Nidhi Chapekar one of the
two injured Jet Airways crew of Belgium airport attacks in 2016, a year after
in Mumbai, 15-03-17. (Express Photo by Amit Chakravarty)
France: Airport Attacker ‘Was Driven By Drugs, Not
Shekau in New Video, Threatens Cameroon, Nigeria,
Mali, Others over Sharia
Police Forces Resume Push Towards IS “Caliphate”
Mosque in Western Mosul
‘Muslims Can’t Marry Under General Law’ In Sri Lanka
Jaipur: Hotel Sealed, 2 Held after ‘Beef’ Rumour
A Year after Brussels Blasts: ‘Terror Can’t Finish
Everyone, Humanity Will Survive’
London’s Islamic Finance Boom Shows That Flexibility
And Innovation Are In The City’s DNA
UK-Trained Fighters Will 'Absolutely' Beat Islamic
State, Says Senior Officer
Germany Says Erdogan Has 'Gone Too Far' With Nazi Jibe
Tory election candidate suspended after allegedly
posting anti-Islamic tweet
A National Pact for an Italian Islam
Nigeria: 3 Suicide Bombers Kill 4 In North-Eastern
Security in Mali ‘worrying’: UN peacekeeping mission
Africans denied visas to attend trade meeting in US
World Bank announces $57 bn in financing for Africa
Somalia wants Saudi probe of refugee boat attac
Six Islamic State Leaders Killed In Mosul
As anti-Islamic State battle in Mosul escalates,
civilians get caught in crossfire
Politician: S. Arabia Supports Sabotage Acts to Block
Political Settlement of Crisis in Syria
Syrian Army on Verge of Retaking Strategic Region in
Syrian Army Expanding Buffer Zone around Palmyra
Syrian Army Tightens Noose on ISIL in Deir Hafer
Dara'a: Army Captures Al-Nusra Front Positions
Homs: Over 1,400 Militants, Family Members Leave
26 ISIS Militants and Weapons Depot Eliminated In East
Bangladesh SC upholds death sentence of HuJI leader,
Bangladesh Imam Held for Facebook Post
Afghan Taliban signal interest in joining Moscow talks
Afghan ‘insider attack’ leaves three US troops injured
Paktika governor’s door to door campaign for
Afghan soldier open fire on US soldiers in Helmand
leaving 3 wounded
Taliban suffer casualties as airstrike likely
destroyed biometric equipment in Pakti
Trinamool Congress Appeasing Islamic Fundamentalists
and Jihadis: RSS Leader
Mohsin Raza, lone Muslim face in Saffron brigade
Rulers’ Fail to Pioneer Islamic System in Country:
Pakistan Islamic Scholars
Hindu Marriage Bill Becomes Law in Pakistan
Rules Finalised On Freezing, Seizing Assets of Banned
Organisations Of Pakistan
Pakistan wants to address issues with neighbours
peacefully: Nawaz Sharif
Pakistan memorial seeks security to mark Bhagat
Budget cuts may abolish position of US special envoy
for Af-Pak region
Partnership with Russia to promote regional peace: PM
Myanmar Hard-Line Buddhists Protest Citizenship for
More Islamic Banks Need To Offer Fintech Solutions
Philippines can't stop China moves in disputed sea:
Philippine military attacks extremist bomb-makers
Israeli Defence Minister Threatens To Destroy Syrian
Turkish Mosque in Germany Vandalized
Erdogan launches scathing attack against Merkel
A momentous referendum in Turkey
‘He Is Blind or Deaf,’ Turkish Defence Minister Says
About German Intel Chief
Trump Muslim travel ban: Hawaii judge rejects motion
to limit injunction
Using Special Forces against Terrorism, Trump Seeks to
Avoid Big Ground Wars
Two dead, several injured in riot at Guatemala prison
Al-Qaeda operative convicted on multiple terror
offenses in US
3 US troops injured as Afghan soldier opens fire
Muslim supporters turn out in South Bay
Compiled by New Age Islam News Bureau
MAR 2017 Monday 20TH
THE father of the slain Paris airport gunman said
yesterday that his son was under the influence of drink or drugs, not radical
His comments on a radio programme hours after being
released from police questioning came as Paris prosecutors said that coroners
were testing Ziyed Ben Belgacem’s body for alcohol or drugs.
His brother and a cousin were still being questioned.
The father, whose name was not given, told Europe 1
radio: “My son was never a terrorist.
“He never attended prayers. He drank. But under the
effects of alcohol and cannabis, this is where one ends up.”
Paris prosecutor Francois Molins said Mr Belgacem
stopped at a bar in the small hours of Saturday before his first attack, when
he shot a gendarme with a revolver loaded with birdshot.
A police search of his flat found traces of cocaine,
Mr Molins said. Ninety minutes after shooting the gendarme, Mr Belgacem took a
female soldier hostage at Orly airport and demanded her two comrades throw down
“I am here to die for Allah. Whatever happens, there
will be deaths,” he reportedly said, armed with his hostage’s rifle and a can
His father confirmed Mr Molins’s assertion that Mr
Belgacem had phoned him after the first incident.
“He called me at seven, eight in the morning and said:
‘There you go, Papa.’ He was extremely angry, even his mother couldn’t
understand him,” he said.
“He told me: ‘I ask for your forgiveness. I’ve screwed
up with a gendarme’.”
Mr Molins said that Mr Belgacem was on a watch list
after being “radicalised” during a spell in detention from 2011- 2012 and had
to report to police regularly over preliminary robbery charges last year.
Shekau in new video, threatens Cameroon, Nigeria,
Mali, others over Sharia
ON MARCH 20, 2017
Boko Haram leader, Abubakar Shekau, has appeared in a
new video threatening world leaders and disputing the Cameroonian government’s
claim that it has defeated the terror group. Speaking Hausa, Shekau ordered his
fighters to remain steadfast, boasting that the sect will not back down until
Sharia is established in Benin, Cameroon, Chad, Niger, Nigeria and Mali. The
video came three days after Boko Haram released a video showing them killing
three men allegedly working for the Nigerian government. Video Translation: ”Let me speak briefly in Hausa language,
Allah’s help towards us made us to continue fighting, our brothers too fought
along Cameroon-Nigerian border. But you kept lying to the people that you have
killed 60 of our people, that you succeded in arresting 20 of our men. That you
even rescued 5000 of your people. ”Why all these lies? Paul Biya, why are you
lying? Is this how to convince your masters, the whitemen who are pigs and
children of monkies? ”Lies! Lies every day, you better be careful, Paul Biya
because you are not fighting Shekau but God. It would have been easy for you to
fight Shekau not God. This thing is beyond your imagination even though you
underrated our strength you cannot joke with the holy Quran, prophet’s hadith
and the religion of Allah. No! No! No! ”Buhari, I’m very much sure that you
have learnt your lessons by now. You have really learned your lessons but you
can still continue if you like. Remember that nobody has ever done bad and
gotten away with it. ”By Allah, all your deception and lies to Nigerians that
you are doing them good will not help you. Following the steps of America,
Britain or practising democracy and educating children with Western education
will equally not do you good. ”I rather not wish you bad but let me urge you to
seek Allah’s forgiveness and repentance. Accept the real teaching of the Islam
by not only depending on fasting, salat, zakkat and Hajj. ”It’s not my saying
because religion is ideology which is based on practicing the Quran and its
laws. I better not make too much talk. Niger Republic President Muhammadu
Yusufu you are a liar. You can’t dare my students and if I rise against you it
will be difficult for you to face me. ”Just remember that as long as we are
Muslims and we practice the injunction of the Holy Quran we will be powerful.
This is not something you can play with. Stop saying Boko Haram people are
jobless because your propaganda will not help you in the presence of Allah.”
This is my warning to you all. By the way, this message was meant for my
brothers in Islam to remind them to
remain resilient and dedicated towards the struggle. I assured them that the
struggle is not shaken or weakened in anyway. All the explosions in Maiduguri
are carried out by us and we will continue to detonate bombs. In fact, you will
never have rest of mind until you accept the holy Quran.
Police forces resume push towards IS “caliphate”
mosque in western Mosul
Mar 20, 2017
Nineveh (IraqiNews.com) The Iraqi Federal Police
command said Monday its troops resumed advances towards a strategic mosque in
western Mosul as operations continue to clear the region from Islamic State
The command said its forces proceeded towards
Al-Hadbaa (leaning) Minaret at the Grand Nuri al-Kabir Mosque, where Islamic
State’s supreme leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi delivered a famous sermon in 2014
proclaiming the establishment of an “Islamic Caliphate” in Iraq.
The Grand Nuri al-Kabir mosque in western Mosul
The statement said forces had killed 36 Islamic State
members and destroyed 13 booby-trapped vehicles.
Inclement weather over the past few days had added to
the difficulties facing Iraqi troops eyeing the Old City, a strategic target
where the mosque is located. The area’s narrow alleyways and the density of the
civilian population therein had prompted Iraqi and U.S.-led coalition troops to
rely solely on precision air and artillery strikes without advancing on the ground.
Iraqi government troops recaptured eastern Mosul in
January and are working to retake the western side of the city, making a
remarkable progress by recapturing major government facilities, the city’s
airport and a major military base.
Operations in Mosul have displaced more than 200.000
civilians since October, according to Iraqi government and United Nations
By UMESH MORAMUDALI
Activists pressing for reforms in the Muslim Marriage
and Divorce Act (MMDA) raised concerns regarding the statement by Sri Lanka's
Permanent Representative to the UN Ravinatha Aryasinha at the Interactive
Dialogue with the Special Rapporteurs on Minority Issues, Rita Izsák-Ndiaye
regarding the MMDA.
Aryasinha had stated that regardless of the origin,
race or religion, any Sri Lankan can enter into a marriage bond under the
General Marriages Ordinance and hence the application of personal laws is not
automatic, but a matter of choice of the individual.
Commenting on the statement, Independent researcher on
MMDA and author of Unequal Citizens, Hyshyma Hamin said, the General Marriage
Ordinance in its introduction has the specifying clause "other than the
marriages of Muslims", hence it is clear that Muslims cannot marry under
"It is not even a matter of interpretation. The
application of personal law is explicitly automatic and there is no choice for
the individual," she noted.
In the recent past, there were many concerns regarding
the MMDA and activists' groups were lobbying for reforms claiming that the MMDA
hinders the rights of Muslim women.
Aryasinha, meanwhile had told the UNHRC that the
Government has sought the assistance of eminent persons in the Muslim Community
who are well versed in Muslim law and the system of Quazi Courts to consider
reforms in Muslim law. This Committee is headed by a sitting Supreme Court
Judge. These discussions are being conducted with a positive approach.
Jaipur: Hotel sealed, 2 held after ‘beef’ rumour
"We have sealed the hotel as they could not
produce a licence to operate their restaurant."
March 20, 2017
A hotel in Jaipur was sealed while its owner and one
of his staff members arrested for alleged improper disposal of meat remains,
police said on Sunday. “Someone spread a rumour that Hotel Hayat Rabbani in
Sindhi Camp area in Jaipur was preparing and disposing beef remains. However,
the rumours were baseless and the actual matter is that locals were unhappy
over the ‘non-vegetarian’ remains which the hotel threw openly; cows were
consuming these remains which angered the locals,” Jaipur (West) Deputy
Commissioner of Police, Ashok Kumar Gupta said.
“So, after the complaint by (Gau Raksha Dal leader)
Kamal Didi, we arrested hotel owner Naeem Rabbani and one of his staff members
under section 295 A (deliberate and malicious acts, intended to outrage religious
feelings of any class by insulting its religion or religious beliefs) of the
Indian Penal Code,” Gupta said.
“The hotel was vacated and shut down by the municipal
corporation,” he said. Police denied that the hotel staff was beaten up by
angry locals. Jaipur deputy mayor Manoj Bhardwaj said, “We have sealed the
hotel as they could not produce a licence to operate their restaurant. Second,
they were disposing their waste openly and flouting rules.”
A year after Brussels blasts: ‘Terror can’t finish
everyone, humanity will survive’
As Chapekar waits for permission to fly again, she
recalls the officer who ‘kept talking to her’, the man who was first to reach
Nidhi Chapekar, Brussels blasts, Brussels terror
attack, Brussels blasts 2016, Brussels 2016, Brussels airport attack, Brussels
attack victim, latest news, latest india news
Her hands, in white gloves, are a stark reminder of
the burns. Next week, when Nidhi Chapekar (42) visits Brussels on the
invitation of King Philippe of Belgium, she plans to visit her doctors, nurse
Marc Hermans, police officer Alan, Indian embassy official Sudeepta and a phone
booth owner Shabbir bhai.
A Year After Brussels Blast, Survivor Says Terror
Can't Finish Everyone
“All of them were there with me,” says Chapekar. When
she lay in hospital, Sudeepta would bring her homemade khichdi, and Shabbir
bhai was the first one to reach there and take a picture of the bandaged Nidhi,
unsure if it was her, to send to her husband Rupesh in India. Nurse Marc was
the one she interacted with the most in hospital, and officer Alan kept talking
to her for 20 minutes at the airport to comfort her after two blasts ripped
through Zaventum Airport in March 2016.
Read: Amit Motwani took selfies after the attack, for
family to see final moments if he died
Now, with an almost-ready book to recount her
experience during the Brussels attack, Nidhi says her question to doctors at St
Augustine Hospital, Brussels, where she was rushed from the blast site, was,
“Is my face burnt?” They had answered yes. In that moment, she did not want to
live. “You see this in movies. I didn’t want pity from anyone,” she says. A
cabin manager with Jet Airways, she had reached Brussels airport before 8 am
for her flight duty to Newark, which would begin at 10.15 am. She had taken an
escalator to level 2 when the first bomb exploded. Colleague Amit Motwani
steered her the other way. She had just turned left when an abandoned bag
exploded in her face.
Now, she feels her viral picture — in a torn yellow
blouse, burnt hair, blood-smeared face, and a shocked look directed straight at
the camera — was a ‘life saver’. At least her family knew she was alive. Though
she adds that her pictures may have reached rural parts of India. “With our
culture, I wish they had blurred it a bit, showing my face was okay.”
Post attack, she kept telling the police not to let
her lose consciousness. “I wanted to see everything, to be able to give an
account later,” she says. This is when officer Alan kept talking to her as they
carried her out of the airport. Shabbir bhai, a phone booth and convenience
store owner, had befriended Nidhi during her routine visits to Brussels. After
the blasts, he took his car to look for her. Finding her bandaged head-to-toe
in hospital, he took a picture for Rupesh.
Rupesh, who later flew to Brussels, hardly believed it
was her in the first few days after the attack. “I had doubts Nidhi was still
out somewhere,” he says. She spent the next 25 days in an induced coma. When
she did open her eyes, he asked her whether she knew who he was. “I couldn’t
understand initially,” she laughs, adding she had weird dreams of solitaires,
old age homes and of her being stuck to a glass. “I would recount my dreams,
and everyone would laugh,” Nidhi smiles. She had 15 per cent burns, multiple
fractures in the legs, an ear injury, and a burnt face. Her right heel had a
cavity where a metal piece had ripped through. Forty seven shrapnel were
removed from her body in a series of surgeries. She underwent skin grafting and
later plastic surgeries for face and body. Her hand still has scars, and she
keeps them tucked in gloves at all times, with a coat of cream.
15-03-17 Nidhi Chapekar one of the two injured Jet
Airways crew of Belgium airport attacks in 2016, a year after in Mumbai,
15-03-17. (Express Photo by Amit Chakravarty)
In 2016, she returned to Mumbai after over a month for
her children, aged 15 and 11. “My son never cries, but he cried when he saw
me,” she says. Relatives would take turns for 15-20 days to look after her. By
sheer will power, she attempted to move out of bed after two-and-a-half months.
She started changing, dressing herself, taking two hours to do so. “I wanted to
be independent. I did not like crawling, needing help,” she explains. She and
Rupesh had a love marriage, and he knew she would come out of this. Her
children would call her a tigress.
In a year, Nidhi’s once burnt hair has grown to a wavy
brown neck-length crop. Her skin has cleared. And her walk seems normal. She
may require two more surgeries for ear and leg following a check-up in
Brussels. In the past one year, she has attended all family functions to make
use of time. Her children, all this while, never missed school, except for one
badminton session on the day of the attacks.
She is a proud mother, and a more satisfied person.
The attacks and months of home rest have made her reflect on humanity and the
growing need for it. “Terrorism can’t finish everyone, right? Humanity will
survive,” she smiles, keen to fly again. Her medical papers will soon be sent
to the Director General of Civil Aviation for permission to fly. If not that,
she will work as ground staff.
London’s Islamic finance boom shows that flexibility
and innovation are in the City’s DNA
London now has more than 20 international banks
operating in Islamic finance (Source: Getty)
In recent years, the UK has stepped up its game in
Islamic finance. In 2014, for example, it became the first country outside the
Islamic world to issue a sovereign sukuk, the Islamic equivalent of a bond.
With such significant developments taking place here
in the UK, I was very much looking forward to a trip to Turkey where I
discussed how we can build upon this further.
A major focus of my trip was the Islamic Finance
Summit, hosted at the British Consulate-General in Istanbul. Playing host to
more than 100 Turkish, British and other international bankers, business people
and academics, it was a good opportunity to see close up how the rise in
prominence of Sharia-compliant finance in the UK had helped strengthen bonds
Built upon Islamic law, Sharia-compliant investment
firms are prohibited from investing in businesses that trade, for example, in
the sale of alcohol, pork products and gambling. The other significant
difference lies in the way in which interest is paid and owed. Instead of
charging or receiving interest, a bank and its customer will share the risk of
an investment on agreed terms, dividing any profits between them. The
collection and payment of interest by lenders and investors is not permitted
under Islamic law.
Read more: Gold is now an accepted Sharia investment
under new Islamic banking rules
It wasn’t until the turn of the century that the UK
started its first Islamic finance working group. Since then, however, City
firms have grown exponentially to meet demand – business in Sharia-compliant
finance is stronger now than ever before, demonstrating yet again the
flexibility and ability to innovate that is inherent in the City’s DNA.
London now has more than 20 international banks
operating in Islamic finance – five of which are fully Sharia-compliant.
Further to this, more than 20 law firms – with offices in the UK – are
supplying legal services relating to Islamic finance for global and domestic
Islamic finance mechanisms have been used in a number
of projects in London itself, such as The Shard, the Olympic Village, and the
redevelopment of the Chelsea Barracks and the Battersea Power Station sites.
The UK is also the global leader in Islamic finance
education with over 70 business courses in the UK having an Islamic finance element
and more than 20 universities offering degree programmes specialising in the
subject. As an educator I firmly believe that these courses will foster the
next generation of finance professionals who will cement London’s position as
the western hub for Islamic finance.
As we start the process of leaving the EU, it is now
more important than ever that we deepen our business relationships across the
world with valued partners such as Turkey. The United Kingdom has always been a
global trading nation, epitomised most strongly by the City of London, the
world’s leading financial centre. Turkey too for centuries has been a hub of
global trade, with East and West meeting in Istanbul. I believe we can both
play to each other’s strengths.
UK-trained fighters will 'absolutely' beat Islamic
State, says senior officer
Iraqi and Kurdish fighters being trained by UK forces
will "absolutely" beat Islamic State, a high ranking British Army
officer has said.
A member of the Zervani storms a building during a
training exercise at Tiger Town on the outskirts of Erbil, Iraq
20 March 2017
As part of the UK's role in the 68-member Global
Coalition committed to defeating the terror group, more than 500 British
soldiers are currently deployed in locations across Iraq.
Lieutenant Colonel Rob Singleton Commanding Officer of
the 2nd Battalion of The Duke of Lancaster's Regiment is based in Erbil in the
Kurdish region at UK camp, JOB Zorbash.
Over the past few months, the 40-year-old dad-of-two
said 2 LANCS have been training Iraqi and Kurdish security forces in medical
techniques, infantry skills and counter Improvised Explosive Device (IED)
"In Mosul at the moment they are making real
progress, and whilst we are not fighting we have got an indirect
approach," he told the Press Association.
"It is our job to train the Iraqis and the Kurds
so that they are able to do their job in Mosul - and it appears to me that they
are doing it really well, they are very brave, and they have been fighting for
a while now.
"I think that they are absolutely going to beat
Daesh (another term for Islamic State) and it is to their credit."
Lt Col Singleton said the Kurds and Iraqis are
confident the fight against IS is one they can win, and that it is the job of
his battalion to make sure they have the right skill set to do it.
"I think my training teams are genuinely first
class and so they are held in really high regard by both the coalition and
Kurdish and Iraqi security forces," he said.
"When they deliver those periods of instruction,
it is the best it gets and the Iraqis and Kurds know that and they know that it
will keep them safe in Mosul and beyond."
An unfinished and abandoned development on the
outskirts of Erbil called Tiger Town, is now being used by the Peshmerga,
British and coalition forces for training purposes.
The half-built structures provide a "first-class
training environment" Lt Col Singleton said, with the facilities allowing
training to take place in a realistic environment as they practice urban
Lieutenant Tommy Flight of the Corps of Royal
Engineers has been leading a team which carries out training in counter IED
"That has two component parts, the first is the
search element where we are training the forces how to find devices that Daesh
would use and are using up in places like Mosul and Kirkuk," Lt Flight
"Then we are doing the EOD (explosive ordnance
disposal) side of things, which is how to deal with that said device once they
have found it in the safest manner possible."
The 31-year-old from Kent said the Kurdish forces they
have been training have come to them with a "whole range" of
information on devices they discover.
Lt Flight said working with the Kurds has been
"fantastic" and his biggest takeaway from the tour is the
"uplift in capability" his team have seen.
"Taking them from almost rudimentary at times, to
a point where you know you are happy for them to go out onto the front line and
that they will be safe because of what you have taught them.
"It is quite rewarding to know that maybe
somewhere along the lines you have saved their lives or what you have taught
them has saved someone else's life."
As the Kurds fight IS on front lines across the
region, Lance Corporal Nicquita Chamberlain a combat medical technician with 2
LANCS, said the main injuries Peshmerga forces have been sustaining are from
gunshot wounds and IED's.
The 26-year-old from Blackpool said she has been
teaching them how to stop the bleeding and save lives when it comes to
"catastrophic haemorrhages, gunshot wounds, chest injuries".
As well as training them on how to use conventional
tourniquets, she has also been instructing them on how to make them out of
improvised medical kit, such as rope, rags, plastic wrappers and sticks.
Providing skills on how to deal with a severe casualty
by using "nothing medical at all", she said the Peshmerga realise how
important medical training is.
And that the biggest thing she has learned on the tour
is "how lucky" British troops are.
"In our infantry they always have medics, they
have me with them," the 26-year-old said.
"These guys don't have a medic, so, not only are
we lucky to have specialists in each field, but we also have all the kit we
"I have endless amounts of tourniquets and
fluids, they have nothing. So I have taken from that how lucky we are, and how
appreciative they are of us showing them little things like this."
Praising the "leading role" Britain is
playing in the coalition's efforts to train Iraqi and Peshmerga forces, Defence
Secretary Sir Michael Fallon said the skills being provided are
"Since 2014 we've helped train over 44,000 of
these forces in countering Daesh booby traps, infantry skills, and bridge
building," he said.
"These skills are proving vital in the current
operation to liberate western Mosul and push Daesh out of their last major
stronghold in Iraq."
Germany says Erdogan has 'gone too far' with Nazi jibe
BERLIN: Germany angrily warned Turkey on Sunday that
President Recep Tayyip Erdogan had gone too far after he accused Chancellor
Angela Merkel of using “Nazi measures” in an escalating diplomatic feud.
Turkey and the European Union are locked in an
explosive crisis that threatens to jeopardise Ankara’s bid to join the bloc, as
tensions rise ahead of an April 16 referendum on expanding Erdogan’s powers.
Erdogan’s Nazi claim ‘unacceptable’: German chancellery
The row erupted after authorities in Germany and other
EU states refused to allow some Turkish ministers to campaign for a ‘yes’ vote
on their soil, provoking a volcanic response from the Turkish strongman who
said the spirit of Nazi Germany was rampant in Europe.
“When we call them Nazis they (Europe) get
uncomfortable. They rally together in solidarity. Especially Merkel,” Erdogan
said in a televised speech on Sunday.
“But you are right now employing Nazi measures,”
Erdogan said referring to Merkel, pointedly using the informal “you” in
“Against who? My Turkish brother citizens in Germany
and brother ministers” who planned to hold campaign rallies for a ‘yes’ vote in
the referendum, he said.
Germany’s Foreign Minister Sigmar Gabriel branded Erdogan’s
“We are tolerant but we’re not stupid,” he told the
Passauer Neue Presse newspaper. “That’s why I have let my Turkish counterpart
know very clearly that a boundary has been crossed here.”
Julia Kloeckner, the vice-president of Merkel’s CDU
party, also reacted angrily to the comments.
“Has Mr. Erdogan lost his mind?” she said, telling
journalists she was urging the EU to freeze “financial aid amounting to
billions of euros” to Turkey.
Home to 1.4 million Turkish voters, Germany hosts the
world’s largest Turkish diaspora but the partnership between NATO allies Ankara
and Berlin has been ripped to shreds by the current crisis.
Turkey reacted furiously to a Frankfurt rally on
Saturday urging a ‘no’ vote where protesters brandished insignia of outlawed
Kurdish rebels, accusing Germany of double standards.
“Yesterday (Saturday), Germany put its name under
another scandal,” presidential spokesman Ibrahim Kalin told CNN-Turk. He said
the German ambassador had been summoned although this was not confirmed by
Turkey’s president likens Germany’s blocking rallies
The Turkish foreign ministry accused the German
authorities “of the worst example of double standards” for allowing the
pro-Kurdish protest while preventing Turkish ministers from campaigning there.
Many protesters carried symbols of the Kurdistan
Workers’ Party (PKK), listed as a terror organisation not just by Turkey but
also the EU and the United States.
Ankara also reacted with indignation after Germany’s
intelligence chief said he was unconvinced by Turkish assertions that US-based
Islamic preacher Fethullah Gulen was behind the failed July coup aimed at
Kalin said Europe was seeking to “whitewash” Gulen’s
group, while Defence Minister Fikri Isik said the comments raised questions
about whether Berlin itself was involved in the putsch.
“The fact that the head of German intelligence made
such a statement will increase doubts about Germany and give rise to the
question ‘was German intelligence behind the coup?’,” he said.
In an interview with Der Spiegel published Saturday,
German foreign intelligence chief Bruno Kahl said Ankara had repeatedly tried
to persuade Berlin that Gulen was behind the coup “but they have not
The dispute has left Turkey’s ambition to join the EU
— a cornerstone of its policy for half a century — hanging in the balance ahead
of the referendum.
Erdogan threw further oil on the fire Saturday by
saying he believed parliament would, after the referendum, agree a bill to
restore capital punishment which he would then sign.
It was Erdogan’s clearest warning yet that he could
reverse the 2004 abolition of capital punishment, a pre-condition for joining
European Commission chief Jean-Claude Juncker warned
Sunday that any return of the death penalty in Turkey would be a “red line”.
And Gabriel told Der Spiegel: “We are further away than ever from Turkey’s
accession to the EU.”
Thousands of Turkish women rally in favour of
The crisis is hitting Turkey’s relations with key EU
members and Turkish-Dutch ties hit an all-time low in the run-up to the March
15 election in the Netherlands.
Erdogan last week even called on Turks living in
Europe to have more children to tilt the demographic balance.
Danish Foreign Minister Anders Samuelsen on Sunday
said he was summoning the Turkish ambassador for an explanation after a report
that dual nationals critical of Erdogan had been threatened.
Roxana Iancu, 30, was to stand for the Conservatives
in Glasgow City Council’s Govan ward at the local elections in May.
20 MAR 2017
A Tory election candidate has been suspended over
allegations that she posted anti-Islamic tweets.
She was deselected after a picture was posted on her
Twitter account of a coin, accompanied by the caption: “This coin is 2000 years
old. Says Israel on it”.
The message next to it read: “No sign on Palestine.
Say something w******.”
Iancu, who is Jewish Romanian and campaigns against
anti-Semitism, denied writing the tweet.
She said: “The post that has been highlighted to the
party wasn’t something that I wrote.
“I was contacted by Kyle Thornton, chairman of Glasgow
Conservative Association, and he told me that I was being deselected and
The coin post could be seen as anti-Muslim in light of
the dispute between predominantly Jewish Israel and Palestine, which is mainly
Iancu, who was previously an SNP supporter who
campaigned for Scottish independence in 2014, added: “I am absolutely not anti-Islam.
I have many friends who are Muslims and I respect them and all religions.”
A Conservative Party spokesman said: “The candidate
was suspended following unacceptable and offensive remarks made online.”
Iancu came to Scotland three years ago. She lives in
Govan and works as a carer.
She said she now intends to look into whether she can
stand for the council as an independent candidate.
Islam is Italy's second largest religion but it isn't
formally recognized there. That could be about to change thanks to a pact
signed by the government and eleven Muslim organizations. It's called the
'National Pact for an Italian Islam'. It's designed to facilitate the
recognition of Islam, promote transparency, mutual respect and prevent
radicalization. Angelo Van Schaik reports from Rome.
Nigeria: 3 suicide bombers kill 4 in northeastern
Suicide bomb attacks have almost become a daily
occurrence around Maiduguri recently.
March 19, 2017
Three suicide bombers suspected to be members of Boko
Haram detonated explosive devices strapped on their bodies Saturday night,
killing at least four people in Maiduguri, the Borno state capital. One member
of the civilian militia, a woman and two children were killed and 8 others were
injured, officials said.
Residents of Maiduguri were jolted by some deafening
sounds of explosions at about 9 p.m. on Saturday. The attackers were a male and
two teenage girls believed to be working for Boko Haram, Nigeria’s homegrown
Islamic extremism rebels, said Victor Isuku, spokesman of the Borno state
The bombers infiltrated Maiduguri by sneaking in
during the dark hours, but were spotted by members of the civilian self-defense
group on sentry duty, he said. The three then detonated their explosives, said
Isuku, a deputy superintendent of police.
A teenage female who had been strapped with explosives
but was captured and disarmed last month by security officials said the bombers
are usually brought on motorcycles to the outskirts of Maiduguri by some male
Boko Haram members and then they proceed on foot into the town. She said it
took them two to three days to get to Maiduguri from their bush locations.
Deployed since July 2013, the UN's 13,000-strong
peacekeeping operation is considered one of the deadliest missions in
mali, mali security, un, united nations, bamako, un
peacekeeping mission, un peacekeeping force, minusma, mali infighting, tuareg,
insurgency mali, world news
Image used for representational purposes. (AP
Photo/Jason Patinkin, File)
The security situation in Mali “remains worrying”
despite recent troop deployments and some progress on the country’s peace
accord, the head of the UN’s peacekeeping force has said in Bamako. “The
overall security situation remains worrying. We are all too frequently attacked
by armed groups,” Herve Ladsous said at a press conference.
Deployed since July 2013, the UN’s 13,000-strong
peacekeeping operation — known as MINUSMA — is considered one of the deadliest
missions in peacekeeping since the UN deployed to Somalia in 1993, with more
than 70 Blue Helmets killed.
“The (peace) process is far from being achieved,”
despite the peace accord of June 2015 signed between Bamako and the groups
which support it, and the former Tuareg rebels in the north, said Ladsous.
Having arrived late Friday in Bamako, Ladsous spoke
after meeting with Malian president Ibrahim Boubacar Keita. Ladsous is due to
be replaced as head of the peacekeeping force in April by another Frenchman,
The peace accord signed by the Malian government and
rebels ended years of fighting in the north, but its implementation has been
Mali regained control of the north after a French-led
military intervention in January 2013 drove out jihadists, but insurgents
remain active across large parts of the region.
By Wilfred Ayaga
Mon, March 20th 2017
In the latest episode of the Donald Trump
administration’s tough immigration policies, the US government has denied visas
to over 100 African delegates attending a trade summit. Voice of America
reported that the delegates, many of them government officials and business
leaders, were denied a chance to enter America to meet their counterparts in
what an organiser termed discrimination against African nations. "I have
to say that most of us feel it's a discrimination issue with the African
nations...We experience it over and over and over, and the people being
rejected are legitimate business people with ties to the continent," said
Mary Flowers, who chairs the African Global Economic and Development Summit.
This year's summit started on March 16, 2017 and ended two days later. The
summit, organised by The University of Southern California, was meant to
promote bilateral foreign direct investment, international trade, cultural
exchange and tourism with the 54 individual countries in Africa. It was the
first time that the event went on without Africans, organisers said. The Trump
administration is progressively tightening its immigration policies and
slamming doors on foreigners. The American government has introduced visa bans
for citizens from six Muslim countries. Kenya Chamber of Commerce and Industry
chairman Kiprono Kittony expressed disgust, saying: "If the reports are
true, then this is something that we would like to condemn in the strongest
terms possible." ALSO READ: No exams for Tanzanian doctors as medical
board releases requirements Social media users, reacting to the VOA report,
were equally disappointed. "Why not hold the summit in Ghana, Ethiopia or
South Africa? I am sure that The University of Southern California can partner
with African institutions to organise it....bring us some much needed revenue.
The weather is great here," said one social media user. Another one
replied: "Because the point is to get Africans to meet with business
leaders and government officials who are not easy to reach. If the first step
was for them to travel to Africa they would never go on this trip!"
"This kind of idiotic travel ban is just the beginning of the sharp
decline of the American soft power the Trump administration is heading to. In a
couple of years, US officials and businesses alike will complain that other
global players such as China will have replaced them on the fastest growing
continent on earth..." yet another added. Countries whose delegations were
affected included Sierra Leone, Guinea, Ghana, Nigeria, Ethiopia and South
Africa. Reports indicated the delegates are said to have been called for visa
interviews a few days before their travel date though they had applied several
weeks before. "Usually we get 40 per cent that get rejected but the others
come," said Flowers. "This year it was 100 per cent. Every
delegation." VOA reported that one of those denied a visa was Prince Kojo
Hilton, a Ghanaian artist, whose work includes special effects and graphic art.
He paid his Sh51,500 ($500) fee to attend the event and was asked to lead a
session on filmmaking.
Read more at:
The package will also feature an estimated $8 billion
in private sector investments from the International Finance Corporation
world bank africa, world bank africa funding, news, latest news, world news,
africa news, africa world bank funding, latest newsThe World Bank has announced
$57 billion in financing for sub-Saharan Africa over the next three fiscal
Of that total, $45 billion will come from the
International Development Association, the World Bank fund that provides grants
and interest-free loans for the world’s poorest countries.
The package will also feature an estimated $8 billion
in private sector investments from the International Finance Corporation, a
private-sector branch of World Bank, and $4 billion will come from the
International Bank for Reconstruction and Development, the bank’s unit for
middle-income nations, World Bank president Jim Yong Kim yesterday said in a
Germany, which hosted a meeting of the G20 countries
Friday and Saturday, said that a partnership called “Compact with Africa” would
be a priority of its presidency this year of that club of powerful nations. Of
all the countries in Africa, only South Africa is a G20 member.
“This represents an unprecedented opportunity to
change the development trajectory of the countries in the region,” Kim said.
“With this commitment, we will work with our clients
to substantially expand programs in education, basic health services, clean
water and sanitation, agriculture, business climate, infrastructure and
institutional reform,” he added.
Kim left for Rwanda and Tanzania yesterday in a show
of World Bank support for the entire region.
The new financing from the International Development
Association will target 448 projects that are already underway in sub-Saharan
Africa. The region accounts for more than half of the countries eligible for
this kind of financing from the IDA, the bank said.
Somalia wants Saudi probe of refugee boat attack
The International Organization for Migration, which
has operations in Yemen, said 42 bodies were found, and more than 30 wounded
people were reportedly taken to hospital.
Somalia has called on the Saudi-led coalition fighting
in Yemen to investigate an incident in which dozens of Somali refugees were
shot dead on board a boat. It was not immediately clear who was behind the
attack that killed more than 40 Somali refugees in waters off the coast of
war-torn Yemen early on Friday.
The bloodshed was quickly condemned by UN and the
International Committee of the Red Cross, and Somalia’s Foreign Minister
Abdusalam Omer urged the Saudi-led coalition fighting Huthi rebels in Yemen to
Somalia is a member of the US-backed coalition fighting
against Shiite Huthi rebels aligned with Iran. “We call on our partners in the
Saudi-led coalition to investigate the raid,” the minister said in a statement
released late yesterday.
“It is very sad, targeting a boat carrying Somali
migrants near the coast of Hodeida in Yemen.” On Friday, a coalition spokesman
denied responsibility for the attack. The Red Sea attack took place off
rebel-held port of Hodeida, with women and children among the dead.
The International Organization for Migration (IOM), which
has operations in Yemen, said 42 bodies were found, and more than 30 wounded
people were reportedly taken to hospital.
The IOM said it believed the boat was heading for
Sudan when it was attacked.
Despite a two-year war that has cost more than 7,000
lives and brought the country to the brink of famine, Yemen continues to
attract people fleeing the horn of Africa.
Six Islamic State leaders killed in Mosul
19 Mar 2017 - 18:08
Iraqi forces, consisting of the Iraqi federal police
and the elite Rapid Response Division, advance in the Old City in western Mosul
on March 19, 2017, during the offensive to retake the city from Islamic State
(IS) group fighters. / AFP / AHMAD AL-RUBAYE
Baghdad: The Iraqi military said Sunday that six
foreign members of the ISIS group were killed in airstrikes on western Mosul as
security forces captured more areas.
The statement by the service said the airstrike on Shaarin
marketplace in western Mosul killed six foreign members.
The strike came as army forces recaptured more areas
in western Mosul from ISIS militants, according to the Defense Ministry.
The forces took over a so-called "contaminated
area", a mill and a fuel station, it quoted Lt. Gen. Abdul-Amir Yarallah,
field commander of the Joint Operations Command as saying.
Families fleeing Mosul in recent weeks have talked of
high numbers of civilians killed by air strikes, and said that in many cases
Islamic State fighters have already slipped away by the time the bombs hit.
islamic state, mosul, is, is fighters, islamic state
in iraq, islamic state of iraq and levant, mosul, is led iraqi forces, anti IS
us iraq coalition, mosul civilian deaths, world news, middle east news
Iraqi civilians flee their homes in the back of a
military truck during fighting between Iraqi security forces and Islamic State
militants, on the western side of Mosul, Iraq, Saturday, March 18, 2017. (AP
Shihab Ayed and several other men struggled to push a
cart carrying the bodies of his son and wife, wrapped in blankets, through a
muddy ditch nearly two miles (3 km) from their destroyed home in Mosul. Four
other carts followed, laden with days-old corpses from air strikes which the
men said had killed 21 relatives and neighbours in an area Islamic State
militants controlled earlier in the week. Ayed, a 40-year-old labourer, pulled
back a blanket to show his only son, three-and-a-half year-old Ahmed, lying
lifeless with his eyes closed and a big gash in his right cheek.
“Three houses were destroyed by two air strikes,” Ayed
“Islamic State fighters were firing from our house and
from the road outside, and we were hiding inside. Fifteen minutes later the
“We pulled the bodies from the rubble and now we’re
going to bury them. Then I’ll come back to my three remaining daughters,” Ayed
said, in tears.
The bodies had begun to smell but it had only just
become safe enough to leave the district, now cleared of the militants, and
bring the carts to Mosul airport, where a bus might be able to take them to the
nearest village for burial, he said.
Reuters counted about 15 corpses on the carts.
They are among the latest victims caught in the
crossfire of an intensifying battle between US-backed Iraqi forces and Islamic
State militants holed up the centre of Mosul, their last major stronghold in
Rights groups have expressed concern over the mounting
civilian death toll, as Islamic State fights from homes and densely-populated
areas, a threat the Iraqi military and US-led coalition have been countering
with heavy weaponry to support troops on the ground.
“When the coalition see a sniper on a home, it’s five
minutes before that house is hit,” Mohammed Mahmoud, a 40-year-old former
police officer, told Reuters in another area of Mosul.
“But they don’t kill the Daesh (IS) militants. Daesh
withdraw, and the strikes end up killing civilians – whole families.”
Islamic State’s tactics since the beginning of the
offensive to drive them out of Mosul, which began in October, have been to
deploy car bombs and snipers, rain shellfire on troops and residents alike and
take cover among the civilian population.
On Friday, even as Ayed and his helpers waited with
their carts, helicopters fired at positions in Mosul and forces further back
launched Grad missiles into the city.
Human Rights Watch has said the fight to recapture the
western half of Mosul has been “dirtier and deadlier to civilians” than the
battle to retake the east, which was completed in January.
The New York-based watchdog said Iraqi Interior
Ministry units had recently used non-precision rockets in west Mosul.
“Their indiscriminate nature makes their use in
populated civilian areas a serious violation of the laws of war,” it said in a
Separately, the United Nations says it has received
many reports of civilian deaths in air strikes.
The number of civilians killed in the Mosul campaign –
by Islamic State, including executions, or by errant Iraqi and coalition fire –
is unclear, with various estimates given by residents, watchdogs and the
The US-led coalition backing Iraqi forces with air
power and military advisers admits causing unintentional civilian deaths.
This month the US military said the total number of
civilians killed by the coalition since the start of operations against the
militant group in 2014 in both Iraq and Syria was 220.
That estimate is lower than those of some monitoring
Airwars, a journalist-run project to monitor civilian
casualties, says at least 2,590 civilians have likely been killed by coalition
“actions” since 2014, including scores in Mosul in the first week of March
Coalition and Iraqi forces have mostly been careful to
avoid civilian deaths, a reason military officials said they slowed some
assaults in eastern Mosul last year.
But the west, which houses the narrow-alleyed Old
City, has been a tougher fight, and Islamic State have pinned down Iraqi forces
for days on end in some areas without significant advances.
The level of destruction is visibly greater, with
dozens of buildings flattened and large holes in roads from air strikes.
In the wrecked Mamoun district on Tuesday, a man
trudged down a muddy road in search of body bags.
“I have 18 bodies I need to bury — my brother’s
family,” Faisal Umm Tayran, 50, said matter-of-factly. “They’re just lying in
the garden at the moment.”
Sun Mar 19, 2017
TEHRAN (FNA)- A senior Syrian politician underlined
that Saudi Arabia supports those sides which oppose the political settlement of
the crisis in Syria, and added that the recent suicide attacks in Damascus are
one of the alternatives used by supporters of terrorism.
"The Syrian sides which oppose the political
process are affiliated to certain regional states, including Saudi Arabia, and
they reject any peaceful solution to the crisis in Syria,"
Secretary-General of Syria's National Development Party Inass al-Hamal told FNA
Noting that the dissidents who obey the Persian Gulf
sheikhdoms aren’t representative of people, he said when these Arab states
witnessed the failure of their plots in peace talks, they resorted to terrorist
blasts in Damascus.
At least 31 people were killed and dozens more wounded
after two suicide bomb attacks in Damascus on Wednesday, state media reported,
the second double bombing in the Syrian capital in five days.
The first suicide bomber targeted the Palace of
Justice, the main courthouse in central Damascus near the Old City.
The justice minister, Najem al-Ahmad, told reporters
the initial death toll was 31, mostly civilians.
The second suicide blast struck a restaurant in the
al-Rabweh area, to the West of the first attack, causing several casualties,
state media reported.
TEHRAN (FNA)- The Syrian army intensified military
operations in Eastern Homs after liberating Palmyra (Tadmur), and could advance
in the outskirts of the ancient city.
The army units launched a fierce attack on ISIL moves
and gathering centers in al-Talilah crossroad in the Eastern parts of Homs,
killing several militants and destroying their military vehicles.
The Syrian soldiers also launched heavy offensives on
ISIL in the Western parts of the crossroad and drove the terrorists out of
several points near the region.
A field source reported that the army troops are now
on the verge of regaining full control of this strategic point in Eastern Homs,
and added that the army will start operations to take back al-Talilah village
after seizing control over the crossroad.
Also on Saturday, the Syrian army scored more
victories against the terrorists in Eastern Homs and advanced in important
areas East of the ancient city of Palmyra.
According to al-Masdar news, the army soldiers
continued military operations in Eastern Palmyra and seized back control of all
oilfields near al-Mustadireh mountain after regaining the heights from the
Reports said that tens of ISIL terrorists were killed
during the army operations in the region.
The Syrian Army troops continued their anti-ISIL
operations in the Eastern suburbs of Palmyra to stretch their chain of security
around the ancient city, informed sources said.
The sources said that the army spent a great deal of
time this week to attack the ISIL's positions around the newly-liberated
ancient city of Palmyra, expanding their buffer-zone around the city via
forcing ISIL to withdraw from several positions in order to reinforce important
regions, including Arak gas fields and T-3 Pumping Station.
They added that the army soldiers liberated several
sites from the terrorist group, including the strategic Mazar mountains and
Palmyra gas fields North of the city.
The army men also launched another powerful attack
this morning that concentrated on the al-Talilah crossroad and al-Antar Mountains
at two different fronts.
Al-Talilah crossroad is located in Palmyra’s Eastern
countryside, while the al-Antar mountains are to the North of the city.
TEHRAN (FNA)- The Syrian army troops continued their
anti-terrorism operations in the Eastern parts of Homs province, stretching
their chain of security around the ancient city of Palmyra (Tadmur).
The army soldiers liberated the mountains on the
Northern side of al-Mazar mountain in their operations near Palmyra on Sunday.
The army troops could also win fire control over
The Syrian army has advanced in vast areas in Palmyra
region in recent days and seized al-Mazar and al-Mustadireh mountains and
In a relevant development on Saturday, the Syrian army
scored more victories against the terrorists in Eastern Homs and advanced in
important areas East of the ancient city of Palmyra.
TEHRAN (FNA)- The Syrian army continued anti-ISIL
military operations in Eastern Aleppo, expanding the range of its advances near
Deir Hafer and retaking control of several villages.
The army units engaged in heavy clashes with the ISIL
terrorists in Eastern Aleppo, and retook control of Ahmadiyeh village in the
Northern parts of Deir Hafer.
They also seized back control of Um Tineh and al-Mabou'jeh
in the Eastern and Western parts of Deir Hafer, respectively.
Also, on Saturday, the Syrian army continued military
operations in Eastern Aleppo and regained control of all villages located to
the South of Kuweires airbase.
The army forces seized back full control over the
towns of Rasm al-Abd, Tal Ahmar and al-Asemiyeh to the South of Kuweires that
are linked to Sabkhat al-Jaboul region in Eastern Aleppo after heavy clashes
with the ISIL terrorists.
A military source also said that the Syrian soldiers
laid siege on the strategic town of Deir Hafer from the Northern, Western and
Southern directions after retaking control over the town of al-Harmal Southwest
of Deir Hafer, adding that the ISIL has already lost the town in military
The Syrian Army troops had on Friday continued their
advances against ISIL South of the terrorist-held town of Deir Hafer and
managed to retake control over two villages after hours of fierce clashes on
The army soldiers engaged in heavy fighting with ISIL
and drove them out of Zubaydeh and Khasaf villages South of Deir Hafer town,
killing and wounding a number of terrorists.
Sun Mar 19, 2017
TEHRAN (FNA)- The Syrian army units targeted the
gatherings and fortified positions of al-Nusra (Fataha al-Sham) Front
terrorists in Dara'a city and its countryside, killing a number of them and
destroying their vehicles and weapons.
The army troops carried out special operations against
al-Nusra terrorists in Dara'a al-Balad area in Dara'a city and in Tal Hamad and
Nawa in the city’s Northern countryside.
The operations inflicted tens of losses on the
terrorists and destroyed three of their military vehicles.
Earlier this week, the Syrian army forces intensified
operations against the al-Nusra Front in Dara'a and targeted the terrorists'
moves and positions in Dara'a al-Balad region.
The army troops launched several assault on the
al-Nusra Front's positions and moves in al-Karak, al-Sibah, al-Bihar,
al-Arba'een, Hara al-Badou/al-Badou district, Hara al-Faran and areas near
al-Masri square in Dara'a al-Balad and smashed 7 of their command posts on
During the operations, 14 al-Nusra Front militants
were killed and 20 others were wounded and one of their military vehicles
equipped with 14.5mm machinegun was also destroyed.
Also on Thursday, the Syrian army units targeted the
positions and supply routes of al-Nusra Front in Tafs and Eastern parts of
Da'el in Dara'a, smashing the terrorists' command center, machinegun base and
two military vehicles.
The Syrian soldiers also attacked the al-Nura Front's
moves in al-Karak, Hara al-Faran, West of al-Masri square, al-Abbasiyeh
district and areas near the Dara'a al-Balad crossroad, killing and wounding a
number of militants.
TEHRAN (FNA)- The Syrian media reported that more than
1,400 militants who rejected the government's peace offer have left al-Wa'er
district in Homs province along with their family members.
According to SANA news agency, over 1,400 gunmen and
members of their families have left al-Wa'er neighborhood in the Western
outskirts of Homs city for the Northern part of Homs province as part of the
reconciliation agreement that was reached in the neighborhood, paving the way
for the return of all state services.
432 gunmen who rejected the reconciliation agreement
and 1,056 of their family members have headed towards the Northern territories
Homs Governor Talal al-Barazi said that the
governorate has completed all logistical preparations and measures for getting
the first group of the gunmen out of al-Wa'er in the framework of the
reconciliation agreement which was agreed upon last week.
The Governor added that the first group includes the
evacuation of more than 1,500 gunmen and members of their families who would go
to the Northeastern countryside of Aleppo province, pointing out that the
Syrian Arab Red Crescent (SARC) and the Syrian and Russian military police
supervise the process.
The Governor denied reports circulated by some media
outlets "which are involved in the bloodshed" in Syria that a
demographic change is planned for al-Wa'er neighborhood.
“These lies are a desperate attempt aimed at
sabotaging the reconciliation agreement of al-Wa'er neighborhood in particular
and the process of successive reconciliations in general,” al-Barazi
He clarified that over 40,000 people will stay in the
neighborhood after all the gunmen who reject the reconciliation leave along
with their families, who are 10,000 people in total.
He stressed that the governorate is working on drawing
up a comprehensive plan to secure the return of all the families that had
earlier left their houses in al-Wa'er neighborhood after the evacuation process
is completed and services are fully restored.
Secretary of Homs Branch of al-Baath Arab Socialist
Party Ammar al-Sibaai noted that over 100,000 people are expected to return to
their homes after the reconciliation agreement is fully implemented.
Commander of Homs Police Mag. Gen. Khaled Hilal said
after the agreement is fully completed, al-Wa'er neighborhood will be declared
secure, and consequently the whole city of Homs will be fully secured.
He added that units of the Internal Security Forces
will be back on duty in al-Wa'er neighborhood once the agreement is
accomplished, affirming that security will be established in the neighborhood
and families will return to their home.
26 ISIS militants and weapons depot eliminated in East
Mon Mar 20 2017
At least twenty six militant affiliated with the
Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) terrorist group were eliminated along
with a weapons depot of the group in East of Afghanistan.
The 201st Silab Corps of the Afghan National Army
(ANA) forces said the militants were killed in the past 24 hours in the
vicinity of Kot district.
The source further added that the operations were
conducted by the Afghan Commandos and with the support of the air force.
The Afghan security forces and the local residents did
not suffer any casualties during the operations.
This comes as the Afghan forces are busy conducting
clearance operations under the name of Shaheen-25 operations which were
launched more than one ago to suppress the growing insurgency of ISIS terrorist
group in Nangarhar province.
The operations led by 201st Silab Corps of the Afghan
National Army (ANA) forces were launched after receiving approval from the
national security council of the country.
This comes as the officials were concerned that the
loyalists of the terror group are attempting to expand their foothold in
Nangarhar and turn the province into their regional operational base, forcing
the Afghan officials as well as the US administration to resume airstrikes
against the group.
HuJI leader Mufti Hannan lost the legal battle to save
himself from the charges of an attempt on life of the former UK envoy to
Bangladesh, Bangladesh supreme court, b'desh SC, HuJI
leader Mufti Hannan, HuJI leader, Mufti Hannan, Mufti Abdul Hannan, world news
The apex court on December 7, 2016 upheld the three
militants’ death penalty endorsing a previous High Court verdict in February
this year that had validated a lower court judgment handing them the capital
Bangladesh Supreme Court Sunday upheld the death sentence
of banned Harkat-ul-Jihad al-Islami’s former leader and two of his accomplices
for attacking Britain’s then envoy in 2004, paving the way for their execution.
HuJI leader Mufti Hannan lost the legal battle to save himself from the charges
of an attempt on life of the former UK envoy to Bangladesh. Hannan and two of
his associates attacked a shrine in 2004 that left three persons dead and
injured Anwar Chowdhury, the British high commissioner at the time.
“There now remains no barrier in executing (HuJI
chief) Mufti Abdul Hannan and the two other operatives of the outfit,” a
spokesman of attorney general’s office said as the Supreme Court’s Appellate
Division rejected a plea by the convicts seeking review of the apex court
He said a three-member apex court bench led by Chief
Justice Surendra Kumar Sinha rejected the plea after holding hearing on the
convicts’ review petition.
According to Bangladesh’s legal system, the convicts
can seek presidential clemency to save their neck and unless they are pardoned
jail authorities could hang them in four weeks time.
Chowdhury narrowly escaped the grenade attack by
sustaining minor injury at a shrine in northeastern Sylhet when three policemen
were killed and 70 others wounded.
The HuJI operatives carried out the attack on him at
the shrine of saint Hazrat Shahjalal in Sylhet, also the birthplace of
Chowdhury, as he went to visit there 18 days into his new assignment in Dhaka.
A speedy trial tribunal originally tried the case and
delivered its verdict on December 23, 2008, also sentencing to death HuJI
leaders Sharif Shahedul Alam and Delwar Hossain alongside Hannan.
Hannan and seven other kingpins and operatives of his
outfit were earlier sentenced to death by another court in Dhaka for a deadly
2001 bomb attack killing 10 people during Bengali New Year celebrations at a
public park in the capital.
The US several years ago designated HuJi as a foreign
terrorist organisation and “specially designated global terrorist” while Indian
officials suspected the outfit’s links in the Jaipur serial bombings and
several other attacks.
Twenty-one HuJI men, including Hannan and an ex-junior
minister of past BNP government, are also being tried for another grenade
attack on incumbent Prime Minister and Awami League chief Sheikh Hasina on
August 21, 2004.
The then opposition leader Hasina narrowly escaped the
attack which killed a total of 24 people.
HuJI was formed in 1992 by Bangladeshis who took part
in Afghan resistance against the Soviet forces in Afghanistan.
Bellal has long been sharing anti-government posts on
Police have arrested the imam of a mosque in Borhanuddin
of Bhola for repeatedly posting anti-government contents on his Facebook.
Md Bellal Hossain, 35, of Indra Narayanpur village
under Shambhupur of Tojumuddin was picked up by the police from Tobogi area of
Borhanuddin around Sunday noon.
He is the imam of Paschim Ilisha Jame Mosque in Bhola
“Bellal has long been sharing anti-government posts on
Facebook. On Saturday, he made derogatory comments on the photos of two
lawmakers from Bhola,” OC Asim Sikder told the Dhaka Tribune.
A case was filed against him under Section 57 of the
By Tahir Khan
ISLAMABAD: The Afghan Taliban have signalled
willingness to take part in a meeting that Russia is expected to host next
month on peace and reconciliation in war-ravaged Afghanistan.
Russia has extended an invitation to 12 countries for
consultations in Moscow on April 14.
Russia hopes to rope in Taliban for Afghan talks
The process of informal consultations was initially
started by Pakistan, China and Russia in December and was expanded to
six-nation talks in mid-February with the participation of Afghanistan, India
and Iran. The US, some Central Asian states and the EU will also be invited to
next month’s meeting.
Taliban officials say it is possible the group may
participate in the Moscow meeting, if invited. “Our response would be positive
if we get a formal invitation,” two Taliban officials said on Sunday.
Initially when Moscow had floated the idea of inviting
the Taliban political representatives from the Qatar office, Kabul disagreed
with the proposal and insisted that Afghans should lead the process not others.
But on Tuesday Afghanistan said it would welcome
Russia’s diplomatic efforts for peace and stability in the war-torn country.
“The government of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan welcomes the Russian
Federation’s recent position with regards to peace and stability in Afghanistan
which states that their recent contacts with Afghan armed groups are aimed at
promoting peace and stability in Afghanistan and the region,” the Afghan
foreign ministry said.
Afghan Taliban’s political negotiators visit China
Afghanistan was upbeat at a recent Russian foreign
ministry statement which asked the Taliban to “lay-down their arms, cut their
ties with terrorist groups and join the peace talks to ensure durable peace and
stability and end fighting in Afghanistan.”
Afghanistan’s National Security Adviser Hanif Atmar’s
visit to Moscow on March 17 helped in developing understanding with Russian
Speaking in Moscow following the talks, Atmar threw
his weight behind Russia’s peace efforts in Afghanistan. “During the meeting
with Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov and Russian Security Council
Secretary Nikolai Patrushev, I received a confirmation that Moscow is committed
to facilitation of peace in the region. In this context, the contacts with the
Taliban were only aimed at national reconciliation in Afghanistan. I was very
happy to hear that. Both of them assured me that Russia is Afghanistan’s close
friend and will further support efforts of Afghanistan’s legitimate
government,” Atmar told Sputnik news agency.
The Taliban also seem to be open to Russia and China’s
diplomatic efforts after the two major powers announced a trilateral meeting in
Moscow in December to help lift UN sanctions on Taliban leaders. China had
hosted the Taliban political representatives after the Moscow’s trilateral
Pakistan, which had long been pressing Russia to host
the long-awaited trilateral meeting, has recently again “conveyed to the
Taliban to join the peace process,” The Express Tribune has learnt.
March 20th, 2017
KANDAHAR: Three American troops were wounded on Sunday
when an Afghan soldier opened fire in southern Helmand province, officials
said, in the first known “insider attack” on international forces this year.
No insurgent group claimed responsibility for the
attack in Camp Antonik in Washer district, which highlights long-simmering
tensions between Afghan and foreign forces.
“Three US soldiers were wounded this afternoon when an
Afghan soldier opened fire on them at a base in Helmand province. Coalition
security forces on the base killed the soldier to end the attack,” a spokesman
for the US forces in Afghanistan told AFP. “The US soldiers are receiving
medical treatment at this time and we will release more information when
An Afghan soldier was also killed in the shootout,
provincial spokesman Omar Zwak said.
The Pentagon has said it would deploy some 300 US
Marines this spring to Helmand, where American forces engaged in heated combat
until they pulled out in 2014.
The Marines will head to the poppy-growing province to
assist a Nato-led mission to train Afghan forces, in the latest sign that
foreign forces are increasingly being drawn back into the worsening conflict.
So-called insider attacks — when Afghan soldiers and
police turn their guns on their colleagues or on international troops — have
been a major problem during the more than 15-year-long war.
In May, gunmen wearing Afghan military uniforms shot
dead two Romanian soldiers in neighbouring Kandahar province.
Western officials say that most such attacks stem from
personal grudges and cultural misunderstandings rather than insurgent plots.
The killings have bred fierce mistrust between local
and foreign forces even as the rate of such incidents has dropped in recent
The Afghan military, which has been built from scratch
since the fall of the Taliban regime in 2001, has also struggled with insider
attacks, high casualty rates and mass desertions.
The provincial governor of the southeastern Paktika
province has launched a door to door campaign to encourage the families send
their children to schools for education.
Local officials are saying Governor Elias Wahdat
started knocking the doors of the residents by launching the campaign for
children’s education on Sunday.
The officials further added that a number of other
high level government officials, including provincial education directorate and
some activists supporting the children’s education.
The campaign was launched from Mata Khan District as
the officials are saying that the other districts of the province will also be
The provincial officials are saying that the local
government aims to increase the number of school children to 20 thousand this
According to the officials, the campaign is mainly
aimed at encouraging those families whose children have reached to age of
The campaign involving senior government officials,
specifically the provincial governor was widely welcomed across the country.
This comes as the deteriorating security situation
across the country, specifically in remote districts has affected the education
services to school children.
Sun Mar 19 2017
A soldier of the Afghan National Army (ANA) forces
opened fire on his international comrades in southern Helmand province, leaving
at least three US soldiers wounded.
The NATO-led Resolute Support Mission in a statement
said “3 US soldiers wounded when shot by Afghan soldier on a base in Helmand
Province. US soldiers receiving medical care. Updates as appropriate.”
This comes as at least three American soldiers were
wounded in an explosion in eastern Nangarhar province of Afghanistan earlier
The latest insider attack on US forces in Helmand
comes as counter-terrorism operations are underway in this province which are
jointly being conducted by the Afghan National Defense and Security Forces
(ANDS) and the air support of the US forces.
The US forces in Afghanistan resumed their
counter-terrorism operations mainly involving airstrikes last year under a
broader role granted by the Obama administration earlier last year.
The current counter-terrorism operations being
conducted under the name of Shaheen-25 to eliminate the militants affiliated
with the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) terrorist group.
Taliban suffer casualties as airstrike likely
destroyed biometric equipment in Paktia
At least ten Taliban insurgents were killed in an
airstrike conducted in southeastern Paktia province of Afghanistan.
According to the local government officials, the
airstrike was carried out late on Saturday afternoon in Dand-e-Patan district.
Provincial governor’s spokesman Zalmai Weesa confirmed
the airstrike and said at least ten insurgents were killed.
He said the militants were targeted in the vicinity of
Nari Kama village and some weapons and other materials belonging to the
insurgents were also destroyed.
In the meantime, another official, said two modern
equipments, including a biometric system confiscated by the Taliban were
destroyed in the raid.
He said the other equipment was used to control the
Improvised Explosive Device.
The anti-government armed militant groups including
the Taliban insurgents have not commented regarding the report so far.
Paktia is located in southeastern parts of the country
which lies close to the Durand Line and borders with the tribal regions of
The Taliban insurgents and militants belonging to the
Haqqani terrorist network are actively operating in a number of its districts
and often carry out insurgency activities.
Trinamool Congress appeasing Islamic fundamentalists
and jihadis: RSS leader
By S Senthil Kumar
20th March 2017
COIMBATORE: The Trinamool Congress government in West
Bengal is appeasing Islamic fundamentalists and jihadis, who are working
against Hindus, RSS joint general secretary V Bhagaiah has alleged. The Sangh
will ask the Centre to put pressure on the State to end its support to those
involved in “attacking, looting and murdering” people, he said. Bhagaiah was
speaking to mediapersons on the sidelines of the Sangh’s Akhil Bharatiya
Pratinidhi Sabha (national council) meeting, which began at the Amrita Vishwa
Vidyapeetham on Sunday.
“West Bengal is 26 per cent Muslim population. The
government, to appease the Muslim vote bank, is supporting Islamic
fundamentalists. This is harmful to national security and the interests of
society,” he said.
“The national council will urge the Centre to put
pressure on the West Bengal government to take action against attacks by
jihadis. A resolution in this regard will be passed at the meeting. Now, Hindu
society, writers, intellectuals and the general public are working to change
this situation,” said Bhagaiah.
“In the last three years, attacks by Islamic
fundamentalists have been increasing. Among those murdered were six Dalits.
Some hooligans, calling themselves jihadis, burnt 200 houses in a village near
Kolkata only because they belonged to Hindus,” he claimed.
“During Milad un-Nabi celebrations they forced the
closure of all government schools. They also prevented the celebration of Durga
Puja. As a result, Hindu society is living in fear. A police station and its
crime records were burnt. However, the police remained mute spectators. The
State government is protecting them,” he added.
“When the CPM was in power, they were attacking all
those opposed to them. In the first two years of the TMC regime, a democratic
atmosphere prevailed to some extent. Later it started supporting jihadis,” he
Responding to questions on alleged attacks on RSS
workers in Kerala, he said, “Since 1948, CPM goons have been attacking RSS
workers. They are not the only ones being attacked. So far, 40 workers of the
Congress and 16 of the CPI have been murdered by CPM men in Kerala,” he said.
To a question on the Ram Temple in Ayodhya, Bhagaiah
hoped the construction would be take place naturally.
LUCKNOW: As colours of celebration descended on BJP's
office in Lucknow on March 11, hundreds of workers were seen sprinkling
kesariya gulaal on each other.
But one of them stood tallest among all. The man, over
six feet tall, was Mohsin Raza, who took oath as minister with 46 others on
Sunday. Raza, a former Ranji cricketer, is the only Muslim face on Yogi
A Shia from old Lucknow, Raza a BJP spokesperson who
defends the party on air during debates on various regional news channels. Like
a perfect all-rounder, Raza has been batting for his party for over a year now.
Talking to TOI he said, "the perception that BJP is an anti-Muslim party
is wrong and by associating myself with it, I tried to counter the
He often quotes his own example to prove his point.
"Parties like Congress have for long kept the community in fear of the
BJP, which they project as being anti-Muslim. But that's not the case at all.
We just don't believe in vote bank politics practised by others," says
Muslim leaders are not doing good for their
communities by openly opposing Modi on every forum. They should realise that
BJP is largest party and now rulling 3/4th area of the country. Any community
... Read More
While his brother Arshi had affiliations with
Congress, he made way into the party in 2013 through a pro-BJP posters
campaign. The posters made way into the mind space because they voiced what BJP
leaders had been asserting for long. But they also came with problems.
"I've received death threats and face all sorts of wild accusations,
ranging from molestation to trespass," he recalled.
Raza promised to raise Old city's pending issues like
drainage and power woes though he is not sure of the role he would be given.
"I am a dedicated party worker and would take up any area of work given to
me," he said.
Rulers’ Fail to Pioneer Islamic System In Country:
Pakistan Islamic Sholars
Bashir Ahmad Rehmani
Central leaders of different schools of thoughts
stressed the need of the unity to thwart conspiracy of western powers creating
rift among the different sects. Addressing Ittihad-i-Ummat Conference under the
auspices of Mutahida Jamiat-i-Ahle Hadith and Milli Yakjehti Council
Hafizabadin the Jinnah Hall Sunday, JI/MYC Council General Secretary Liaqat
Balooch Ameer Pakistan JAH Allama Syed Ziaullah Shah Bukhari Vice President MYC
Allama Muhammad Ameen Shaheedi, Jawanan-i-Pakistan President Muhammad Abdullah
Hameed Gul, Allama Saqib Akbar Deputy Secretary MYC and local religious leaders
have said that Pakistan came into being on the fair name of Islam but
unfortunately all rulers failed to introduced Islamic system in letter and
They said that infidels were spending billion of
rupees to tarnish the image of Islam and making nefarious attempts to push the
Muslims into western civilization. However, the Muslims would foil their evil
Hindu Marriage Bill becomes law in Pakistan
Mar 19, 2017
ISLAMABAD: In a landmark development, the bill to
regulate marriages of minority Hindus in Pakistan became a law on Sunday after
President Mamnoon Hussain gave his approval.
With the President's nod, Pakistan's Hindus got an
exclusive personal law to regulate marriages.
"On the advice of Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif,
the President of the Islamic Republic of Pakistan has assented to the 'The
Hindu Marriage Bill 2017'," a statement from the Prime Minister's Office
The law aims to protect marriages, families, mothers
and their children while safeguarding the legitimate rights and interests of
"It is a consolidated law for solemnisation of
marriages by Hindu families residing in Pakistan," the statement said.
Prime Minister Sharif said that his government has
always focused on provision of equal rights to minority communities residing in
"They are as patriotic as any other community
and, therefore, it is the responsibility of the state to provide equal
protection to them," he said.
The statement said the Hindu families will be able to
solemnise marriages in accordance with the customary rites, rituals and
According to the law, the government will appoint
marriage registrars in areas convenient for the Hindu population for
registration of their marriages.
The law also provides for procedures relating to
restitution of conjugal rights, judicial separation, void and voidable
marriages, termination of Hindu marriage, financial security of the wife and
children, alternate relief in termination of marriage and termination of
marriage by mutual consent.
It also provides the right to a separated person to
marry again, entitlement of re-marriage for a Hindu widow at her own will and
consent after stipulated time, legitimacy of child born out of void and
voidable Hindu marriage.
As per the law, Hindu marriages solemnised before
commencement of this law shall be deemed valid and petitions under this law
shall be presented before the family courts.
The law also provides for punishments of imprisonment
and fines up to Rs 100,000 or both for contraventions and that all offences
could be tried in the court of a first class magistrate.
I wonder, are there any hindus left in pakistan?
a wolf is now trying to lure Indians wearing deer
mask. Pakistan has changed its war strategy. For 65 years they systematically
threatened and era... Read More
It is the first law which would be applicable to
entire Pakistan except Sindh province which has its own law to regulate
marriages of Hindus.
The law was unanimously passed on March 10 by the
National Assembly which endorsed amendments made by the Senate in February.
Rules Finalised On Freezing, Seizing Assets Of Banned
Organisations Of Pakistan
ISLAMABAD: Rules on freezing and seizure of the assets
of banned organisations and persons on Schedule-IV of the Anti-Terrorism Act
(ATA) 1997 have been finalised by the authorities concerned and submitted to
the Law and Justice Division for vetting.
The government constituted the prime minister’s
subcommittee on choking financing for terrorists and terrorist organisations
under the National Action Plan (NAP). Actions have been taken by the federal
and the provincial governments and the State Bank of Pakistan (SBP) on the
recommendations of the committee.
Highlighting the steps taken by the government to
obstruct terror financing, sources in the interior ministry said that under the
ATA, designated/proscribed entities and individuals were prohibited from
opening bank accounts and availing of any facility from financial institutions.
Accordingly, they said, banks had reported freezing
4,461 accounts of persons on 4th Schedule, which had deposits amounting to
around Rs400 million.
Implementation of the ATA provisions related to terror
financing has also been strengthened through capacity building, enforcement
actions and frequent practice of proscription of terrorist organisations.
The Financial Monitoring Unit (FMU) of the State Bank
is organising capacity building programmes in coordination with national and
international stakeholders. The programmes are meant to train law enforcement
agencies (LEAs) and regulators in investigating cases of terror financing.
The Prime Minister expressed the hope that the Joint
Business Forum with businessmen from both sides would develop mutually
beneficial contacts and help boost bilateral trade.
Nawaz Sharif, Nawaz Sharif's holi message, Pakistan PM
greets Hindus on Holi, Pakistan Holi celebrations, Pakistan forced conversion,
Pakistan religion conversion, Pakistan news, indian express news
Pakistan’s Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif said on Sunday
that his country wants to address all outstanding issues with neighbours
peacefully. He made the remarks while meeting President of the Republic of
Tatarstan, Rustam Minnikhanov, who called on the Prime Minister at his house
Jat Quota Stir: All-India Jat Aarakshan Sangarsh
Samiti Postpone Their Agitation Planned In Delhi
“The Prime Minister emphasised that Pakistan is
pursuing a policy of peaceful neighbourhood and wishes to resolve all
outstanding issues with its neighbours, peacefully through dialogue,” a
statement from the Prime Minister’s Office said.
While warmly welcoming the President of Tatarstan and
his delegation, Sharif said that longstanding bilateral relations were a
manifestation of a common desire to explore possibilities for enhancing
cooperation between Pakistan and Russia.
The Prime Minister reiterated his resolve to establish
a strong partnership between Pakistan and Russia in all fields, stating that
this cooperation would positively contribute towards promoting peace and
stability in the region.
“Pakistan remains confident that its longstanding
partnership with the Russian Federation as well as with its Muslim regions,
including the Republic of Tatarstan, would witness significant progress in all
areas of mutual interest,” Sharif said.
Minnikhanov told Sharif that the Tatar business
delegation held fruitful meetings in Lahore.
“Cooperation in sectors including Banking, Halal food,
production of cement, automotive industry, pharmaceuticals, technology, culture
and education, should be explored,” Sharif said.
The visiting delegation comprised Deputy Prime
Minister of Tatarstan Albert Karimov, Ambassador of Russian Federation to
Pakistan Alexey Dedov, Chief Executive of Tatarstan Investment Development
Agency Taliya Minullina and Deputy Director of the Foreign Affairs Marat Gatin.
Advocate Qureshi requested the court to order the
respondent authorities to take security measures for the upcoming event in
order to protect the lives of the participants and public at large.
Pakistan’s Bhagat Singh Memorial Foundation has filed
a petition in the Lahore High Court seeking security to mark the death
anniversary of Indian freedom fighter, citing threats from “religious
extremists”. The foundation’s chairman advocate Imtiaz Rasheed Qureshi filed a
writ petition yesterday contending that the organisers of the March 23 event
should be provided with security.
Qureshi said threats had been received from “religious
extremists” for the event.
“We had requested the provincial government and police
high ups to ensure security for the function but they did not respond
positively,” Qureshi said.
He said the Punjab chief secretary, inspector general
of police and DIG operations Lahore have been denying protection and security
at public place which is a fundamental right of every citizen of the country.
Justice Abid Aziz Sheikh would take up the petition
March 23 marks the death anniversary of freedom
fighter Bhagat Singh who was hanged along with his comrades Raj Guru and
Sukhdev in 1931 at Fawara Chowk in Shadman Lahore.
WASHINGTON: The Trump administration’s budget cuts may
lead to disbanding of the office of the US Special Representative for Pakistan
and Afghanistan, a key diplomatic position devoted to restoring peace to the
region, according to diplomatic sources.
The sources, who spoke to Dawn and US media outlets,
said an unprecedented 28 per cent cut in the State Department’s budget would
mainly affect the foreign assistance that the department provides to US allies.
But the cut, proposed in the Trump administration’s 2018-19 budget, would also
force the State Department to cut down its size.
Publications that specialise in posting, transfers and
sackings in the US government reported that President Donald Trump and his
aides were reviewing whether to eliminate many special envoy positions. The
proposal, if approved, will affect the “diplomatic staff assigned to key
regions and issues, including climate change, anti-Semitism and Muslim
The Chicago Tribune, while reporting on how the budget
cut announced last week, would affect the State Department, noted that although
the Trump administration had completed its second month in office, “many key
national security and foreign policy positions still remain vacant”.
Vacancies at the State Department include both key
positions that deal directly with the greater South Asian region, US special
representative for Afghanistan and Pakistan and the Assistant Secretary of
State for South and Central Asia.
The last assistant secretary, Nisha Biswal, was let go
soon after the new administration took charge. The last special representative
was Richard Olson, who served from Nov 17, 2015, to Nov 17 of last year. He was
replaced by an acting representative, Laurel Miller.
The State Department defines the special
representative’s role as that of coordination “across the government to meet US
strategic goals in the region while engaging Nato and other key friends,
allies, and others to support these efforts”.
Dan Feldman, who served in the special
representative’s office since its creation in 2009 and also as its head from
2014 to 2015, argues that the office was created to combine diplomacy with the
US military offensive to restore peace in Afghanistan.
“Any long-term Afghanistan resolution requires
integrated and comprehensive military and diplomatic leadership from the United
States,” he said in a piece he wrote for The Chicago Tribune.
“And if that was the case when international forces
were at their apex in Afghanistan several years ago, with close to 150,000
foreign troops on the ground, that’s even more the case now, with 13,000
international troops remaining,” he added.
Mr Feldman wrote that “the only feasible, sustainable,
cost-effective, long-term resolution for Afghanistan is a negotiated political
settlement between all parties, including the Taliban”.
And this will “unequivocally require sustained US
diplomatic leadership to achieve. In the interim, continued US diplomatic
leadership, as an equal counterpart to military leadership,” said the former US
diplomat while explaining why he believed the Trump administration needed to
continue the office of the US Special Representative for Afghanistan and
The special representative also engages with the key
nations of the region, which will need to support any long-term resolution.
“Doing all this effectively requires not just diplomacy, but an empowered,
credible, experienced US diplomat,” Mr Feldman wrote.
But reports in other US media outlets say that such
arguments are not having much impact on the Trump administration, which is
determined to reduce the size of the State Department. Trump advisers believe
that the job assigned to SRAP could also be done by a section within the office
of the Assistant Secretary of State for South Asia.
But there are also proposals to combine the offices of
the assistant secretaries for South, Central and East Asia. If such proposals
are accepted, the new assistant secretary will be required to look after an
area that will stretch from the borders of Russia to Japan. This will not only
cover three huge nations — China, India and Indonesia — but also close US
allies like Japan and South Korea.
The combined office of South, Central and East Asia
will also include two major crisis zones, the Korean peninsula and the
Pak-Afghan region. That’s why think-tank and media experts say that this merger
may not happen, although merging the SRAP’s office in the South and Central
Asian bureau is more likely.
ISLAMABAD: Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif on Sunday said
Pakistan’s “longstanding partnership” with the Russian Federation as well as
with its Muslim regions, including the Republic of Tatarstan, would witness
significant progress in all areas of mutual interests.
The prime Minister reiterated his resolve to establish
a strong partnership between Pakistan and Russia in all fields “as this
cooperation will positively contribute towards promoting peace and stability in
He was talking to President of Republic of Tatarstan
Rustam Minnikhanov, who called on him at the PM House, according to the PM
Office media wing’s press release.
While warmly welcoming the president of Tatarstan and
his delegation to Pakistan, the prime minister said: “Longstanding bilateral
relations are a manifestation of a common desire to explore possibilities for
enhancing cooperation between Pakistan and Russia.”
Russia lauds Operation Radd-ul-Fasaad
“Pakistan has been pursuing a policy of peaceful
neighbourhood and wishes to resolve all outstanding issues with its neighbours
peacefully through dialogue.”
President Rustam Minnikhanov thanked the prime
minister for extending warm hospitality during his visit to Pakistan and
informed him that the Tatar business delegation held fruitful meetings in Lahore.
The prime minister expressed the hope that the Joint
Business Forum “will develop mutually beneficial contacts and help boost
“Cooperation in sectors including banking, Halal food,
production of cement, automotive industry, pharmaceuticals, technology, culture
and education, should be explored,” he added.
The visiting delegation comprised Albert Karimov,
Deputy Prime Minister; Alexey Dedov, ambassador of Russian Federation to
Pakistan; Ms Taliya Minullina, chief executive of the Tatarstan Investment
Development Agency; and Marat Gatin, Deputy Director of the Foreign Affairs.
Special Assistant to the PM on Foreign Affairs Tariq
Fatemi, Secretary to the PM Fawad Hasan Fawad and Zaheer Janjua, Additional
Secretary, Foreign Office were also present.
Meanwhile the Tatarstan president also met Punjab
Chief Minister Muhammad Shehbaz Sharif in Lahore and heaped praise on him
during his one-day visit to the provincial capital.
The chief minister was at the airport to see off the
Speaking on the occasion, the Tatarstan president said
that the Punjab chief minister had won their hearts with his great hospitality
“I have been overwhelmed with the warm welcome and
generosity extended to me by Shehbaz Sharif,” he said, adding that “My days in
Lahore are memorable and I am leaving Lahore with unforgettable memories.
Moscow not mulling to join CPEC: Russian foreign
“The love and respect that the people of Punjab and
Lahore have given me is unforgettable.”
He also appreciated Shehbaz for rendering invaluable
services for progress and development of the province and said “Shehbaz
Sharif’s vision for development deserved praise and commendation.
“I am impressed by Shehbaz Sharif’s extraordinary
administrative capabilities,” he added.
Former PM of Qatar
Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif said Pakistan and Qatar
enjoyed strong brotherly relationship which would be further strengthened into
sustained cooperation for the benefit of both countries.
The prime minister was talking to Sheikh Hamad
BinKhalifa Al Thani, father of Emir of State of Qatar and Sheikh Hamad Bin
Jassim Bin Jaber Al Thani, former Prime Minister of the State of Qatar, who
called on him at the PM House, a PM Office media wing said.
Nawaz expressed his good wishes for Emir of State of
Qatar Sheikh Tamim Bin Hamad Al-Thani.
Myanmar hard-line Buddhists protest citizenship for
The Rohingyas face discrimination in Buddhist-majority
Myanmar, with many in Rakhine to be illegal migrants from neighbouring
March 19, 2017 7:10 pm
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myanmar, rohingya muslim minority community, rohingyas, rohingya, rohingya
muslims, minority community, minority, arakan national party, rakhine, indian
The government withdrew the Rohingya’s so-called white
cards two years ago to expel them from the country and cancel their citizenship
under the 1982 law.
Hundreds of hard-line Buddhists in a Myanmar state
wracked by religious violence protested on Sunday against the government’s plan
to give citizenship to some members of the persecuted Rohingya Muslim minority
community. Rakhine state’s dominant Arakan National Party led the protest in
Sittwe, the state capital, where many Rohingya lived before an outbreak of
inter-communal violence in 2012 forced them to flee their homes.
Hoardings In Jammu By National Panthers Party Asking
Rohingya, Bangladeshi Muslims To Leave
“We are protesting to tell the government to
rightfully follow the 1982 citizenship law and we cannot allow the government
giving citizenship cards to these illegal migrants,” said Aung Htay, a protest
The Rohingya face severe discrimination in
Buddhist-majority Myanmar, with many in Rakhine and elsewhere considering them
to be illegal migrants from neighbouring Bangladesh, even though Rohingya have
been in Myanmar for generations.
The 2012 violence killed hundreds and drove about
140,000 people predominantly Rohingya from their homes to camps for the
internally displaced, where most remain.
Rakhine, one of the poorest states in Myanmar, is home
to more than 1 million stateless Rohingya.
Today’s protest took place three days after the
Rakhine Advisory Commission, led by former UN chief Kofi Annan, urged Myanmar’s
government to reconsider a failed program to verify Rohingya for Myanmar
citizenship and to remove restrictions on freedom of movement.
“We also look at the question of citizenship, and we
also call for all those who have been recognised as citizens to have all the
rights attached to that citizenship,” Ghassan Salame, a member of the
commission, said last week.
Myanmar’s new civilian government, led by Aung San Suu
Kyi, welcomed the commission’s proposal. Suu Kyi’s office said that most of the
commission’s recommendations would be “implemented promptly.”
The government withdrew the Rohingya’s so-called white
cards two years ago as part of a plan to expel them from the country and cancel
their citizenship under the 1982 law.
More Islamic Banks Need To Offer FinTech Solutions
KUALA LUMPUR, March 20 (Bernama) -- More Islamic banks
need to come on board in offering financial technology (FinTech) solutions as
this will distinguish Malaysia from the rest of the world.
AmInvestment Bank Chief Executive Officer Raja Teh
Maimunah Raja Abdul Aziz in stating this, also said the country was however on
the right track towards this goal, led by Bank Negara Malaysia (BNM).
"When current Governor Datuk Muhammad Ibrahim
took office, he had in his first public address at the Global Islamic Finance
Forum 5.0 in May last year, spoken about digital banking.....
MANILA, Philippines: Philippine President Rodrigo
Duterte said Sunday that his militarily inferior country can't stop China's
actions in contested waters, responding to a reported plan by Beijing to
construct an environmental monitoring station in a disputed shoal off the
Duterte, however, warned that he would invoke a July
12 arbitration ruling that invalidated China's territorial claims in the South
China Sea if the Chinese "start to tinker with the entitlement,"
apparently meaning when Beijing starts to tap the offshore area's resources.
"We cannot stop China from doing his thing, the
Americans were not able to stop it," Duterte said in a news conference at
the airport in southern Davao city before flying to Myanmar.
"Sir, what will I do? Declare a war against
China?" he asked, without saying who he was addressing his question to.
"I can, but we'll all lose our military and policemen tomorrow, and we are
a destroyed nation."
Duterte's remarks differed slightly from those of the
Department of Foreign Affairs, which said that it was trying to verify the news
reports about China's construction plans on Scarborough Shoal and that it would
refrain from commenting while doing so.
In the past, the Philippine government routinely filed
protests or expressed its concern whenever China took aggressive actions to
assert its sovereignty in contested territories, but Duterte did not mention
any planned protest.
The top official in Sansha City, which has
administered China's island claims in the South China Sea since 2012, was
quoted by the official Hainan Daily newspaper as saying that preparations were
underway to build an environmental monitoring station on Scarborough Shoal.
The preparatory work on Scarborough and on five other
islands in the Paracel island group off Vietnam were among the government's top
priorities for 2017, Sansha Communist Party Secretary Xiao Jie was quoted as
saying in an interview published in the paper's Monday edition and seen online
Friday in Beijing. No other details were provided.
If the construction plans on Scarborough proceed, it
would be China's first permanent structure in recent memory on a shoal that has
been at the heart of a territorial dispute with China and would likely reignite
concerns over Beijing's increasingly assertive actions to cement its claims in
the crucial waterway, where an estimated $5 trillion in global trade passes
It will also be a defiance of last year's ruling by an
arbitration tribunal in The Hague that invalidated China's territorial claims
in the South China Sea on historical grounds.
Chinese government ships took control of Scarborough
in 2012 after a tense standoff with Philippine vessels. China then blocked
Filipinos from fishing in the shoal, which has a vast, coral-encircled lagoon
that also serves as a storm shelter for Asian fishermen.
The Philippines brought its disputes with China to
international arbitration the following year, but China ignored the complaint
and the tribunal's ruling, which found Beijing to have violated the rights of
Filipinos to fish at Scarborough.
After he took office in June, Duterte put his
country's territorial conflicts with China on the backburner and reached out to
China in an effort to revive robust trading and seek Chinese economic aid.
Contrastingly, he has lashed out at then-President Barack Obama and the U.S.
government, his country's treaty ally, for raising alarm over his deadly
crackdown on illegal drugs.
Duterte met Chinese President Xi Jinping and other top
officials in a visit to Beijing last year but did not raise the July 12 arbitration
ruling. He repeated Sunday that there would be a point in his six-year term
when he would do so.
China's money power works. Accepting defeat means
selling the nation to china. If he can't save his country must step down and
elect new leader who can get support from International community to sa... Read
"When? When they shall start to tinker with
entitlements," he said without elaborating.
Since Duterte met with Xi, Filipinos have been allowed
to fish at Scarborough and the Philippine coast guard said it has resumed
patrols in the area, easing yearslong tensions in the area.
Foreign and local extremists were meeting in a BIFF
enclave in the southern province of Maguindanao when the attack was launched,
Padilla said, declining to say where the foreigners had come from.
The Philippine military has used aircraft and
artillery to attack a group of Muslim extremists who were learning how to make
improvised explosive devices, a spokesman said today. The attacks between March
13-16 were a severe blow to fighters of the Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters
(BIFF), some of whose members have pledged allegiance to the Islamic State
group, said Brigadier General Restituto Padilla.
“The target was completely destroyed,” he told AFP
following assaults by planes, helicopter gunships and artillery in the southern
island of Mindanao.
There were no civilians in the area during the attack,
He cited intelligence sources as saying 21 extremists
were killed and 26 wounded, although no bodies were recovered. Muslim rebels
often carry away their dead and wounded. Five completed improvised explosive
devices were recovered along with bomb-making manuals and materials, the
military said. Troops are still tracking down the remnants of the BIFF group,
Padilla said. Muslim rebels have waged a separatist insurgency in the south of
the mainly Catholic Philippines since the 1970s, with the conflict claiming
more than 120,000 lives.
While the major rebel organisations have for years
observed a ceasefire as part of peace efforts, breakaway factions like the BIFF
and other Muslim gangs still engage in bombings and kidnappings.
Israel has long focused on stopping the transfer of
weapons from Syria to terror groups.
Israeli Defence Minister Avigdor Liberman has warned
that the country will destroy Syria’s air defense system if it fires an
anti-aircraft missile at Israeli aircraft again.
“The next time the Syrians use their air defence
systems against our airplanes, we will destroy all of them without thinking
twice.” CNN quoted Liberman as saying on Israel public radio on Sunday.
His threat comes after Syria fired anti-aircraft
missiles at Israeli military jets overnight Thursday into Friday.
The Syrian military said the jets struck a military
site near Palmyra, while Israel says they targeted a weapons shipment to
Iran-backed Hezbollah. Syria claims their missiles downed one Israeli jet and
hit another, which Israel rejected as “absolutely untrue.”
Meanwhile, the military actions did not go unnoticed
both in the Middle East and further afield as in a sign of Russia’s displeasure
with the strike, Moscow summoned Israel’s ambassador to Russia, Gary Koren,
less than 24 hours after it happened.
It is the first time in recent years that Moscow has
summoned Israel’s envoy over a strike in Syria, and it comes one week after
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu visited to reaffirm coordination
between the two sides over Syria.
The two countries established coordination last year
to avoid conflicts in Syrian airspace, ostensibly to allow both countries to
Turkish mosque in Germany vandalized
In yet another instance of Turkophobia and anti-Islam
attitudes running rampant in Europe, a mosque run by the local Turkish
community in Bremen, Germany, was vandalized by unknown assailants late
The suspects threw pig's ears and feet in the
courtyard of the Yeni Fatih Mosque in Bremen's Bremerhaven town. The Turkish
foundation that runs the mosque called German police to find the perpetrator or
perpetrators as soon as possible.
The mosque opened in 2011 in a ceremony attended by
Employing pigs in attacks targeting Muslims is quite
common as pigs are viewed as "unclean" by Muslims and raising or
eating it is "haram" or forbidden.
Mosques in Germany, where anti-Muslim sentiment that
has accompanied the influx of Muslim refugees is rising, are occasionally
subject to attacks, which range from Molotov cocktails to the tossing of pig's
heads. A Turkish parliamentary committee investigating the targeting of mosques
found some 297 attacks against mosques between 2001 and 2014, mostly targeting
Turkish mosques. German police have been criticized for their failure to
identify the suspects responsible for the attacks. Turks, who comprise one of
the largest minorities in the country with more than 3 million people, have
been frequent targets of racist attacks in the formerly Nazi-ruled Germany,
especially in the 1990s. The trend of attacks targeting mosques reemerged in
recent years with the rise of the far right in the country. In December, German
police detained a man linked to the anti-Islamic, xenophobic group Patriotic
Europeans Against the Islamification of the West (PEGIDA) on suspicion of
involvement in an attack targeting a Turkish mosque and an event venue in
Germany's Dresden in September. The suspect is accused of throwing homemade
explosives at Fatih Mosque, owned by the Turkish Islamic Union for Religious
Affairs (DİTİB), on Sept. 26.
Far-right crimes have significantly increased in
Dresden since 2015, potentially triggered by neo-Nazi propaganda and right-wing
populist movements that have exploited the refugee crisis and fears of Islam.
ISTANBUL: Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan on
Sunday launched a scathing personal attack against German Chancellor Angela
Merkel, accusing her of using “Nazi measures” in an intensifying dispute
between Ankara and Berlin.
Tensions flared after German authorities refused to
allow some Turkish ministers to campaign for a ‘yes’ vote in the April 16
referendum on expanding Erdogan’s powers, and he responded by saying Berlin was
behaving like Nazi Germany.
“When we call them Nazis they (Europe) get
uncomfortable. They rally together in solidarity. Especially Merkel,” Erdogan
said in a televised speech.
“But you are right now employing Nazi measures,”
Erdogan told Merkel using the informal ‘you’ in Turkish.
“Against who? My Turkish brother citizens in Germany
and brother ministers” who went to the country to hold campaign rallies for a
‘yes’ vote in next month’s referendum.
Authorities in Germany have blocked some Turkish
ministers from holding rallies, infuriating Ankara.
Erdogan said the crisis in relations with Europe over
the last days “showed that a new page had been opened in the ongoing fight
against our country”.
Accusing Europe of backing outlawed terror groups, he
warned: “The masked ball is over!” without specifying further.
Turkey had earlier expressed fury that German
authorities had on Saturday allowed a pro-Kurdish demonstration in Frankfurt to
go ahead where many participants carried insignia of the outlawed Kurdistan
Workers Party (PKK).
Germany meanwhile is livid over the jailing ahead of a
trial on terror charges of dual Turkish-German national Deniz Yucel, the Turkey
correspondent of the German newspaper Die Welt.
Erdogan described Yucel, whose arrest has caused
global concern, as a “terror agent” and “supposed journalist” and accused
Germany of hosting him for one month at its Istanbul consulate before he went
to police for questioning.
BERKIN Elvan, a Turkish teenager, died in 2014 after
being in a coma for 269 days. He had been struck on the head by a tear gas
shell during Istanbul’s Gezi Park protests in 2013. This tragedy provoked
further protests among Turkish liberals, but these soon petered out, as such
things usually do. However, three years later, Berkin’s image resurfaced, this
time on a poster in Geneva’s Place des Nations, a square outside the United
The message on the poster read: “My name is Berkin
Elvan. The police killed me on the orders of the Turkish Prime Minister.” At
the time, Recep Tayyip Erdogan was prime minister of Turkey.
As soon as the poster — part of an exhibition — went
up, the Turkish consulate protested and demanded that it be taken down. But the
Swiss government refused, citing freedom of expression. For the touchy Turkish
president, this was just another example of European bias against him.
Once more, Turkish patriotism, pride and paranoia have
clashed with European laws and liberal traditions. When cities in Germany and
Holland refused permission for ruling Turkish AK Party ministers to hold
rallies to drum up support for next month’s referendum that seeks to hand over
unprecedented powers to Erdogan, he and his colleagues erupted. “I thought
Nazism was over,” he thundered. “But I was wrong. In fact, Nazism is alive in
Apart from accusing Germany and Holland of being run
by “remnants of Nazism”, Erdogan advised Turkish women living in Europe to
“have five children each as three are not enough”. Three is the number he has
been suggesting to Turkish women at home, much to the ire of feminists.
He also brought in the recent European Court ruling
that permits employers to demand that employees avoid wearing garments that
proclaim religious belief. While applying to all faiths, this decision was made
in response to a legal challenge from a Muslim woman who was fired for wearing
a headscarf at work. Erdogan declared he was fed up of this Islamophobia:
“Where is the freedom of religion, freedom of conscience?” His interior
minister, Suleyman Soylu, was even more provocative: “Let’s send 15,000 migrants
a month to Europe to shock them.”
European response has been relatively muted, and
Angela Merkel, the German Chancellor, has said her government would not descend
to Erdogan’s level. However, the Nazi insults have stung badly, especially for
Germans who have lived with the stigma for decades.
There was apprehension in Holland that the spat with
Turkey would drive voters in the recent elections to support Geert Wilders, the
right-wing Islamophobic populist. Although he did less well than he had hoped,
his party still emerged with the second largest bloc of seats. As the Turkish
residents of Holland demonstrated against the decision to prevent AK Party
rallies on security grounds, Wilders was able to point to their Turkish flags
and say: “These people aren’t Dutch.”
For Erdogan, the whole episode has been a win-win
exercise. Had he been permitted to hold rallies, he might have persuaded more
Turks in the European diaspora to vote “Yes” to the constitutional changes
proposed in the 14 April referendum. But by being refused permission, he has
been able to claim that the West is against a strong presidency, and thus a
strong Turkey. As for any long-term damage he might have caused to relations
with key European states, he doesn’t really care.
Turkey’s long-held ambitions to join the European
Union lie in tatters. Apart from the recent bad blood, Erdogan’s crackdown on
real and imaginary political foes has caused concern and revulsion in Europe.
Claiming to be fighting on three fronts against the militant Islamic State
grouo, the Kurdish separatist group known as the PKK, and the Gullenists,
Erdogan is asking the Turkish people for enhanced powers as the executive and
Despite beating loudly on the nationalist drum, and
having a large state propaganda apparatus behind him, the outcome of the
referendum is far from certain. The tightness of the polls is one reason
Erdogan is reaching out to the four million Turks in the European diaspora. One
tracker poll shows ‘Yes’ voters at 48 per cent, while the ‘No’ vote is
projected at 52pc. Another puts both sides at 40pc, with 20pc undecided. While
opinion polls in Turkey are notoriously unreliable, these numbers do reflect a
surprising degree of ambivalence over giving Erdogan powers that even Mutafa Kemal
Ataturk, the founder of modern Turkey, did not enjoy.
A defeat in the referendum would be a huge setback for
Erdogan. Had he not been such a towering figure in modern Turkish politics,
such a stinging rejection would have spelled an end to very successful career.
But Erdogan is a resilient politician who has bounced back more than once, and
his AK Party has a solid constituency in Turkey’s conservative Anatolian
Indeed, his rise from a poor Istanbul neighbourhood to
a 1,000-room palace in Ankara has been phenomenal by any yardstick. Under him,
the economy has flourished and the powerful military has been cut down to size.
But his large ego has been his undoing. His ambition to determine Syria’s fate
following the outbreak of the civil war six years ago has caused a wave of
terrorism in Turkey, and has forced many to re-examine his judgement and his
Above all, his growing authoritarian tendencies have
alarmed many in and out of Turkey. For these people, a victory for the ‘No’
camp in the April referendum will be a victory for Turkey.
‘He Is Blind Or Deaf,’ Turkish Defence Minister Says
About German Intel Chief
‘He is blind or deaf,’ Turkish defence minister says
about German intel chief
Turkish Defence Minister Fikri Işık has criticized the
statements of German Federal Intelligence Service (BND) head Bruno Kahl, who
said Turkey failed to convince that U.S.-based Islamic preacher Fethullah Gülen
was behind the July 15, 2016 failed coup attempt in Turkey.
“If the person who is at the top of Germany’s
intelligence service says ‘we cannot see who is behind the coup attempt,’ he is
either blind, deaf or feels the need to hide the suspects of it [coup attempt].
This is not explainable. This brings questions to minds. Did you collaborate
with them? Which part are you taking place in?” he said.
“It could be more suitable to say ‘we do not want to
see it’ instead of ‘we cannot see who is behind it,’” he added.
He said the statement was “unfortunate,” noting it
raised questions on whether Germany was behind the thwarted coup attempt.
“A statement like this from Germany’s intelligence
chief raises doubts about Germany, and makes us ask if Germany was behind the
coup,” he said.
Kahl told German magazine Der Spiegel on March 18 that
the Turkish government failed to convince them that Gülen was behind the coup
“Turkey has tried on different levels to convince us
of that fact, but they have not succeeded,” Kahl said.
James Tennent By James Tennent
March 19, 2017
A federal judge in Hawaii who ordered an injunction
halting the new travel ban by US President Donald Trump's administration has
rejected a motion from the Department of Justice to limit his restraining order
to only affecting the part of the order that stops citizens of six Muslim
majority countries from entering the United States.
Judge Derrick Watson rejected the DoJ motion, leaving
in place his injunction from Wednesday that halts the travel ban against
citizens from the six countries, as well as the temporary ban on refugees and
annual refugee cap.
After the initial ruling, Trump told a rally in
Nashville that the injunction was "an unprecedented judicial
During the legal battle that struck down the Trump
administration's first attempt at a ban on selected entry into the US, Trump
called the man who made the legal ruling a "so-called judge". That
sparked a backlash rallying around the independence of the judiciary - a
cornerstone of the American constitution.
The latest version of the ban differs in that Iraq is
not included in the list of countries whose citizens cannot enter the US and it
does not affect permanent residents or those who already hold visas.
The first order was roundly criticised for it's
roll-out, with little warning or consultation that it was coming, leading to
chaos at airports.
The Department of Justice filed a motion on Saturday
(18 March) asking for clarification on which sections of the executive order
the restraining order applied to. It argued that because some sections were not
addressed by attorneys fighting the ban, "it is therefore unclear whether
the court intended for its Temporary Restraining Order to extend to all of
Quoted in Politico, Watson responded that the motion
asked for a distinction that was never made in earlier arguments.
IBTimes UK contacted the US Department of Justice for
comment on the ruling but did not receive a response by the time of
Using Special Forces Against Terrorism, Trump Seeks to
Avoid Big Ground Wars
By ERIC SCHMITT
MARCH 19, 2017
Chadian soldiers carrying out a training operation led
by a United States Special Forces trainer, right, in N’Djamena last week as
part of an annual exercise. Credit Bryan Denton for The New York Times
MARA, Chad — From Yemen to Syria to here in Central
Africa, the Trump administration is relying on Special Operations forces to
intensify its promised fight against the Islamic State and other terrorist
groups as senior officials embrace an Obama-era strategy to minimize the
American military’s footprint overseas.
In Africa, President Trump is expected to soon approve
a Pentagon proposal to remove constraints on Special Operations airstrikes and
raids in parts of Somalia to target suspected militants with the Shabab, an
extremist group linked to Al Qaeda. Critics say that the change — in one of the
few rejections of President Barack Obama’s guidelines for the elite forces —
would bypass rules that seek to prevent civilian deaths from drone attacks and
But in their two months in office, Trump officials
have shown few other signs that they want to back away from Mr. Obama’s
strategy to train, equip and otherwise support indigenous armies and security
forces to fight their own wars instead of having to deploy large American
forces to far-flung hot spots.
“Africans are at war; we’re not,” said Col. Kelly
Smith, 47, a Green Beret commander who fought in Iraq and Afghanistan and was a
director of a counterterrorism exercise in Chad this month involving about
2,000 African and Western troops and trainers. “But we have a strategic
interest in the success of partners.”
Mr. Trump came to office without a clearly articulated
philosophy for using the military to fight terrorist groups. He had promised to
be more aggressive in taking on the Islamic State — even suggesting during the
presidential campaign that he had a secret plan — but had also signaled a
desire to rein in the notion of the United States as the world’s peacekeeper
and claimed at various points to have opposed the ground invasion of Iraq.
Continue reading the main story
Now, surrounded by generals who have been at the
center of a decade-long shift to rely on Special Operations forces to project
power without the risks and costs of large ground wars, he is choosing to
maintain the same approach but giving the Pentagon more latitude.
A Chadian soldier pretending to be a dead Boko Haram
fighter in a training demonstration during the exercise in N’Djamena last week.
Credit Bryan Denton for The New York Times
That leeway carries its own perils. Last week, the
Pentagon went to unusual lengths to defend an airstrike in Syria that United
States officials said killed dozens of Qaeda operatives at a meeting place —
and not civilians at a mosque, as activists and local residents maintain.
It was yet another example of the mixed success Mr.
Trump’s forays with special operators have had so far. An ill-fated raid in
January by the Navy’s SEAL Team 6 against Qaeda fighters in Yemen marred the
president’s first counterterrorism mission, five days after he became commander
in chief. In Mosul, however, Special Operations advisers are the American
troops closest to the fight in Iraq to oust the Islamic State from its
stronghold there. That is also likely to be the case in the impending battle to
reclaim Raqqa in eastern Syria.
Mr. Trump is largely relying on the policies of his
two immediate predecessors, Mr. Obama and President George W. Bush, who were
also great advocates of Special Operations forces. On Mr. Obama’s orders, SEAL
Team 6 commandos killed Osama bin Laden in his hide-out in Pakistan in 2011.
But Mr. Trump seems to have taken that appreciation
and reliance to another level. He appointed a retired Marine Corps general, Jim
Mattis, as defense secretary, and a three-star Army officer, Lt. Gen. H. R.
McMaster, as his national security adviser. Both men have extensive experience
with Special Operations forces. And the National Security Council’s new senior
director for counterterrorism, Christopher P. Costa, is a retired Special
Forces intelligence officer.
Sharing an unusual window into the private
conversations between Mr. Trump and his senior commanders, Army Gen. Tony
Thomas, the head of the military’s Special Operations Command, said the
president had made clear his urgent priority for counterterrorism missions
conducted by the military’s elite forces during a visit to military
headquarters in Tampa, Fla., last month.
“There were some pretty pointed questions about what
winning looks like, and how are you going to get there,” General Thomas told a
Special Operations conference outside Washington after the presidential visit.
And while the Pentagon could eventually send a few
thousand more conventional troops to the fights in Iraq, Syria and Afghanistan,
General Thomas warned that senior commanders feared that “more troops on the
ground may mean you own the problem when you’re done with it.”
Flat-bottomed boats carried Chadian Special
Antiterrorism Group soldiers and their American Special Forces trainers during
an exercise along the shore of the Chari River last week. Credit Bryan Denton
for The New York Times
That concern gives weight to arguments for greater
reliance on special operators as the Trump administration for now eschews
larger deployments of conventional troops and proposes deep cuts in foreign aid
and State Department budgets.
The global reach of special operators is widening.
During the peak of the conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan, nearly 13,000 Special
Operations forces were deployed on missions across the globe, but a large
majority were assigned to those two countries. Now, more than half of the 8,600
elite troops overseas are posted outside the Middle East or South Asia,
operating in 97 countries, according to the Special Operations Command.
Still, about one-third of the 6,000 American troops
currently in Iraq and Syria are special operators, many of whom are advising
local troops and militias on the front lines. About a quarter of the 8,400
American troops in Afghanistan are special operators.
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In Africa, about one-third of the nearly 6,000 overall
troops are Special Operations forces. The only permanent American installation
on the continent is Camp Lemonnier, a sprawling base of 4,000 United States
service members and civilians in Djibouti that serves as a hub for counterterrorism
operations and training. The United States Air Force flies surveillance drones
from small bases in Niger and Cameroon.
Elsewhere in Africa, the roles of special operators
are varied, and their ranks are small, typically measured in the low dozens for
specific missions. Between 200 and 300 Navy SEALs and other special operators
work with African allies to hunt shadowy Shabab terrorists in Somalia. As many
as 100 Special Forces soldiers help African troops pursue the notorious leader
of the Lord’s Resistance Army, Joseph Kony. And Navy SEALs are training
Nigerian commandos for action in the oil-rich delta.
The United States is building a $50 million drone base
in Agadez, Niger, that is likely to open sometime next year to monitor Islamic
State insurgents in a vast area on the southern flank of the Sahara that
stretches from Senegal to Chad.
Mr. Trump’s tough talk on terrorism has been well
received here in Chad, where American Special Operations and military
instructors from several Western nations finished an annual three-week
counterterrorism training exercise last week.
U.S. Troops and Equipment in Africa
The countries in Africa where the United States has
the most troops, and the cooperative security locations, where military
equipment is stored.
Cooperative security locations
Note: The U.S. Department of Defense uses cooperative
security locations to store pre-positioned equipment and supplies, including
tents, cots and munitions, for military emergencies. Troops include trainers
and support personnel.
Sources: U.S. Africa Command; senior U.S. military
By The New York Times
Many African soldiers and security forces said they
would welcome an even larger United States military presence to help combat
myriad extremist threats. “Of course we’d like more,” said Hassan Zakari
Mahamadou, a police commissioner from Niger. “U.S. forces enhance us.”
The Pentagon has allocated about $250 million over two
years to help train the armies and security forces of North, Central and West
But American aid and training alone — along with
occasional secret unilateral strikes — will not be enough to defeat groups like
Al Qaeda, Boko Haram and the Islamic State, officials say.
“We could knock off all the ISIL and Boko Haram this
afternoon,” Gen. Thomas D. Waldhauser, the leader of the military’s Africa
Command, told the Senate this month, using an acronym for the Islamic State.
“But by the end week, so to speak, those ranks would be filled.”
Here on the outskirts of the Chadian capital,
N’Djamena, last week, four flat-bottomed boats with mounted machine guns roared
down the Chari River. The boats pulled up along the riverbank, just opposite
neighboring Cameroon, and disgorged rifle-toting Chadian Special Antiterrorism
Group forces and their American trainers.
In a hail of gunfire, shooting blanks, they stormed
the thatched huts of a suspected Boko Haram bomb maker; seized laptops,
cellphones and other material inside for clues on terrorist operations; and
dashed back to the river, fending off a mock ambush on the way. Piling back
into their boats under covering fire, the Chadian commandos sped off in a drill
that American and Chadian officers often play out for real in the nearby Lake
Chad Basin area.
“Extremism is like a cancer,” said Brig. Gen. Zakaria
Ngobongue, a senior Chadian officer who has trained in France and at Hurlburt
Field, Fla., and was helping oversee the exercise. “We need to continue to
Officials said inmates also started a fire in part of
the prison, and police threw tear gas canisters seeking to regain control.
guatemala prison riot, guatemala city, guatemala
prison, guatemala city police, prison riot, world news
Inmates climb to the roof as police take control
during a riot at the reformatory for youth and men, Centro Correccional Etapa
II, in San Jose Pinula, Guatemala, Sunday, March 19, 2017. (AP Photo/Oliver de
A riot erupted Sunday at a prison for juveniles and
adults, and authorities said two jail monitors were killed and several other
people suffered injuries.
The incident came two weeks after unrest at a
state-run shelter for children resulted in a fire that killed 40 girls.
The National Civil Police confirmed that two monitors
were dead at the Central Correctional Stage II prison in San Jose Pinula, about
12 miles (20 kilometers) east of the capital.
Volunteer firefighters told local media that the
monitors who were killed had been beaten, but the cause of death had not been
Ibrahim Suleiman Adnan Adam Harun, 46, a citizen of
Niger, was convicted on all five counts presented to the jury.
al qaeda, al qaeda operative, us embassy, nigeria,
american military, al qaeda terrorist convicted, us nationals, world news
An accused al Qaeda operative, Ibrahim Suleiman Adnan
Adam Harun, is shown in this US Attorney’s office in Brooklyn evidence photo.
An al-Qaeda operative, who had travelled to Pakistan
and met leaders of the terror group there, has been convicted by a jury here on
multiple terrorism offenses including conspiracy to murder American military
personnel in Afghanistan and bomb the US embassy in Nigeria.
Ibrahim Suleiman Adnan Adam Harun, 46, a citizen of
Niger, was convicted on all five counts presented to the jury, including
conspiracy to murder US nationals, conspiracy to bomb a government facility,
conspiracy to provide material support to foreign terrorist organisation
al-Qaeda and use of explosives in connection with terrorist activities.
When sentenced in June, Harun faces a maximum sentence
of life in prison.
Harun had traveled to Afghanistan in the weeks before
the September 11 attacks and had joined al-Qaeda, trained at the group’s
training camps and participated in attacks on US and Coalition troops in
Afghanistan in which two American service members were killed and others were
seriously wounded in 2003.
He had also received training in explosives from an
al-Qaeda weapons expert and traveled from Pakistan to Nigeria intending to
attack US government facilities there.
“Harun is an al-Qaeda operative who targeted US
personnel and diplomatic facilities across two continents. The evidence
presented at trial established that the defendant and other jihadists attacked
a US military patrol in Afghanistan, resulting in the death of two American
soldiers and the serious injury of others,” said Acting Assistant Attorney
General Mary B McCord for National Security.
During the two-week trial, the government established
that immediately after the September 11 terrorist attacks, al-Qaeda military
leaders sent Harun to training camps in Afghanistan, in anticipation of an American
At these camps, he learned how to use weapons and
explosives and met top al Qaeda leaders. Harun then traveled to Waziristan in
the Federally Administered Tribal Areas region of Pakistan, where he operated
under Abdul Hadi al-Iraqi, one of bin Laden’s deputies who was al-Qaeda’s top
military commander in Afghanistan at that time.
In April, 2003, Harun and fellow jihadists ambushed a
US military patrol from Firebase Shkin. Two US servicemen were killed in the
attack and several others were seriously wounded. Harun was also wounded but
escaped to Pakistan.
While recovering from his wounds in Pakistan, Harun
met with senior al-Qaeda officials – including Abu Faraj al-Libi, then al
Qaeda’s external operations chief – and expressed his desire to engage in acts
of terror against US interests outside of Afghanistan, specifically attacks
similar to 1998 al-Qaeda bombings of the US embassies in Kenya and Tanzania.
He also swore formal allegiance to al-Qaeda chief
Osama bin Laden through bin Laden’s military commander Abdul Hadi.
In summer of 2003, Harun traveled from Pakistan to
Nigeria, where he planned to bomb the US Embassy.
In early 2005, Harun was arrested by Libyan
authorities and held in custody until his release in June 2011.
Subsequently, Harun was arrested on June 24, 2011 by
Italian authorities and was later extradited to the US to face charges pending
in the Eastern District of New York.
19 Mar, 2017
An Afghan soldier opened fire at Camp Shorab air base
in southern Afghanistan, wounding three US soldiers before being shot dead.
The injured American troopers are receiving medical
treatment, the NATO-led Resolute Support mission said.
Afghan military spokesman, Rasoul Zazai, told Reuters
that the incident happened at 3 p.m. local time Sunday at Camp Shorab in the
Afghan province of Helmand.
Protest outside the Royal Courts of Justice in London
on February 8, 2017. © Daniel Leal-OlivasMarine’s murder conviction reduced to
manslaughter on diminished responsibility grounds
An Afghan special forces operative “lost his life in
exchange of fire” after wounding three US soldiers, he said.
According to AP, Zazai claimed the Afghan soldier’s
actions weren’t deliberate and that he just made a “mistake.”
Insider attacks by Afghan soldiers, once a major
security concern, have been on the decline recently due to improved security at
bases, and the withdrawal of most of the international contingent from
Afghanistan in late 2014.
Currently, around 13,000 foreign troops remain in the
country as advisers and instructors for the local security forces fighting the
In October 2016, an Afghan man dressed in a military
uniform shot dead a US serviceman and an American civilian contractor at a
military base in Kabul.
Two Romanian soldiers were shot dead and one wounded
last May after Afghan police officers they were training, opened fire on them.
By SHARON NOGUCHI
Distressed over the targeting of Muslims, opposed to
national and religious scapegoating and seeking to channel their outrage and
anguish, hundreds of South Bay residents turned out at a Santa Clara mosque
Sunday afternoon to express solidarity with their Muslims coworkers, neighbors
“We protest policies and executive orders that divide,
dehumanize and demonize,” said the Rev. Joey Lee of the Presbytery of San Jose
— which serves Presbyterian churches in four counties — and one of 20 speakers
addressing the crowd. “We protest the building of walls rather than bridges and
even the idea of a Muslim registry.”
Several hundred people held hands while circling the
mosque at the Muslim Community Association, before mingling and listening to
speakers exhorting people to stand together and reject hatred and divisiveness.
“I was worried we wouldn’t have enough people to form
a circle,” said Yasmine Kilani of Santa Clara, who happened to be teaching at
the community association that day and joined in. Instead, she was more than
gratified. “When we see so many people from different faiths here — this is
The “Hands Around the Mosque” event drew a noticeably
bigger crowd than in two previous years. “I would like to think that it’s the
relationships we have built,” said organizer Samina Sundas, founder of the
American Muslim Voice Foundation, co-host of the event along with the community
association. While a number of people
came from supportive congregations and religious groups, others were propelled
by concern over national leadership and politics.
“I am very worried,” said Laurie Castellano, 75, of
Palo Alto. “The Trump presidency has really made a resistance worker out of
“We have been looking for a way to show our support
for the Muslim community. We thought this was a lovely way to do it,” said Jenn
Ibbotson-Brown of Palo Alto, who said she’s become newly political. She, her
husband Jeff Brown and children ages 13, 11 and 3, were all holding hands
around the mosque.
Many, like Erica Wang, 45, of Sunnyvale, got word via
social media and from various resistance movements that have sprung up since
November — the political network Indivisible, and huddles,” small groups that
grew out of the women’s march.
Others do not see Muslims in isolation. “The Jewish
people stand with our Muslim brothers and sisters,” said Rabbi Jonathan Prosnit
of congregation Beth Am in Los Altos Hills. “We know an attack on one community
of faith is an attack on all communities of faith.”
Nestor and Renata Melo of Fremont also turned out to
show solidarity. “It’s very important for the Muslim community to understand
that they are welcome,” Nestor Melo, 45, said.
As immigrants from Brazil, the couple detected a
change in U.S. attitudes when they flew back into this country on a recent
trip. Immigration authorities, they said, were noticeably less welcoming, and
more rigorous in their checks.
But Sundas is convinced that as a whole, “Americans
are kind, compassionate and open-minded people.”
In confronting hateful rhetoric, she said, “hate
cannot drive out hate,” she said. “We need to resist the spread of hate and
fear. We need to sow the seeds of friendship.”
It’s not certain how much hand-holding will diminish
hate crimes, influence national politics or counter hatred for Muslims.
But Sunday’s mosque gathering “was not meant to change
the minds of those under the sway of Islamophobia,” said the Rev. Rowan
Fairgrove, 63, of San Jose. A Wiccan, or pagan, priestess, Fairgrove said,
“It’s meant to show our Muslim neighbors that we have their backs.”
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