymity.
interviews to the media, after he scored 88%, Ghalib said that the results were
a stepping stone in his career and that he wanted to fulfil his father’s dream
of becoming a cardiologist. Ghalib revealed that Afzal Guru would encourage him
to pursue medicine as a career whenever he visited Delhi’s Tihar Jail, where
the latter was lodged in a high-security barrack.
is now preparing for the National Eligibility Cum Entrance Test (NEET), which
qualifies a student for admission to medical or dental courses, but may not be
able to pursue options abroad if he is not granted a passport.
Centre’s special representative on Kashmir pushed for several “goodwill
gestures” since his appointment in October 2017. He recommended an amnesty scheme
for stone-pelters in Kashmir Valley and the then chief minister, Mehbooba
Mufti, signed off on his proposal, asking for cases against first-time
offenders to be withdrawn. He was also the force behind the cessation of
hostilities during the holy month of Ramzan in May last year.
is important to help the Valley’s young people so that they do not become
vulnerable to militancy,” Sharma, the interlocutor, said.
Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj on Wednesday said India cannot have dialogue
with Pakistan unless the neighbouring country acted against terror outfits on
its soil, asserting that “talks and terror cannot go together”. Talking on
‘India’s World: Modi Government’s Foreign Policy’, she stated that Pakistan
needs to control the ISI and its army who are bent on destroying the bilateral
relations time and again.
do not want talk on terror, we want action on it. Terror and talks cannot go
together,” she said.
also questioned Pakistan’s retaliation to the Indian air strikes in Balakot
when, she said, India had specifically targeted the terror outfit
did the Pakistani military attack us on behalf of JeM? You not only keep JeM on
your soil, but fund them and when the victim country retaliates, you attack it
on the terror outfit’s behalf. “If Imran Khan (Pakistan prime minister) is so
generous and a statesman, he should give us Masood Azhar,” she said.
external affairs minister said India can have a good relationship with
Pakistan, provided the neighbouring country “takes action against terror groups
on its soil”.
her invitation to the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) meeting, she
said India avenged the humilation meted out to it 50 years ago by becoming the
‘guest of honour’ at the OIC meet this year. “In 1969, India was humiliated
when it was not allowed to participate in the meeting even after reaching the
venue after Pakistan protested against India’s then foreign minister’s
participation. But now, 50 years later, it was India that was on the seat of
the guest of honour, while Pakistan’s seat was empty,” she said.
Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi had expressed reservations about the
invitation to Swaraj for the OIC meeting, and later decided to boycott the
meeting of the 57-member Muslim grouping held earlier this month. Talking about
the foreign policy of the current government, Swaraj said it was based upon the
two principles of “national interest supreme” and “world is our family”.
often ask us what we get by our frequent travel to countries. I want to tell
them we do not travel to have fun, we travel to build our relationship with
other countries and it is because of our ties with these countries that we were
able to rescue 7,000 people from Yemen. The strength of our bilateral ties was
also reflected in the International Court of Justice (ICJ) elections,” she
Three masked terrorists shot an army deserter dead in front of his home at
Pingleena village in Pulwama district of Jammu and Kashmir on Wednesday
afternoon. The terrorists mistook him for an army regular, intelligence sources
Ahmad Naik, 25 -- an army recruit who had left his training after eight months
and was declared a deserter – was rushed to a nearby hospital where he was
declared brought dead, police said.
spokesperson Rajesh Kalia said Naik had enrolled with Territorial Army on
January 15 last year. He went on leave on September 14 and didn’t return. He
was declared a deserter on September 17 last year. Kalia said Naik never took
the oath as a soldier.
after the murder, a joint team of army and special operations group (SOG) of
J&K police launched a cordon-and-search operation in the area to nab the
J&K chief minister and PDP president Mehbooba Mufti Wednesday said the BJP
wanted to ban Jamaat-e-Islami and crack down on Hurriyat leaders when her party
was in a coalition with the BJP in the state, but she didn’t let them do it.
wanted to crack down on Jamaat-e-Islami, a crackdown on moulvis. I didn’t let
them do it. BJP wanted to carry out NIA raids on Mirwaiz Umar Farooq, Syed Ali
Shah Geelani and others. But I didn’t let them do it,” Mehbooba said while
addressing a workers’ convention in north Kashmir’s Bandipora.
authorities recently banned the Jamaat-e-Islami in J&K and launched a
crackdown against its leadership and activists. The NIA is now investigating a
case related to alleged terror funding in Kashmir, carrying out a series of
raids on separatists, including the Mirwaiz, head of the moderate Hurriyat
also said the NIA came to Kashmir in 2009 during the tenure of the NC-Congress
government. “I forced BJP to have ceasefire in Kashmir for at least one month
but militants didn’t respond positively and continued their activities…I wanted
to have a dialogue with separatist leaders and even a parliamentary committee
visited Kashmir in 2016 but they closed their doors. I got Dineshwar Sharma
appointed as interlocutor who was given a cabinet rank to have a dialogue with
the separatist leadership but they didn’t talk. I tried everything during my
tenure,” she said.
day before the hearing in the 2007 Samjhauta blast case, the daughter of one of
the victims has requested the NIA Director to not oppose the application in
which she has requeted the special court to allow deposition of Pakistani
witnesses in the case. The application was filed under Section 311 CrPC by
Pakistan citizen Rahila Wakil before the Panchkula court on Monday.
case is listed for hearing on Thursday and NIA’s reply is expected to be filed
to her application pending before the court. “She has mailed the request to the
NIA Director on Wednesday,” her counsel Momin Malik said on Wednesday.
Special NIA Court at Panchkula was expected to give its verdict in the case on
Monday, but the pronouncement was deferred after filing of Rahila Wakil’s
sudden application in the case. In the application, she claimed that no proper
summons were sent to 13 Pakistani witnesses, adding they were ready to depose
before the court.
tells Rouhani: Arms must be limited to the control of the state
Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani has issued a statement after meeting with Iranian President
Hassan Rouhani, in which he said that Iraq hopes to “enhance relations with its
neighbors on the basis of respecting the sovereignty of others” while stressing
the need to keep arms under the control of the state.
statement released on Wednesday said al-Sistani “expressed his welcome for any
step to enhance Iraq’s relations with its neighbors in accordance with the
interests of the two parties and on the basis of respecting the sovereignty of
states and non-interference in their internal affairs.”
famously called Iraqis to arms against ISIS in 2014, giving rise to the Hashd
al-Shaabi (Popular Mobilization) paramilitary alliance, which includes
Iran-backed Shiite groups.
forces have since been placed under the command of regular Iraqi forces and
several former fighters are now members of the Iraqi parliament.
and Iraq fought a devastating eight-year war in the 1980s but their relations
shifted drastically with the American-led overthrow of Sunni Iraqi dictator
Saddam Hussein in 2003.
Iraqi Shiite cleric also stressed “the need for regional and international
policies in this sensitive region to be balanced and moderate in order to avoid
further tragedies and damage.”
a spiritual leader to most of Iraq’s Shiites and some in Iran, heads the
religious establishment of Najaf, a Shiite holy city in Iraq.
2013, he refused to meet then-president of Iran, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.
is on his first trip to Iraq since becoming president in 2013.
army said Wednesday it had uncovered a unit recently created by Hezbollah
across the ceasefire line in the Syrian Golan Heights and led by a commander
previously jailed over an attack on US forces.
President Bashar al-Assad regaining control of southern Syria with the help of
Russia and Hezbollah backer Iran, Israel is concerned that a front against it
could be established there.
based in neighboring Lebanon, has also been supporting Assad in the war.
alleged the new unit, “masterminded” by Hezbollah, was being established “to
eventually control teams of Syrian operatives who will launch attacks against
are not going to allow Hezbollah to establish a terror infrastructure on the
Golan capable of striking Israeli civilians,” said Lieutenant Colonel Jonathan
Conricus, Israeli military spokesman.
hold the Syrian regime responsible for anything that happens inside Syria aimed
army said the unit was in the establishment and recruitment stage and was not
said it is led by Hezbollah commander Ali Musa Daqduq.
accusations against Daqduq came as Israel seeks US recognition of its claim of
sovereignty over parts of the Golan Heights, a strategic plateau on the Syrian
frontier, which it captured in a 1967 war and deems a key security buffer.
acting foreign minister was quoted as saying such US recognition would be
"an appropriate" response to what he said was increased Hezbollah
activity on the Golan.
was released from detention in 2012 in Iraq, where he had been accused by the
United States of orchestrating a 2007 kidnapping that resulted in the killing
of five US military personnel.
United States had handed Daqduq over to Baghdad in 2011 after failing to secure
a custody deal ahead of the US military's withdrawal from Iraq. Washington said
it had received Baghdad's assurances Daqduq would be prosecuted, but he was
later cleared by an Iraqi court and repatriated to Lebanon.
was no immediate response to Israel's allegations on Wednesday from Hezbollah,
Syria or the US and Russian embassies in Israel.
diplomats have said they are in talks with Israel about its request to
recognize its sovereignty on the Golan, a status that has yet to win any formal
endorsement among world powers.
Mako news site quoted acting Foreign Minister Israel Katz of saying that such
recognition by the United States would be “an appropriate and required
response” to the allegations about Hezbollah's activity on the Syrian Golan.
hope that this will soon happen, during the prime minister's upcoming visit to
Washington,” Katz was quoted as saying. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is
due to address the pro-Israel lobby group AIPAC in the US capital in late
the past, Russia has spoken in favor of other foreign forces leaving Syria,
though it plans to keep a garrison there.
President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has called Israeli premier Benjamin Netanyahu a
“tyrant” who kills Palestinian children, as a heated war of words between the
two officials continues.
Netanyahu, behave yourself. You are a tyrant, you are a tyrant who massacred
seven-year-old Palestinian children,” Erdogan told supporters in capital
remarks were a direct response to Netanyahu's attacks earlier in the day, who
called the Turkish head of state a “dictator” and “a joke” who put journalists
fiery exchanges began a day earlier, when Turkey denounced Netanyahu for his
“blatant racism" against Arab Israelis after the rightist premier said the
occupied Palestinian territories only belonged to the Jewish people and not all
dictator Erdogan attacks Israel’s democracy while Turkish journalists and
judges fill his prisons,” Netanyahu wrote in an Instagram post. “What a joke!”
his remarks on Wednesday, Erdogan pointed to Israel's ongoing violent crackdown
on Palestinians in Jerusalem al-Quds, denouncing Israeli security forces for
entering a “holy place.”
not provoke. Look, we have not oppressed any of the Jews in this country. We
have not done anything you did to any synagogues here. Don’t provoke us. We
will not fall into this trap,” he warned Netanyahu.
Kalin, Erdogan's spokesman, also reacted to Netanyahu's attacks, saying the
Israeli PM was mad at Erdogan “for exposing him.
apartheid state he leads occupies Palestinian lands, kills women & children
& imprisons Palestinians in their own land,” he wrote. "Lies and
pressure will not hide your crimes."
Turkish Presidency Communications Director Fahrettin Altun also lashed out on Wednesday
at remarks by Israel's prime minister targeting the Turkish leader.
is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different
results," Altun said, referring to a well-known quote from renowned
scientist Albert Einstein.
Celik, the spokesman for Turkey's ruling Justice and Development (AK) Party,
took a swipe at Netanyahu.
return the dictator statement to Mr Netanyahu, who is the most suitable
politician in the world for this designation," Celik said.
ended a political rift with Israel in 2016, six years after Israeli commandos
stormed a Gaza-bound aid ship and killed 10 Turkish activists.
demonization of Israeli Arabs, who make up some 17.5 percent of Israel's
population, is a bid by him to increase right-wing turnout in upcoming general
elections in April.
embattled premier has been desperately trying to cause a splash on the
political scene inside and outside of Israel over the past months as a
distraction tactic to avert attention from his ongoing corruption case in the
court. After the elections, he will attend a hearing to defend himself against
the allegations which have dogged his campaign.
A US State Department report has dropped the words "occupation" or
"occupied" before a section on the Palestinian territories of West
Bank and Gaza.
annual global human rights report also describes the Golan Heights as
"Israeli-controlled" rather than "occupied," Reuters
three territories are considered occupied by Israel under international law.
the West Bank, and the Golan heights were annexeded by Israel during the 1967.
White House advisers recommended on Wednesday that President Donald Trump veto
a resolution to end Washington's support for the military campaign in Yemen.
White House statement of administration policy came as the US Senate prepared
to vote on the matter.
Senate's Republican majority leader, Mitch McConnell, denounced the war powers
resolution on Wednesday as he opened the Senate, calling it "inappropriate
in Islam (SIS) is hoping to use part of its RM20,000 grant from the government
to help formulate better Muslim family policies.
finance and operations manager Sarinah Salleh said there are many cases where
the second or third wives show up at a man's funeral and the first wife did not
know anything about them.
such a situation, what are the wives supposed to do when it comes to splitting
the inheritance?" she was reported as saying by The Malaysian Insight
is why, Sarinah said, the reform of the syariah family law system is high on
the agenda of SIS.
Islamic Family Law 1984 has loopholes that need to be plugged as it has led to
much suffering for Muslim women.
law has been amended since 1994 to allow Muslim men to take a second wife
without the approval and knowledge of the first wife.
men usually have the new marriage secretly solemnised in Thailand before coming
home to register it, under the syariah court system, by paying a minimal court
Malaysia first introduced the Islamic Family Law in 1984, it was one of the
best in the world. But we have regressed while other countries have progressed.
other Muslim countries, from Morocco to Tunisia to Indonesia to Pakistan,
require formal court approval for a man to practise polygamy. In some places
you can only marry in court, otherwise the marriage is not recognised,"
SIS legal aid office Telenisa, which has helped 8,400 Muslim women and men
navigate the syariah court system, was recently granted RM20,000 by the
communications officer Majidah Hashim (photo, above) said they will decide how
to use the grant with officers from the Women, Family and Community Development
are two aspects. We want the government to be involved so they know how each
sen is spent and we want the government to see how Telenisa works, the types of
women who approach us and the stories they tell," Majidah said.
of their ideas is to have more Telenisa mobile clinics, which would send more
teams of counsellors and volunteers to visit low-income communities to spread
awareness on domestic violence, women's rights in marriages and to offer legal
proposal is to employ more experts to sift through data to spot trends in
Telenisa cases to help the ministry come up with better laws or amendments.
are very encouraged by this government’s openness and how people like YB Hannah
(Deputy Women, Family and Community Development Minister Hannah Yeoh) are
interested in the stories of women. We hope that we, the government and the
public, can benefit from the grant," Majidah said.
Ida Nadirah Ibrahim
LUMPUR, Mar 13 — The debate over lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender rights
(LGBT) should never lead to violence, United States Ambassador to Malaysia
Kamala Shirin Lakhdhir said today.
said the US embassy remained supportive of the LGBT rights, after last
Saturday’s International Women’s Day march that was attended by LGBT rights
have been a number of recent incidents in trans cases where there is violence.
Malaysia and the community, nobody wants that. There can be debates about law
and everything else, but there should be no violence,” she said.
said the fight for LGBT rights continued to be a global struggle, even in the
US, but said safety and security of the LGBT community were still important.
have had a long history of supporting the LGBT community in Malaysia, the US
Is a struggle that goes and continues in many country, even in the US. But the
safety and security of the LGBT community is very important,” she said.
Saturday, hundreds gathered in front of Sogo KL and marched to Sultan Abdul
Samad building in conjunction with International Women’s Day, demanding for
participants included members of Women’s Aid Organisation and Sisters in Islam,
activists, students and various people from all across Malaysia.
US-led coalition military convoy helped a group of terrorists to be relocated
to Northern Raqqa City from Ain Issa military base in Deir Ezzur," the
pro-militant Smart News website quoted Asayesh Kurdish forces as saying.
noted that the military convoy comprised of two trucks packed with the ISIL
terrorists and 12 US military and armored vehicles, adding that there was no
immediate report on the exact number of the ISIL terrorists relocated to Raqqa.
the Syrian Democratic Forces also announced that some 1,500 to 2,000 ISIL
terrorists have been moved out of Eastern Euphrates.
is while the US-led coalition and their allied militants are preparing to
declare end of the ISIL by helping out the ISIL terrorists from Deir Ezzur
a relevant development on Tuesday, an Iraqi security expert warned that the US
plans to help several thousands more ISIL terrorists move from Syria to Iraq.
plans to help 5,000 more ISIL terrorists get out of Syria and reach Iraq,"
Sabah al-Akili told the Arabic-language al-Maloumeh news website on Tuesday.
Iraqi security expert described the US move as an attempt to create insecurity
inside Iraq as the Iraqi parliament is determined to expel ISIL terrorists from
US intends to gather up the ISIL terrorists in Iraq to release them later
exactly as it did before," al-Akili said.
pointed to the move by the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) to hand over the ISIL
militants to Iraq with the US green light, and said that Iraq had agreed to
receive the militants because they were Iraqi nationals, but French terrorists
were also among them and this shows that the US plans start of a new round of
chaos in Iraq.
a relevant development in late February, the Syrian sources said that the US
Army has transferred senior ISIL commanders to safe places in lieu of receiving
over 50 tons of gold treasure from the terrorists.
to the initial information obtained in Deir Ezzur, the US Army troops stationed
in Al-Jazeera region of Eastern Euphrates agreed with the ISIL commanders to
relocate them to safe places after receiving tens of tons of gold ingot that
the terrorists had stolen from different parts of Syria and Iraq, the state-run
SANA news agency reported.
local sources, meantime, reported that the US Army took control of ISIL's 50
tons of gold treasure in Baqouz region in Southeastern Deir Ezzur after it had
reached an agreement with the terrorists.
pointed to the recent intensified movements by the US choppers concurrent with
flights over several ISIL-controlled regions in Eastern Euphrates, and said
that the US has conducted important heliborne operations in key areas where the
ISIL commanders' hideouts are located and where the gold treasure was hidden.
a relevant development earlier in February, a source close to Kurdish forces
said that the US Army was taking ISIL's gold treasure that is estimated to
weigh around 50 tons from Eastern Syria to America.
Kurdish-language Bas News quoted a Kurdish source as saying that the Americans
have transferred tens of tons of the gold ingots they have seized from the ISIL
terrorists in Baghouz region in Southeastern Deir Ezzur to their own country
and only kept a small portion of the treasure to be given to the Kurdish
source who spoke on the condition of anonymity reiterated that about 50 tons of
ISIL's gold has been sent to the US from the US military base in Kobani in Northeastern
report comes as the US has been using the airport in Southern Kobani for
transferring consignments and military equipment in recent years.
a relevant development also last month, the US Army troops took out a sum of 40
tons of gold ingots belonging to the ISIL in heliborne operations after
agreeing with the terrorist group and while Washington is preparing to announce
the end of ISIL in Eastern Euphrates.
US troops in concordance with the ISIL terrorist group relocated big boxes
packed with ISIL's gold treasure on several helicopters from al-Dashisheh
region in Southern Hasaka," the SANA news agency quoted local sources in Eastern Deir Ezzur said.
sources pointed to boxes containing 40 tons of gold ingots that the ISIL had
hidden in the Eastern part of al-Shadadi city, and said that the ISIL had
stolen the treasure of gold from the Iraqi city of Mosul and different parts of
US troops reportedly took out a group of ISIL terrorist commanders from Eastern
Syria in two heliborne operations in Hajin region of Eastern Deir Ezzur and
al-Dashisheh in Southern Hasaka and they were directed to the place where the
gold treasure was hidden.
a relevant development earlier in February, a prominent Syrian military expert
revealed that Washington plans to transfer the remnants of the ISIL terrorists
from Eastern Euphrates to other regions through Turkey and Iraq.
Arabic-language website of Sputnik quoted Brigadier General Mohammad Issa as
saying that less than 600 ISIL militants are stationed in a 4-km/sq region in
Eastern Euphrates who will be soon evacuated from the region to foreign
added that the operations to transfer these militants will be conducted similar
to the operations earlier carried out to evacuate the ISIL terrorists from
Raqqa, saying that the US forces will transfer them via Iraq or Turkey to some
other Arab states for future operations.
questioned the US forces' claims of fighting against the terrorist groups along
with the SDF, stressing that the Syrian army will soon move to retake control
over this region.
reports said last Sunday that the US army had agreed with the ISIL on the
latter's exit from areas under Washington's control in Eastern Euphrates.
US-led coalition troops and the SDF had reached an agreement with the ISIL
terrorists on the militants' retreat from areas under the control of the US and
its allied forces, the Arabic-language al-Mayadeen TV news channel reported.
pointed to the preparations by the ISIL to move its terrorists out of Eastern
Euphrates, and said that the ISIL terrorists might be transferred to al-Anbar
desert of Badiya al-Tanf in Western Iraq.
report comes as the SDF claimed that it had started the final battle for
uprooting the remaining elements of the ISIL from Eastern Euphrates.
the Arabic-language service of RT quoted media activists as saying on Saturday
that the US-led coalition forces have carried out heliborne operations in the
Eastern Badiyeh of Deir Ezzur.
added that two US Apache helicopters have landed in Falitah region of Eastern
Badiyeh of Deir Ezzur, taking away 7 big boxes whose contents were not known.
militants backed by the Turkish Army pounded the military positions of Kurdish
Al-Bab Military Council in the village of al-Bouqaz to the East of Al-Bab city,
the Kurdish-language Hawar News reported. The Ankara-backed militants pounded
the Kurdish military positions from the village of Ouleshli in Northeastern
Turkey-backed forces also hit the Kurds' positions in the town of al-Bavihij
West of al-Arimeh in Eastern al-Bab which resulted in fierce clashes between
the two sides.
is while the Turkish Defense Ministry in a statement announced that
preparations are still underway to launch major military operations against the
Kurds in Eastern Euphrates in Northern Syria.
a relevant development on Friday, several Turkey-backed militants were killed
and injured and three of their bases were destroyed in the Kurdish military
operations against them in Afrin region in Northwestern Aleppo.
Kurdish fighters launched fresh military operations against the Turkish Army
and their allied militants in Baseleh town in Shirava region, killing a Turkish
soldier and wounding two others as well as destroying their military
vehicle," Hawar News reported.
also noted that the Kurdish forces pounded the military positions of
Ankara-backed Jbahat al-Shamia terrorist group in the village of Mariman in
Shara region which resulted in the death and injury of six militants.
field sources in Afrin also pointed to a bomb explosion in front of Sultan Murat
terrorist group headquarters in the center of Afrin City which killed and
injured a number of militants. They pointed to the Kurdish fighters as possible
perpetrators of the bomb explosion in Afrin City.
a relevant development last Thursday, a large number of civilians in al-Bab
region in Northwestern Aleppo held protest rallies against the Turkish army and
affiliated militants, calling for their withdrawal.
news reported that hundreds of residents of al-Bab, angry with the
Ankara-backed militants' measures, including murder, execution and abduction of
civilians and plundering their properties, poured to the streets, stressing the
need for the Turkish army and militants to leave the region.
also voiced protest at the activities of Turkish truck drivers in the region,
saying that they don't let their Syrian counterparts work.
reports from Northwestern Aleppo said last month that the Turkish army and
terrorists supported by Ankara continued forceful seizure of people's
properties in, media sources said, adding that differences had increased among
the militants in Turkish-occupied areas.
news quoted local sources in Afrin as saying that the Ankara-backed militants
had cut nearly 1,050 fruit trees belonging to the civilians in the village of
Qorneh Foqani in Bolboleh region.
also added that the terrorists had cut the old trees near Meidanaki Lake in
sources said that the terrorists in Afrin region and other occupied areas in
Northern Aleppo had also engaged in severe differences and several of them in
Afrin, al-Bab and, specially Jarabulus, have defected their groups and joined
other groups affiliated to the Turkish army.
Damascus Army attacked the terrorists' military positions and movements in
al-Habit and around Babilon town, destroying a meeting of militant commanders
and killing all those present at the venue.
military source also confirmed that the Syrian Army troops have destroyed a
command center of Tahrir al-Sham together with several military vehicles in
Harash Abedin town in Southeastern Idlib, inflicting heavy casualties on the
Northern Hama, the Syrian Army troops engaged in heavy clashes with terrorist
groups who had concurrently attacked the Syrian Army's military positions near
the town of Mahradeh and the al-Jadideh town in Northern Hama, inflicting heavy
losses on the assailant terrorists after warding off their attack.
the Syrian Army troops attacked the terrorists' military positions in Tal-e
Shaviheneh, Kafar Hamreh and Haritan in response to their attacks on the
civilian population in al-Zahra, al-Mokambo, al-Shahba al-Jadideh regions in
a relevant development on Saturday, the Syrian Army pounded and destroyed the
command headquarters and weapons depot of terrorists in Northern Hama and
Syrian Army troops engaged in fierce clashes with members of Ajnad al-Qafqaz
and Haraseddin terrorist groups who had attacked the government forces'
military positions in al-Sakria, al-Baraghiti and Tal Kolbeh West of Abu Zuhour
town," a battlefield source said.
source further said that the Syrian Army's missile and artillery units targeted
many gatherings of the terrorists Southeast of Idlib and in the surrounding
areas if Saraqib town, destroying their command center and their equipment as
well as killing a large number of them.
Syrian Army units also pounded the movements of the terrorist groups near
al-Haviz village in Sahl al-Ghab Northwest of Hama, inflicting heavy losses and
casualties on them after warding off their attack.
the Syrian Army killed all members of a terrorist group who attempted to attack
the government forces' positions in Northern Hama from the demilitarized zone.
Damascus Army units engaged in heavy clashes with militants of Ansar al-Tawhid
terrorist group who intended to attack the Syrian Army's military positions in
Tale Shir Sahab from al-Sarmanieh Foro in Sahl al-Ghab in Northwestern Hama.
the 18 Ansar al-Tawhid terrorists invading the government troops were killed in
fierce clashes in Sahl al-Ghab region.
the Syrian Army's missile and artillery units hit the terrorists' communication
lines in Jisr al-Shoghour region in Western Idlib, inflicting heavy losses and
casualties on them.
Southern Idlib, the Syrian Army heavily pounded the movements and contact lines
of Tahrir al-Sham al-Hay'at in Eastern al-Deir, Khan al-Sabal, Ma'arat
Shomarin, Khan Sheikhoun and near Sakik village in Southeastern Idlib, killing
and injuring a number of them.
Syrian Army's missile units also pounded the gathering of Tahrir al-Sham
terrorists in al-Tah town Southeast of Idlib, killing several terrorists and
destroying their military vehicle.
air strikes killed at least 13 civilians, including six children, Wednesday in
Idlib province, in the first such raids since a September truce deal, a monitor
Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said around 60 people were
also wounded in the air strikes that struck several areas in the northwestern
province, which is Syria’s last major rebel bastion.
the past 24 hours Russian aircraft have carried out dozens of raids targeting
several regions in Idlib province, including the city of Idlib and the town of
Saraqeb,” Observatory head Rami Abdel Rahman told AFP.
are the first Russian air strikes against the province” since an accord struck
by Russian President Vladimir Putin and his Turkish counterpart Recep Tayyip
Erdogan in September last year.
truce deal was meant to stave off a planned offensive by the regime and its
Russian backers that aid groups feared could spark the eight-year-old Syrian
conflict’s worst humanitarian crisis to date.
the deal, opposition backer Turkey would exert its influence over anti-regime
groups in the Idlib region to have them pull back fighters and heavy weapons
from a demilitarized zone.
approves ending US role in Yemen as Trump threatens veto
Senate approved on Wednesday a joint resolution to remove US forces from Yemen,
except those fighting Al Qaeda, despite a threat of a veto from US President
resolution passed by 54 votes to 46 and called to “direct the removal of US
Armed Forces from hostilities in the Republic of Yemen that have not been
authorised by Congress".
Senator Bernie Sanders, Republican Mike Lee and Democrat Chris Murphy led the
fight to pass the resolution, in the first time Congress has tried to block a
president on war.
it will go to the House of Representatives where it is also expected to pass.
bill says hostilities include helping the Arab Coalition to choose air strike
targets, sharing intelligence and aerial refuelling.
ended refuelling missions in November. Saudi Arabia said that US assistance was
no longer needed.
bill also directs the President "to remove US Armed Forces from
hostilities in or affecting the Republic of Yemen, except those engaged in
operations directed at Al Qaeda or associated forces", within 30 days
after the resolution's enactment.
bill quotes existing laws to make the case for Congressional oversight in the
war, including the War Powers Resolution from 1973, and the State Authorisation
Acts of 1984 and 1985.
the resolution will probably be struck down by Mr Trump's first veto since he
White House attacked the bill yesterday, saying that it “would harm bilateral
relationships in the region" and "negatively affect our ability to
prevent the spread of violent extremist organisations".
would need more than two thirds of the votes to override a veto, which is not
expected in this case.
Trump administration also said it would “establish bad precedent for future
legislation by defining 'hostilities' to include defence co-operation such as
aerial refuelling for the purposes of this legislation".
Sanders, who is running for the Democratic nomination for President in 2020,
called the Yemen war “harmful to our national security and the security of the
of the resolution warned of the Iranian threat in Yemen and its growing support
for the Houthis.
US state department assured that there has been no change in the US’s policy on
the status of Palestinian territories, after a newly published report used
different wording to describe Palestinian areas.
its annual Human Rights Report released Wednesday, the US State Department
changed its usual description of the West Bank and Gaza Strip, refraining from
referring to them as “occupied” or “under occupation”.
another section of the report, the Golan Heights was also described differently,
calling it “Israeli-controlled” rather than the usual “Israeli-occupied”.
and Taliban negotiators wrapped up their longest round of peace talks on
Tuesday with progress made but no agreement on when foreign troops might
withdraw, officials from both sides said.
16 days of talks, in which the United States also sought assurances that the
Taliban would not allow militant groups to use Afghanistan to stage attacks,
are expected to resume in late March.
negotiations in Qatar included the Taliban’s political chief Mullah Abdul Ghani
Baradar and a US team led by special envoy Zalmay Khalilzad.
an Afghan-born veteran US diplomat, said the sides made progress on discussions
about counter-terrorism assurances and a troop withdrawal from Afghanistan.
conditions for peace have improved. It’s clear all sides want to end the war.
Despite ups and downs, we kept things on track and made real strides,”
Khalilzad said on Twitter.
Taliban have held multiple rounds of peace talks with the American team led by
Khalilzad but have so far refused to talk to the Afghan government.
the agreement in draft about a withdrawal timeline and effective
counter-terrorism measures is finalised, the Taliban and other Afghans,
including the government, will begin intra-Afghan negotiations on a political
settlement and comprehensive ceasefire,” Khalilzad said.
spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid said the sides made progress on the issues of
withdrawing foreign forces and preventing future attacks on other countries
in a statement, he stressed that no agreement was reached on a ceasefire or
talks with the Afghan government.
spokesman for Afghan President Ashraf Ghani tweeted that he hoped to see a
long-term ceasefire agreement and the start of direct talks between the
government and Taliban soon.
said he would return to Washington to brief US and international officials.
ended on a day in which Taliban insurgents stepped up pressure on the
battlefield, killing 20 Afghan soldiers and capturing another 20 in western
Afghanistan. In another province, officials said an air strike killed both
Taliban fighters and civilians.
14,000 US troops are based in Afghanistan as part of a US-led NATO mission to
train, assist and advise Afghan forces. Some US forces carry out
United States has been pushing the Taliban to agree to a ceasefire and to talk
with Afghanistan’s government, which the militant group considers a US puppet
US officials were pressing the Taliban to declare a ceasefire, but our leaders
were clear that a ceasefire can only be announced after the foreign force
withdrawal announcement (is) made,” said a senior Taliban commander privy to
Taliban source said on condition of anonymity there was frustration on some
issues during the peace talks and that a senior member of the extremist group
told US officials at one point that the Taliban are “not their servants” and
need no US approval for any future decisions.
intervened in Afghanistan in 2001 to help overthrow a Taliban government that
had sheltered Osama bin Laden’s al Qaeda group, responsible for the Sept. 11
attacks that killed nearly 3,000 people in the United States.
US-led international force has fought since then against a Taliban insurgency.
The foreign presence peaked in 2010 at more than 130,000 troops including
100,000 Americans, but was sharply cut back after 2014.
United States has dropped the word "occupied" in describing the
Israeli-occupied Syrian Golan Heights paving the way for furtherance of the
State Department changed its usual description of the Golan Heights from
"Israeli-occupied" to "Israeli-controlled" in an annual
global human rights report released on Wednesday.
has been lobbying the administration of US President Donald Trump to recognize
Israeli sovereignty over the Golan Heights, which it effectively annexed in
Aviv claims the Syrian Golan Heights, which Israeli forces captured in a 1967,
is critical to its security.
the United Nations emphasizes Syria's sovereignty in the territory.
separate section on the West Bank and Gaza Strip, areas that Israel captured
along with the Golan Heights in 1967, also did not refer to those territories
as being "occupied" or under "occupation."
change in US language and terminology in regard to the West Bank and Gaza Strip
is a cause of concern to Muslims and reflects Washington’s intentions about
supporting the establishment of a Palestinian state envisaged by interim peace
agreements in the 1990s.
believe, the Trump administration is turning its back on Palestinians and its
international obligations towards the establishment of a Palestinian state, to
further serve and defend Israel's interests.
an interview with Press TV, American political analyst, Mark Glenn, said the
neoconservatives in the Trump administration want a greater Israel and pursue
furtherance of the Israeli empire.
Trump administration on Wednesday continued to whitewash Saudi Crown Prince
Mohammed bin Salman's role in the murder of Washington Post columnist Jamal
its annual human rights report, the State Department said Khashoggi was killed
by 'government agents' but continued to shy away from naming Saudi Arabia's de
factor ruler as being behind the grisly murder.
was killed shortly after he entered the Saudi consulate in Istanbul on Oct. 2.
Saudi Arabia initially denied any knowledge of his whereabouts, claiming he
left the diplomatic facility in good health the same day he went missing.
following a rising number of contradictions in its narrative, Riyadh sought to
blame the journalist's death on a botched rendition operation being carried out
by rogue agents.
explanation fell flat for many, including congressional leaders, who insist
Khashoggi's high-profile murder could not have been carried out without bin
CIA determined with high confidence in November that bin Salman ordered
explicitly naming Khashoggi's murder as a rights abuse, the State Department
did not draw any conclusions about who was responsible, instead pointing to
actions the Kingdom has taken which have been criticized as efforts to assign
blame on lower-ranking officials.
did, however, say that the killing was one instance in which the Saudi
"government or its agents engaged in arbitrary or unlawful killings".
China, the report said Beijing has engaged in detaining between 800,000 to over
2 million Uighur Muslims, ethnic Kazakhs and other Muslims in detention camps
that have been a source of international outcry.
report said the camps in the country’s northwestern Xinjiang region have been
the site of "torture and other cruel, inhuman, or degrading treatment or
punishment," despite laws that prohibit such abuses, pointing to
"military-style discipline and pervasive political indoctrination of the
of the minority Uighur ethnic group reported systematic torture and other
degrading treatment by law enforcement officers and officials working within
the penal system and the internment camps," it said.
stated authorities subjected individuals in custody to electrocution,
waterboarding, beatings, stress positions, injection of unknown substances and
cold cells," it added.
to Myanmar, the State Department continued to document widespread rights abuses
against the country's Rohingya Muslim minority group, saying over 13,000 people
fled to Bangladesh between January and September as the Myanmar government
consistently prevented aid from reaching the devastated region.
further noted that following the Myanmar military's military campaign in
Rakhine state, authorities have bulldozed village remnants, demolished
buildings and cleared plant life "to reshape some former Rohingya villages
and replace former establishments with security bases and other structural
Party faces growing pressure to tackle Islamophobia
chairman of Britain’s Conservative Party is facing accusations of inconsistency
over his response to Islamophobia by lawmakers and party members.
of a Twitter account that collects screenshots of anti-Muslim hate speech by
party members used the platform to claim that chairman Brandon Lewis was
picking and choosing targets when he announced the suspension of Tory members.
Lewis frequently confirms the suspension of specific members when it suits
him,” wrote @matesjacob on Twitter.
two Conservative association chairs, Ajay Jagota and Gerard Leake, accused
party chair Brandon Lewis and the CCHQ complaints department of failing to take
action against a Tory councillor who is alleged to have made an anti-Muslim
to leaked emails obtained by Buzzfeed, the Prime Minister’s office intervened
in the handling of the complaints. On behalf of the Conservative leader, staff
issued a private apology to Mr Jagota.
Twitter account has highlighted anti-Muslim comments made 10 party members on
social media. Comments made range from members saying that no Muslim would get
their vote, to the UK having “succumbed to a Muslim invasion”.
party member made comments on Facebook suggesting that she would back Boris
Johnson as leader on the basis of religious prejudice.
be able to have a say if it does come to those two”, said the party member on
Facebook, in reference to a two-horse race between Boris Johnson and Sajid
member, who photographed himself with Boris Johnson in 2015, once wrote that he
was “going through a few magazines the other day down at the local mosque …
then the rifle jammed”.
sentiment has also been seen at the top of the Conservative hierarchy.
August 2018, former Mayor of London Boris Johnson was reported to the
Equalities Commission after comparing Muslim women to masked bank robbers.
Johnson has a history of Islamophobic comments; in a written piece for The
Spectator in 2005, he wrote that “Islam is the problem”.
will take a huge effort of courage and skill to win round the many thousands of
British Muslims who are in a similar state of alienation, and to make them see
that their faith must be compatible with British values and with loyalty to
Britain," he wrote.
means disposing of the first taboo, and accepting that the problem is Islam.
Islam is the problem."
Warsi, Britain’s first Muslim woman cabinet minister, has in recent weeks said
that the governing party had become “institutionally Islamophobic” and accused
Prime Minister Theresa May of “burying her head in the sand”. Fourteen
Conservative Party members were suspended for Islamophobic Facebook posts after
Warsi’s comments gained traction.
report by anti-fascist organisation Hope Not Hate found Conservative voters are
more likely to have anti-Muslim views compared to voters from other British
2018 YouGov survey commissioned by the group asked voters if Islam was
generally compatible with the British way of life. Just under half of the
Conservative voters agreed it was a threat, compared to 22% of Labour voters.
voters are not the only Britons to see Muslims as a distinct homogenous group, set
apart from wider society. The effects of terror attacks and assimilationist
rhetoric that distinguishes Muslims as a culturally-distinct outgroup have
hardened hostile attitudes among those already predisposed to prejudice across
Britain,” added Hope Not Hate.
won’t risk lives returning Daesh refugees from Syria
Australia: Australia’s prime minister said on Thursday he won’t put officials
in danger by retrieving extremists from the Middle East after an Australian
Daesh group widow asked to bring her children home from a Syrian refugee camp.
Minister Scott Morrison’s response came after the Australian Broadcasting Corp.
interviewed the woman in one of the refugee camps in northern Syria where she
has lived with her toddler son and malnourished 6-month-old daughter since they
fled the Syrian village of Baghouz where the Daesh group has been making its
said the 24-year-old woman refused to confirm her identity and wore a veil
during the interview, but it identified her Thursday as Zehra Duman.
woman said her daughter needs hospital treatment and she wanted to bring her
back to Australia.
really cares about us here, and I understand the anger that they have toward a
lot of us here,” the woman told ABC, referring to the Kurdish authorities’
treatment of tens of thousands of her fellow Daesh supporters in the camps.
the kids don’t need to suffer,” she added.
said Australians who take their families to war zones to fight with the Daesh
movement had to take responsibility for their actions.
great tragedy of those who went and joined up with terrorists — to support
terrorist causes through Daesh and have taken their families into warzones
where they’re basically fighting against Australia — is they have placed their
children in this horrendous position.” Morrison told reporters.
not going to put any Australian at risk to try to extract people from those
situations,” he added.
University security expert Greg Barton said the government could no longer use
the excuse of risk for failing to repatriate Australian extremists as Australia
rightly did when the extremists were in territory controlled by Daesh fighters.
would need to be taken bringing her back, but it’s entirely do-able,” Barton
said. “We more than most countries can deal with this.”
countries were reluctant to bring their nationals home from the Middle East
since the Daesh caliphate collapsed because most countries struggled to gather
evidence to prove them guilty of an offense, Barton said.
Australia got around that burden of evidence in 2014 when a new law made simply
being inside IDaesh-held territory in Syria and Iraq a crime punishable by 10
years in prison. The onus is on Australians who visit designated Islamic
State-held areas to prove they had reasonable excuses.
one has yet been prosecuted under the law.
said Morrison wouldn’t bring the family home before elections due in May
because the prime minister thought that would be politically unpopular.
said any Australian citizen who returned from supporting Daesh fighters would
“face the full force of Australian law.”
leader Bill Shorten, whom opinion polls suggest will likely be prime minister
after the May elections, said his party would work constructively with the
government on repatriating Australian children from Syria without “political point-scoring.”
work it through. Do you separate kids from their parents? Who’s going to look
after them?” Shorten said to reporters.
said on social media she gave up her middle-class life in the Australian city
of Melbourne where she was part of a Turkish-Australian family for the
battlefields of Syria in late 2014.
had followed Daesh soldier Mahmoud Abdullatif who had left Melbourne months
earlier for the Raqqa, the Daesh movement’s center in Syria.
couple announced their wedding online in December 2014, with a photograph of
her dowry that included an assault rifle.
who began calling herself Zehra Abdullatif or Umm Abdullatif, said her
23-year-old husband died five weeks after their wedding.
former private school student became an avid online recruiter for the movement
and urged other women to join her.
fighter jets have targeted a weapons depot in Syria's terrorist-held Idlib
province, as part of the Syrian government's ongoing battle to retake the last
bastion of foreign-backed militants in the country.
defense ministry announced on Wednesday that the warehouse belonged to the
Hayat Tahrir al-Sham (HTS) terrorist group.
to the statement carried by Russia's RIA news agency, the HTS had been using
the building to store drones and other weapons in anticipation of a planned
attack on the Russian air base at Hmeimim, in the western province of Latakia.
ministry official told RIA that Moscow ordered the airstrike after receiving a
tip about the delivery of a large number of drones to the depot.
purging terrorists from most parts of the country thanks to support from Iran
and Russia, Syria has been preparing for an offensive on Idlib to free the
was reported in January that the Syrian army had dispatched military equipment,
including artillery, armored vehicles and personnel carriers, to the outskirts
of the western provinces of Hama and Idlib.
Damascus had to shelve those plans after Russia and Turkey brokered a
cease-fire in September to prevent attacks on the city.
said the Wednesday attack was coordinated with Turkey, which has been trying to
avert a Syrian offensive against the city near its borders.
truce agreement has come under strain recently as the HTS, an al-Qaeda
affiliate, continues to grow by defeating rival groups. Syrian army bases and
residential areas have come under stepped-up attacks by the group.
so-called safe zones declared in Idlib have seen HTS terrorists attacking
Turkish-backed militants from the so-called National Front for Liberation (NFL)
in a bid to seize key roads in the province and gain ground in neighboring
week, Turkey launched joint military patrols with Russia in to maintain
stability in the region and prevent the activities of radical groups.
President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan has been open to the idea of a joint attack.
European Parliament's vote to suspend Turkey's EU accession process is
"worthless for us", Turkey's ruling Justice and Development (AK)
Party spokesman said on Wednesday.
European Parliament (EP) on Wednesday approved a report recommending the
suspension of Turkey's European Union accession process.
disrespectful decision shows European Parliament's far-right ideological
tendency," Omer Celik wrote on Twitter.
said the EP was far away from making supportive decisions to democratic
development and accused the EP of looking through "the narrow window of
that the European Parliament failed to show solidarity with Turkey when the
Turkish parliament was bombed during the coup attempt in July 15, 2016, Celik
said the EP president visited Turkey months after the defeated coup.
they see no harm in working with coup leaders. Everybody knows the racist
[tendency] of the Commissioner for Enlargement and European Neighborhood Policy
and that the rapporteur who prepared this report is close to terror supporters
more than the democracy," Celik said.
Turkish Foreign Ministry says EP vote 'meaningless'
the Turkish Foreign Ministry also said in a statement that the EP's vote was
"meaningless" and described it as "far from objectivity".
Parliament's stance against Turkey should be to promote ties, interaction and
dialogue between Turkey and EU," the ministry said.
expects the new EP Parliament, to be formed after the elections in May, will
adopt a constructive approach to the Turkey-EU relations in the upcoming
period, take qualified and objective decisions and boost Turkey's EU
integration process," the ministry added.
Parliament’s Foreign Affairs Committee head Volkan Bozkir also condemned the
EP’s decision, describing it as "groundless" and said the EP has
showed its “bias and prejudice” against Turkey.
again proved with this decision that they are far from constructive path.
Turkey’s negotiation and accession process is beneficial for both Turkey and
deep-rooted and multidimensional relations with the EU contributed and is still
contributing to the EU in many aspects," Bozkir said.
went on to say that the EP's vote against Turkey’s EU accession process, which
comes at a time when Turkey's efforts to normalize and revitalize these ties
was at the highest level, was “double standard” and "inconsistency".
from presidential spokesman
presidential spokesman Ibrahim Kalin also slammed the EP's vote as "null
and void" for Turkey.
decision voted by the European Parliament, which is non-binding, unilateral and
away from the objectivity, is null and void for us," he said in a
content of the European Parliament's 2018 Turkey report is an attempt to axe
the process of increased joint efforts to gain a new momentum in Turkey-EU
relations," Kalin said.
also said far-right political movements in Europe disclosed the prejudiced
attitude against Turkey with a report which contains "baseless
claims" that do not reflect reality.
- Reaction from AK Party’s vice chairman
ruling AK Party’s vice chairman "strongly condemns the approval of the
2018 Report on Turkey adopted by the General Assembly of the European
Parliament (EP), which recommends the suspension of Turkey’s EU accession
Party Vice Chairman Cevdet Yilmaz said the report failed to reflect the real
picture regarding developments in Turkey.
is a clear indication of EP’s biased and prejudiced attitude towards
Turkey," Yilmaz said.
pointed to Turkey's sincere fight against terrorism and said it expects all its
allies to stand in solidarity with Turkey against Daesh, PKK/PYD and FETO
said Turkey appreciated the European Union for their consistent recognition of
the PKK as a terror organization and underlined that the security measures
taken by the Turkish government "is not only of concern to Turkey’s
national security, but also for the security and future of Europe."
would, therefore, once again like to take the opportunity to remind our
European counterparts that the PKK / PYD / YPG and FETO terrorist organizations
are a serious threat to the security and the public order of the EU
countries," Yilmaz added.
called on the EP and the EU to fulfil their commitments and abandon their
unrealistic, and prejudiced attitudes towards Turkey.
2018 EP Report on Turkey
Wednesday, the European Parliament voted against Turkey's EU accession
negotiations and called on the European countries to formally suspend the
total of 370 members of the EP voted in favor of the decision to suspend
Turkey's EU negotiations while 109 voted against and 143 abstained from voting.
2018 Commission Report on Turkey had been prepared by Rapporteur Kati Piri and
voted in the European Parliament’s Committee for Foreign Affairs in Feb. 21.
non-binding advisory report drew reactions from Turkey.
report, however, also praised Turkey's efforts in hosting refugees.
hosts the largest refugee population in the world, with more than 3 million
registered refugees from Syria, Iraq and Afghanistan," the report noted.
report noted that visa liberalization is of great importance for Turkish
citizens, particularly for students, academics, business representatives and
people with family ties in EU Member States.
report expressed its firm condemnation of the return to violence on the part of
the PKK terrorist organization and recalled that the terrorist group has been
on the EU list of terrorist organisations since 2002.
applied for EU membership in 1987 and accession talks began in 2005.
“openly and strongly” supports Turkey's accession process to the EU, Romanian
Ambassador to Turkey Gabriel Sopanda said on Wednesday.
at a diplomacy and peace seminar at TOBB University of Economics and Technology
in the capital Ankara, Sopanda noted that Turkish officials were invited
several times to attend both formal and informal meetings in Bucharest since
supported the process with Turkey and specifically mention that on our
papers," he said, adding: “We are saying this publicly and loudly from the
beginning of our [term] presidency."
the beginning of this year, Romania took over the term presidency of the
Council of the European Union.
to the scheduled vote in the European Parliament on Turkey's progress report,
Sopanda said the vote follows the “political division” within Europe.
not a vote that will be compulsory to be followed by the member states or the
institutions," he added.
in the day, the European Parliament voted to formally suspend the accession
negotiations with Turkey.
stressed that there is no change in Romania's position regarding Turkey.
Minister Imran Khan is expected to announce a new visa policy for 170 countries
in order to attract tourists and investors, Radio Pakistan reported on
Minister Fawad Chaudhry told journalists during a press talk yesterday that the
government, in the initial phase of its policy to relax visa policies, has
decided to extend e-visa facility to citizens of five countries, including
Turkey, China, Malaysia, United Kingdom, and United Arab Emirates. The facility
will then be extended to citizens of 170 countries if the pilot project
passenger identification system, Chaudhry said, has already been installed at
Karachi and Lahore airports and will be set up at other airports of the
the information minister said, business visas will be given to 90 countries,
while 55 countries will be granted visa-on-arrival. In the initial stages,
visa-on-arrival facility was only available to nationals of 24 countries.
government has also chalked out a visa policy for foreign journalists,
specifically those from western countries and it is hoped that the move will
make it easier for Pakistani journalists to get visas of other countries as
well. Chaudhry further said that the government will write to Indian
authorities, urging them to grant visas to Pakistani journalists who wanted to
cover the upcoming Indian elections.
The police claimed that the five terrorists arrested in Mansehra district had planned
to target the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor project.
terrorists Mohammad Talah and Tayyab Shah and their accomplices, including
Ahmad Shah, Aizaz Shah and Salahuddin, were produced in a news conference here.
police officer Zaibullah Khan said the terrorists were held in an operation
jointly carried out by the police, security forces and counter-terrorism
department in a village near Baffa area. He said the terrorists were wanted for
attacking a US charity, World Vision.
however, said he couldn’t share the details of the CPEC attack plans with the
media due to their sensitive nature.
said the terrorists killed eight staff members of INGO World Vision, including
four women, in Dogai area in 2010.
terrorists belonging to the banned militant outfit, Tehreek-i-Taliban Pakistan,
were also wanted for attacking the Pakistan Army’s convoy in Shinkiari,
targeting an imambargah in Palas area, assaulting police in different parts of
the district, and committing targeted killings,” he said.
Zaibullah said the terrorists, who were expert at the making and blasting of
indigenous explosive devices, had undergone a training session in Waziristan.
said the arrested men also exploded CD shops and target killed a man in
Mansehra and Torghar districts.
A man and his son were killed over a petty issue in Safada area here on Tuesday
members of Mohammad Niaz and his neighbour Mohammad Saleem held heated
exchanges over the throwing of stones at the latter’s house.
Niaz and his son Abdul Rehman indiscriminately fire bullets on Mohammad Saleem
and his son Mohammad Rizwan, who suffered critical injuries.
injured were shifted to the King Abdullah Teaching Hospital, where the doctors
declared both of them dead.
should consider establishing ties with Israel, former Pakistani President
Pervez Musharraf said recently, in the days following a standoff with India
over the disputed territory of Kashmir.
was not the first time Musharraf had made his views known on developing
relations with Israel. He ruled Pakistan from 1999 to 2008 and was one of the
country’s most powerful heads of state.
remained a strong critic of Israel until 2005. But it was during his rule that
the first-ever direct Pakistan-Israel contact was made, with the help of the
then-Turkish president Ahmet Necdet Sezer. Since then, Musharraf, who resigned
in 2008, has advocated establishment of relations between Pakistan and Israel.
who claims to enjoy support from Pakistan’s military establishment, as well as
from members of Prime Minister Imran Khan’s cabinet, has once again advised
Pakistan to establish ties with Israel.
a press conference in Dubai last month, Musharraf said relations with Israel
should be established to counter India, drawing an interesting parallel between
Pakistani and Israeli strategic realities.
also placed on record that, as head of state, he had initiated contacts with
Israel. “The Israeli leadership was quick to respond to my offer within 24
hours. I assumed that Israel wanted to create better relations with Pakistan.
They still want it,” Musharraf said.
former president initiated contact with Israel during the second half of 2004,
even as anti-Israel sentiments were at an all-time high in Pakistan, a Muslim
majority country of 208 million people. Musharraf’s efforts bore fruit, when
foreign ministers of Israel and Pakistan held their first meeting in Turkey in
assisted by Jack Rosen, an American businessman and Chairman of the American
Jewish Congress, and backed by then-president George W. Bush, Musharraf became
the first Pakistani head of state to address the World Jewish Congress on
September 18, 2005.
has no direct conflict with Israel, and we are not a threat to Israel’s
security. We believe Israel represents no threat to Pakistan’s national
security. But our people have deep sympathy for the Palestinian people, and
their legitimate desire for a state,” Musharraf said at that time.
his speech before the World Jewish Congress, which only a few in Pakistan
hailed, Musharraf had praised Israel’s move to pull out of Gaza. “In response
to [Ariel] Sharon’s courageous decision to pull out from Gaza, Pakistan has
decided to establish formal ties with the State of Israel,” he said. However,
Musharraf’s plan to establish Pakistan-Israel ties never materialized, while
his views on Israel continue to divide politicians in Pakistan.
Prime Minister Imran Khan has not yet responded to Musharraf’s suggestion that
Pakistan should form relations with Israel. However, Shah Mahmood Qureshi,
Pakistan’s Foreign Minister, told Al Arabiya English that this is a
possibility, but only if the Israel-Palestine conflict is resolved amicably.
Musharraf is Pakistan’s former president, so he is highly respected. But he
isn’t a part of our government. Not even our ally. So, his comments do not
reflect the government and people of Pakistan,” Qureshi said.
I can tell you is that Pakistan has had a pro-Palestinian stance for a long
time. We cannot even think about establishing contacts with Israel until
Palestine is internationally recognized as an independent state.”
former federal minister for religious affairs in Musharraf’s government,
categorically rejected any proposal to establish relations with Israel. “We
can’t even think of establishing relations with Israel,” Ijaz-ul-Haq told Al
Arabiya English. Ironically, Ijaz-ul-Haq’s father, General Zia-ul-Haq, who
served as President and Chief of Army Staff, reportedly allowed Pakistan’s
Inter-Services Intelligence agency (ISI) to establish links with Israel’s
Mossad in the early 1980s.
offices were set up in embassies of both countries in Washington DC, where the
Mossad and ISI, with help from the CIA, ran a decade-long anti-Soviet operation,
codenamed Operation Cyclone.
this operation, Israel delivered Soviet made-weapons to Afghan rebels fighting
the Soviet Union in Afghanistan, and also supplied weapons to the Pakistan
to WikiLeaks, ISI had secretly passed on intelligence to the Mossad that
Israeli civilians might be targeted in a terrorist attack in India during
September or November 2008. It was also reported that then-ISI chief
Lieutenant-General Ahmad Shuja Pasha established direct contact with Israel’s
Mossad to pass on this information.
analyst and Ph.D. scholar at Quaid-e-Azam University, Mustansar Abbas, believes
Pakistan may need a long time to eventually establish relations with Israel.
But it will have to do it slowly, since foreign policy cannot be static and has
to evolve with time.
Al-Qaeda terrorists including 9 suicide bombers killed in Ghazni airstrikes
least 31 terrorists of Al-Qaeda Network were killed during the airstrikes in
southeastern Ghazni province of Afghanistan.
Ministry of Defense of Afghanistan in a statement said the airstrikes were
carried out in the vicinity of Geru district of Ghazni, leaving at least 31
statement further added that 9 suicide bombers were also among those killed in
airstrikes targeted a compound of Al-Qaeda Network in the Indian subcontinent
which was led by Qari Arif, the Ministry of said, adding that the militants
were targeted while they were attempting to transfer militants from the
Ministry of defense also added that several vehicles were also destroyed during
Bangladesh said Wednesday it would start relocating tens of thousands of
Rohingya Muslims from overcrowded camps to a remote island vulnerable to
extreme weather, despite the plan attracting considerable controversy.
and flood walls have been constructed on Bhashan Char, a muddy silt islet that
only rose from the Bay of Bengal in 2006, in the hope of shifting 100,000
Rohingya refugees there.
has been talking about the island for years and the plan to relocate some of
the nearly one million Rohingya refugees living along its border with Myanmar
has stalled many times.
proposal to uproot the refugees remains unpopular among the Rohingya community
and critics have raised concerns about the island's ability to withstand
violent storms during the monsoon.
Mozammel Huq, the head of Bangladesh's cabinet committee on law and order and a
senior government minister, said the relocation would proceed as planned.
plan to start the process next month, as construction at Bhashan Char is now
complete," he told AFP.
Hossain, the government administrator of Cox's Bazar district where the vast
Rohingya camps are located, told AFP they were "preparing a list of
refugees who would voluntarily go to the island".
island is one hour by boat from the nearest land and experts said it was too
risky to house the refugees on the island as it is prone to flooding during
of thousands have died in Bangladesh from cyclones in the last 50 years, mostly
in coastal areas.
officials have pointed to a newly-constructed three-metre (nine-feet) high
embankment around the island they say will keep out tidal surges in the event
of a cyclone.
a top UN rights expert in January warned moving the refugees there could spark
a "new crisis" for the persecuted Muslim minority.
said the UN "should concentrate on the welfare of the Rohingya
is up to Bangladesh to decide where we will keep the refugees," he said.
groups have warned the refugees crammed into the world's largest refugee camp
in Cox's Bazar are at risk of landslides, disease and floods.
Rohingya fled Myanmar by droves in 2017 into Bangladesh, escaping a
military-led crackdown the UN has said could amount to genocide.
official from the International Criminal Court who visited the Rohingya camps
this week said those responsible for their persecution would be held to
account, despite Myanmar not being a signatory to the Hague-based court.
ambassador Earl Miller met with Bangladesh government officials on Tuesday in
Cox's Bazar to "learn more" about the island relocation.
Afghan armed forces have repelled two Taliban attacks in western Herat and
Farah provinces of Afghanistan, leaving more than 20 militants dead or wounded.
207th Zafar Corps in a statement said a clash took place between armed forces
and Taliban in Highway#1 of Farah province which resulted into the killing of 5
Taliban militants while 6 others sustained injuries.
statement further added that a local commander of the group identified as
Mullah Helal was also among those killed.
the meantime, the 207th Zafar Corps said a separate clash took place between
armed forces and Taliban in Pashtun Zarghoon district that left at least 4
militants dead and 7 others wounded.
207th Zafar Corps also added that the clashes took place after Taliban
militants attacked security outposts in the two provinces.
President Ashraf Ghani said on Wednesday that Afghanistan’s peace process must
be led by his government, a day after US and Taliban representatives announced
that they were closer to finalizing a deal following 16 days of intensive
Tuesday night, after the conclusion of the fifth and longest round of talks in
Doha, Qatar, both the Taliban and US officials said that they had reached a
consensus on the vital parts of the agreement, which pushes for a complete
withdrawal of US troops from Afghanistan.
return, the Taliban have agreed not to allow Afghanistan to be used as a base
for militant activities against the US or any other country.
US chief negotiator and its peace envoy for Afghanistan, Zalmay Khalilzad, flew
back to Washington on Tuesday night to brief Secretary of State Mike Pompeo on
the details of the meeting, even as the Taliban’s representatives said that
they wanted to consult with the group’s leadership too. Both groups are
expected to meet in Doha by the end of March.
want permanent peace … the ownership of the peace process belongs to people and
the government,” Ghani said.
president is expected to summon a Loya Jirga, or grand gathering, in six weeks’
time to “work on the framework, limits and goals of the peace.”
who is seeking re-election in July’s presidential polls, said that the
elections were imperative for peace and stability in the country. He urged
Afghans to participate in the vote, which has already been delayed once.
several officials from his administration hailed the progress of the peace
Ahmadi, a Foreign Ministry spokesman, said that the Afghan government welcomed
the “recent progress made in negotiations between Dr. Khalilzad and Taliban
Haroon Chakhansuri, Ghani’s spokesperson, said in a statement that they
“welcome US efforts in the Afghan peace process.”
hope to witness a long-term comprehensive cease-fire with the Taliban, and hope
that direct negotiations of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan and the Taliban
begin soon,” he said.
Doha dialogue follows sustained US military efforts for subduing the Taliban on
the battlefield as part of US President Donald Trump’s 2017 strategy.
despite an increased presence of US troops and an escalation of attacks by
Afghan and US troops, the insurgents have continued to gain more ground.
assuming office, Trump has spoken on several occasions of his desire to ensure
a complete pullout of US troops from Afghanistan — after nearly 17 years of the
war — and appointed Khalilzad to initiate discussions with the Taliban for the
Tuesday, Afghan-born Khalilzad tweeted about the progress of the peace talks
after the latest round of talks.
time here was well spent. We made progress, and we had detailed discussions to
reach an understanding on issues that are difficult and complicated,” he said,
without divulging any other details.
reports circulated on Wednesday that a truce and the Taliban’s negotiations
with Ghani’s government were part of the Doha discussions.
Taliban, for their part, have repeatedly insisted that they will not engage in
direct talks with Kabul, suggesting that Ghani send his delegates instead.
militants held their first direct and major discussions with non-state Afghan
actors and major politicians — including Ghani’s archrivals — a few months ago
in Russia, infuriating Kabul.
round of talks saw extensive and detailed discussions taking place regarding
two issues that were agreed upon during the January talks,” Zabihullah Mujahid,
a spokesman for the Taliban, said in a statement. “Those two issues were the
withdrawal of all foreign forces from Afghanistan and preventing anyone from
harming others from Afghan soil.”
was achieved regarding both these issues. For now, both sides will deliberate
over the achieved progress, share it with their respective leaderships.”
Amarkhail, a retired general, said that the dialogue had created hope for
success and a breakthrough in the next round of talks.
than 30 Boko Haram Takfiri terrorists have been killed in an operation by
Niger’s army in the Lake Chad region.
actions carried out on Tuesday inflicted heavy losses on the enemy,"
Niger’s Defense Ministry said in a statement read on state television on
terrorists (were) killed."
ministry added that an "armored vehicle" was destroyed, while two
other vehicles, two motorcycles, a 120-millimeter mortar, 10 AK-47 assault
rifles, two 60mm shells and 3,736 rounds of all calibres were seized.
offensive reportedly kicked off on March 9, a day after seven police and 38 militants
were killed near Gueskerou in the southeastern region of Diffa, which borders
Boko Haram’s stronghold in northeastern Nigeria.
27,000 people have been killed and about two million others displaced since the
beginning of Boko Haram's acts of terror in Nigeria in 2009.
2015, the militants pledged allegiance to the Takfiri Daesh terrorist group.
Haram has spread its attacks from northeastern Nigeria, its traditional
stronghold, to the neighboring countries of Chad, Niger and Cameroon.
February 16, the militants killed seven Nigerien soldiers in an attack on their
post in the border village of Chetima Wangou.
army announced in January that it had killed nearly 290 militants from Boko
Haram during an offensive near the country’s southeast border with Nigeria.
Sudanese President Omar Al-Bashir has bound himself more tightly to the
country’s military and refuses to bow to the demands of street protesters who
for over three months now have been calling for the longtime autocrat to step
wily 74-year-old has remained in power through three decades of war and sanctions,
the secession of Sudan’s oil-rich south in 2011 and an international arrest
warrant for genocide and war crimes linked to the Darfur conflict.
since December he has faced the biggest protests of his long rule, with
political parties and unions demanding his ouster and demonstrators chanting
slogans from the 2011 Arab Spring.
least five people were killed and more than 40 others wounded on Wednesday when
landmines went off at a busy livestock market in the Somalia’s southwestern
administrative region of Bay, an official said.
terrorist group had targeted innocent civilians in Gof-gadud district’s
livestock market with 4 landmine explosions on Wednesday and 5 people were
killed, more than 40 others wounded”, said Nuradin Yusuf, spokesman for the
Southwest State in Baidoa city, the capital of Bay region.
administration has sent ambulances to the scene and the wounded people were
being transported to hospitals in Baidoa for treatment," Yusuf told
Burey is a small livestock business district, located some 30 kilometers (18
miles) from Baidoa city.
forces conducted an airstrike on Tuesday in Somalia’s Huley vicinity in the
Lower Shabelle Region, killing two terrorists, the US Africa Command says.
airstrike was conducted in coordination with Somali forces, and was the second
by the US forces this week, having launched another strike on Monday which
killed 8 militants.
airstrikes like this remove al-Shabaab militants from the battlefield and
support our partner’s efforts to increase pressure on the terrorist network,”
said U.S. Air Force Brig. Gen. William West, U.S. AFRICOM deputy director of
operations. “The Federal Government of Somalia continues to eliminate
al-Shabaab leadership, disrupt its communication efforts, and obstruct the
group’s ability to terrorize the people of Somalia.”
pledged to continue collaborating with Somali forces to disable the threat of
terrorism posed by al-Shabaab.
al-Qaeda affiliated group has waged an extremist war in Somalia for over a
decade, killing tens of thousands and displacing millions others.
forces and African Union troops aim to rid the Horn of African country of the
threat of terrorism.
forced have made gains and forced the militants out of major towns, though they
still manage to stage attacks especially using suicide bombers.
the U.S. initially engaged the militants minimally, President Donald Trump
granted broader authority to carry out strikes after coming into power.
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