Accusation without Providing Four Witnesses Is a ‘Qazaf’ Offence, Says Federal
Official Accused of Legitimising China’s Detention of Uighur Muslims by
Visiting Xinjiang Province
Refugee Crisis Must Be Resolved Forthwith To Avoid Emergence of another ISIS
Offers Support For Better India-Pakistan Ties
of Allegations Against Maulana Kalbe Jawad Takes New Turn; Girl Reveals Shia
Waqf Board Chairman‘s Role In The Conspiracy
Jatha Not Allowed To Go To Pakistan, New Delhi Denies Clearance to Special
Train for Sikh Pilgrims
Argentina Hold Workshop on Countering Hezbollah Terror
Shi'ite Groups Deepen Control in Strategic Sunni Areas
Bomb Factory Is a Sign of Iran’s Widening Campaign of Terror
Million Signatures Campaign to Fight against Zakir Naik Extradition
for Growth: Indonesia’s Gulf Connections
Suspects In Easter Bombings Extradited To Sri Lanka From A Middle Eastern
201-Dome Mosque Becomes Center of Attraction
bomber kills 9 in eastern Afghanistan
Taliban militants killed, 4 house-bone IEDs destroyed in Logar and Kandahar
Special Forces rescue soldiers from a Taliban prison in Ghor
Taliban militants killed in Special Forces operation, airstrikes in Ghazni
Taliban fighters will be ‘peace envoys,’ says Ghani
Arrest in Coimbatore Islamic State-Inspired Terror Module Case
Narendra Modi slams terror factories, Bishkek Declaration backs him
Claims India Refused To Let Its Train Cross Border to Bring 200 Sikh Pilgrims
Four journalists allegedly roughed up by police while covering encounter in
Rohingya refugees fled to India, hate on Facebook followed
Kidnapped Yazidi Children Who Don’t Want To Be Rescued From ISIS
continues in Idlib despite cease-fire claims
Isis killer and an unlikely hero have heaved open the cracks in Lebanese
officials say roadside bomb wounds 6 police in Sinai
Not Disclosing Fate of Tens of Iraqi ISIL Commanders Arrested in Syria to
of More US, ISIL Victims Found in Raqqa
More Flee US-Controlled Refugee Camp in Homs
Syria bomb gathering of Jabhat al-Nusra ringleaders
Bahraini court upholds jail terms against dozen anti-regime activists
Cleric Lauds Leader's Stances on US' Offer for Talks
terrorism of Iran and its militias must be confronted
says video shows Iran removing mine from stricken tanker
refuses Russian ‘excuse’ over Syria strikes
Coalition strikes Houthi positions in Yemen’s Sanaa
Saudi Arabia intercepts five Houthi drones in new attack
tells SCO summit: US poses 'serious threat' to world
Xi: China to promote ties with Iran no matter what
forces injure 49 civilians in Gaza
Arabia’s air defense forces shot down five Houthi drones aimed at Asir region
Insurgents Overrun Nigerian Army Base In Northeast - Security Sources
Says 88 People Killed in Suspected Boko Haram Attack
al-Shabab militants killed in Kenya's coast in botched attack
Who Withheld Info About ISIS-affiliated Brother Sentenced to 10 Years
State arrival in Mozambique further complicates Cabo Delgado violence
says military council suspends decree on UN sites
suspends handover of camps in Sudan's Darfur
Premature IED Detonation Kills 4 Al-Shabaab Militants in Garissa, Kenya
Says Al-Shabaab Members Died in Premature Bomb Blast
Time to Consider Negotiating With Al-Shabaab in Somalia?
Special Forces Battle against ISIS Turns to Containment, and Concern in
and Muslim Touched By Shootings Unite To Speak Against Religious Hatred
focused on building international consensus following attacks in Middle East
will block Trump's arms sales to Saudi Arabia: Pelosi
House releases update on global counterterrorism efforts
says wants Iran ‘back at the table’ after tanker attacks
sanctions on Turkey may open Pandora's box at NATO
stands with Turkey in fighting terrorism: official
Anti-Muslim Attacks Worry Islamic Community In Germany
Sahel violence, France seeks more European Special Forces
Congressmen To Merkel: Designate Hezbollah A Terror Group
Javid and the complex life of a Muslim Conservative leadership hopeful
says interested in energy investment in Iran
Iran 'almost certainly' behind tanker attacks
orphans from ISIS families arrive in Belgium
regime and Russian bombardment kill 28 in north-west Syria
Praises Frequent Xi-Imran Meetings
lawyers hold nationwide protests as proceedings against senior judges begin in
process for Dar, Nawaz’s sons to begin soon: Fawad
wants debt probe body to start with Musharraf era
surrounds SJC hearing of references against judges
seeks Faryal Talpur's physical remand from Islamabad's accountability court
Imran is a devout Muslim without a beard, Fawad says
Khan makes veiled attack on India over Kashmir during address at SCO Summit
by New Age Islam News Bureau
June 14 ― Accusing someone of committing sodomy is a “qazaf” offence if the
sexual misconduct is not proven by four witnesses or without a confession by
the accused, said Federal Territories Mufti Datuk Zulkifli Mohamad Al-Bakri.
Islam, he said, the burden of proof is on the accuser or person who brings the
claim, while the person who is being accused may take an oath to tell the truth
on the accusation.
this way, the accuser must produce four witnesses to support the allegation
that they clearly saw the act being committed.
the case of the video recording, the offence must be proven by the testimony of
four witnesses who should be impartial, not blind and are righteous Muslims,”
he said when met by reporters at an Aidilfitri event held at his office here
was commenting on the qazaf complaint filed by Economic Affairs Minister’s
political secretary, Muhamad Hilman Idham at the Federal Territories Islamic
Religious Department (Jawi) over the dissemination of the sex video purporting
to implicate the minister, Datuk Seri Mohamed Azmin Ali.
Azmin had also vehemently denied the allegations made by an individual who
tried to link him to the sex video.
is a syariah criminal offence which refers to the act of accusing someone of
committing illicit sex without procuring four witnesses to support the
official accused of legitimising China’s detention of Uighur Muslims by
visiting Xinjiang province
visit by the UN’s counterterrorism chief to China’s western Xinjiang region has
sparked outrage from human rights groups who say it legitimises Beijing’s
treatment of more than one million Uighur Muslims detained there.
has long argued that its use of detention centres in the region is justified in
order to help stamp out extremism and give people new skills. But the complexes
have seen China condemned internationally, with accusations of widespread
abuses, disappearances and arbitrary detentions targeting the Muslim community.
UN’s high commissioner for human rights, Michelle Bachelet, requested
permission to visit Xinjiang and assess the situation in December. On Thursday,
China’s envoy to the UN in Geneva said they were yet “to define a time which is
convenient to both sides”.
it seems a convenient time was found for a trip by Vladimir Voronkov, a former
Russian diplomat and the UN’s undersecretary general for counterterrorism. His
visit, first reported by Foreign Policy magazine and later confirmed by a UN
spokesperson, sees him become the highest-level UN official to visit the
of Mr Voronkov’s itinerary were not immediately revealed, but UN spokesperson
Farhan Haq did issue a statement saying the UN’s counterterrorism office always
worked to ensure that measures used to fight terror respected human rights.
Charbonneau, the UN director for Human Rights Watch, told Foreign Policy that
Mr Voronkov’s visit was “handing China a propaganda victory”.
UN allowing its counterterrorism chief to go to Xinjiang risks confirming
China’s false narrative that this is a counterterrorism issue, not a question
of massive human rights abuses,” he said.
Prince Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein of Jordan, the former UN human rights commissioner
who clashed with China on a number of occasions, said a simple
government-controlled visit to Xinjiang would be “quite useless, rais[ing]
dramatically the possibility of staging and whitewash”.
UN formally raised concerns over the human rights situation in Xinjiang during
a visit by secretary general Antonio Guterres to China in May. At the request
of some western countries, he told China’s prime minister that rights in
Xinjiang “must be respected”.
insisted on Thursday that an invitation to rights chief Ms Bachelet “is always
there”, with envoy Chen Xu praising her approach of “dialogue and cooperation”
and contrasting it to that of her predecessor Prince Zeid.
hope to see the high commissioner pay a visit to China including a trip to
Xinjiang to see by herself ... Seeing is believing,” Mr Chen told a news
refugee crisis must be resolved forthwith to avoid emergence of another ISIS
2017, as Myanmar military began a crackdown on the Rohingya ethnic minority
group, over one million fled the Rakhine state and took refuge in Bangladesh.
In today’s world, Rohingya refugee is the highest size of refugees. A
developing nation like Bangladesh has to bear the expenditure of hundreds of
millions of dollars each year towards food, housing, medical and other basic
needs of these unfortunate people. Ever since the emergence of this crisis,
Bangladeshi Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina and her government have been
relentlessly trying to mobilize global communities in putting pressure on
Myanmar in immediately resolving the crisis. Unfortunately, until now, none of
the mighty nations in the world, including the United States, China, Russia,
and India, in particular, are showing real interest in this issue, except for
some mere lip-service, while China and India in particular, as well as
Russia, are silently siding towards
world powers are silent on Myanmar issue
to Myanmar’s own Department of Geological Survey and Mineral Exploration (DGSE),
there is a huge stock of mineral resources such as gold, copper, tin, and zinc,
within the Rakhine state, which are yet to be explored. In addition to this,
there are potential gas and oil reserves. It may be mentioned here that,
several nations are already competing – either openly or discreetly in
deepening relations with Myanmar with the hope of getting a stake in the huge
stock of mineral resources within the Rakhine state as well as other parts of
the country. For this particular reason, many of the nations, particularly
China and India even are shy in uttering the word ‘Rohingya’ thinking it may
hurt their Burmese counterpart.
nation is actually eyeing on Myanmar’s natural resources and that is one of the
key reasons that stop them from speaking out loud enough on the Rohingya issue.
In this case, China and India already have greatly succeeded in deepening
relations with Myanmar, and most definitely, for this reason, both the nations
are unwilling to annoy Myanmar by helping Bangladesh in a real sense in
resolving the crisis.
a crisis is not a lone burden for Bangladesh and Myanmar
now, everyone in the world may think, Rohingya refugee the issue is a lone
burden on Bangladesh and Myanmar and it is the responsibility of Dhaka and Naypyitaw
to resolve the matter through “mutual dialogues”. What some of the countries do
not realize is, for Myanmar, it is actually a priority in keeping the Rohingyas
out of the land for the sake of ensuring a favorable atmosphere in the Rakhine
state, which would enable Naypyitaw in having foreign investors in larger
number for investing billions of dollars in the exploration of mineral
Myanmar wants Rohingyas out of the land
1.5 million Muslim population in the Rakhine state in Myanmar actually is
considered as a liability than human resources by the policymakers in
Naypyitaw. The main reason behind such perception is –the majority of these
Rohingyas are uneducated, unskilled and to some extent radicalized Muslims.
Rohingyas have tried in 1947 and again in 1971 for making Rakhine state a part
of the then East Pakistan and then Bangladesh. It means they are not loyal to
Naypyitaw. The reason behind such sentiment is decade-old persecution and
hostilities these Rohingyas have been enduring mostly from the Buddhist
majority populace as well as Myanmar’s military junta. Myanmar’s military and
the Buddhists see Islam as a threat to country’s peace, stability, and even
integrity because the next-door neighbors of Myanmar are Bangladesh, a Muslim
majority country and India, a country with over 180 million Muslim population.
Myanmar does not want the Rohingyas to attain legitimacy as citizens of the
country and ultimate form any type of nexus under the garb of solidarity of the
ultimate price of driving out the Rohingyas
Myanmar nor China and India are realizing the potential risk posed by the
Rohingya refugee crisis, which would definitely jeopardize regional and even
global security within the next few years unless it is resolved immediately
without wasting further time.
are aware of Arakan Rohingya Salvation Army (ARSA), a terrorist outfit that
came into existence since 2013 under the leadership of Ataullah Abu Ammar
Jununi, born in Karachi, Pakistan and grown and educated in the Islamic school
in Mecca, Saudi Arabia. He is of Myanmar origin. In his later years in Saudi
Arabia, Ataullah served as an imam, (similarly as Islamic State (ISIS) kingpin
Abu Bakr Al Baghdadi) and served as an imam to the Rohingya diaspora community
of around 150,000.
report from the International Crisis Group (ICG) released in December 2016
stated that Ataullah left Saudi Arabia in 2012, shortly after religiously
motivated violence erupted in Rakhine State. A Myanmar government press release
claims Ataullah spent six months of training in modern guerrilla warfare under
the Taliban in Pakistan. The ICG report stated that though not confirmed, there
are indications he went to Pakistan, and possibly elsewhere and that he
received practical training in modern guerrilla warfare. Several members of the
group also stated to ICG that he may have received additional training in
has been an active supporter of Islamic State ever since its emergence in 2014
and according to several documents, he maintains deeper connections with
Pakistani spy agency Inter Service Intelligence.
2012, Ataullah began recruiting members under the banner of Harakah al-Yaqin
after the 2012 riots in Myanmar. HaY, which would become ARSA in 2017, was
comprised of seething, angry young men whose lives had been destroyed by the
Myanmar armed forces.
most important point to note here is – Ataullah Abu Ammar Jununi promotes
Caliphate, which is a prototype of Abu Bakr Al Baghdadi’s concept of Islamic
State. Each of his directives is issued after cross-checking with the Quran and
Hadith, meaning we can for granted take ARSA as the next ISIS – if not even
much dangerous and mighty.
confidants in ARSA, his devoted followers among the Rohingya, and his acquaintances
from Saudi Arabia all unanimously describe him as one of the politest and
softest-spoken people they have ever known. He even is described of his
mesmeric personality, who calls upon his fellowmen to die or kill the
us remember, the size of the “armies” of ARSA would be millions, as there are
1.5 million Rohingyas only now in Bangladesh [over one million Rohingya
refugees] and Myanmar, while there are thousands of Rohingyas in Saudi Arabia,
India, Pakistan, Malaysia, Indonesia, the Philippines, in addition to an
unknown number of Rohingyas in the western nations. There is a sharp
possibility of ARSA joining hands with ISIS and may even expand up to those
Islamists in Chechens and Uyghurs. There are over 110 million Uyghurs in China
and thousands in Turkey, Russia, and Canada. And let us not forget those
hundreds of thousands of Chechens, who are spread within Chechnya, Russia,
Turkey, Middle East, United States, Canada, and the European nations. Can we
realize the ultimate consequence if there is a nexus of jihadists formed in
between ISIS, ARSA and beyond? Can we really afford to keep the Rohingya
refugee crisis alive and open the door to the formation of a gigantic jihadist
force under the theme of Caliphate?
offers support for better India-Pakistan ties
A day after PM Narendra Modi told Chinese President Xi Jinping about his grave
concerns about terror attacks from Pakistan, Xi offered Beijing's support,
during discussions on Friday morning with Pakistan PM Imran Khan, for the
improvement of the Delhi-Islamabad relationship.
leaders were in the Kyrgyz capital of Bishkek for the Shanghai Cooperation
Organisation Summit which ended on Friday.
"supports Pakistan and India in improving their relations," the Chinese
leader was quoted as saying by Xinhua. Xi also offered Pakistan the necessary
assistance to build its capability to fight terrorism. China is also concerned
about terrorism in Pakistan because it may affect the Beijing-funded
$60-billion China-Pakistan Economic Corridor.
had said in discussions with Xi on Thursday that for the resumption of dialogue
India expected "concrete action" by Islamabad to create an atmosphere
"free of terror".
China-India relations, Xi told Modi on Thursday that China and India "do
not pose threats" to each other, Xinhua reported on Friday. The two
leaders met on the sidelines of the SCO summit. "China and India offer to
each other chances for development, and do not pose each other threats
(sic)," Xinhua, China's official news agency, quotedx Xi as telling Modi.
He called for strengthening confidence-building measures to maintain stability
at the border. One of SCO's chief goals is the battle against terrorism. New
Delhi wants SCO, which has China, Russia, India and Pakistan as members, to
show that it is really capable to directing one of its members to stop
terrorism on its soil.
two sides should expand and enrich the construction of the China-Pakistan
Economic Corridor with new focus on areas including industrial parks,
agriculture and social welfare," Xi said.
about efforts to resolve the India-China border dispute, Xi said, "We need
to make good use of the meeting of the special representatives on the boundary
issue and other mechanisms, strengthen confidence-building measures and
maintain stability at the border areas.
The case of allegations against Maulana Kalbe Jawad took a new turn when the
girl who had made allegations against the religious leader refuted them. Not
only this, she revealed the role of Shia Waqf Board Chairman Wasim Rizvi in
defaming Maulana Jawad and accused Wasim Rizvi of bribing her father for
girl told that due to an old rift, Wasim Rizvi bribed her father and younger
sister and hatched the whole conspiracy against Maulana. The girl further
accused her father Naushad Ali that her father is a habitual blackmailer who
defames people and extorts money by blackmailing them. Hence she is staying
with her mother separately.
girl said she faces a threat to her life from her father and Wasim Rizvi. She
appealed to the officers that if she is not protected, her father and Wasim
Rizvi will kill her.
Kamaldeep Singh Brar
Sikh Jatha was not given permission to cross over to Pakistan from Attari
railway station on Friday to observe the martyrdom of fifth master Guru Arjun
total of 130 Sikh devotees had 10 days’ visa to go to Pakistan and a special
train was also awaiting them at Wagah. However, Indian Railways officials said
they did not have required permissions from the Union government to enter a
special train for Sikh devotees to go to Pakistan.
devotees raised slogans against the government, the Shiromani Akali Dal Badal
and SGPC for cancellation of their visit.
is the Union government not allowing us to go to Pakistan to observe Martyrdom
Day? It is our religious right. We have visa to go there. We are not going
there illegally,” said Harpal Bullar, head of the Bhai Mardana Seva Society,
which had 80 members in Jatha of 130 Sikhs.
has been no official communication on why devotees were not allowed to go
Shiromani Gurudwara Parbandhak Committee had last sent Jatha to Pakistan to
observe martyrdom day of Guru Arjun Dev in 2013. Since then, the SGPC hasn’t
done so due to its differences with the Pakistan Gurudwara Parbhandak Committee
over Nankshahi calendar.
some independent Sikh bodies apply for visas to observe martyrdom of Guru Arjun
Dev, which falls on June 16 every year according to old Nanakshahi calendar.
year, SGPC observed martyrdom day on June 7 according to the amended Nanakshahi
calendar. The Pakistan Gurudwara Parbandhak Committee observes Gurpurb
according to the old calendar.
is a divide among the Sikh community over acceptance of amended Nanakshahi
calendar and many Sikh bodies follow the old Nanakshahi calendar which was in
practice before 2014.
have gone to Pakistan to observe martyrdom day even after the controversy over
Nanakshahi calendar erupted. But now the Union government is poking its nose
unnecessarily in Sikh issues. When Pakistan has no problem then why does India
have a problem with our going there and observing martyrdom day,” asked Harpal
Argentina Hold Workshop On Countering Hezbollah Terror
United States and Argentina held a workshop this week on countering Hezbollah’s
terror activities in the Western Hemisphere, a month before the 25th
anniversary of the AMIA bombings.
workshop, held in Buenos Aires on Tuesday and Wednesday, included law
enforcement personnel and financial practitioners from Argentina, Chile,
Colombia, Panama, Paraguay and Peru, as well as representatives from Ameripol.
from the US Departments of State, Justice and the Treasury, as well as the
Federal Bureau of Investigation, National Counterterrorism Center, and Drug
Enforcement Administration, also participated in the meeting.
summit was held ahead of Western Hemisphere Ministerial that the Government of
Argentina will host commemorating the 25th anniversary of the terrorist bombing
of the AMIA Jewish Center in the Argentine capital on July 18, 1994 which
killed 85 people and injured over 300 others.
to a statement released by the US State Department, the workshop focused on
Hezbollah’s global modus operandi and its terrorist and criminal infrastructure
and activities in the Americas.
discussed various techniques to constrain and counter the group’s illicit
activities, including the financial and law enforcement tools available to
identify, investigate, and prosecute Hezbollah’s global support and
facilitation networks. Participants also discussed Hezbollah attempts to
continue and expand its fundraising in the Western hemisphere, especially in
light of the current financial pressure on Hezbollah,” the statement said.
finances of the Lebanese Shi’ite militant group, designated as a Foreign
Terrorist Organization by dozens of countries across the globe, has been hit
hard due in recent years by sanctions placed the United States.
US has also passed the Hezbollah International Financing Prevention Act
threatening sanctions against anyone who finances the group in any significant
way. But the designation has not affected Hezbollah’s patron, Iran, which
continues to provide the terrorist group with financial and military support.
also receives significant financial aid by supporters who live abroad as well
as through charities and a wide variety of criminal activities including fraud
and trafficking in drugs, arms and blood diamonds.
based in Lebanon, Hezbollah’s crime network is global, and based primarily in
Africa. The group also runs an international network of criminal and narcotic
rings in Africa, as well as both North and South America.
operatives also rely on legitimate business enterprises that in truth are shell
companies which raise, launder and transfer vast sums to the group.
Shi'ite groups deepen control in strategic Sunni areas
Iraq (Reuters) - The only sign that Sunni-majority Mosul’s newest and busiest
marketplace is in Shi’ite Muslim hands is a small plaque in the office of its
leaseholder from Baghdad.
Imam Hussein Market,” it reads, dedicated to the Prophet Mohammed’s grandson
and most revered Shi’ite imam.
of Shi’ite leaders that militiamen erected after helping drive out the Sunni
extremists of Islamic State two years ago have been removed amid fears of
renewed sectarian tension.
second city, once a recruitment center for Sunni officers in Saddam Hussein’s
army, became an al Qaeda hotbed after the 2003 U.S. invasion that toppled the
dictator, and later the base from where IS leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi declared
a caliphate in 2014.
Shi’ite paramilitary groups that played a crucial role in driving out IS have
since become dominant in the city, if less visibly than before.
Shi’ite religious authorities are now quietly seeking to formally take over
state land and property they say is historically Shi’ite - something that has
incensed Sunni officials.
the Imam Hussein marketplace, an area of some 60 shops and stalls, they have
established a lucrative foothold.
paramilitary groups deny accusations by local officials that they provide at
least the implied threat of force to back up Shi’ite claims of land ownership.
many Iraqi Sunnis view the growth of Shi’ite land control and investment in
areas once held by IS as a sign of the expanding power of the militias and
influence of Iran. [nL8N1XN33U] [nL5N20136K]
in Iraq, the last word goes to whoever has force, and that’s what these groups
have. Law means nothing,” said Mosul lawmaker Shirwan Dubardani.
areas the Shi’ite groups and authorities are seeking to acquire lie in a
strategic corridor of territory stretching from Tehran to Beirut. Greater
Shi’ite control there, whether by Iranian allies or others, is important for
Iran as it seeks to offset U.S. economic sanctions. [nL8N23H1VV]
comes at a time when Iran has been expanding its influence in Syria, Yemen and
Lebanon, while asserting its readiness to take on its Saudi and U.S. enemies.
is also evidence of further Iranian-linked Shi’ite expansion in Iraq. North of
Baghdad on the way to Mosul - and near a military base hosting U.S. forces - an
Iranian-backed militia offered to buy an area where it built a shrine to an
Iranian general killed fighting IS in 2014, the owner of the land said.
owner refused, but cannot return with the area sealed off by policemen linked
to the militia. “They’re not satisfied with controlling land - they want
formal, legal control,” he said, declining to be named for fear of reprisals.
Mosul, it is religious authorities, not militias, that are seeking property,
particularly older shrines and mosques.
Shi’ite endowment office - a government body that administers religious sites
and real estate - is using legal recourse, incentives and influence to invest
in several areas of Mosul, according to local authorities, business owners,
investors and documents seen by Reuters.
claims could be explosive.
sometimes worry that armed force will be used, by either side,” said Mosul
Mayor Zuheir al-Araji.
in the city accuse the Shi’ite endowment and armed groups of unlawful land
grabs to make money and force demographic change.
armed groups and investors deny this, saying all property takeovers are legal
and those lands rightfully Shi’ite.
Shi’ite endowment did not immediately respond to a request for comment. Its
Mosul branch declined several requests. The Iraqi prime minister’s office
declined to comment on the issue.
Sunni endowment says it owns all state religious land in Mosul including sites
claimed by Shi’ites. But the battle over legal ownership of areas claimed by
both sects is intractable. A complex legal process for solving disputes favors
those with power, analysts say.
CHARM AND THREATS
the past year, the Shi’ite endowment issued notices asserting ownership of
several sites in Mosul that it had long claimed, handing leases for attached
commercial areas to investors.
recent claims have stalled pending appeals by Sunni officials and the town
hall. But the marketplace is already operating as a Shi’ite endowment-owned
Shi’ite endowment has rights to this land, which historically was a Shi’ite
cemetery,” said Uday Muhsin, the market leaseholder.
pays 170 million dinars yearly ($143,000) to the endowment which he says goes
to a fund for wounded Shi’ite fighters and victims of Islamic State.
year, Muhsin began leasing the deserted site opposite the tomb of Nabi Yunis
(the Prophet Jonah), which was destroyed by IS. He rents it out to local
traders, and showed papers from city authorities letting him do so.
vendors said the rent of roughly $200 per month is about half what they would
pay in areas administered by the Sunni endowment.
is one way of winning local support and securing control, Sunni officials say.
They say the takeover was illegal and dispute the area’s Shi’ite heritage - the
basis for the endowment’s claim to it.
accept it because it’s done in an attractive way. They’re poor and need the
money,” Mosul’s Sunni endowment director Abu Bakr Kanaan said.
behind paperwork and lower rent there is the implied threat of force, said
Kanaan and shopowners in another area the Shi’ite endowment claimed last month.
Shi’ite investor came to 20 stores on this road, saying we must sign new rental
agreements with him,” said Abu Mohammed, who owns a shop that abuts state
religious property in the Old City managed by the Sunni endowment.
investor produced a document from the Shi’ite endowment, a copy of which was
seen by Reuters, declaring ownership of the area and leasing him the properties
for around $40,000 per year.
was charming at first, and was offering better rent. But when we hesitated he
threatened to throw us out. He clearly had connections and force behind him,”
said Abu Mohammed. He declined to give his full name for fear of reprisals.
Hasan, an Iraq expert at the Carnegie Middle East Centre, said the Shi’ite
endowment “often reinforces its guardianship not only through the legal process
but also by allying with groups that are present on the ground.”
in Mosul denied involvement but said they had once intervened to “calm things
down” between the two sides.
Sunni endowment chief doesn’t accept the idea that the Shi’ite endowment can
take land in Mosul,” said Hayder Abu Hadma, a deputy commander in the Popular
Mobilisation Forces (PMF), the official grouping of Iraq’s Shi’ite
he knows very well there are many Shi’ites here and 20 to 30 Shi’ite shrines,”
Saddam a single endowment ministry ran all state religious lands, which
Shi’ites persecuted by the dictator complained left them unable to oversee
ministry disbanded after 2003, replaced by separate Shi’ite and Sunni endowment
offices. When a mosque or shrine is claimed by both, a committee with
representatives from both sides must decide. It often cannot, leaving decisions
pending and benefiting whoever has sway in courts or on the ground.
recent years the Shi’ite endowment “has been in a better position to advance
its claims, given the support it has enjoyed from Shi’ite Islamist parties that
dominated the government and parliament,” Hasan said.
Mosul, once a melting pot for ethnic and religious groups along the ancient
Silk Road, IS destroyed Shi’ite shrines. Now many PMF groups see defense of
shrines as their primary task.
think they have the right to our religious sites because IS blew up Shi’ite
property. It’s all about money, from investment and rent to attracting pilgrims
who would eventually visit,” Kanaan said.
authorities acknowledge the Shi’ite heritage around Mosul. But they say most
heritage inside the city is Sunni.
Araji hopes the Shi’ite endowment will stop claiming property, which would
the chaos that followed the end of IS, things were now more under control, he
said. “But we need Baghdad’s support. We can’t bring law and order on our own.”
bomb factory is a sign of Iran’s widening campaign of terror
latest revelation that an Iranian-backed terror group has been stockpiling
bomb-making materials in London has shed fresh light on Tehran’s reach in
decades after the Islamic revolution of 1979, Iran mainly confined its
terrorist activities to the Middle East region, using the Revolutionary Guard
Corps and proxies such as Hezbollah to target opponents and undermine moderate
was, of course, the brief flurry of terrorist activity in Paris in the
immediate aftermath of ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini’s emergence as the leader of
the revolution, as his followers sought to neutralise opponents of the clerical
regime. Other notable acts of Iranian terrorism outside the region include the
infamous 1994 attack against a Jewish institution in Argentina, which killed 85
for the most part, the focus of Iran’s activities has been confined to the
region, where attacks have been deployed as an effective tactic in support of
Tehran’s drive for regional dominance.
intelligence officials in Europe are undertaking a radical reappraisal of that
view in the light of recent events. Earlier this week, it was revealed that
London raided a terrorist cell with links to Hezbollah four years ago. It was
stockpiling three tonnes of explosive materials on the outskirts of London in
what has been described as a secret bomb factory.
bomb-making group was discovered in the autumn of 2015, shortly after Britain
had become one of the signatories to the controversial nuclear deal.
though former prime ministers David Cameron and Theresa May – who was then
serving as home secretary – were informed of the discovery, the fact that it
was not made public suggests they were keen not to reveal any information that
might damage the flawed nuclear agreement.
now, British authorities are reluctant to disclose too many details. A brief
statement issued by the Metropolitan Police this week simply stated that
counter-terrorism specialists had raided four properties at addresses in
north-west London – three businesses and a home – and that a man in his 40s was
arrested on suspicion of plotting terrorism, although he was later released
British intelligence officials close to the investigation believe the stockpile
was part of an international Hezbollah scheme for future terror attacks in
Europe. They have drawn parallels between the stash of chemicals discovered in
London and a similar case in Cyprus at around the same time. Hassan Bassam
Abdallah, a 28-year-old member of Hezbollah’s military wing, was convicted of
possessing 65,000 ice packs filled with ammonium nitrate which he admitted were
for use in future terrorist attacks in Larnaca. He was subsequently jailed for
years, whenever I have raised the subject with senior British intelligence officials,
they have repeatedly denied the existence of Iranian-backed sleeper cells in
the UK, maintaining the traditional line that Iran’s terrorist activity was
mainly confined to the Middle East.
in reality, the discovery of this London bomb factory is part of an upsurge of
Iranian terrorist activity in Europe in the past decade.
that Hezbollah had expanded its operations in Europe first surfaced in 2012
when the group carried out a bomb attack against a tour bus in Bulgaria,
prompting the European Union to follow America’s lead in designating
Hezbollah’s military wing as a terrorist organisation.
June last year, two Iranian diplomats were expelled from the Netherlands for
plotting political assassinations in the country, while France’s intelligence
ministry foiled a bomb plot the same month to target a rally of opposition
groups in Paris. Then, in October, Danish authorities accused Iran of an
“unusual and serious” plot to murder an Arab separatist leader.
positive outcome from Iran’s increased terrorist activity has been to push the
British government to finally designate the entirety of Hezbollah as a
terrorist organisation. Previously, London sought to make a distinction between
the group’s political and military wings, with only the latter designated a
terrorist organisation, thereby allowing representatives of the political wing
to maintain links with prominent British politicians such as Labour leader
the growing awareness that Iran's terrorist infrastructure poses a threat to
Europe comes at a time when Iranian aggression is increasing in the Middle
officials have accused Tehran of being behind a Houthi missile strike against
Abha airport in southern Saudi Arabia this week, which injured 26 people, while
Iran will inevitably be the focus of investigations into the explosions that
have reportedly hit two oil tankers in the Gulf of Oman. The latest incident
follows accusations made by US national security adviser John Bolton that Iran
was responsible for last month’s attacks against four oil tankers off the coast
elements suggest that Iran has embarked on a new campaign of terror in which
Europe is just as likely to be targeted as the Middle East.
million signatures campaign to fight against Zakir Naik extradition
Azmi Abdul Hamid, president of the Malaysian Islamic Organisation of
Consultative Council (Mapim), wants to get one million signatures to lobby for
controversial preacher Zakir Naik to remain in Malaysia.
petition targets Muslims in Malaysia where Zakir has a large following and it
will back the Malaysian government’s right not to extradite the preacher sought
and other Muslim NGOs launched a “one million signatures campaign” yesterday
and its promoter Mohd Azmi said the campaign is for Mahathir not to cave in to
pressures from certain quarters.
Malaysian government has resisted so far and not bowed to pressure from India
and certain quarters in Malaysia…
the political climate of late has been worrying.
we decided to state our stand and support the government, failing which, Islam
would continue to be a tool for those deliberately stirring religious hate,”
local media reports say.
NGO’s believe Zakir’s lectures do not incite to violence or belittle other
religions and that he will not be given a fair trial in India.
Zakir claims the allegations against him are fabricated, the Indian authorities
are pressing Interpol to issue a Red Notice against Zakir. With the notice, any
country Zakir travels to is bound to arrest him and send him to India.
Malaysia’s Prime Minister has already assured Zakir that Malaysia will by-pass
the Red Notice and will not follow suit with India’s extradition request.
Mahathir said Malaysia has the right to do so and a treaty with India that
allows Malaysia to extradite offenders to India can also be withheld if
Putrajaya feels there will not be faire trial and torture or mistreatment of
Arab world’s long ties to Indonesia began with the first traders initially
reaching the island in the fifth century. In the centuries since, the Arab
world has provided maritime trade and financial services.
Islam finally made its way to Indonesia, the two cultures already exhibited a
strong financial and cultural bond thanks to Arab trade and migration. The
routes that were initially used for trade have helped the ties between
Indonesia and the Arab world flourish as Islam’s influence expanded throughout
is now home to the world’s largest Muslim population; over 225 million people,
or nearly 13 percent of the world’s Muslims, live in the country.
few exceptions, Indonesia’s economy has grown between 5 and 6 percent annually
for nearly 14 years. This impressive consistency is the result of a strong
macroeconomic policy, modernization efforts, and a focus on stability following
the collapse of Suharto’s brutal military dictatorship.
Indonesia’s successive governments deserve the lion’s share of the credit for
this turnaround, this new status quo as an economic force and a beacon of Islam
in Southeast Asia is also due to the Persian Gulf’s influence and efforts.
the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia is responsible for most of the funding that flows
from the Gulf, though the bulk of it is earmarked for religious purposes.
Despite President Joko Widodo demonstrating some public disappointment in 2017
regarding the declining amount of funding the country was expected to receive,
the Saudi government remains an important partner.
Arabia supports enormous investments in Islamic education throughout the
country. This has been the primary strategy undertaken by the Saudis to extend
its soft power over the past 40 years, and includes establishing Islamic
schools, providing educational materials, and financing scholarships based in
the Kingdom. This support is still largely employed to expand Saudi influence
instead of spurring economic activity.
rest of the Gulf states, however, view Indonesia as a valuable partner and
investment that stretches beyond religious motives. While Saudi interest lies
in reinforcing influence through religious funding, the real focus for the
other Gulf states should be attuned toward economic cooperation and investment.
Indeed, while Indonesia’s economy has been stable in the past, its
infrastructure is quickly growing obsolete as its economic engine slows.
is not news to the Gulf. In 2017, the Indonesian government sought a total
investment of $10 billion from the United Arab Emirates, even as the country’s
private sector was already providing $2 billion in total capital for Indonesian
energy and retail sectors. Similarly, Oman recently signed a major agreement
with Indonesia worth $14 billion to build a refinery capable of handling
300,000 barrels of oil per day.
foreign direct investment in Indonesia from the Gulf states pales in comparison
to other foreign benefactors (the top five sources of foreign funds in
Indonesia are Singapore, Japan, South Korea, China, and Hong Kong). This
reality should concern the Gulf states. While on the surface it simply
represents a slight loss of trade influence, it also signals that the Gulf is
losing a critical ally in one of the world’s fastest-growing economies. This is
unacceptable both in financial and political terms.
the Gulf states should view this loss of influence seriously. As the largest
Muslim state by population in the world, Indonesia is a vital cultural and
political ally for the Arab world in Southeast Asia. Additionally, the current
economic landscape poses a national security threat to Indonesia, which should
concern the Arab world. China has been known to invest heavily in nations to
exert both soft and hard power, and it seems to be following a similar pattern
with Indonesia. This waning influence in the biggest bastion of Muslim and Arab
interests in Southeast Asia represents a loss of leverage that affects the Gulf’s
financial stakes around the world.
Sri Lankan police say five key suspects in Easter Sunday bomb attacks on
churches and hotels have been extradited from a Middle Eastern country.
spokesman Ruwan Gunasekara says the suspects arrived early Friday from Saudi
Arabia after their arrest in an unspecified Middle Eastern country.
said Friday the five include the main suspect in the killing of two policemen
last year at a checkpoint in eastern Sri Lanka that was blamed on Islamic
said a total of 102 suspects are now being held in connection with the Easter
suicide bomb attacks on three churches and three tourist hotels that killed
more than 250 people.
Islamic State group has claimed responsibility for the attacks.
201-dome mosque becomes center of attraction
A 201-dome mosque in Bangladesh has become the center of attraction for people
all around the country. It is built on the bank of the Jhinai River in the
Tangail district some 140 km from the capital Dhaka.
451-foot minaret of the mosque is the tallest concrete minaret in the world,
recognized by Guinness World Records. The minaret is equivalent to the height
of a 55-story building. The mosque will hold more than 15,000 devotees at a
time. Among the 201 domes, the tallest one is 79-feet high and the surrounding
ones are 42-feet high.
work on the mosque began in January 2013 and took more than five years to
complete. The organizers have spent about $13 million building the mosque.
project began when Rafiqul Islam, from South Pathalia village, Gopalpur,
Tangail, dreamed of building the mosque at his birthplace. Later he formed the
Rafiqul Islam Trust to look after the construction of the mosque. Islam has
donated some of his ancestral land for the building of the mosque. At the same
time, some of the villagers helped to make Islam’s dream true. Finally the
construction of the mosque started on 5 acres of land.
village South Pathalia was an unknown place to my countrymen. But now many
people from home and abroad come here to witness the beauty of the 201-dome
mosque and during every holiday around 10,000 people visit the mosque,” Islam
told Arab News.
was a dream project for me, which I started with only $20,000. Later on, many
of the philanthropists of the country extended support in building the mosque
and the construction work was not stopped even for an hour due to lack of
funds,” Islam said.
make the mosque unique, Islam visited many world-famous mosques in the Middle
East, from where he developed the primary idea. Later on he shared his
experience with a Bangladeshi architect to visualize the design of the mosque.
201-dome mosque complex also has a helipad for the convenience of international
tourists. In addition, organizers plan to run an orphanage, old people’s home
and a charity hospital for women.
tiles and marbles of the mosque were imported from Italy, Germany, Turkey,
Switzerland and China.
main attraction of the mosque is 201 domes and the tallest minarets. The domes
were designed in line with the sub-continental traditional base of Islamic
structures,” said Mrinmoy Adhikary, the lead architect of the mosque.
south and north side of the mosque is kept open to have plenty of light and
natural air. The design is made in such a way that the devotees can offer
prayers even without an artificial air-conditioning system,” Adhikary said.
inside the mosque, devotees can recite all the verses of the holy Qur’an, which
have been inscribed on brass and installed on the mosque wall.
the grace of the almighty Allah we have already completed construction work of
the mosque. Now the 451-foot concrete minaret is in under construction and we
are facing some technical difficulties in building this,” said Islam. “It would
be a great support for us if we receive some assistance from any Muslim country
for the completion of the minaret,” he said.
the mosque can currently hold more than 15,000 devotees at a time, the
organizers plan to double capacity to up to 30,000.
Afghanistan — A suicide bomber walked up to an Afghan police vehicle in
Jalalabad, the capital of eastern Nangarhar province, and detonated an
explosive device that killed three police and six civilians on Thursday, said
provincial health department official Shoaib Sahak. He said another 13 people
were wounded, some of the seriously.
Khogyani, spokesman for the provincial governor, said security forces were the
target of the attack. Several of the injured were police, he said.
Islamic State group, through its Amaq news agency, claimed responsibility for
the suicide attack. The group claimed eight people were killed. Both IS and the
Taliban operate in Nangarhar province, located on the border with Pakistan and
considered an IS stronghold.
security forces come under near-daily attacks by both Taliban and IS-affiliated
fighters. Afghan forces have suffered staggering casualties in recent years,
even as the Taliban hold peace talks with U.S. Peace Envoy Zalmay Khalilzad. He
is currently in the Afghan capital, Kabul, trying to restart stalled peace
talks aimed at ending the country’s 18-year war and America’s longest-running
Taliban have held talks with prominent Afghans, including former President
Hamid Karzai and members of opposition political parties, but so far they have
refused to hold direct talks with the Afghan government, calling them U.S.
Wednesday, the Afghan government freed 490 Taliban prisoners from jails across
the country in a goodwill gesture that doubled as an attempt to further the
Afghan Special Forces killed 7 Taliban fighters in Logar and Kandahar provinces.
Special Forces also destroyed four house-borne improvised explosives devices
military officials said Saturday that the Special Forces killed 3 Taliban
fighters in Mohammad Agha district of Logar.
Special Forces killed 4 Taliban in a similar operation in Maiwand district of
Kandahar, the officials added.
also destroyed 4 house-borne improvised explosive devices during the same
operation, the officials added.
Afghan Special Forces rescued 3 security personnel from a Taliban prison in
Special Operations Corps in a statement said Saturday that the Special Forces
freed the three security personnel during an operation on Friday night.
statement further added that the Special Forces conducted the in Gharmain
Village located in the outskirts of the capital of Ghor.
security forces conducted separate operations in Ghazni province and killed 15
informed military sources said Saturday that the Special Forces of the Afghan
military killed 4 Taliban fighters during an operation in Ghazni.
sources further added that the Special Forces also detained 2 Taliban fighters
and destroyed 2 landmines.
Special Forces also destroyed 8 Improvised Explosive Devices during a separate
operation in Deh Yak district of Ghazni, the sources added.
the security forces conducted separate airstrieks in Ghazni, Giro and Andar
to military officials, the airstrikes killed at least 11 Taliban militants in
the three districts.
Afghanistan has freed hundreds of jailed Taliban fighters since Eid as a
goodwill gesture, the government confirmed on Friday.
Bashari, head of the government media center, told Arab News that “490 Taliban
fighters have been freed since Eid.”
aside widespread criticism of the move, President Ashraf Ghani said on Thursday
that most freed prisoners “will return to the battlefield, but will serve as
Taliban has long demanded that prisoners held in Afghan and US-run jails be
freed as part of a possible future peace deal. The militants so far have
refused to hold direct talks with government delegates, while meeting with US
officials on several occasions.
prisoner release, the biggest since Ghani assumed office in late 2014, has
become a controversial issue in the deeply divided government, which has lost
tens of thousands of troops in battle since the Taliban intensified attacks.
an apparent response to criticism over the freeing of prisoners, Ghani told a
gathering at the presidential palace that he was responding to calls made by
the traditional assembly, or Loya Jirga, in April when scores of people urged
him to release Taliban inmates.
are not going backward with regards to peace and serving the people,” Ghani
said. “I accepted your suggestion and that of the Loya Jirga. Most of the
released prisoners will become peace ambassadors and will not return to war.”
officials said a number of the freed men had “incurable illnesses, and some
were elderly who had almost completed their sentences.”
Taliban spokesman, Zabihullah Mujahid, on Thursday described the prisoner
release as “a good step,” but said that only 261 out of those freed were
Taliban fighters. The rest were falsely arrested by government and US-led
Bass, US ambassador to Afghanistan, praised Ghani’s move, saying it will
“improve the climate for a political settlement.”
peace will be rooted in reconciliation and forgiveness by all,” he said. The
prisoner release has been widely attacked around the country, however.
Tamana, a presidential candidate, said that with the Taliban stepping up
attacks in recent months, Ghani’s decision “will reduce motivation among
Sakai, a university professor who lost a close relative in a recent Taliban
attack, said the release will “harm the spirit of soldiers.” The former
captives will return to battle as other prisoners had done in the past.
Koofi, a former lawmaker, said that Ghani had the right to free or reduce the
jail terms of criminals and other prisoners, but not of “terrorists.”
Arrest In Coimbatore Islamic State-Inspired Terror Module Case
DELHI: The Islamic State-inspired terror module busted by the National
Investigation Agency (NIA) following Wednesday's raids in Coimbatore, has turned
out to be larger with four persons other than the six accused being questioned
for being its members. On Friday, NIA made a second arrest in the case, that of
accused Shiek Hidayuthullah.
on Thursday, NIA had arrested Mohammad Azarudheen, leader of the 10-member
module and a Facebook friend of Sri Lankan suicide bomber Zahran Hashim. NIA on
Friday said that Shiek was arrested based on the facts revealed thus far,
regarding his pro-IS activities. tnn
is aged 38 years and is a resident of South Ukkadam locality in Coimbatore.
Scrutiny of the documents from his house shows that he is also associated with
proscribed terrorist organisation Student Islamic Movement of India (SIMI).
Shiek will be produced before the special court, Azarudheen was sent to
judicial custody on Thursday. NIA expects to get their police remand early next
sources said while the nearly 10-member module was following and sharing
radical content attributed to Hashim on social media, it was not really close
to executing any terror attack. NIA will be sending the computer resources
seized during Wednesday's raids for forensic examination, which will help it
trace any links with similar IS-inspired elements in Sri Lanka, including those
connected with Easter Sunday attacks.
module - comprising around 10 men from Coimbatore who were well known to one
another -is suspected to have propagated IS ideology on social media with the
intention of recruiting vulnerable youth for executing terror attacks in Tamil Nadu
Minister Narendra Modi raised the issue of terrorism at the SCO summit in
Kyrgyzstan on Friday, saying nations which provided encouragement, support and
financial help to the menace needed to be called out. While he didn't name
Pakistan, there were few doubts as to what Modi was referring to as he
reiterated his call for a global conference to deal with the challenges posed
was recently in Sri Lanka... There I was again reminded of the ugly face of
terrorism which surfaces anytime and anywhere to claim innocent lives.
is now time for all humanitarian forces to rise above their narrow confines and
come together to deal with this danger," said Modi, adding that countries
which supported terrorism needed to be held responsible.
for India, the Bishkek Declaration said terrorism and spread of terrorist
ideology were among the issues which required special attention because they
were "cross-border in nature".
also condemned terrorism in all its forms and manifestations, stressing that
acts of terrorism and extremism cannot be justified.
also called on the SCO member-states to cooperate under the SCO regional
anti-terrorist structure to end terrorism. The Bishkek Declaration also said
the member-states believed it was important to take comprehensive measures to intensify
efforts against terrorism and its ideology, as well as to determine and
eliminate the factors and conditions that promote terrorism and extremism.
"They (member-states) note that interfering in other countries' domestic
affairs under the pretext of fighting terrorism and extremism as well as using
terrorist, extremist and radical groups to achieve one's own mercenary ends is unacceptable,"
member-states condemn the propaganda of the ideology of terrorism, extremism
and religious intolerance, as well as manifestations of intolerance and
discrimination based on religion or convictions in any form," the
is a priority to step up the international community's joint efforts to counter
the attempts to involve young people in the activities of terrorist, separatist
and extremist groups and will continue to focus on preventing the spread of
religious intolerance, xenophobia and racial discrimination, it added.
PM said in his address that a peaceful, united, safe and prosperous Afghanistan
was vital for the stability and security in the SCO.
goal is to support the people and the government of Afghanistan for an
Afghan-led, Afghan-owned and Afghan-controlled comprehensive peace process. We
are happy that a further roadmap has been prepared at the SCO Afghanistan
contact group," he said.
came up with a new template he described as "HEALTH" for cooperation
among SCO members. H, he said, stood for healthcare cooperation, E for economic
cooperation, A for alternative energy, L for literature, T for terrorism-free
society and the last H for humanitarian cooperation.
shared area is in great need of better connectivity in the modern era," he
like the International North-South Transport Corridor, Chabahar Port and
Ashgabat Agreement clarify the focus of India on connectivity, Modi said.
for sovereignty, regional integrity, good governance, transparency,
practicality and reliability should be the basis of connectivity initiatives.
The importance of people-to-people contact with physical connectivity is not
less," he said in an apparent reference to China's massive infrastructure
development under the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor which traverses through
claims India refused to let its train cross border to bring 200 Sikh pilgrims
Pakistan on Friday claimed that India refused to let its train cross the border
and bring some 200 Sikh yatrees to Lahore for Jore Mela festivities.
had issued visas to some 200 Indian Sikhs to attend the Jore Mela (death
anniversary of Guru Arjun Dev jee) and they were due to arrive here by a
Pakistani train on Friday. But the Indian government refused to allow the
Pakistani train to enter its territory to bring the Sikh yatress here,"
Amir Hashmi, spokesperson for Evacuee Trust Property Board, told PTI.
remained in touch with the Indian authorities at the border regarding letting
the Pakistani train cross the border to pick the awaiting Sikh yatrees but they
plainly refused," Hashmi claimed.
said the Indian authorities gave no reason for their refusal.
ETPB is a government department that looks after the affairs and holy places of
minorities in Pakistan.
have protested the Indian decision. Since the Pakistani High Commission (in
Delhi) had issued visas to 200 Sikh yatrees there was no point in stopping them
from coming to Lahore," he said, adding that this issue will be take up
with India at the government level.
photo and video journalists were allegedly beaten and their cameras were
snatched by J&K Police personnel when they were covering an encounter which
broke out in South Kashmir’s Pulwama district on Friday morning.
Kashmir Press Club (KPC) has condemned the police action.
of the journalists who was beaten by police personnel at the encounter site in
Braw Bandina area of Awantipora in Pulwama told The Indian Express that he had
reached the spot around 10 am and while he was doing his job, J&K policemen
came and started beating the journalists who were present on the spot.
cameras were taken away by the policemen and were returned only after an hour.
We kept telling them we are doing our job, but they didn’t listen,” he said.
a statement, Kashmir Press Club (KPC) on Friday condemned the assault and the
seizure of cameras of photojournalists.
demanding action against the accused security forces personnel responsible for
the act, KPC reiterated its concern about difficulties faced by journalists
working in Kashmir.
Kashmir SP Pani was not available for comments. A senior J&K police officer
in south Kashmir said that they are looking into the matter. The KPC while
quoting a photojournalist said, “The officer hurled abused, thrashed and seized
our cameras. An hour later, our equipment was returned to us.”
urged the Governor’s administration and in particular the higher up in the
police force to investigate the matter and act against those found responsible
for it,” the KPC statement said.
Salim, a Rohingya Muslim refugee, thought he had left genocidal violence and
Facebook vitriol behind when he fled his native country, Myanmar, in 2013.
lately, his new home, India’s West Bengal state, has not felt much safer. And
once again, Facebook is a big part of the problem.
India’s recent national elections, Salim said, he saw Facebook posts that falsely
accused Rohingya Muslims of cannibalism go viral, along with posts that
threatened to burn their homes if they did not leave India. Some Hindu
nationalists called the Rohingya terrorists and shared videos on the social
network in which the leader of India’s governing Bharatiya Janata Party vowed
to expel the minority group and other Muslim “termites.” A week ago, new posts
popped up falsely accusing the Rohingya of killing BJP workers in West Bengal.
groups demonized us on Facebook and WhatsApp, and they succeeded in whipping up
a strong anti-Rohingya passion in the state,” Salim, 29, said in a recent
interview in a village near Kolkata, West Bengal’s capital.
said he had quit selling fruit juice at local rail stations and was moving with
his pregnant wife and two toddlers to a new, undisclosed location — their
fourth home in the past 15 months — because he was afraid of being attacked by
right-wing Hindus or arrested.
experience, echoed in interviews with other Rohingya Muslims who sought refuge
in India, shows the widening, real-world repercussions of Facebook’s failure to
stop anti-Rohingya hate speech on its platform, an issue that the company’s
chief executive, Mark Zuckerberg, promised last year to solve.
years, Facebook ignored dehumanizing anti-Rohingya propaganda on its Myanmar
pages, despite substantial evidence that it was leading to mass killings, rape
and the destruction of villages. After United Nations investigators criticized
Facebook last year for playing a “determining role” in the ethnic cleansing of
the Rohingya and the flight of 700,000 refugees, Zuckerberg told the United
States Senate: “What’s happening in Myanmar is a terrible tragedy, and we need
to do more.”
anti-Rohingya hate speech and falsehoods have since spread to India, where
Facebook has 340 million users. That is creating the potential for violence in
tinderbox regions like West Bengal, a Hindu-majority state with a substantial
Muslim population, where the BJP has stoked fears of Muslim “infiltrators” from
Bangladesh. In total, the government estimates there are about 40,000 Rohingya
speech and misinformation is adding fuel to the already existing hatred towards
the Rohingyas,” said Mariya Salim, an independent activist on minority and women’s
rights who lives in Kolkata. “It’s not a secret that online calls for violence
can easily turn into real-life threats.”
said it had made progress in combating anti-Rohingya hate speech. The Silicon
Valley company has assembled a team of 100 people who speak Burmese to review
posts from Myanmar, which was formerly known as Burma. It banned some military
accounts responsible for hate speech. And it said it had trained its algorithms
to better detect hate speech globally, claiming that it now removes about
two-thirds of such posts before anyone even complains about them.
don’t want our services to be used to spread hate, incite violence or fuel
tension against any ethnic group in any country — including the Rohingya in
India,” Facebook said in a statement. “We have clear rules against hate speech
and credible threats of violence, and we use a combination of technology and
reports to help us identify and remove such content.”
Facebook is limited in its ability to eradicate hate speech and false
information. It relies heavily on users to report inappropriate posts and on
third-party partners to assess falsehoods, which means only some of the
offending material is caught. The company’s employees and contractors often
lack the linguistic and cultural knowledge necessary to gauge the offline risks
posed by certain content. And Facebook’s focus on individual posts means it can
overlook the long-term impact of sustained hate campaigns.
think Facebook keeps thinking they can solve this within the bunker of their
offices and not with the collaboration of the communities who are affected,”
said Thenmozhi Soundararajan, the founder of Equality Labs, a human rights
group that tracks hate speech in India.
hate speech can also be found on Twitter and YouTube. But Facebook is far more
influential than those services in India.
said that such speech on Indian Facebook pages started to increase in early
2018 when the country held elections for the upper house of Parliament. It escalated
late last year as the elections for the more important lower house of
with anti-Rohingya content was made harder by the BJP, which is led by Prime
Minister Narendra Modi. Hoping to win Hindu votes in heavily Muslim states like
West Bengal, the party campaigned on a promise to expel Muslim “infiltrators”
and to make India — which is about 80 percent Hindu but constitutionally
secular — into a Hindu nation. BJP supporters used false information and
criticism of Rohingya refugees as shorthand for broader anti-Muslim sentiments,
said she had warned Facebook officials last fall about the spike in
anti-Rohingya hate speech and had provided specific examples. But they did
little to address the problem, she said.
then, anti-Rohingya posts directed at Indians have circulated widely on
Facebook. In one video, a gang of men from the BJP’s militant wing brandishes
knives and burns the effigy of a child. “Rohingyas, go back!” the men scream in
English and Hindi. This month, dozens of Rohingya homes were burned in Jammu,
where the video and similar ones were shot.
said it had decided not to remove the videos because they were posted by
entities claiming to be news organizations and were not directly linked to
also posted gruesome images of human arms and other body parts and falsely
claimed that the Rohingya were cannibals. The images were often removed because
they violated Facebook’s rules against graphic violence and hate speech, yet
they kept resurfacing.
videos inaccurately said that Rohingya Muslims had attacked BJP workers and
beaten up a Hindu priest in West Bengal. Facebook said that after independent
fact checkers disproved these claims, it buried those posts.
a more subtle attack, two Indian actresses, Payal Rohatgi and Koena Mitra,
championed the anti-Rohingya cause on Facebook and Twitter. Mitra accused
Rohingya refugees of being terrorists and criminals. Facebook removed some
images posted by Mitra after The New York Times inquired about them.
extremist state lawmaker, Raja Singh, whose official Facebook page was banned
in March over his anti-Muslim hate speech, set up another page weeks later. In
one older video still on Facebook, he called the Rohingya “insects” and “worms”
and said that they should be shot if they did not leave India voluntarily. The
company said Singh had not violated its rules since his return.
said its efforts to fight hate speech were a work in progress.
still have a long way to go,” said Rosa Birch, director of the company’s
strategic response team.
year-old team is figuring out how to tackle issues such as “divisive” posts
that do not violate the social network’s rules. It is also experimenting with
new techniques for preventing violence, including a temporary restriction on
the sharing of posts in Sri Lanka after Muslim-led terrorist bombings there
addition, Facebook said it was supplementing its 15,000 human content reviewers
by teaming up with civil society groups in various countries to help it assess
potentially violent or threatening speech. It declined to disclose the names of
its partners. For the Rohingya in India, those explanations are of little
Gazi, a social worker in West Bengal who built huts and rented homes last year
to house several hundred Rohingya refugees, including Salim’s family, said that
after his efforts received some publicity, right-wing Hindu groups visited,
took photographs and made threats on Facebook and via phone against the
Rohingya living there.
even wrote in several social media posts that I was running a terrorist
training camp for the Rohingya and the authorities should arrest and jail me,”
he said. All the Rohingya refugees soon left his camps, he said.
Goni, a Rohingya refugee who lived in India from 2012 until fleeing to
Bangladesh last year, said that Rohingya Muslims had used WhatsApp, where
messages are private, to circulate some of the threatening videos from
right-wing Hindu groups and to warn one another of impending danger.
for Facebook, which is more public, Goni said that many Rohingya had
deactivated their accounts on the social network. Others have stayed on it to
monitor what is being said about them but have hidden their location and erased
videos and photos — anything that would link them to the Rohingya community.
who has since moved from his West Bengal location, said it was as if he had
gone full circle.
kidnapped Yazidi children who don’t want to be rescued from ISIS
HASAKAH, Syria — Early last month, an informant offered a tip to one of the
Yazidi leaders engaged in tracking down members of the minority faith who are
still missing after being abducted by the Islamic State five years ago.
Yazidi girls, 14 and 11, were said to be living in a tent with a woman loyal to
the Islamic State in the al-Hol camp in eastern Syria, where tens of thousands
of Islamic State family members are being detained, said Mahmoud Rasho, the
few days later, he headed to al-Hol, gathered a group of Kurdish security
guards and went to the tent to rescue the girls.
didn’t want to be rescued.
girls sobbed and screamed and clung to the woman, insisting she was their
mother. The woman sobbed, too, wailing that the girls were her daughters and
hugging them in her arms. The Kurdish security forces physically separated them
and put the girls into a van for the first leg of their journey back to their
real families, in the Sinjar region of Iraq.
of the wrenching scene, given by both Rasho and the girls, point to a new
challenge confronting members of the Yazidi community as they try to trace
nearly 3,000 Yazidis who remain unaccounted for after the territorial defeat of
the militants. Perhaps hundreds of them are children, who are still being
hidden by Islamic State families in camps or homes, Rasho said.
Rasho poses for a portrait outside his house near Hasakah, Syria. (Alice
Martins for The Washington Post)
Yazidi girl, 11, follows one of Rasho’s daughters into the kitchen of their
house. (Alice Martins for The Washington Post)
from their families at a young and vulnerable age, these children now must
undergo the trauma of new separations and new adjustments, after spending some
of the most formative years of their lives with the militants. The children
were given new names, new families and a new faith. Many forgot their native
Kurdish language and now speak only Arabic.
barely remember the circumstances of their earlier lives, and many have
embraced the ultra-extremist form of Islam at the heart of the Islamic State’s
over 6,200 Yazidis, an ancient minority viewed as infidels by the Islamic
State, went missing when the militants swept through their ancestral homeland
in the Sinjar mountains of northern Iraq in 2014.
Yazidi men were simply murdered on the spot. The women were taken to be sold as
sex slaves, and most of them have returned home, either after their families
paid ransom or they escaped. They have brought with them harrowing tales of the
conditions they endured in captivity.
children tell a different story.
endured horrors, to be sure — the relentless airstrikes carried out by the
U.S.-led coalition, the deaths of the people they cared about, and the
atrocities they witnessed.
their lives with the militants also brought adventure, friendship and love.
Yazidi girl, 14, poses for a portrait with the veil she likes to wear loosely
over her head. (Alice Martins for The Washington Post)
an interview at Rasho’s home, where she was staying ahead of her return to
Iraq, the older of the two girls described the misery they felt when they were
separated from the woman they had come to regard as their mother, whom they
knew as Umm Ali. They wept all the way back to Rasho’s home, and she said they
still cry every day because they miss her.
love her more than my own mother,” said the girl. “She treated me better than
my original mother. My mother and father divorced and they didn’t care about
me. Umm Ali really cared for me, as if I were her own daughter.”
was among four recently rescued children, the two girls and two boys, who spoke
during a series of interviews at Rasho’s home about their experiences of life
with the Islamic State. Their names are being withheld because they are minors,
and the opinions they express now may haunt them in the future as they readapt
to yet another way of life in their original homes — and perhaps change their
15-year-old boy who was recruited into the Islamic State’s “Caliphate Cubs”
army for children said he was sure he would not change his mind. Alone among
the four children, he volunteered in late May to be rescued, after spending
three months in jail with captured Islamic State fighters.
leg was blown off during shelling last year, conditions in the cell were
difficult, and he decided it would be better to acknowledge his Yazidi identity
to the guards than to remain incarcerated perhaps for years.
he did so with regret, he said, sitting in a wheelchair procured for him by
Rasho from a nearby family. He misses the camaraderie of the battlefield and,
above all, the friend he made on the front lines, a Saudi man called Abu
Hassan, who died beside him in the attack that cost him his leg. He cries when
he remembers him and says he dreams of joining Abu Hassan in heaven.
never cried when I left my mother in Sinjar, but I cried when I left my
friends,” he said.
Yazidi boy, 12, walks through Rasho’s home. (Alice Martins for The Washington
women rescued by Rasho prepare tea. They stay in his house while waiting for
transport and permissions to cross the border back home to Iraq. (Alice Martins
for The Washington Post)
of the hardest adjustments, he said, has been seeing women with their hair and
faces uncovered. It is an adjustment he doesn’t think he will be able to make
when he returns to the more liberal Yazidi community in Iraq.
there’s a lot of things I won’t like,” he said. “The women where I am going
don’t cover their hair. It will be very hard for me if someone comes to my
house and sees my mother and my sister not covered. Or if I go to my uncle’s
house and see the faces of his daughters. I can’t force them to do something
they don’t want. But when I get married I will not allow anyone to see the face
of my wife.”
14-year-old girl nodded and said that for her, going without her face and hair
covered was something she couldn’t get used to.
like this now, I’m not comfortable. I feel naked,” she said, pointing to the
black lace dress and leggings she was wearing, more goth than Islamist, that
were lent to her by one of Rasho’s daughters. Her hair was tied up in a pink
girl was sassy and articulate and talked animatedly about the lessons her
adoptive mother had taught her about Islam. When told she looked pretty in her
new outfit, she scowled.
I am pretty, men will look at me and it will cause strife,” she responded
sternly, echoing the Islamic State’s teachings about why women should cover
their faces and hair. She lovingly touched the black abaya that she had on when
she was rescued and said she wishes Rasho’s family would allow her to wear it.
confused. There they tell you to do one thing. Here they tell you another. When
I was there I was told to wear abaya and cover my face. Here they tell me not
to cover. In my mind it’s chaos.”
children play with a toy rifle. (Alice Martins for The Washington Post)
Yazidi girl, 11, braids the hair of another Yazidi girl, 14, while they watch
television with a Yazidi boy, 12. (Alice Martins for The Washington Post)
reminded that the Islamic State had committed atrocities, the children quickly
do you hate the Islamic State so much?” asked the boy. “They killed my father
and my cousins but still I love them. Why should you be against them when they
didn’t do anything to you?”
true some of the military men were bad, but most of them were really good
people,” added the girl.
acknowledged that the children are facing difficulties adjusting but predicted
they would adapt once they got home. He and his family do their best to make
them feel welcome. His teenage children befriend them. They teach them about
the Yazidi faith. But the traumatized children will need counseling and the
support of their families, he said.
all of them will find it.
second boy, 12, seemed somewhat more at ease with his new life. Like the girls,
he resisted being rescued from the Iraqi family he was with in the al-Hol camp,
but he said that was because he was afraid. The Islamic State had taught him,
he said, to believe that the Yazidis would kill him if they found him.
only dimly recalls the faces of his father and mother, who were abducted
alongside him, but said he was looking forward to seeing them again.
in Kurdish as the boy poured tea for the guests, Rasho told us his parents are
missing and almost certainly dead. The boy betrayed no sign that he understood.
know in those days I spoke only Kurdish, and I only understood Kurdish, and I
don’t know how it is that I speak only Arabic now and I forgot Kurdish,” he
of earshot of the Yazidi adults, he begged us to take him back to the camp from
which he was rescued, saying he missed his friends.
in the beginning we are suffering, but maybe, only God knows, we will get used
to it,” suggested the 14-year-old girl.
youngest of the group, the 11-year-old girl, didn’t seem sure. Painfully shy,
she refused to speak. She nodded or shook her head to the few questions she was
asked, her eyes downcast.
she want to be rescued? She shook her head. Was she happy to be here? She shook
her head. Does she also miss Umm Ali, like the older girl? She looked up and
the corners of her mouth drooped, her eyes fell, and she looked as though she
was going to cry.
The dynamics in Syria’s latest opposition stronghold quietly shifted on
Wednesday night with Russian news agencies claiming that Turkey and Russia had
struck a cease-fire deal in Idlib between Syrian regime forces and opposition
contrary to the cease-fire claims, intensive shelling reportedly continued
afterward targeting civilian zones in southern Idlib and the northern Hama
countrysides. Turkey’s tenth observation post in the enclave was also attacked
from the Syrian regime-held territory of Al-Shariah, wounding Turkish soldiers
and damaging facilities.
Turkish Foreign Ministry denied the cease-fire and announced that it would
retaliate if regime attacks continue. The counterattacks by Syrian fighters
against pro-Assad forces continued on Thursday.
underline that such declarations of a cease-fire are only to provide room for
maneuvering by Russia and Turkey to negotiate the dynamics on the ground in the
light of their regional interests.
of civilians have been killed and hundreds of thousands displaced since the
Russian-led military offensive in northwestern Syria, which has become the
scene of a serious military escalation between Assad regime forces and the
Macaron, a fellow at the Arab Center in Washington, DC, thinks this is not the
first or last time a fragile Russian-Turkish cease-fire announced in Idlib has
already been violated.
two sides have irreconcilable interests in Idlib, however they chose neither to
fight if off nor to strike a deal since both scenarios have a detrimental
impact on their bilateral relations,” he told Arab News.
backs the Syrian regime, while Ankara gives its support to some opposition
groups in the region.
Macaron, the only way out of the Idlib quagmire is either the shortcut of an
unwarranted military solution or the long-term arduous path of conflict
experts see the latest developments in Idlib from the prism of the current
dynamics in relations between Moscow and Ankara, especially regarding the
Russian air defense S-400 system and its approaching delivery within two
months. Russian reports about the cease-fire in Idlib came hours after Turkish
President Recep Tayyip Erdogan announced that Turkey has already bought S-400s,
challenging the US threat of sanctions over the purchase.
and the S-400 delivery have become increasingly intertwined and caught up in
the US-Russian tensions and Turkey’s attempt to play both sides,” Macaron said.
is approaching a critical moment next month where he might have to choose
between coming under significant US pressure if he officially receives the
S-400s and dealing with a Russian offensive in Idlib if the S-400 deal does not
go through,” he said.
would also be put under domestic pressure ahead of the June 23 Istanbul vote if
any escalation in Idlib triggered massive refugee flows to Turkey, considering
the deep anti-Syrian sentiments among Turkish society.
Kerim Has, a Moscow-based analyst on Russia-Turkey relations, thinks that the
latest cease-fire in Idlib cannot be realized.
the “anonymous attack” in Idlib against Turkey’s tenth observation point,
Ankara blamed the Syrian regime forces, whereas the Russian Ministry of Defense
pointed out the militant groups and disclosed Turkey’s request for Moscow’s
assistance to counter the attack,” Has told Arab News.
Turkish side denied Russian claims, and both statements still have quite
contradictory details if compared with each other,” he said.
to Has, the recent incompatible views of Turkey and Russia in Idlib have two
the Sochi deal of September 2018 on Idlib was born as an absolutely ‘dead
deal,’ and Ankara now has to face the realities on the ground. Moscow’s
pressure intensifies as the last chance for Turkey to eliminate the terrorist
groups in the region who fled away,” he said.
noted that a 15-20 km demilitarized zone could not be created, and the M4 and
M5 highways are still close to Assad regime’s use.
violations both by the regime and Hayat Tahrir Al-Sham, or HTS, and other
militant groups never stopped, drone attacks against Russian bases keep on
going. HTS now almost totally dominates the Idlib province compared to partly
controlling it when the Sochi deal was reached,” he said.
also note that the deepening crisis in Turkish-US relations following the S-400
decision and F-35 deadlock plays into the hands of Moscow, especially in Idlib
where “horse-trading” is heating up.
Russian weapons were monitored heading for Syria through the Turkish straits a
few days ago — likely a prelude to a bigger offensive in the region.
possibly, we are going to watch not a comprehensive offensive soon, but a ‘slow
motion’ advancement of regime forces in Idlib at least until the first US
sanctions on Turkey over S-400’s procurement,” Has said.
Mrad grinned up from his bed on the third floor of the Islamic Hospital with a
always been the kind of person to interfere if someone’s being hurt,” he said.
“I’ve never been scared in my life.” Which is just as well. For the cheerful
Lebanese with the Australian accent, his torso covered in bandages and far too
many tattoos, had deliberately crashed his car into the motor-cycle-riding Isis
killer who opened fire on crowds of civilians preparing for the Eid al-Fitr
festival in the Northern Lebanese city of Tripoli.
back of Mrad’s head is also swathed in gauze and bandages because – this being
a truly bloody tale without many Hollywood happy endings – the Isis veteran
from Syria shot him three times in the brain and once below the neck.
felt the bullets hitting me in a blur and then the back of my head opened. It
was surreal,” Mrad said – and he never stopped smiling at me as he remembered –
“but this guy had big hate-filled eyes, he seemed to hate everybody. He had a
beard like me but longer, and he kept saying filthy things at all the people
round me. It was surreal.”
Mrad’s aunt and his other female relatives standing at the bottom of the
31-year-old construction worker’s bed open their mouths in awe at such a
was a lot of blood and I started to walk and I couldn’t see and I kept telling
people, ‘Where are you?’ I couldn’t see anything. One guy stayed with me during
the rest of the shooting and wouldn’t leave me till an ambulance came and he
kept saying, ‘It isn’t that bad,’ and he stayed with me till the ambulance came
and then he disappeared.
I did was try to help people – I’ve always been like that, all my life. I just
said, ‘I can’t let this man go on shooting at these people’. I just couldn’t
let those people go on getting killed.”
much for the drama last week, which cost the lives of two Lebanese soldiers and
two cops. But the drama did not end when Abdul Rahman Mabsout, the Isis veteran
who had fought against the Assad regime in Syria, smashed his way into an empty
fourth-floor apartment, shot his last victim from the balcony and blew himself
up with a grenade amid a blaze of army gunfire.
balcony is now gutted black, bullet holes spattered around it, an ugly black
hole in a new apartment block almost as dark as the holes which Mabsout blew in
the body politic of Lebanon.
it has now emerged that the “have-a-go” hero of Lebanon risked his life for a
people whose country had refused to give him its citizenship – for the simple
and disgraceful reason that while his mother was Lebanese, his father was
exodus of 750,000 refugees from Palestine in 1948, and Lebanon’s fear of
contaminating its carefully balanced Muslim-Christian-Druze society with the
aliens who fled the Israelis more than 75 years ago, has largely sealed the
descendants of that distant war into the squalor of the camps. And if the
menfolk later married Lebanese women, the status of their children did not
Lebanese authorities have been quick to lavish praise on Mrad, but less keen to
discuss the fact that while he is now an Australian citizen, he was never
allowed a Lebanese passport – nor the right to live equally in the country of
they are ensuring the best of treatment for their hero’s wounds, although even
the word “their” is a bit dodgy. After all, if they rewarded this fine man with
the right to call himself Lebanese, that would set a precedent for the
continuing arguments of thousands of Lebanese women who married foreign
citizens but want the law changed so that their children can be Lebanese. The
government has repeatedly been asked to change this legislation – and has
Mrad’s brain has clearly been affected by those Isis bullets. He still speaks
perfectly in English and Arabic – he was taking calls from relatives in
Australia when I walked into his private hospital room – but he can no longer
use numbers. He had to count up to 10 on his fingers three times and hold up a
thumb when I asked him his age, to illustrate his 31 years. Mrad is divorced
but has two children in Austrialia, Maria and Ace – when I asked their age, he
twice held up his hands before he reached 10 and 11. But despite his wounds, he
is a lucky man.
so this might be the moment – since the victims of last week’s lone Isis attack
also had families who sobbed over their coffins across Lebanon this past week –
to recall the names of the dead: Lieutenant Ali Farhat and Private Ibrahim
Saleh of the Lebanese army and Sergeant Johnny Khalil and Corporal Youssef
Faraj of the Internal Security Forces (ISF).
now to the Isis killer. Mabsout had fought in Syria, a full-time member of the
“Islamic State” cult, and his attack on the festival crowds in Tripoli with both
automatic rifle and six grenades also wounded dozens of civilians. Lebanon’s
interior minister, Raya el-Hassan, quickly called him a “lone wolf”, although
most people in Tripoli I talked to believe he must have had help. After all, he
was a veteran Isis man, considered so dangerous that when he returned to
Lebanon in 2015, he was imprisoned within the grim concrete walls of the
hopelessly overcrowded Roumieh prison north of Beirut.
his Isis activities had been committed in Syria, a foreign country – and
Lebanon’s Muslims and Christians remain divided in their support and hatred for
Bashar al-Assad’s regime.
Shia Muslim Lebanese Hezbollah have been fighting alongside the Syrian
government army. Sunni Muslim politicians, while hardly espousing the Isis
cause, largely oppose Assad. And the Lebanese prime minister, Saad Hariri, who
holds a Saudi as well as a Lebanese passport and remains loyal to the Saudis –
despite his brief kidnapping in Riyadh last year – is no friend of the Syrian
regime. He still blames it for the 1995 murder of his ex-prime minister father
it was not surprising that the pro-Assad Christian Free Patriotic Movement
(FPM) – whose founder and former leader is Lebanese president Michel Aoun –
should have accused Hariri’s Sunni Future Movement (FM) of freeing Mabsout
early from prison, after only 18 months, because of the Isis man’s record as an
former Aounist parliament member then circulated a fake photo on social media
of the bearded Mabsout apparently standing next to Ashraf Rifi, a Sunni Tripoli
FM politician and the former director of the paramilitary ISF – which is itself
often accused by Aounists of being over-sympathetic to Hariri’s party.
himself suggested that the inspiration behind the fake picture had been
Christian Lebanese foreign minister and leader of the FPM Gibran Bassil, who
also happens – by chance, of course – to be President Aoun’s son-in-law.
did Mabsout’s attack open up sectarian divisions – a principal and stated aim
of Isis commanders when they first encouraged their supporters to stage attacks
in countries outside their Iraqi-Syrian “caliphate” in 2014. And no better
confessional cocktail at which to strike than Lebanon. But the divisions don’t
the hopeless state of Lebanon’s prisons, especially Roumieh – where inmates of
all religions are crammed into tiny cells and often wait without charge for
years before being put on trial or released – has long been a national scandal.
Now there are politicians who say that if Mabsout set off on his killing spree
to revenge himself for the 18 months he spent in Roumieh (another Lebanese
report), then other Islamists in the jail should be freed and given psychiatric
treatment to “cure” them of their extremism as quickly as possible.
and rather more understandably, there are others who would like to keep the
Islamists – some of whom participated in a bloody uprising against the state in
northern Lebanon more than a decade ago – locked up for the rest of their lives.
so the political repercussions of Mabsout’s three-hour act of murder and
multiple woundings have painfully divided this tiny country of Lebanon, perhaps
a quarter of whose present inhabitants are refugees from the war in Syria. I’m
conscious that I’m a foreign journalist, clumping around town to chart the
sectarian suspicion and ice-thin anger of this moment, and so it is a useful
counterpoint to remind you that life can go on happily in the middle of all
this. Just last week, I attended the glorious wedding of a Sunni Muslim and a
Christian Maronite scarcely 30 miles from Tripoli.
Egypt — Egyptian security officials are saying that six policemen were wounded
by a roadside bomb targeting a police patrol vehicle in the restive northern
officials said Thursday that the bomb was detonated remotely near the city of
El-Arish. They said Islamic militants had set up ambushes along the highway
leading to El-Arish where they had kidnapped at least 14 civilians over the
course of the last 24 hours. The officials spoke on condition of anonymity
because they weren’t authorized to speak to the media.
has battled Islamic militants for years in northern Sinai, where an affiliate
of the Islamic State group is based.
Arabic-language al-Arabi al-Jadid quoted Iraqi officials as saying that the
fates of about 40 to 50 ISIL commanders with Iraqi nationalities who had been
arrested in al-Baghouz are still unknown.
said that according to the intelligence obtained by Iraqi officials, the
arrested ISIL commanders are very important and the US and its allied militants
have hidden them for interrogations.
member of the Iraqi Armed Forces General Command pointed to the intelligence
collected by Iraq's friendly countries, and said the intel confirms that the US
and its allied militants have kept these ISIL commanders in secret places.
activists in Raqqa reported that the civil teams in the city found the corpses
of 13 people from a mass-grave in al-Talaeh Garrison South of Raqqa and four
others who were killed in the US airstrikes from the ruins of a building in
al-Dokhar region in Raqqa City.
the Kurdish-language Hawar News quoted Head of Civil Team Yasser al-Khamis as
saying that 14 mass graves have been found in Raqqa since the beginning of the
number of the corpses discovered from the mass graves has exceeded 4,500,"
of the bodies found in Raqqa belong to civilians who had been killed in this
region over the past two years and also the civilians executed by the ISIL
terrorist group on different charges.
a relevant development in late March, the bodies of over 300 victims of the
ISIL and the US air raids, including those of slain women and children, were
discovered in mass-graves and from under the rubles of destroyed buildings in
Hawar News reported at the time that the corpses of 304 people had been
unearthed from a mass-grave in Fakhikheh region in Southern Raqqa since early
added that most of the bodies belonged to the civilians, including women and children,
noting that some of the victims had been executed.
media activists reported that bodies of several civilians, most of them women
and children, were pulled out of the debris in al-Adkhar and al-Ta'aminat
districts of Raqqa in the past few days.
500 refugees incarcerated by the US-backed militants in al-Rukban Camp in
al-Tanf region in Eastern Homs opened their way to escape from the camp, the
Arabic-language Al-Watan newspaper quoted special sources as saying on
said that tens of Syrian families most of them women and children managed to
flee al-Rukban Camp controlled by the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) for areas
under the Syrian Army control through Jaliqam crossing in Eastern Homs.
sources also said that the exit of the civilians came after terrorists sought
to block their departure from the camp.
families who have escaped al-Rukban have confirmed lack of food and hygiene in
the camp, adding that the US-backed terrorists keep people hungry and prevent
their evacuation, al-Watan said.
the Syrian Air Force carried out consecutive attacks on the ISIL's military
positions near Wadi Awirez Dam, T2 Station, Badiyeh al-Sukhna and near the
borders with Deir Ezzur in Eastern Badiyeh of Homs, destroying terrorists'
several military positions and killing several of them.
a relevant development late April, Al-Watan newspaper reported that "there
are around 40,000 to 60,000 people residing in al-Rukban Camp and about 2,500
of them have managed to leave the camp".
on media reports, the US troops that occupy a 55-km zone in Southern Syria
block Russian and Syrian diplomatic and military officials from entering
al-Rukban Camp to provide people with humanitarian aid.
US command in Al-Tanf had previously delayed the delivery of aid to al-Rukban
from Damascus, after refusing to guarantee its safety. It has also prevented
buses sent by Damascus and guarded by the Russian military police from taking
Syrians from the camp to other parts of Syria.
and Russian warplanes have jointly carried out precision attacks against the
positions of Jabhat al-Nusra terrorist group, formerly known as al-Nusra Front,
in the northwestern province of Idlib.
gathering of the terrorist group's ringleaders at Taftanaz military airbase in
Idlib was pounded three times by Syrian and Russian aircraft on Thursday night
as part of a joint operation, Sputnik news agency reported.
report said the terrorists’ hideouts in the southern areas of Khan Shaykhun,
Sufuhon, Kafr Nabl, and Hass in the province were also targeted by the
strikes came after the militants refused to honor a full ceasefire agreement
brokered between Russia and Turkey late Wednesday with the aim of halting
clashes between Syrian forces and militants in the area.
agreement put on hold a Syrian government offensive to liberate Idlib, where
between 10,000 and 15,000 militants are estimated to be holed up.
have persisted in their stay in the zone and refused to leave the area,
launching instead numerous attacks on the outposts of the Syrian army and
and Turkey gave sharply conflicting accounts on Thursday of an attack on a
Turkish military outpost.
claimed one of its observation posts in Idlib province had come under
deliberate attack from Syrian forces, in which three Turkish soldiers were
said the attack was carried out not by the Syrian troops, but by militants.
says it is Turkey’s duty to rein in the armed groups and help separate them
from the Takfiri outfits, which form the backbone of the militant presence in
remains the only large area in the hands of anti-Damascus militants after
government forces managed to undo militant gains across the country and bring
back almost all of the Syrian soil under government control.
recent weeks, Syrian armed forces have been conducting counter-terrorism
operations in areas surrounding Idlib.
supreme court of appeals has upheld jail terms, ranging from life imprisonment
to three years in prison, against a dozen anti-regime activists.
Friday, the Court of Cassation upheld life terms for four convicts and
sentenced seven others to between three and 10 years in jail. The last
defendant was handed a six-year sentence.
defendants were found guilty of “planting an explosive device underground in a
sand yard in the northern village of Karrana, luring police forces to the area
and then detonating the bomb.”
on hunger strike over jail condition, mistreatment
a Bahraini inmate has launched a hunger strike in protest at harsh prison
conditions and mistreatment at the hands of prison authorities.
human rights campaigner Ebtesam al-Sa'eq wrote on her Twitter page that
29-year-old Hussein al-Tawil has been on hunger strike since Monday, and his
family is fearing for his life as the detainee suffers from diabetes and
serious blood sugar fluctuations.
is dying a thousand times a day due to symptoms of the disease. His eyesight is
affected by unstable blood sugar levels, and irregular treatment doses,” Sa'eq
officials have reportedly leveled terror charges against Taweel based on his
confessions. Confessions, however, are said to have been extracted under duress
of anti-regime protesters have held demonstrations in Bahrain on an almost
daily basis ever since a popular uprising began in the country in mid-February
are demanding that the Al Khalifah regime relinquish power and allow a just
system representing all Bahrainis to be established.
has gone to great lengths to clamp down on any sign of dissent. On March 14,
2011, troops from Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates were deployed to
assist Bahrain in its crackdown.
of people have lost their lives and hundreds of others sustained injuries or
got arrested as a result of the Al Khalifah regime’s crackdown.
March 5, 2017, Bahrain’s parliament approved the trial of civilians at military
tribunals in a measure blasted by human rights campaigners as being tantamount
to imposition of an undeclared martial law countrywide.
a large and fervent congregation of the people in Tehran on Friday, Ayatollah
Khatami said, "The statements by the Supreme Leader in his meeting with
Japanese Prime Minister Abe Shinzo on negotiating with the US were wise, subtle
clearly understand from Supreme Leader's remarks that the US rulers and the
triangle of evil do not know anything about sincerity and being humble to
negotiate," the senior cleric said.
a Thursday meeting with Abe, Ayatollah Khamenei strongly rejected talks with
the United States, and told the visiting Japanese premier that he doesn't see
Donald Trump as a party deserving to receive a message from Iran.
do not consider Trump, as a person, deserving to exchange messages with. We
will not negotiate with the United States," the Supreme Leader stressed in
the meeting in Tehran.
the meeting, Japanese Prime Minister Abe Shinzo told Ayatollah Khamenei that
"I would like to give you a message from the President of the United
Khamenei responded by pointing to the US ingenuity and untrustworthiness, and
argued, "We do not doubt your sincerity and goodwill. However, regarding
what you mentioned about the President of the US, I do not consider Trump as a
person worth exchanging any message with and I have no answer for him, nor will
I respond to him in the future."
I am going to say is part of our talks with the Japanese Prime Minister.
Because we consider Japan a friend of ours. Although, there are some
complaints," he added.
Khamenei referred to Abe's remarks that the US intends to prevent Iran's
production of nuclear weapons, and said, "We are opposed to the nuclear
weapons and my religious Fatwa bans production of nuclear weapons but you
should know that if we intended to produce nuclear weapons, the US could do
nothing and its non-permission was not an obstacle."
also described stockpiling of nuclear weapons as an unwise measure, and said,
"The US is not qualified at all to say which country should have or have
not nuclear weapons because the US has several thousand nuclear warheads in its
to the Japanese prime minister that Trump told him that "the United States
is not after regime change in Iran", the Supreme Leader insisted,
"Our problem with the United States is not about regime change. Because
even if they intend to pursue that, they won’t be able to achieve it; just as
previous US presidents tried to destroy the Islamic Republic of Iran during the
past 40 years, and failed. What Trump says, that he is not after regime change,
is a lie. For, if he could do so, he would. However, he is not capable of doing
Khamenei referred to the Japanese prime minister's remarks regarding the United
States’ request to negotiate with Iran about the nuclear issue, and said,
"The Islamic Republic of Iran negotiated for 5 to 6 years with the United
States and the Europeans — the P 5+1 — which led to an agreement. But the
United States disregarded and breached this definite agreement. So, what common
sense would once again allow negotiations with a state that has thrown away
everything that was agreed upon?"
pointed to the forty years of hostility that the US has showed to the Iranian
nation and its continued hostility, and said, "We believe that our
problems will not be solved by negotiating with the US, and no free nation
would ever accept negotiations under pressure."
Khamenei then responded to remarks by the Japanese Prime Minister on how the
Americans have always wanted to impose their own beliefs and views on other
nations, and stated, "It is good that you acknowledge this fact, and you
should also know that the Americans will observe no limits in imposing their
Leader of the Islamic Revolution pointed to the process of negotiations with
the US that led to the formation of the 2015 nuclear deal, and said,
"After the nuclear agreement, the first person to immediately breach the
JCPOA was Mr. Obama himself; the same person who had asked for direct talks
with Iran and had also sent a mediator."
is our experience, and rest assured Mr. Abe that we will not repeat it,"
Khamenei referred to the remarks made by the Japanese prime minister quoting
Trump as saying that “negotiating with the US will help Iran progress”, and
said, "By God’s grace, we will progress without negotiating with the US
and despite the sanctions."
Leader of the Revolution welcomed the Japanese prime minister’s suggestion of
expanding relations between Japan and Iran, and reminded, "Japan is an
important country in Asia, and if they are willing to expand relations with
Iran, they should prove their sincere willingness -- just as some important
countries have shown their interest."
arrived in Tehran on Wednesday afternoon.
holding a bilateral meeting with the Iranian Leader, he attended talks and
pursuing joint press conference with Iranian President Hassan Rouhani.
the press conference, President Rouhani slammed the US sanctions on his nation
as an act of terrorism and "root cause of tensions in the region",
and told the visiting Japanese Prime Minister that Iran would continue with
modifying its undertakings under the nuclear deal if it remains the only party
complying with its terms.
also noted the age-old ties between the two countries and appreciated the
Japanese premier for giving a positive response to his invitation to visit
further praised constructive ties and consultations with Japan in the past
several years, and stressed that Tehran welcomes cooperation with Japan at all
the bilateral, regional and international levels.
discussed investment in Iran's Southern port city of Mahshahr and the port of
Makran," Rouhani said, and added that Japan's willingness to continue
buying crude from Iran ensures stability in growing ties between the two
welcome Japan's interest to continue purchasing Iran's crude and settle
financial ties between the two countries," he said.
addition to bilateral ties, we also discussed regional security and
detente," Rouhani said, and voiced pleasure in the two countries' interest
in regional stability.
president ensured his state's policy has been built on peace and security at
regional and global stage, but meantime, indicated that Tehran is fully
prepared for all scenarios, implying that it would definitely not sit idly if
it comes under attack by the US.
ensured Mr. Prime Minister we will not initiate any war with any country in the
region, but if war is imposed on us, we will give a decisive response,"
the Iranian president reiterated.
Abe voiced optimism in the present conditions and said he knows that prospects
are bright," he added.
Rouhani praised Japan's support for the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action
(JCPOA), and said he has informed the Japanese premier that Iran is resolved to
continue the present path of modifying its undertakings under the nuclear deal
based on the contents of "Paragraphs 36 and 37" if the merits
promised by the signatories to Tehran are not provided.
president slammed Washington's sanctions on Tehran and said, "I told Mr.
Prime Minister that the sanctions imposed on Iran are a clear instance of
in the region are rooted in the United States' economic war against Iran,"
the Iranian president reiterated.
he appreciated Japan's goodwill and care for regional security and stability,
and asked for expansion of nuclear cooperation with Tokyo for peaceful
Japanese premier appreciated Iran’s warm hospitality during the visit, and said
he had wished to visit Tehran all throughout the last three decades after he
accompanied his father, the then foreign minister, during a visit to Tehran.
that this is the first official trip to Iran by a Japanese prime minister after
41 years, he expressed strong willingness to expand cooperation with Tehran in
various areas, including medical grounds.
Japanese premier further voiced concern over instability in the region, and
said his country is willing to help to deescalate the present tensions.
appreciated the religious Fatwa issued by Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Seyed
Ali Khamenei that has placed strong religious ban on the acquisition,
production, stockpiling and use of the Weapons of Mass Destruction, and voiced
pleasure in Iran’s full compliance with the nuclear deal.
failed to note the US sanctions and military threat to Iran by the deployment
of thousands of troops in and around the Persian Gulf, and asked Iran to help
him advance his mediation efforts.
heading a high-ranking politico-economic delegation, arrived in Tehran on
Wednesday on a three-day visit to discuss bilateral ties and cooperation.
According to Japanese media, mediation between Iran and the US is on his
visit comes more than one year after Washington's abrupt withdrawal from the
landmark nuclear deal that led to the lifting of economic sanctions on Iran.
Japan is not a member of the deal but has been a supporter.
making the trip official, Abe and Trump had a phone conversation on Tuesday
about the Japanese prime minister's trip to Tehran.
US president's anti-Tehran top aide, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, has
recently claimed that Washington is ready to engage in talks with the Islamic
Republic without preconditions, and his boss has reinstated harsh economic
sanctions against Iran to force Tehran back to the table - a desire that has
not yet come to reality. Washington has also escalated America's military
presence in the Persian Gulf - recently sending an aircraft carrier group, a
squadron of B-52 bombers and additional Patriot air defense systems as a
“message” to Iran. Trump claimed that the United States is not seeking armed
conflict with Tehran, calling for negotiation with Iran to reach a new deal.
The US president also introduced sanctions on third countries that would do
business with the Islamic Republic. Dependent on Iranian oil, Japan is one such
May, Iran announced it was suspending some of its commitments under the nuclear
deal, setting a 60-day deadline for the five remaining parties to the deal —
France, Germany, the UK, China and Russia — to take practical measures towards
ensuring Tehran’s interests in the face of the American sanctions.
Houthis’ targeting of Abha Airport with a missile, injuring 26 civilians, is
clear and explicit evidence of the group’s terrorism. This targeting of a
civilian airport makes us re-evaluate the comprehensive Yemeni peace process at
all levels. First is the mechanism for dealing with the Houthis — the rules of
engagement should now be expanded, making the military option the only option.
Not only have the Houthis rejected the Stockholm agreement and its
implementation, but Wednesday’s escalation in targeting vital facilities within
Saudi Arabia threatens the security of the Kingdom’s citizens and residents.
escalation from the Houthi side is considered a war crime and evidence that the
militia is playing the role of Iran in the war and fighting on Tehran’s behalf.
This is what the Arab League has always warned of. The re-evaluation this time
should include the role of the UN and the international community, which has
not done its job properly. The Houthis’ attacks on civilians inside Saudi
Arabia have reached record levels.
should we re-evaluate the UN’s role in Yemen? Because Security Council
resolution 2216 has, since 2015, called for the Houthis to withdraw from the
Yemeni cities they occupy, hand over their heavy weapons, and engage in
political negotiations to end the coup against the legitimate government. But
the UN and its envoys, including incumbent Martin Griffiths, have not worked to
implement the resolution. Instead they have emptied the resolution of its value
and entered into negotiations with the Houthis, which has led to a prolonging
of attempts to restore the legitimate government and slowed the liberation of
Hodeidah port. Comically, Griffiths praised the Houthi leadership personally
and even gave them gifts of four-wheel drive cars.
terrorist militias such as the Houthis must be dismantled and eliminated. The
Daesh “caliphate” was eradicated by the international community forming a
coalition to defeat it — this should be no different.
question remains: Why has the international community not confronted Iran over
its use of sectarian terrorist militias? They have ballistic weapons and drones
and have used them to target international waterways and global interests, oil
pipelines inside Saudi Arabia, and oil tankers in the region’s waters. They
have targeted international airports and carried out terrorist acts inside
Yemen, including kidnappings, extrajudicial killings, starving the civilian
population and the theft of international aid. Why is there so much patience
and so many cover-ups of the Houthis’ crimes? This was also the case for some
members of Hezbollah in the UK in 2015, when it was discovered they were
storing materials involved in the manufacture of bombs in London but it was not
disclosed at the time.
the international community wants to defeat terrorism, it must confront it in
all its forms. Militias must be forced to disarm. It should be unacceptable for
militias to use weapons to destabilize the security and stability of other
is responsible for them and legally should bear the consequences of all the
violations and terrorist attacks carried out by these militias. They are armed
and trained on the basis of being sectarian terrorists in the mold of Iran’s
Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps, and they serve the interests of Iran in the
region and beyond. Therefore, Tehran must be held accountable for the actions
of such militias. This issue should be as important as preventing Iran from
acquiring nuclear weapons.
United Arab Emirates (AP) — The U.S. military released a video Friday it said
showed Iran’s Revolutionary Guard removing an unexploded limpet mine from one
of the oil tankers targeted near the strategic Strait of Hormuz, suggesting
Tehran wanted to hide evidence of its alleged involvement.
denied any role in Thursday’s apparent attacks, which have again roiled the
Persian Gulf amid heightened tensions between Tehran and Washington over the
unraveling nuclear deal with world powers.
other oil tankers off the nearby Emirati port city of Fujairah suffered similar
attacks in recent weeks, and Iranian-allied rebels from Yemen have struck U.S.
ally Saudi Arabia with drones and missiles.
Donald Trump withdrew America last year from the 2015 nuclear deal that Iran
reached with world powers and recently imposed a series of sanctions now
squeezing its beleaguered economy and cutting deeply into its oil exports.
While Iran maintains it has nothing to do with the recent attacks, its leaders
repeatedly have threatened to close the vital Strait of Hormuz, through which
20 percent of the world’s oil flows.
accused Washington of waging an “Iranophobic campaign” against it, while Trump
countered that the country was “a nation of terror.”
did do it,” he said of the attack, in remarks Friday morning to “Fox &
also warned Iran not to close off the strait, saying if it does so, it won’t be
shut for long.
black-and-white U.S. video of the Iranians alongside the Japanese-owned tanker
Kokuka Courageous came after its crew abandoned ship after seeing the
undetonated explosive on its hull, said Capt. Bill Urban, a spokesman for the
U.S. military’s Central Command. It separately shared photos of the vessel,
which showed what appeared to be a conical limpet mine against its side.
the video, the boat from Iran’s paramilitary Revolutionary Guard pulls
alongside Kokuka Courageous at 4:10 p.m. Thursday. The Iranians reach up and
grab along where the limpet mine could be seen in the photo. They then sail
mines, which are magnetic and attach to a ship’s hull, are designed to disable
a vessel without sinking it.
say Iran, if involved, wouldn’t want investigators to find an unexploded mine
because they could check its serial numbers and other attributes to trace it.
U.S. and the international community stand ready to defend our interests,
including the freedom of navigation,” Urban said in a statement. “The United
States has no interest in engaging in a new conflict in the Middle East.
However, we will defend our interests.”
a statement from its U.N. mission, Iran accused the U.S. of escalating
U.S. economic war and terrorism against the Iranian people as well as its
massive military presence in the region have been and continue to be the main
sources of insecurity and instability in the wider Persian Gulf region and the
most significant threat to its peace and security,” the statement said.
Tokyo, the owner of the Kokuka Courageous said its sailors saw “flying objects”
before the attack, suggesting it wasn’t damaged by mines. Company president
Yutaka Katada offered no evidence for his claim, which contradicted the U.S.
also said crew members saw an Iranian naval ship nearby, but did not specify
whether this was before or after the attacks.
suspected attacks occurred at dawn Thursday about 40 kilometers (25 miles) off
the southern coast of Iran. The Front Altair, loaded with naphtha from the
United Arab Emirates, radioed for help as its cargo of flammable chemicals
caught fire. The Kokuka Courageous, carrying methanol from Saudi Arabia and
Qatar, called for help a short time later.
U.S. Navy sent the USS Bainbridge, which picked up 21 sailors from the Kokuka
Courageous, and they stayed overnight on the destroyer, returning to their
vessel Friday to help in it being towed.
attack resembled one in May that targeted four oil tankers off the nearby
Emirati port of Fujairah. U.S. officials similarly accused Iran of using limpet
Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said the U.S. assessment of Iran’s involvement
was based in part on intelligence, as well as the expertise needed for the
operation. It was also based on recent incidents, including the Fujairah
attack, he said. He also tied Iran to a drone attack by Yemen’s Houthi rebels
on a crucial Saudi oil pipeline around the same time.
as a whole, these unprovoked attacks present a clear threat to international
peace and security, a blatant assault on the freedom of navigation and an
unacceptable campaign of escalating tension by Iran,” Pompeo said. He didn’t
also denied being involved in last month’s attacks. Its foreign minister
questioned the timing of Thursday’s incidents, given that Japanese Prime
Minister Shinzo Abe was meeting Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei in
noted that Abe had asked Iran to enter into talks with Washington but Tehran
“rejected” the overture.
supreme leader’s government then insulted Japan by attacking a Japanese-owned
oil tanker just outside Iranian waters, threatening the lives of the entire
crew, creating a maritime emergency,” Pompeo added.
Friday, Abe condemned the attack as a threat to safe navigation.
told reporters he briefed Trump by phone on his trip to Iran but did not give
details, except to say the president thanked him for trying to help de-escalate
tensions in the region and that he planned to continue cooperating closely with
U.N. Security Council held closed consultations on the tanker incidents late
Thursday at the request of the U.S. but took no action.
have risen as Iran appears poised to break the nuclear deal, which Trump
repudiated last year. In the deal, Tehran agreed to limit its enrichment of
uranium in exchange for the lifting of crippling sanctions. Now, Iran is
threatening to resume enriching uranium closer to weapons-grade levels if
European nations don’t offer it new terms to the deal by July 7.
Iran says it quadrupled its production of low-enriched uranium. Meanwhile, U.S.
sanctions have cut off opportunities for Iran to trade its excess uranium and
heavy water abroad, putting Tehran on course to violate terms of the nuclear
foreign minister on Friday said Ankara did not accept Russia’s “excuse” that
Syria would not listen to Moscow and stop regime strikes in Idlib province.
Syria, who are the regime’s guarantors? Russia and Iran,” Mevlut Cavusoglu told
state news agency Anadolu in a televised interview.
we do not accept the excuse that ‘we cannot make ourselves listened to by the
regime’,” he said.
and Russia have worked closely to find a political solution under the Astana
process to the eight-year conflict despite being on opposing sides of the war.
Ankara has called for Syrian President Bashar al-Assad’s ouster and backed
opposition fighters, Moscow has provided support to the Damascus regime.
as part of the Astana talks, is the guarantor for Syrian rebels. Cavusoglu said
there had been “no issues” from the moderate opposition.
Damascus had sent radical groups to Idlib from Aleppo, East Ghouta, and Hama
with their weapons, the minister charged.
knew in the future after other areas had been captured, the regime would attack
Idlib using the excuse of the radical groups’ presence after sending them
there,” he said.
was disagreement over whether a ceasefire had been secured in Idlib this week
after Moscow’s announcement on Wednesday. The following day Cavusoglu said a
complete ceasefire had not been secured in the northwestern province.
is intended to be protected from a major regime assault under a buffer zone
deal agreed on by Russia and Turkey in September but it was never fully
recent weeks, hundreds have been killed after increased bombardment by Damascus
and Moscow in the province, which is home to three million people.
says Turkish soldiers have also been wounded in two separate incidents in May
and again on Thursday in deliberate attacks by the regime on Turkish
observation posts in Idlib.
and Turkey made conflicting claims over Thursday’s attack with Moscow claiming
it was the work of “terrorists” and that it had responded with air strikes.
Arab Coalition backing the Yemeni legitimate government struck on Saturday
Houthi military targets in the capital Sanaa, including air-defense systems.
assault followed a missile attack by the Iran-aligned Houthi militia on Saudi
Arabia’s Abha airport on Wednesday that injured 26 people.
Friday, Saudi Arabia’s air defense forces intercepted five drones launched by
the Houthi militia in Yemen, targeting the Abha airport and the nearby city of
Khamis Mushait, the Arab Coalition said.
forces on Friday intercepted five drones launched by Iran-aligned Houthis in
Yemen, targeting the Abha airport in the country’s northwest, the Arab
was the second such targeting of the airport in two days. A missile on
Wednesday left 26 civilians wounded at the Abha airport. The nearby city of
Khamis Mushait was also targeted in the latest attack.
latest attack comes amid spiraling regional tensions after Washington accused
Iran of carrying out attacks that left two tankers ablaze in the Gulf of Oman,
the second such incident in a month in the strategic sea-lane.
royal Saudi air defense force and air force successfully intercepted and
destroyed five unmanned drone aircraft launched by Houthi militia towards Abha
international airport and Khamis Mushait,” the coalition statement said.
President Hassan Rouhani says the Trump administration is a serious threat to
the stability of the Middle East and the world, urging the international
community to stand up to US unilateralism.
the past two years, the US government has used its economic, financial and
military power through an aggressive approach to disrupt all international
structures and regulations," Rouhani said Friday.
has turned the US administration "into a serious threat for the stability
of the region and the world", he noted.
was speaking at a meeting of the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation -- a
Eurasian security alliance that includes China, India and Russia -- in Bishkek,
the capital of the Central Asian nation of Kyrgyzstan.
Islamic Republic of Iran believes that today, the international community has
been challenged more than ever by the issue of unilateralism, and the problems
and complexities of today's world, especially terrorism, extremism and drug
trafficking, have made multilateralism a necessity," Rouhani added.
also warned that "terrorism, in its different forms, extremism,
unilateralism and interference of extra-regional countries in the affairs of
other regions and interference in the internal affairs of other countries have
put the international community in a grave situation."
situation, he noted, can pose a threat to the stability, security and interests
of all countries around the world.
we all have to be united from the East to the West against the danger of
extremism; because extremism threatens development, peace and security of the
world," Rouhani said.
does not matter whether we are Muslim, Christian, Jewish, Buddhist or following
any other religion; what matters is to be united against extremism of any
color, race or religion."
Thursday, Rouhani reaffirmed Iran's commitments to guarding regional peace and
security, saying Tehran has practically shown over the past years how much it
is sensitive to the security of its neighboring and regional countries.
reminded how the International Atomic Energy Agency has verified Iran's
compliance with its commitments under the 2015 nuclear deal in 15 successive
however, the United States trampled on this agreement, violated UN Security
Council Resolution 2231 and launched economic war and terrorism" against
the Islamic Republic, he said in Tehran.
19th SCO summit was held in Kyrgyzstan, with the presidents of 11 countries
taking part, including Russia, China, Kazakhstan, Tajikistan, Uzbekistan,
India, Pakistan and Iran.
Shanghai Cooperation Organization is an intergovernmental organisation founded
for multilateral, political, economic and security cooperation.
Russia, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Uzbekistan, Pakistan and India are
its main members, and Iran, Mongolia, Afghanistan and Belarus are observers.
the second leg of his three-day trip, Rouhani was to leave Bishkek later Friday
for Dushanbe, the capital of Tajikistan to participate at the 5th summit of
Conference on Interaction and Confidence-Building Measures in Asia (CICA).
President Xi Jinping says Beijing will continue to promote steady development
of ties with Tehran no matter how the situation changes.
made the remarks on Friday during a meeting with Iranian President Hassan
Rouhani on the sidelines of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization summit
underway in the Kyrgyz capital of Bishkek, the official Xinhua news agency
condemned Washington's unilateral pullout from the 2015 nuclear deal with
Tehran as the main reason behind rising tensions in the region, calling for the
promotion of multilateralism.
stressed that Beijing will continue its strategic relations with Tehran in
various fields, including fighting terrorism and systematic crimes.
said Iran and China’s resistance in the face of US unilateralism could be in
the interest of the two countries as well as the entire world.
further slammed Washington for violating international laws and unilaterally
abandoning agreements, including the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action
US is violating all international norms, and is seeking to establish its
dominance over Asia and the entire world,” the president said.
and China, Rouhani said, have great capacities to develop their relations. “Due
to its exceptional geographical location, Iran is ready to play a key role in
the development of 'One Belt, One Road' Initiative," he said.
the “One Belt, One Road” initiative, China aims to create a modern Silk Road
economic belt and a 21st century maritime Silk Road to boost trade.
under the plan include a network of railways, highways, oil and gas pipelines,
power grids, Internet networks, maritime and other infrastructure links across
Central, West and South Asia to as far as Greece, Russia and Oman.
a high-ranking political delegation, Rouhani left Tehran for Bishkek on
Iranian president was about to deliver a speech to the 19th SCO summit and
later meet participating leaders, including Russian President Vladimir Putin.
SCO was formed in 2001 in Shanghai by the leaders of Kazakhstan, China,
Kyrgyzstan, Russia, Tajikistan, and Uzbekistan to curb extremism in the region
and enhance border security.
is currently an observer member of the SCO, though it has long sought full
forces have attacked Palestinians taking part in anti-occupation protests near
the fence separating the besieged Gaza Strip from the occupied territories,
wounding 49 civilians.
al-Qedra, the spokesman for the Gazan Health Ministry, said 46 Palestinian
protesters sustained different types of injuries during the protests in eastern
Gaza Strip on Friday.
paramedics were also wounded by Israeli soldiers, he added.
rallies have been held every week since March 30 last year. The Palestinians
demand the right to return for those driven out of their homeland by Israeli
troops have killed at least 305 Palestinians since the beginning of the rallies
— called the “Great March of Return” — and wounded more than 17,000 others,
according to the Gazan Health Ministry.
March, a United Nations (UN) fact-finding mission found that Israeli forces
committed rights violations during their crackdown against the Palestinian
protesters in Gaza that may amount to war crimes.
Saudi Arabia’s air defense forces shot down five drones launched by Houthi
terrorists against targets in the Kingdom’s southern border region of Asir, a
spokesman of the Arab Coalition supporting Yemen’s legitimate government said
Turki Al-Maliki said the drones were targeted at Abha International Airport and
the city of Khamis Mushayt on Thursday night, according to the Saudi Press
traffic and airspace at Abha International Airport are operating normally, and
there is no delay in flights and passenger traffic,” Al-Maliki said. He said:
“The Houthi terrorist militia is trying to target civilian facilities in
desperate and repeated attempts, without achieving any of their irresponsible
and hostile objectives.”
added: “These drones were exposed and dropped. We stress our legitimate right
to take appropriate deterrence measures, with such hostile acts and in
conformity with international humanitarian law and its customary rules.”
was the second drone attack by the Iran-backed Houthis on Khamis Mushayt in
four days. Last Monday, Saudi air defense forces shot down two drones launched
toward the city.
insurgents overrun Nigerian army base in northeast - security sources
Nigeria (Reuters) - Islamist insurgents overran a Nigerian army base in the
country’s northeast, killing at least the commander, two Nigerian security
sources said on Thursday.
on Wednesday took a Nigerian army base at the village of Kareto in northeastern
Borno state, some 130 kilometres from state capital Maiduguri, the security
other details about possible further casualties were available.
army spokespeople did not immediately respond to requests for comment.
latest development is at odds with the Nigerian military’s public statements as
recently as Monday that their campaigns against Boko Haram and Islamic State’s
West African branch are making “major breakthroughs”, statements that
frequently describe the insurgents as “remnants”.
was not immediately clear whether the attackers were affiliated with Boko Haram
or Islamic State.
insurgents were said to have overrun troops from the Nigeria Army’s 158th
Battalion stationed at Kareto, killing at least their commanding officer and
causing the remaining soldiers to flee, one security source said.
the assault, the militants left Kareto, but remained in the area, they said.
Muhammadu Buhari in his second-term inaugural speech on Wednesday said Nigeria
was meeting security challenges “with much greater support to the security
forces in terms of money, equipment and improved local intelligence”.
government has said the Boko Haram insurgency, and the rival Islamic State West
Africa Province group, are on their last legs.
sustained efforts to eradicate the militants have failed and the military
continues to suffer heavy losses.
insurgency has killed over 30,000 people and displaced millions of civilians in
than 80 people were killed, including 16 Cameroonian soldiers, during an attack
by suspected Boko Haram Islamists in the north of the country, the defense
civilians and 64 fighters also died in the pitched battle in the Darak locality
of Cameroon’s Far North Region on June 9, while another eight fighters were
taken prisoner, Defence Minister Joseph Beti Assomo said in statement handed to
reporters in the capital, Yaounde.
in Nigeria, Boko Haram has been waging a violent campaign since 2009 to impose
its version of Islamic law in Africa’s most populous country. Its attacks have
left tens of thousands of people dead and the violence has spilled into Niger,
Chad, and Cameroon.
Kenya, June 13 (Xinhua) -- Four al-Shabab militants were killed after an
improvised explosive device (IED) they were setting up apparently detonated
prematurely in Kenya's coastal Lamu region early Thursday, the police
number of militants were also injured in the 3 a.m. incident near a bridge in
Lamu East, said Lamu security operation director Joseph Kanyiri.
can confirm that four of the militants died from an IED explosion," he
said. "It seems the device went off before they were done setting it up,
killing three militants on the spot while another died a few minutes later.
badly charred bodies were recovered on the scene while another was picked up a
few meters away. It seems he was trying to get away but succumbed to
injuries," Kanyiri added.
area falls within the infamous Boni forest where a security operation, dubbed
Linda Boni, has been underway since 2015 to flush out militants there.
militants have been using the forest to stage attacks on local civilians and
said three loaded AK-47 magazines, 12 loose rounds of ammunition and a magazine
pouch were also recovered at the scene.
tourism resort region of the coast has been a target of terror attacks in the
past, often staged by al-Shabab terrorists who waged a war against Kenya soon
after it deployed its military to war-ravaged Somalia in October 2011.
Court of First Instance in Tunis sentenced a Tunisian to 10 years in prison and
his wife for six months. The two are accused of joining a terrorist group,
planning to smuggle terrorist elements to the country, plotting terrorist
operations and concealing important information about counter-terrorism
investigation carried out by the anti-terrorism apparatuses revealed that the
husband had been accused of contacting his brother, who is an ISIS affiliate.
wife, however, hid the mobile phone belonging to her terrorist brother-in-law
who is currently in the hotbeds of tension in Syria.
units considered this an attempt to mislead the judiciary and not enable
anti-terrorism agencies to access information and important data in the ISIS
element’s mobile phone.
wife confirmed that he contacts them on a regular basis and he talks to her
husband and his mother. Yet, she said she was afraid to reveal her husband’s
contacts with his terrorist brother and hid the mobile phone in a plastic bag
before burying it near their house in Ramada (southeast Tunis).
this context, the husband denied preparing and planning to carry out terrorist
operations in the country and denied smuggling a terrorist group across the
border to carry out bombings and killings within Tunisia’s territory.
admitted, however, contacting his terrorist brother once, which the court
considered sufficient evidence to issue a prison sentence against him.
court said he had hidden clear evidence about his brother's joining of a
terrorist organization, threatening the country’s security and stability.
State claimed its first presence in Mozambique, saying in a statement on June 4
an attack by the army was repelled in “Metobe” in the “Mocimboa area.” The
fighting was attributed to its Central Africa Province affiliate. Evidence of
links between ISIS and local groups in northeastern Mozambique preceding this
claim remain elusive, only increasing questions around the deadly insurgency
carried out by Ahlu Sunnah Wa-Jama.
ISCAP-attributed attacks were limited to the Democratic Republic of Congo but
ISIS on June 4 claimed: “The soldiers of the Caliphate were able to repel an
attack by the Crusader Mozambican army,” and that the fighting led to “killing
and wounding a number of them,” adding that “weapons, ammunition, and rockets”
had been captured.
police denied that ISIS was behind the fighting, with spokesperson Orlando
Mudumane saying “the security forces distance themselves from these reports,”
and that “the information is not true.”
also released two images purporting to show weapons and ammunition seized in
the fighting. A weapons researcher known as Calibre Obscura identified some of
the arms as a PK-pattern machine gun, an RPG-7 rocket-propelled grenade
launcher, and two assault rifles – an East German AK-type MPi-KMS-72 and an
AKMS with East German furniture. Along with the weapons there was various
ammunition including mortar shells, RPG warheads, magazines, and an assortment
of other items, including limes, juice boxes and water bottles.
exact location of “Metobe” is unclear, but Mocimboa da Praia is in the northern
Cabo Delgado province, where violence has been going on for over a year. There
were no media reports or military statements about an attack in the region on
June 4, but Africa researcher Jasmine Opperman told The Defense Post that the
incident likely took place on June 2.
offensive on that day by the armed forces of Mozambique (FADM) in the area of
Ntoto, around 30 km (20 miles) south of Mocimboa da Praia, was intended to
clear an area believed to contain an insurgent base. After initial success, a
counter-attack by militants inflicted several casualties among FADM personnel
and forced the rest to withdraw, Opperman said.
week earlier on May 28, militants ambushed a truck carrying passengers and
goods in the coastal district of Macomia, south of Mocimboa da Praia. Homemade
explosives were reportedly thrown at the truck before militants opened fire.
Eight people were found dead in the vehicle, another seven bodies were
recovered nearby, and one person died the next day. Ten people were evacuated
to hospital by helicopter. Among the dead were three soldiers who had been on
the truck as protection.
has grappled with terrorism blamed on jihadists since October 2017, when
militants attacked a police station and military outpost in Mocimboa da Praia.
violence has been centered in Cabo Delgado, a Muslim-majority province in
northeastern Mozambique that borders Tanzania, and is the least developed
region in the country.
socio-economic conditions in Cabo Delgado may have been a factor in fueling the
insurgency; with high unemployment, poverty, and ineffective government
services. But the province has seen an influx of financing after the discovery
of major gas deposits in 2010, although many locals have not benefited.
violence in Mozambique is most commonly viewed as Islamist militancy, with the
little-known Ahlu Sunnah Wa-Jama blamed for the attacks. There are reports the
group may have initiated as a splinter from a peaceful sect before turning to
refer to the group as al-Shabaab, but it is not believed to be linked to the
Somalia-based al-Qaeda affiliate with the same name.
is unclear if Ahlu Sunnah Wa-Jama is responsible for the attack ISIS claimed.
theories blame the violence on links to organized crime networks or to the
discovery of gas in the region, and the lack of public statements by the
attackers has only increased confusion.
Armed Conflict Location and Event Data Project has logged over 100 events
reported to involve Ahlu Sunnah Wa-Jama, most of it focused on civilians. From
January to April 2019, ACLED logged only three clashes between state forces and
militants, compared to at least 30 attacks on civilians. Attacks had led to
over 200 deaths and have caused thousands of people to flee their homes.
of the attacks have been defined by their brutality: civilians, including
children, have been decapitated or chopped up, and their homes burnt. While
firearms and rudimentary explosives have been used, often violence has been
carried out with machetes and other similar weapons.
government has responded with the deployment of more forces, although they have
failed to halt the violence and there are reports of abuses. Human Rights Watch
has alleged that security forces committed crimes against accused militants,
including arbitrary detentions, poor treatment, and summary executions.
Multiple mosques in the country have been closed as a reaction to the attacks
and at least one was levelled. Journalists are often obstructed in their work
by security forces, and several have been detained.
the majority of Ahlu Sunnah Wa-Jama militants are Mozambicans from the local
area, foreigners are also present, including Tanzanians and Ugandans.
less is known about the activities of any ISIS cells in the area. In May 2018 a
photo was shared on pro-ISIS Telegram channels showing six fighters standing in
front of the black flag infamously used by ISIS, but several other groups use
the same flag, including Boko Haram, the Somali al-Shabaab, and al-Qaeda in the
with the picture it was claimed that a bayah, or pledge of allegiance, to ISIS
leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi would follow. If such a pledge has been made it was
not done so publicly.
same month, the African Union claimed ISIS had expanded its reach into East
Africa including Mozambique, but provided no details.
statement and images released by ISIS suggest a line of communication from
Mozambican militants to ISIS central, but that communication may not be direct.
In the past such releases have typically been preceded by the building of ties
and a bayah, or pledge of allegiance, to Baghdadi.
there are alleged links between Ahlu Sunnah Wa-Jama and the Allied Democratic
Forces, a Ugandan-led Islamist group based in Democratic Republic of Congo. Six
Ugandans have been arrested in Mocimboa da Praia and extradition proceedings
are underway, Uganda’s Daily Monitor reported.
July, the Somalia-based think tank Hiraal Institute cited a Tanzanian security
official as saying Tanzanian militants with Ahlu Sunnah Wa-Jama had been in
contact with Tanzanians who joined ADF.
State Central Africa Province
the June 4 attack in Mozambique, all activity attributed to ISCAP had been
confined to the DRC. The group is believed by experts and analysts to have been
formed from ADF or a splinter group that had previously built ties with ISIS.
has sought to expand into new regions through local groups or their splinters,
just as they apparently did with the ADF. After a group has pledged allegiance
to Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, it will act in ISIS’s name and propaganda coverage of
its activities is released by ISIS central.
model has previously been seen: in Nigeria a Boko Haram faction became West
Africa Province, and Ansar Beit al-Maqdis in Egypt became Sinai Province.
relationship allows ISIS to expand into a new region, while local forces gain
financing, propaganda and legitimacy among would-be jihadists from being part
benefits – especially since the fall of its proto-state in Iraq and Syria – by
signaling to its supporters that it will continue to expand.
the lack of clear links between militants in Mozambique and ISIS, it remains
unclear if the attack claimed by ISIS was carried out by Ahlu Sunnah Wa-Jama, a
splinter, or a completely separate group. The lack of overt links between local
militants and ISIS central creates rightful suspicions about the actual level
and nature of ISIS involvement.
transitional military council has suspended implementation of a decree
demanding that the joint UN-African Union peacekeeping force in Darfur hand
over its premises as part of its withdrawal next year, a Sudanese diplomat said
Ahmed Mohamed Ahmed told the UN Security Council that the transitional military
council also decided on Thursday to withdraw all armed forces and other
security forces from sites the government has already received from the
peacekeeping force known as UNAMID.
United Nations has opposed the transitional military council’s decree, saying
under an agreement with the Sudanese government its facilities when handed over
are to be used solely for civilian purposes.
July, the Security Council voted to dramatically cut the UNAMID force in the
vast western Darfur region in response to reduced fighting and improved security
conditions. The target for ending the mission is June 30, 2020, and Ahmed urged
the council to keep to that timetable.
reject any attempt to postpone or suspend the exit of UNAMID given that there
are no conditions, no justification or reasons for its presence,” Ahmed said.
and China backed Sudan and urged the Security Council to stick to the
Britain, Germany, South Africa, the United States and others raised questions
about the impact on Darfur of the transitional military council’s crackdown on
protesters last week that killed over 100 people and wounded hundreds more.
this week, the Security Council strongly condemned the violence and urged
Sudanese authorities to immediately end the use of violence, respect human
rights, and ensure justice and accountability.
monthslong popular uprising against Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir’s 30-year
rule led to his fall from power in April, but there has been a standoff since
then between the protesters and the transitional military council that
Deputy UN ambassador Jonathan Allen told the council that his government and
Germany are proposing “a technical rollover” to extend the UNAMID mandate,
which expires June 30.
“would provide time for progress on the broader political situation,” he said,
and give time to resolve the issue of the handover of UNAMID sites.
Africa’s UN Ambassador Jerry Matjila said “there is an urgent need for an
assessment of the drawdown” of the UNAMID force, given the political situation
following al-Bashir’s ouster.
UN announced on Friday it would be suspending the handover of sites in Darfur
to the control of Sudan’s Transitional Military Council (TMC).
suspension serves as a rejection of the TMC’s call for the UN Hybrid Operation
in Darfur (UNIMAD) to hand over all of its camps to the Rapid Support Forces,
the Sudanese paramilitary forces which is reportedly made of militia groups
accused of human rights abuses.
have had no choice but to suspend the handover of UNAMID sites to the Sudanese
authorities until the TMC decree is rescinded,” Jean Pierre Lacroix, the UN
peacekeeping chief, told the Security Council.
Council issued a statement condemning the violence in Sudan after the Central
Committee of the Sudanese Doctors said at least 11 people were killed and 20
others wounded Monday when the paramilitary Rapid Support Forces (RSF), a
faction of the army, opened fire on residents in Central Darfur state.
protesters began a nationwide civil disobedience campaign on Sunday as part of
pressures on the ruling TMC to hand over power to a civilian government.
than 100 people have been killed since June 3 when the government forces broke
up the sit-in by forces.
TMC later promised to bring the perpetrators to the justice, vowing that it
would release the results of investigation it conducts within three days.
based terror group Harakat Shabaab Mujahideen has dealt a huge blow after 4
group's operatives were killed while planting an IED in Hulugho Sub-county of
Garissa in Kenya.
IED prematurely detonated killing the four terror operatives. The IED was
targeted at Kenya security patrol teams that are frequent in this area. This is
the same place one officer of the KDF morning patrol team was killed by an IED.
Mayor Lauds Development and Security Progress in the City
equips Somalia's security forces with specialised containers
Launches Anti-Malaria Unit, Vows to Eradicate the Disease
al-Shabab militants were killed after an improvised explosive device (IED) they
were setting up apparently detonated prematurely in Kenya's coastal Lamu region
early Thursday, the police confirmed.
use of force hasn’t worked, and negotiation is one of several non-military
options for preventing terrorism.
knew how to found al-Shabaab, I know how to finish them.' This was a 2018
statement by Mukhtar Robow, former deputy leader of Africa's deadliest terror
group - al-Shabaab.
the time, a United Nations Security Council report noted that at Robow's
instigation, 20 senior al-Shabaab members defected to the Somali government. He
himself officially surrendered in 2017 and tried to enter mainstream Somali
politics the next year. His attempts were however short-lived due to his
subsequent detention by the government. The government's action arguably eroded
trust that could have helped attract defectors and manage the problem of
terrorism through non-military means.
with al-Shabaab is one of several non-military options. It can complement
existing counter-terrorism approaches in a country where using force to deal
with al-Shabaab is yet to deliver a lasting solution. As attacks and fatalities
increase, it is worth re-examining the possibility of political settlement
of Africa countries including Djibouti, Ethiopia, Kenya, Somalia and Uganda
rely heavily on a militarised approach to addressing terrorism, under the
auspices of the African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM). External actors such
as the United States (US) have also contributed efforts, albeit mainly through
airstrikes, particularly in recent years.
its peak, AMISOM deployed over 22 000 uniformed personnel at an annual cost of
about US$1 billion. Despite this, al-Shabaab's operational capability remains
intact. By the end of 2018, the Global Terrorism Index listed the group as
among the four deadliest in the world. It is increasingly unsustainable for
both African states and Western donors to keep channelling funds solely towards
a military response.
most important requirements for negotiation are understanding the (ideological)
objectives and membership structure of al-Shabaab, identifying acceptable third
parties or mediators, and involving regional and global actors.
aims to replace the Federal Government of Somalia with its own version of
sharia or an Islamic government. The group also demands the withdrawal of
foreign forces from the country. Because Somalia's constitution defines Islam
as the state religion and sharia inspires national legislation, dialogue over
issues of sharia offers the government some scope for negotiation. What is in
question is the interpretation of sharia - and this cannot be resolved through
the use of force.
al-Shabaab's opposition to foreign troops, there is already a plan for the
gradual withdrawal of AMISOM forces from Somalia by December 2021. The burden
left for the Somali government may prove manageable as long as urgent steps are
taken from now to reform and strengthen the country's security sector.
describe three main reasons for people joining al-Shabaab. The first is
ideological, the second is the desire for personal gain, and the third is
socio-economic and political grievances. However there are nuances when it
comes to individuals' reasons for being members of the group. Collective
motivations offer a useful perspective, but experts like Anneli Botha note that
understanding al-Shabaab from an individual standpoint makes more visible the
potential openings for members to disengage.
more about the group's membership can also highlight where non-military engagement
with militants can occur. Understanding the motivations behind the various
levels of membership could clarify what incentives would make members amenable
to talks, and help identify who could act as a third party to mediate and
facilitate these discussions.
parties must be a combination of entities and individuals. Locally, this could
include militants' family members, Islamic clerics, mediation experts, women's
groups, traditional institutions, clan representatives and civil society
organisations, among others, should be involved in the different phases of
negotiation, bearing in mind the thematic contexts.
community actors have varying levels of influence and awareness of issues,
ranging from religion and ideology to familial knowledge of militants and their
motivations. Engagement with them must be conducted in a way that does not
compromise their own safety. A dedicated commission should also be tasked with
developing a communications strategy for reaching out to al-Shabaab.
requires the support of regional and international stakeholders. Beyond the
backing of the African Union, the US can channel the same kind of endorsement
it gives to airstrikes towards the idea of a political solution to the crisis.
important to remember how removing Robow from the 'most wanted list' of terror
suspects by the US in 2017 strengthened prospects of a positive turning point
for him. Besides, if the US is willing to engage in talks with the Taliban,
then supporting peace efforts through non-military means in Somalia shouldn't
be too much to ask.
terror groups through non-military means should become a strategic priority to
be explored alongside current approaches. For this to be meaningful in Somalia
however, the regional states and central government need to resolve their
political differences and strive for greater cohesion.
BALA, Afghanistan — Two years ago, Pentagon officials said that American forces
in the remote reaches of Afghanistan could defeat the Islamic State’s offshoot
here by the end of 2017.
month, American Special Forces in eastern Afghanistan were still fighting, with
no end in sight.
a visit by a New York Times reporter to their dusty army outpost, in the
eastern province of Nangarhar, the Americans pointed out the ridges and valleys
at the foot of the snow-capped Spin Ghar mountains: There, they noted, was the
start of the Islamic State’s territory, in some of the most forbidding terrain
extremist group is growing, able to out-recruit its casualties so far,
according to military officials. It is well funded by illicit smuggling and
other revenue streams. And in the eastern part of the country, Islamic State
fighters are waging a war of terrain that the United States military can — for
now — only contain, those officials said.
with six current and former American officials, who spoke on the condition of
anonymity, indicated that the group is poised to expand its influence if the
United States and the Taliban reach a peace settlement. The officials expressed
concern that in addition to destabilizing the Afghan government, the group is
becoming connected to terrorist plots beyond Afghanistan’s borders.
in Afghanistan, the immediate conclusion has been to try to keep up the
pressure through patrols and raids by American and Afghan Special Operations
units. But the officials acknowledge that it all amounts to more of a
containment effort than anything that could eradicate the Islamic State
Support Site Jones, on the outskirts of the small village of Deh Bala, is part
of the small constellation of Special Forces outposts in Nangarhar.
Special Forces units are falling back on a counterinsurgency strategy that has
been used off and on throughout 18 years of war. That means they are juggling
between clearing territory alongside Afghan troops, trying to hold it, and
building an Afghan force that could take over security for the district —
supposedly while keeping the Islamic State contained — when the Americans
a recent meeting at his outpost in Nangarhar Province, the team leader of a
Special Forces unit pointed to a map of Deh Bala spread out in front of him.
always going to hold those mountains,” he said of the Islamic State. The team
leader spoke on the condition of anonymity because the Pentagon insists that
members of Special Operations units not disclose their names.
supports his view: This corner of eastern Afghanistan has sheltered
insurgencies for hundreds of years.
to root out militants in this area are hampered by shifting weather that can
quickly close off air support, and by drastic changes in elevation — by
thousands of feet — that limit the troops and equipment that can be safely
ferried by helicopter.
began in 2015 as a small group of tribes composed mostly of former Pakistani
Taliban fighters who pledged allegiance to the Islamic State and its leader,
Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, soon grew into a loosely connected web of fighters and
commanders spread throughout the country.
to American military officials, fighters gradually appeared from all over the
region, including Kazakhstan and Tajikistan, as well as a trickle of fighters
who had fought in Iraq and Syria.
the Afghan offshoot’s early months, Islamic State leadership in the Middle East
sent money to help it along. But officials say the group has approached
self-sufficiency by extorting money from locals along with smuggling timber,
drugs and raw earth material, such as lapis lazuli, mined in some of the
State fighters in Afghanistan are paid significantly more per month than their
Taliban counterparts, in some regions by hundreds of dollars. And they have
been able to keep growing.
are an estimated 3,000 Islamic State fighters in Afghanistan, but their
relatively low numbers belie the group’s growing support network of
facilitators with unclear alliances and its ability to move with relative ease
between Afghanistan and Pakistan, according to the officials. In recent months,
Islamic State cells have appeared in the northern province of Kunduz and the
western province of Herat.
no Islamic State cell is more threatening to maintaining stability in
Afghanistan than the one in Kabul, the Afghan capital.
Islamic State groups there have become increasingly skilled in avoiding
detection, the officials said, staging high-profile attacks more frequently
since 2016. Last year, it carried out an estimated 24 attacks in Kabul, leaving
hundreds dead or wounded and outpacing the Taliban’s Haqqani network as the
most lethal group in the capital, officials said.
Kabul and other major cities, Islamic State recruiters are siphoning
disenfranchised and educated youth from universities, American officials said.
And though the group has long been considered to be locally focused, there is
growing concern that it is turning its sights to attacks abroad.
officials now say that at least one Islamic State leader in Nangarhar Province
helped inspire and direct the April 7, 2017, terrorist attack in Stockholm that
left five people dead and at least 12 wounded when Rakhmat Akilov, an Uzbek
citizen, drove a hijacked beer truck into a crowd of people. One senior
intelligence official said that eight people had been arrested in the United
States on accusations of providing support to the Islamic State offshoot in
group’s growing profile, particularly within Kabul, led Gen. Austin S. Miller
to form a Special Operations task force soon after he took command of the
American-led mission in Afghanistan last year. The task force, led by American
troops, works alongside Afghan police special units to track and target Islamic
task force, according to one American defense official, could be the foundation
for a counterterrorism force left behind after any peace agreement with the
Taliban is reached.
that idea remains a sticking point in the continuing peace talks in Qatar.
American military officials say the Taliban have pushed back on that proposal,
insisting that their fighters could handle and defeat the Islamic State
though, the Taliban has done little to fight the Islamic State. American
officials give the example of Kunar Province, where the extremist group has
quietly probed into Taliban-held territory for months and where Taliban
counterattacks have gained little traction. Taliban fighters there, for the
most part, have continued to focus on attacking Afghan government forces rather
than the competing militants, the officials said.
not only are the Taliban mostly avoiding fighting the Islamic State, they are
also feeding its ranks. Taliban insurgents serve as one of the Islamic State’s
primary recruiting pools, and they often bring a wealth of combat experience
with them, according to the officials.
has made American military leadership increasingly concerned about large groups
of Taliban fighters shifting to the Islamic State if a peace deal is reached.
Already, the Islamic State in Afghanistan is using propaganda in preparation
for a concerted recruiting campaign after any settlement.
despite the political uncertainty, the unsettled future of American forces in
Afghanistan and the potential surge in Islamic State fighters there, the slow
war in Deh Bala goes on.
Special Forces team at Mission Support Site Jones, named after Capt. Jason
Benjamin Jones, a Green Beret who was killed in Nangarhar Province in 2014, is
building up its outpost, now a year old. The team has a weekly meeting with
village elders, where they discuss the district’s security and the results of
recent American and Afghan operations.
a few months, the Special Forces team here will return to the United States
only to be replaced by another detachment. But its remaining time will be spent
the same way: juggling community outreach and training efforts with hazardous
raids up into the mountains where the Islamic State shelters, in the hope that
the group can somehow be contained.
and Muslim touched by shootings unite to speak against religious hatred
months after his eulogy for victims of the 2017 Quebec City mosque atrocity
went viral for its provocative suggestion that the murderer was also a “victim”
of hatred, Hassan Guillet took his lawnmower in for repairs.
is a volunteer imam, a retired engineer and former aviation executive, from
Lebanon but in Canada since 1974. He is also a lawyer, and a newly announced
federal Liberal candidate in Montreal. But on that day, out where the South
Shore suburbs give over to farmland, he was just a guy with a busted machine,
chatting with a mechanic he has known for years.
mechanic was keen to talk to Guillet about seeing him on TV, and to ask his
thoughts about another Muslim customer. By coincidence, this customer was also
an imam but, as the mechanic described it, he had become so overwhelmed by a
climate of ignorance, mistrust and bigotry that he decided to close up his
said, ‘What?’” Guillet recalls, laughing because synagogues are Jewish, and the
mechanic clearly was grasping in vain for the word “mosque.” “Imagine! The
guy’s not stupid.”
he discovered in this awkward moment was more than just a winning anecdote. It
was an opportunity for outreach and education, something he has pursued in
other improbable locations, such as when a man recently approached him in a
supermarket to confess his ignorance and curiosity about Islam, and got a
five-minute crash course right there in the aisle of the Super C.
is a rare power in this friendly approach to interfaith outreach and anti-hate
activism, which Guillet will speak about next week at Holy Blossom Temple, an
actual Jewish synagogue in Toronto. He will be in dialogue with Marnie Fienberg,
an American woman with a painfully personal experience of intolerance who is
pursuing a similar goal from a Jewish perspective.
have identified ignorance and unfamiliarity as key drivers of modern religious
hatred, especially against Jews and Muslims. Sponsored by the Canadian
Anti-Hate Network, the Canadian Association of Jews and Muslims, and JSpace
Canada, “Moving from Hate to Hope” aims to foster interfaith understanding as a
means of reducing hatred and violence.
is a more genteel sort of anti-racism activism than the average street protest.
The target is not those who have already slipped into the fever swamps of
online hatred of the sort that inspires attacks on synagogues and mosques. It
is common people, otherwise pure of heart, but unsure how to recognize and
respond to the common tropes of hate propaganda, to which modern Jews and
Muslims are especially attuned.
people forget that we are all brothers and sisters,” Guillet said. They fail to
see that an existential danger to one is a threat to everyone. “This is the
mission I gave myself, to teach people you are not alone.”
idea is that familiarity protects against dehumanization.
said his strategy against Islamophobia also takes some inspiration from the
#MeToo movement, in which some people came to a heightened awareness and
sensitivity to the suffering of others. Many realized how their own ignorance
or inattention had allowed injustice to continue, even if they themselves never
felt or displayed any malice.
feel that most people are like that,” said Marnie Fienberg of Washington, D.C.,
who shares top billing with Guillet. She means good people, uninformed but
curious for decent reasons, not looking to validate their own predetermined
hatred with conspiracy theory.
is a former business consultant for the US federal government, working on
strategic communications for Homeland Security and NASA. But she found herself
unable to work after he mother-in-law Joyce Fienberg, 75, was among the 11
murdered in Tree of Life Synagogue in Pittsburgh last October.
was too upset. I couldn’t focus,” she said.
was keen to put her energy toward fighting anti-Semitism, but found there were
few opportunities for the average volunteer, someone who was not a security
professional or a Holocaust survivor with a story to tell.
came up with her own, a campaign called 2forSeder, in which Jews invite
non-Jews to the Passover meal, at which foundational questions about Judaism
are traditionally asked and answered.
has found it filled a void, and has caught on in Canada as well, with a strong
majority of guests identifying as Christian. As usual, food makes a good
cultural bridge. Her neighbour in Washington, for example, is a conservative
Republican gun enthusiast with a heart of gold. His interest in Judaism after
he was moved by a memorial service for Joyce Fienberg inspired 2forSeder. Here
was a potential ally, who would push back against hatred if he were only able
to recognize the many insidious forms it takes, the classic tropes about
fanatical bloodthirsty Muslims or greedy, manipulative Jews.
might stand up for it the way he stands up for gun rights. He just needs the
data. He’s an upstanding guy. He might even swear,” Fienberg said. “I feel that
most people are like that.”
retired as a lawyer, said Canada’s laws that respond to hate are “practical and
useful,” but capable of being improved. He said one problem with criminal
responses to hate is the unwillingness of judges to actually use them. And he
said he agreed in principle with non-criminal sanctions, such as the proposed
online hate law under the Canadian Human Rights Act that has lately been the
subject of a parliamentary committee review.
President Donald Trump’s administration is focused on building international
consensus following attacks on oil tankers in the Middle East that the United
States has blamed on Iran, acting US Defense Secretary Patrick Shanahan said on
focus for myself and Ambassador Bolton and Secretary Pompeo is to build
international consensus to this international problem,” Shanahan told reporters
outside the Pentagon, referring to White House national security adviser John
Bolton and Secretary of State Mike Pompeo.
said the Pentagon’s role in that effort would include sharing intelligence, as
the US military’s Central Command did on Thursday by publicly releasing a video
it said showed Iran’s military removing an unexploded mine from one of the
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi has said that Congress will block President Donald
Trump's arms sales to Saudi Arabia, which has been carrying out a war of
aggression against the impoverished people of Yemen since 2015.
at a forum in New York on Thursday night, Pelosi said the House of
Representatives would soon vote to block the transfer of weapons to Saudi
Arabia, America’s strongest ally in the Persian Gulf.
will be a vote to remove any authority to make those sales to Saudi
Arabia," Pelosi said during an interview with Fareed Zakaria hosted by the
Council on Foreign Relations. "This is something that we will fight, and
we'll have bipartisan support to fight."
White House said last month it was making an emergency provision within the
country’s arms control law to enable the billions of dollars of arms sales to
the Saudi kingdom and the United Arab Emirates, the US’s strongest allies in
the Persian Gulf. The recourse helps the president spare congressional review
for the exports.
Trump administration had cited “alleged threats from Iran” to justify resorting
to the provision.
has been accused of creating a “phony” emergency to bypass Congress to approve
the $8 billion arms sale to Saudi Arabia.
Clarke Cooper, the State Department's assistant secretary of state for
political-military affairs, appeared before the House Foreign Affairs Committee
on Wednesday where he was grilled over the $8 billion “'emergency” arms sale to
members of the House committee said the president’s action violated the law
because there was no actual emergency.
also said Trump’s action shows that the United States is tolerating worst human
rights abuses by Saudi Arabia in its war on Yemen.
is no emergency. It's phony. It's made up. And it's an abuse of the law,"
said Representative Eliot Engel, chairman of the House Foreign Affairs
US has been supporting a 2015-present Saudi-led war against Yemen that seeks to
bring back the impoverished country’s former Riyadh-backed officials. The
American patronage has featured aerial refueling, which the US only stopped
earlier in the year after the Saudi-led coalition grew independent of it, as
well as logistical and commando support.
of thousands have died since the onset of the war, and the entire Yemen has
been pushed close to the edge of outright famine.
year after the war was launched, Trump made his maiden foreign visit to Saudi
Arabia, announcing more than $100 billion in arms sales to the kingdom.
her interview on Thursday night, Pelosi noted that Trump's first trip abroad as
president was to Saudi Arabia, where he struck the massive arms deal. She
warned that Trump's arms deal "includes nuclear technology that he is
transferring to Saudi Arabia."
the money. What's going on here?" she said. "And there's a question
of who is financially benefiting from the nuclear part of the sales to Saudi
Arabia. ... The case against Saudi Arabia — in terms of Yemen, in terms of
Khashoggi, in terms of so much — that they should not be receiving these
weapons sales is very strongly bipartisan in the Congress."
also denounced Trump’s renewed war rhetoric accusations against Iran and his
decision to pull out from the Iran nuclear deal negotiated under the Obama
— Libya has been excluded from a list of locations where U.S. military
personnel are deployed and equipped for combat as part of counterterrorism
exclusion, from a letter to the speaker of the House from President Donald
Trump, is a change from the same report sent six months ago. The report is
required by the War Powers Resolution.
Republican president and Democrats in the House are currently at odds over
military support in Yemen, where “a small number” of U.S. military personnel
are deployed, according to the June 11 letter.
latest letter also reveals that the number of U.S. military personnel in
Lebanon has declined by 50 percent since the last report, to 60.
letter cites the territorial defeat of the Islamic State group in Iraq and
Syria, but says that “operations against the continuing terrorist threats
emanating from Iraq and Syria remain ongoing.”
U.S. is coordinating its activity in Iraq with the Kurdistan Regional
Government, an autonomous entity in the country — something not included in the
President Donald Trump has said that he wants Iran to get back at the table,
following attacks on two oil tankers in the Sea of Oman which Washington has
blamed on Tehran.
an interview on Fox News pm Friday, Trump blamed Iran for the attack on oil
tankers without providing evidence, as did his secretary of state, Mike Pompeo,
day after the incident, Iran warned the US to stop playing a blame game through
"suspicious" attacks on oil tankers in the Middle East, describing
the American behavior as "worrying".
said on Friday that if Iran were to close the Strait of Hormuz, “it’s not going
to be closed for long,” without elaborating how the United States would keep
the international shipping route open.
not going to be closing [the strait],” Trump said in response to a hypothetical
question from Fox News.
know it, and they’ve been told in very strong terms. We want to get them back
at the table, if they want to go back,” he said.
ready when they are, but whenever they’re ready, it’s okay. And in the
meantime, I’m in no rush. I’m in no rush,” he added.
of the Islamic Revolution Ayatollah Seyyed Ali Khamenei on Thursday dismissed
Trump as a person not worthy of a response or a message, stressing that
negotiations with Washington cannot help solve any problem.
Khamenei made the remarks in a meeting with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe,
who told the Leader he was carrying a message from the US president.
have no doubts about your (Japan’s) goodwill and seriousness, but regarding
what you quoted from the US president, I personally do not consider Trump
worthy of exchanging any messages with, and do not have and will not have any
response for him,” the Leader told Abe.
Leader said Iran has “no trust” in the United States and will not at all
“repeat the bitter experience” it gained from the negotiations that led to the
conclusion of a 2015 nuclear deal, which Washington later ditched.
this year, Iran said it would close the strait in response to a US decision to
end waivers for companies that export oil from the Islamic Republic.
top commander of the Islamic Revolution Guards Corps (IRGC)'s Navy said on
April 22 the Strait of Hormuz is an international maritime passage, and warned
that Iran may close the strategic waterway if prevented from using it.
to international law, the Strait of Hormuz is a waterway and we will close it
[to other countries] in case we are banned from using it," IRGC Navy
Commander Rear Admiral Alireza Tangsiri said.
strong reaction against Turkey over its decision to purchase Russia’s S-400
missile defence system may reinforce disputes within the NATO alliance,
according to an analyst.
tensions between Turkey and the U.S. will result in greater Turkish military
cooperation with Russia, said Karol Wasilewski, Turkey analyst at the Polish
Institute of International Affairs (PISM).
will also result in more U.S. limitations on military cooperation with Turkey,
comments come at a time when tensions between the two countries may rise
further as the delivery date approaches for the Russian S-400 system, which is
scheduled for next month.
stronger U.S. reaction may also reinforce disputes within the alliance, given
the expected opposition of some countries," he said, citing Germany as an
is said that possible U.S. sanctions against Turkey may spur tensions within
the alliance due to the large trade volume Turkey has with another NATO member,
also underlined that the decision to acquire the Russian system is part of
Turkey’s desire to achieve "strategic autonomy".
2053, Turkey wants its arms industry to be self-sufficient, which has forced
the country to systematically reduce its dependence on Western suppliers,
currently dominant in arms transactions, and acquire new technologies," he
said one of the crucial aspects that facilitated Turkey’s S-400 transaction was
Russia's willingness to include technology transfer, in contrast to Western
allies' proposals, which failed to meet Turkey’s military demands.
December 2017, Turkey agreed to buy Russia’s S-400 air defense system after its
initiatives in 2013 to purchase U.S.-made Patriot missiles fell on deaf ears.
the height of the expanding Syrian civil war which threatened Turkey's southern
borders, Washington was aware of Turkey's need for an air defense system yet
proposed an exorbitant price for its Patriots.
an interview this April with Defense & Aerospace Report, Stephen Flanagan,
a senior political scientist at policy think tank the RAND Corporation, said
the U.S. had "concerns" about Turkey at the time.
2013, the U.S. assumed that Turkey would be unable to secure its defense needs
through other vendors, Russia in particular, since the two countries were at
odds with each other over the Syrian war until 2016.
later shopped for European alternatives, especially Italian. But in 2017, when
Russia offered its state-of-the art S-400s at a reasonable price and with a
fair contract, the Turkish government signed the deal.
then, although Turkish officials have repeatedly stressed their commitment to
NATO’s mission and said Turkey is not choosing Russia over NATO, Washington has
pursued a policy of issuing threats.
policy reached a new low last week, when the U.S. State Department gave Turkey
a July 31 deadline to suspend the S-400 deal or face consequences.
the deadline, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said the S-400 issue is a
"done deal" and "backtracking is out of the question,"
while Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu said “no one can force Turkey to choose
between NATO and Russia".
contributions to F-35 project
U.S. threat to cut Turkey out of the F-35 project ignores not only its settled
contract to buy the jets but also its long and integral role in producing
technology for the advanced planes.
by defense giant Lockheed Martin, Turkey joined the U.S. F-35 Joint Strike
Fighter Program in 2002 along with the U.K., Italy, Australia, the Netherlands,
Norway, Denmark and Canada, and to date has invested more than $1.25 billion.
has partnered with Lockheed Martin for more than 25 years, primarily on the
F-16 Fighting Falcon aircraft.
also manufactures more than 900 aircraft parts for all F-35 variants and
of participating countries have been contributing to the program.
of the most complex structural sections of the aircraft, the F-35A Center
Fuselage, is produced by Turkish Aerospace Industries as a second source.
Turkish defense firms Aselsan, Havelsan, Kale Aero, Kale Pratt & Whitney,
Ayesas and Alp Aviation also manufacture essential components of the F-35 and
provide cutting-edge engineering services.
the U.S. system, as a Level 1 country, Britain has the most privileges,
followed by Italy and the Netherlands at Level 2 and five other countries,
including Turkey, at Level 3.
Japan and Singapore have participated in the project as export customers.
industry’s participation contributes significantly to the program’s cost
effectiveness, which is one of the most major concerns for the project’s
plans to purchase 100 of the F-35A conventional takeoff and landing variant.
U.S. stands with Turkey in combatting terrorism from the PKK, al-Qaeda and
Daesh, the nation's counterterrorism coordinator said.
U.S. Embassy in Ankara on Friday said Ambassador Nathan Sales on Thursday met
with Turkish Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs, Sedat Onal, Turkish Deputy
Minister of Justice Selahaddin Mentes and Senior Presidential Advisor Gulnur
discussed countering the PKK, global efforts to defeat al-Qaeda and Daesh, the
repatriation and prosecution of foreign terrorist fighters, border security and
curtailing terrorist travel, and the fight against terrorist finance, the
United States stands with our Turkish ally in combatting the threat of
terrorism, including from the PKK, al-Qa’ida, and ISIS," Sales said, using
alternate uses for al-Qaeda and Daesh, respectively.
activities of the terrorist PYD/YPG group, PKK's Syria branch in northern
Syria, has been a major security concern for Ankara, while the U.S.
administration viewed the group as a “reliable partner” in the fight against
leaders have long warned their U.S. counterparts that one cannot rely on a
terrorist organization in the fight against another terrorist group.
anti-Muslim attacks worry Islamic community in Germany
Muslim community is concerned over the increasing number of anti-Islam attacks,
fueled by far-right extremism and xenophobia.
reply to a parliamentary motion, German Interior Ministry said a total of 132
crimes against Muslims and their places of worship were recorded in the first
three months of 2019 alone.
ministry added that the number of crimes in the second quarter of the year may
be higher. Security experts, however, think that the exact numbers may be much
higher as not all assaults have been reported.
though the official numbers for this year's April-June term are yet to be
revealed; only Turkish mosques and foundations were subjected to 15 attacks, in
cities like Dortmund, Baden-Württemberg and Frankfurt.
methods of the latest attacks show anti-Islam sentiment in Germany has
proceeded to the next level. While assaults in past were limited with drawing
swastikas on mosque walls and throwing pig's head, real bullets have been used
to damage mosques in recent attacks.
Kesici, the head of the German Islamic Council, criticized the attitude of
German politicians. He told Anadolu Agency (AA) that their rhetoric has been
fueling hatred against Muslims. "We are expecting the politicians to visit
our mosques, have a conversation with the people of our community and make us
feel a part of this society," he said.
to a report by the Leipzig-based Competence Center for Right-Wing Extremism and
Democracy Research published last November, the country has been showing
increasingly hostile attitudes towards immigrants, the Muslim community and
other minorities, such as the Roma. One in three Germans thinks foreigners come
only to exploit the welfare state.
a country of over 81 million people, has the second-largest Muslim population
in Western Europe after France. Among the country's nearly 4.7 million Muslims,
3 million are of Turkish origin. Many Turkish origin Germans are second- and
third-generation German-born citizens of Turkish descent whose grandparents had
moved to the country during the 1960s.
Turkish population, largely descending from the country's "guest
workers" who arrived to aid the post-World War II development boom, often
complains of the racist attacks and lack of follow-up in police investigations
for such incidents.
Sahel violence, France seeks more European special forces
France, June 13 (Reuters) - France has asked European powers to provide special
forces to support thousands of troops struggling to contain a rise in violence
in West Africa, Defence Minister Florence Parly said on Thursday.
has been an increase over the last six months in Islamist militant attacks and
inter-ethnic violence in the Sahel region, highlighting the difficulty that
foreign partners face in helping to restore stability.
we do not stabilise Mali, Niger or Burkina Faso, Europe will have above its
head, not one, but two lasting Damocles swords: that of terrorism ... and that
of illegal migration," Parly said in a speech at a French special forces
bases in southwestern France.
the former colonial power in the region, intervened in Mali in 2013 to drive
out Islamist militants who had occupied the north.
has since kept about 4,500 troops in the region as part of Barkhane
counter-terrorism operations, while the United Nations has a peacekeeping force
in Mali of about 15,000 soldiers and police.
powers have also provided funding to a regional force made up of soldiers from
Mali, Niger, Burkina Faso, Chad and Mauritania to combat jihadists, but the
so-called G5 force has been hobbled by delays in disbursing the money and poor
coordination. Some 23 European countries play a role in the region between
financing and logistical support, but France has been at the heart of action
trying to stop the spread of jihadist groups. Besides Paris, none provide
the Europeans, who are directly concerned, don't do it, who will? So, why not
appeal to the special forces of European countries? They are perfectly capable
of it if they want to," Parly said.
is what I proposed to several of our partners," she said referring
initially to providing help to Malian troops.
French military source said the idea was still embryonic and declined to
comment on countries targeted or the number of potential forces.
– A bipartisan group of four members of Congress sent a letter to Chancellor
Angela Merkel urging Germany to designate Hezbollah as a terrorist
only the military wing of the terrorist group is named as such. Last week, the
Bundestag failed to pass a resolution that would refer to the entire
organization as a terror group.
four, Lee Zeldin (R, NY-1), Grace Meng (D, NY-6), Ted Deutch (D, FL-22), and
Gus Bilirakis (R, FL-12) wrote to Merkel that they wish to “express concern”
over the recent failed vote in the Bundestag.
appreciate your government’s commitment to fighting terrorism, and we believe
that taking the step to designate the political wing of Hezbollah will have a
significant impact on Hezbollah’s activity in Europe and around the globe,”
2016, the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) and United Kingdom have labeled
Hezbollah’s political and military wing as a terrorist organization,” they
wrote, noting Hezbollah is an Iranian proxy with a significant political and
military influence in Lebanon that poses a geostrategic threat to Israel.
has provided Hezbollah with approximately $800 million annually for military
equipment and supplied over 100,000 missiles in southern Lebanon, including the
capability of building more missiles,” the four continued. “Hezbollah’s leader,
Hassan Nasrallah, has clearly expressed his intent to spread jihad and wipe
Israel off the map.
threatening influence of Hezbollah extends beyond Israel and poses a tremendous
risk to the security interests of Europe as a whole. As you know, your
intelligence service has detailed that the number of Hezbollah members and
supporters has increased to 1,050 in 2018. The growth of support for Hezbollah
will also contribute to the rise of antisemitism in Europe, which has already
resulted in deadly attacks against Jews. That is why we strongly urge Germany
to take substantive action against Hezbollah through sanctions and other means
that will hamper their ability to project influence in the region.”
expressed their support for the steps that Germany has already taken by
designating Hezbollah’s military wing and added that they believe that “it is
critical that Germany take into full consideration the impact that designating
Hezbollah’s political wing will have on the terrorist organization’s dangerous
Javid, the son of Pakistani Muslim immigrants and currently the British home
secretary, has positioned himself as the “change” candidate in his bid to
become the next leader of the Conservative Party, and de facto prime minister.
been a complicated journey from a boy who faced racism and low expectations at
school, to a city trader who made his fortune in banking, to fast rising star
in the Conservative Party.
official campaign video shows him as a family man. It opens with the husband
and father at home with his white British wife, their children and the family’s
pet dog. They are a picture perfect portrait of multicultural Britain. It includes
a visit to his childhood home in Bristol on what he described as one of
Britain’s most dangerous streets, where he previously also that he could have
had been drawn into a life of crime. Towards the end of the video, Javid is
seen visiting his mother, who is dressed in traditional shalwar kameez, frying
pakoras in the kitchen. She allows her son to taste one. Mum’s cooking is the
best, he says appreciatively.
deeply personal snapshot of life as the son of immigrant parents, the video
emphasises Javid’s non-traditional backstory for someone vying to lead the
Conservative Party. It is undoubtedly a “change” not lost on the party
membership. Indeed, a YouGov poll of 944 Tory members found that 55% said Javid
did not look or sound like a typical Conservative.
that Boris Johnson remains the bookies favourite to win by a long margin, it
does seem the Conservative Party values familiarity. Johnson (Eton, Oxford, and
Bullingdon) won the highest number of votes in the first of ballot of MPs to
select their new leader. He is also thought to be the firm favourite among
party members, who decide on the final candidate.
dismisses Johnson as “yesterday’s news” but the gap between Johnson’s 114
votes, and the 43 received by his nearest rival Jeremy Hunt shows Johnson is
very much today’s news. Javid received 23 votes, putting him in fifth position,
so while he is not out of the race yet, he remains an outsider.
is a text-book example of the British Dream where hard work and application can
elevate a boy once living above a shop in a rough neighbourhood into one of the
highest offices in the land. Javid would argue that his story shows the power
of the individual to rise above circumstances – his small-state, self-reliant
philosophy is influenced by the Conservative prime minister, Margaret Thatcher,
who he heralds an inspiration and whose picture hangs in his office.
in his leadership campaign speech he speaks frankly about the issues of racism
he has faced throughout his life; from school and his teacher’s expectations
about what boys like him should aspire to, his career in banking, and in
in the Conservative Party
has steered clear from talking about Islamaphobia. Johnson, of course, was
accused of Islamaphobia in 2018 after he made comments comparing Muslim women
in burqas to [“letter boxes” and “bank robbers”]. Neither Javid nor Johnson has
commented on the issue in the campaign thus far.
Javid was not invited to the state banquet held in honour of the US president
Donald Trump, even though some more junior ministers were, it lead some to
point the finger towards Islamophobia. Javid himself has only commented that he
thought it was “odd” and that he did not like it. But others, including the
former Conservative Party chair and the first Muslim to be appointed to a
cabinet post, Sayeeda Warsi, were quite certain Javid’s background was the
has been vocal about Islamphobia in the Conservative Party as well as more
widely, once claiming that Islamaphobia was socially acceptable and had “passed
the dinner-table” test. The Muslim Council of Britain (MCB), an umbrella
organisation purporting to represent Britain’s Muslims wrote to the prime
minister expressing their concern that Javid’s snub showed that the state was
willing to forgo the principals of fairness and equality for all.
has, in the past, opposed the MCB’s calls for an inquiry into Islamaphobia in
the Conservative Party, dismissing their claims to represent British Muslims.
Javid has insisted his party, by the very fact of entertaining him as the home
secretary is not Islamophobic. Asked directly whether he thought his Muslim
background influenced his omission from the invitation list to Trump’s state
banquet, his reply was less than clear: “I am not saying that at all. I really
must be relieved he was not called a “stone cold loser” by the president of the
United States, like his fellow son of an immigrant Pakistani Muslim bus driver,
the Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan.
is very likely responsible for the attacks this week on two oil tankers in the
Gulf of Oman, the British government said Friday.
its own assessments, the government concluded that Tehran was “almost
certainly” behind the attacks, said Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt, which were
reportedly carried out using explosive devices.
condemn yesterday’s attacks on two vessels in the Gulf of Oman,” Hunt said in a
press statement. “These latest attacks build on a pattern of destabilizing
Iranian behavior and pose a serious danger to the region.”
targeting civilian shipping, international norms have been violated. It is
essential that tankers and crews are able to pass through international waters
safely,” said Hunt, urging Iran to cease any provocative and destabilizing actions.
of crew members were rescued after the Japanese Kokuka Courageous and Norwegian
Front Altair oil tankers burst into flames as they were passing through the
Strait of Hormuz and entering the Gulf of Oman.
Iranian mission to the UN rejected the U.S. claim that Iran was behind the
categorically rejects the U.S. unfounded claim” and “condemns it in the
strongest possible terms” the Iranian government said in a statement.
President Donald Trump has blamed Iran for the attacks, citing a video taken
from U.S. Central Command that purports to show footage of a patrol boat with
personnel docked near one of the oil tankers.
Yutaka Katada, president of Kokuka Sangyo shipping company, the owner of the
Kokuka Courageous, said U.S. reports of the attacks provided false information
as to what really happened.
seems that something flew towards them. That created the hole, is the report
I’ve received,” said Katada, speaking to The Financial Times.
Belgian orphans born to families belonging to ISIS have arrived in Belgium,
Foreign Minister Didier Reynders said on Friday.
six children from Syria have just arrived in our country," Mr Reynders
said on Twitter.
children are now being monitored and supervised by the competent local state
attorneys and youth support services," he added.
of the country’s prosecutors said the children were “psychologically
supervised” during the journey, and that their ongoing mental and physical
well-being were a priority.
should be noted that these children have spent a long period of time in Syria
under difficult conditions," the prosecutors’ statement added.
6 children from #Syria have just arrived in our country. I thank @BelgiumMFA
@BelgiumDefence @policefederale @SanteBelgique for this humanitarian operation.
The children are now being monitored and supervised by the competent local
state attorneys & youth support services.
PM - Jun 14, 2019
Ads info and privacy
people are talking about this
children arrived in Belgium just a day after being handed over to officials by
Kurdish authorities in northeast Syria.
statement said that one of the orphans no longer was a minor.
have previously said that four of the six orphans expected to return were older
than 10, but that none was a suspect.
had announced the transfer of the children from Kurdish-controlled camps in
Syria after the deaths of their jihadist parents.
is one of several European countries wrestling with the dilemma of what to do
about citizens trapped in Syria following the defeat of the IS.
are reticent to accept captured extremist fighters, but the cases of children
and non-combatant wives have proved more complicated for Western authorities.
bulk of IS fighters and family members who were captured when its so-called
caliphate collapsed are being held in Syria in Kurdish-run camps.
to Belgian media reports, 50 to 60 Belgian children under 18 are in the camps
of Al Hol, Roj, and Ain Issa in Syria.
was one of the European countries which, relative to its size, saw one of the
larger contingents of extremists set off for the Syrian battlefield.
estimate that 400 adults have headed to jihadist-controlled areas since 2012
and 150 were still considered "active and in place" at the end of
Kurds have detained hundreds of foreigners suspected of fighting for ISIS, as
well as thousands of related women and children, during the US-backed battle
against ISIS in Syria.
and Russian air strikes and shelling have killed at least 28 people including
seven civilians in north-west Syria despite a ceasefire announced by Moscow, a
war monitor said on Friday.
attacks took place in the south of Idlib province and the north of Hama
province on Thursday, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said.
Idlib region of some three million people is supposed to be protected from a
massive regime offensive by a buffer zone deal that Russia and Turkey signed in
it was never fully implemented, as hardline Islamist fighters refused to
withdraw from a planned demilitarised zone.
January, the Hayat Tahrir Al Sham alliance led by Syria's former Al Qaeda
affiliate extended its administrative control over the region, which includes
most of Idlib province as well as adjacent slivers of Latakia, Hama and Aleppo
Syrian government and and its ally Russia have intensified their bombardment of
the region since late April, killing more than 360 civilians, according to the
latest attacks come despite Russia's announcement of a renewed ceasefire
agreement with Turkey to take effect from Thursday. Turkish Foreign Minister
Mevlut Cavusoglu said there were "serious and sincere efforts" with
Moscow to stop the violence, but a full ceasefire had not been realised.
Friday, Mr Cavusoglu said Turkey did not accept Russia's "excuse"
that Syria would not listen to Moscow and stop attacks in Idlib.
Syria, who are the regime's guarantors? Russia and Iran," he told state
news agency Anadolu in a televised interview. "Thus we do not accept the
excuse that 'we cannot make ourselves listened to by the regime'."
being on opposing sides of the Syrian war, Turkey and Russia have worked
closely to find a political solution under the Astana process which also
involves Iran, Syrian President Bashar Al Assad's other main ally. Turkey, as a
backer of opposition forces, is the guarantor for Syrian rebels.
Cavusoglu said that there had been "no issues" from the moderate
opposition, and accused Damascus of send armed radical groups to Idlib from
Aleppo, East Ghouta and Hama.
knew in the future after other areas had been captured, the regime would attack
Idlib using the excuse of the radical groups' presence after sending them
there," he said.
war has killed more than 370,000 people and displaced millions since it started
in 2011 with the repression of anti-government protests.
praises frequent Xi-Imran meetings
Chinese President Xi Jinping on Friday pointed out that his three meetings with
Prime Minister Imran Khan over the past eight months fully reflected the high
level of China-Pakistan all-weather strategic partnership and said that both
countries should carry out closer coordination and cooperation under the
changing regional and international situation.
Jinping pointed out that in the past eight months, I met with the prime
minister three times. This fully reflects the high level of China-Pakistan
all-weather strategic partnership,” said a statement issued by the Chinese
foreign minister after the meeting held between President Xi and Prime Minister
Khan on the sidelines of Shanghai Cooperation Organisation summit in Bishkek,
Chinese president remarked that under the changing international and regional
situation, China and Pakistan should carry out closer coordination and
cooperation to build a closer community of shared destiny.
Xi emphasised that both the countries must maintain, consolidate and develop
China-Pakistan all-weather relations and all-round cooperation.
maintained that the two sides should thoroughly communicate on issues of common
concern and jointly safeguard international and regional security and
must expand and enrich the construction of the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor
(CPEC) with new focus on industrial parks, agriculture and people’s
livelihood,” he added.
Xi said it was necessary to seize the opportunity of the escalation of the
China-Pakistan Free Trade Agreement and vigorously expand bilateral trade.
China was willing to provide assistance to Pakistan within its ability, he
Chinese president said his country supported Pakistan in carrying out the
national anti-terrorism action plan and would help Pakistan strengthen its
counter-terrorism capacity building, adding, “China supports Pakistan and India
to improve relations.” --------
the meeting, Prime Minister Khan said China was an all-weather strategic
partner of Pakistan.
Pakistani side thanked the Chinese side for its support and assistance for a
long time and said Pakistan highly valued China’s positive role in promoting
international and regional peace and security and was committed to continuously
deepening its strategic relationship with China.
Supreme Judicial Council (SJC) on Friday began examining a government request
for the removal of two senior judges for concealing assets abroad amid a
nationwide protest by lawyers, who say the duo were being victimised for being
President Arif Alvi moved the SJC last month, asking it to take action against
Supreme Court Judge Justice Qazi Faez Isa and Justice Karim Khan Agha of the
Sindh High Court for allegedly hiding information of their properties in the
SJC is a constitutional body and deals with cases of misconduct against judges
of higher courts. Only the SJC can remove a Supreme Court or a High Court
judge. The five-member SJC is headed by the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court.
The other members are four seniormost judges -- two from the apex court and as
many from the high courts.
court proceedings, which were held in-camera, lasted for about one-and-a-half
hour. However, there was no formal announcement.
General Anwar Mansoor appeared before the SJC as the prosecutor.
to the guidelines, in the first stage the SJC will determine if the cases were
maintainable and merit formal trial.
in the day, wearing black bands in solidarity with the accused judges, the
Supreme Court Bar Council (SCBA) led the protest.
(SCBA) and the Pakistan Bar Council (PBC) termed the cases as "vendetta by
the government against the independent-minded judges".
agitating lawyers led by SCBA president Amanullah Kanrarni also burnt copies of
the cases outside the Supreme Court. A group of protesters also held a sit-in
at the main entrance of the apex court, virtually blocking the access to the
agitators also put up banners, demanding the withdrawal of the cases, on the
walls of the SC building.
were also reports of protests in Quetta, Peshawar, Karachi and Lahore. But the
protests in those areas were not forceful as the legal fraternity was divided
on the issue with some segments distancing themselves from the strike.
Federal Minister for Science and Technology Fawad Chaudhry on Friday said that
the process for extradition of former finance minister Ishaq Dar, Hassan Nawaz
and Hussain Nawaz would be initiated soon.
Dar is the linchpin in the whole episode; the people of Pakistan demand
recovery of looted money and it will happen when Ishaq Dar is brought back as
he knows about all the details of hidden money,” he said while talking to the
media outside the Parliament House.
former information minister said that negotiations had been made with the home
department of the UK in the past two weeks for extradition of Mr Dar and the
two sons of Nawaz Sharif. He added that there was positive response from the UK
government in this regard.
minister said that recovery from plunderers would start soon which would be a big
achievement of the government. “These people will be brought back soon and the
recovery will start,” Mr Chaudhry said. He added that time had come for Altaf
Hussain, Asif Zardari and Nawaz Sharif to pay for their past misdeeds.
said that National Assembly sessions should not be used to protect the
criminals and looters of the country.
Assembly Speaker Asad Qaiser was being pressurised by the opposition for
issuance of production orders of the arrested plunderers so that the
investigations could not be completed, he said.
minister said that the same thing happened in the case of Leader of the
Opposition in the National Assembly Shahbaz Sharif and that was the reason why
investigation against him over Ashiyana and Saaf Pani schemes could not be
completed as he was in the ministers’ colony all the time.
speaker has sought legal opinion from the Ministry of Law and Justice in this
regard,” he said, adding that a similar tactic was being used to protect former
president Asif Zardari now.
minister alleged money transferred from the federation to Sindh was shifted to
different countries of the world in the account of president of the Peoples
Party Parliamentarians Asif Zardari through fake accounts.
minister said the opposition was demanding a production order for Mr Zardari
only to create a hurdle in the smooth investigation against the plunderer who
had looted the national exchequer.
minister urged the opposition parties in the National Assembly not to turn the
house into an arena for personal vendetta as whenever Prime Minister Imran Khan
arrived in the session, the opposition started chanting slogans.
the prime minister’s recent visit to Kyrgyzstan, the minister said the
conference of Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO) was the best forum
utilised by Imran Khan to promote good relations with Russia.
Former president and co-chairperson of the Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) Asif
Ali Zardari on Friday demanded that Prime Minsiter Imran Khan’s proposed
commission investigate the loans obtained by former military dictator retired
General Pervez Musharraf before examining the debts secured by successive
Zardari was speaking to journalists after attending the proceedings of the
accountability court in connection with a fake accounts case. The
accountability court was also informed that the National Accountability Bureau
had taken Mr Zardari’s sister, Faryal Talpur, into custody and her residence
had been declared a sub-jail.
Khan in his June 11 televised address announced that a commission comprising
officials of the Inter-Services Intelligence, Federal Investigation Agency,
Securities and Exchange Commission of Pakistan and Intelligence Bureau would
probe Rs2,400 billion loans obtained during the last 10 years.
wanted the scope of the commission be expanded to 1947; however, I don’t want
to disgrace graves,” he said, adding that the commission should at least probe
the debts obtained over the last 20 years and the loans added by the incumbent
government of the Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI) should also be examined by the
expressed surprise over the televised address, saying that such a speech at
midnight by a prime minister was rare in Pakistan’s history.
response to a question as to whether the PTI government — minus Imran Khan —
would be acceptable to the PPP, Mr Zardari said that a multi-party conference
would take a decision in this regard.
PM Khan’s claim regarding pursuing the corrupt and those who misused the debts
at the cost of his life, the ex-president said that all claims of Imran Khan
were a pack of lies. “He repeatedly stated that he would prefer to commit
suicide than taking a loan from the International Monitory Fund but took a
U-turn and went to the IMF,” he said.
to a question as to why the PPP and Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz governments
had failed to amend the National Accountability Ordinance 1999, the former
president said that since he and Nawaz Sharif were not on the same page then,
they could not agree on some clauses of the proposed amendments to the NAB law.
Mystery surrounds the proceedings of the Supreme Judicial Council (SJC) which
held a closed-door session on Friday to commence a preliminary hearing of
government-sponsored references against two superior court judges as no
official handout was released about the proceedings. At the conclusion of the
SJC session, despite facing a volley of questions by chasing journalists,
Attorney General Anwar Mansoor remained tight-lipped and did not offer any
comment. But to many, his body language indicated that everything had not gone off
well during the proceedings.
five-member SJC — comprising Chief Justice Asif Saeed Khosa, Justice Gulzar
Ahmed, Justice Sheikh Azmat Saeed, Chief Justice of the Sindh High Court Ahmed
Ali M. Shaikh and Chief Justice of the Peshawar High Court Waqar Ahmed Seth —
held the proceedings from 2pm to 3.30pm. AG Mansoor appeared as the prosecutor
to advance his arguments in favour of the references.
references have been filed against Supreme Court judge Justice Qazi Faez Isa
and Justice K.K. Agha of the Sindh High Court on charges of owning properties
rumours of all sorts were doing the rounds with some speculating that the
references had been quashed and others confidently opining that the session of
the constitutional body had remained inconclusive since the council might
further examine the maintainability of the references. Some said that the SJC
had reserved its ruling on the fate of the references whereas others believed
that notices had been issued to the accused judges asking them to furnish their
replies. Consideration on the part of the government to withdraw the references
was also part of the whispering campaign.
the evening the AG even had to take a long walk to leave the Supreme Court
premises towards the judges parking where his car was parked to avoid the
lawyers waiting at the entrance of the top court.
lawyers’ leaders, who put up quite an impressive show by sitting outside and
inside the Supreme Court entrance hall, were clueless about the outcome of the
SJC session. This was the reason why Vice Chairman of the Pakistan Bar Council
(PBC) Syed Amjad Shah and two bitter rivals standing side by side — Supreme
Court Bar Association (SCBA) president Amanullah Kanrani and former SCBA
president Ali Ahmed Kurd — Hamid Khan, a known Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf leader,
and Rasheed A. Razvi announced that they would chalk out future strategy of the
lawyers’ movement after learning what the SJC had really decided.
before closing Friday’s protest meeting, they thanked all lawyers’ bodies which
had staged similar demonstrations in their respective bars throughout the
country as well as civil society representatives and a delegation of the
Pakistan Federal Union of Journalist, including Afzal Butt and Nasir Zaidi, who
had come to participate in the protest as a mark of solidarity.
Kanrani, who in the morning burnt papers to depict as if he had alighted a copy
of the references, appreciated that leaders of all lawyers’ groups, including
Hamid Khan-led Professional Group and Independent Group previously known as
Asma Jahangir group, had joined hands to express solidarity with the superior
court judges facing references and to uphold rule of law and the constitution
and independence of the judiciary.
we have gathered here to free the judiciary of the shackles of the executive,”
Mr Kanrani said, asking the SJC to make public orders of all concluded
references against judges and proceedings of pending references.
in the morning, Ali Ahmed Kurd — one of the lawyers’ leaders who had
spearheaded the epic 2007 lawyers’ movement — was accorded a rousing welcome
when he entered the apex court premises with lawyers taking him to the rostrum
installed for the press talk on their shoulders.
to the media, Mr Kurd said that if any one believed that they could defeat the
lawyers by breaking their unity, they lived in a fool’s paradise because the
lawyers believed in the true meaning of democracy.
alleged that the references against the judges had been instituted by the
government with mala fide intentions and said, “We want to give a loud and
clear message to all that the lawyers’ fraternity has gathered outside the
Supreme Court only to discourage the tendency of filing references against
judge should be free of all pressures and considerations while deciding cases,”
he said, adding that it was the lawyers’ duty to protect competent and
Kurd also warned what he called a small section of lawyers who at the behest of
the powers that be were trying to create a wedge among the lawyers that failure
was their fate.
highlight of the day was the media talk of Senator Raza Rabbani who said that
he had come to attend the lawyers’ protest as a practising lawyer and not as a
leader of the Pakistan Peoples Party only to express his solidarity.
situation arising out of the filing of the reference could not be seen in
isolation as today the entire country was being pushed to fulfil the agenda of
former President Pervez Musharraf, he said.
government had filed the references with an intention to browbeat not only the
judiciary, but all the dissenting voices in the country, including civil
society and the media, he said.
is an assault against the judiciary,” Senator Rabbani said and expressed the
confidence that the SJC would move without succumbing to any pressure.
during the day, the lawyers remained peaceful, sitting on the chairs, though
they occasionally raised slogans in favour of the judiciary and the judges
facing the references and against the government for filing references.
a group of dissenting lawyers, popularly known as the Lawyers Action Committee,
also held a press conference not very far from the Supreme Court building to
claim that lawyers’ bodies had demonstrated their indifference to the PBC’s
call for staging demonstrations.
press conference was addressed by coordination secretary of the action
committee Haroon Irshad Janjua who alleged that the lawyers who participated in
the protest belonged to different political parties and had gathered to advance
the agenda of their parties.
lawyers were bent on making the SJC, a constitutional body, controversial, he
said, adding that that the council should proceed against the superior court
judges without any fear and favour strictly in accordance with the law.
National Accountability Bureau (NAB) on Saturday presented PPP co-chairman Asif
Ali Zardari's sister Faryal Talpur in front of an Islamabad accountability
court to seek her physical remand.
Friday, Talpur was arrested by NAB officials in Islamabad in connection with a
case pertaining to money laundering through fake accounts.
five-member NAB team including female investigators had reached Zardari House,
Islamabad, which was notified as a sub-jail by the NAB chairman earlier today
"for the purposes of detention of accused under the NAO, 1999",
according to a notification issued by the accountability watchdog.
when Talpur left her residence female PPP workers including Shagufta Jumani,
Mehreen Bhutto and Senator Krishna Kumari saw her off. Farhatullah Babar also
reached Zardari House.
was transferred to the accountability court amid tight security; an armoured
vehicle was also part of the security detail.
the armoured vehicle reached Zardari House, PPP workers chanted slogans of
"shame" and said, "these people are afraid of a woman."
the physical remand is procured, NAB is expected to transfer Talpur back to
co-chairman Asif Zardari was arrested on Monday after cancellation of his and
Talpur's pre-arrest bail by the Islamabad High Court in the fake bank accounts
case, prompting a strong reaction from the opposition and sporadic protests by
PPP workers in various parts of the country, mostly in Sindh.
NAB said the grounds for arresting Zardari included whitening ill-gotten money
through fake accounts, acquiring stakes in Summit Bank through fraudulent
means, using Omni Group as a hedge between himself and fake accounts, receiving
millions of rupees from two fake accounts, and getting unauthorised payments
released for construction of a Karachi plot.
is currently on physical remand in NAB custody. NAB sources told DawnNewsTV
that investigators, after their questioning of Zardari, had concluded that
Talpur's arrest was "unavoidable".
Minister Imran Khan is a devout Muslim but does not wear religion on his
sleeve, Federal Minister for Science and Technology Fawad Chaudhry said on
to reporters outside Parliament House after the National Assembly’s budget
session, Fawad said, “He [PM Imran] is an honest man and a devout Muslim … he
just doesn’t prefer wearing beard.”
minister said that politics and religion must be kept apart, however,
opposition politicians often use religion to advance their agenda against the
[Kyrgyzstan]: Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan on Friday made a veiled attack
on India over Kashmir during his address at the Shanghai Cooperation
Organisation (SCO) summit here.
condemns terrorism in all its forms and manifestations, including
State-terrorism against people under illegal occupation,” the leader said
amidst the SCO Council of Heads of State.
between India and Pakistan reached a stalemate after the Pulwama terror attack,
where India lost over 40 CRPF personnel.
terror group Jaish-e-Mohammed (JeM) claimed responsibility for the attack,
after which the entire world community threw its weight behind India in its
fight against terrorism.
launched a successful diplomatic campaign to get JeM’s Pakistan-based chief
Masood Azhar listed as a global terrorist at the UN Security Council, in the
aftermath of the attack.
proposal was launched by the US, France and the UK. In a major diplomatic win
for India, Azhar was designated as a global terrorist by the UNSC on May 1.
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