Percent Applications for Religious Conversion from Hindus: Gujarat Govt
Announces Crackdown on Terror Funding, Hafiz Saeed Booked
Counterterrorism Official: U.S. Must Avoid Returning To "Pre-9/11
Adds Chief of Hezbollah Intelligence Unit to Terrorist List
Boy Faces 6 Terrorism Charges In London Court
Taliban Attack on Children Causes Outrage, Everywhere but at Peace Talks
on China's Treatment of Uighur Muslims: "This Is Absolute Orwellian Style
Syrian Forces Pledge to End Child Recruitment
Amount We Want': Iran Poised To Increase Uranium Enrichment At Higher Levels
Turkey Admits To Arming Libya Militants, Ankara's Open Support Is Causing
Military Rulers and Opposition Alliance Meet for Talks in Khartoum
Percent Applications for Religious Conversion From Hindus: Gujarat Govt
Hindus Promised a Home In India Demand Citizen Rights
in India' Zakir Naik to embark on Kelantan tour
ammonium nitrate used in Pulwama attack, says forensics
says its relations with Iran not influenced by any third country
2014-18, 800 terrorists were killed in J&K: Centre
on Kashmir can be held only at highest level’: Hurriyat
more youths join militant ranks in North Kashmir
Missing Persons Return In Balochistan over Last 9 Days
Taliban meeting on the cards, says Haque
welcomes US move to declare BLA terror outfit
Pak soldiers killed in blast near LoC in PoK
on positive trajectory of peace and development, says army chief
of PML-N ‘forward bloc’: PML-Q sees no threat to its position in ruling
Imran says he was victimised by past govts over anti-graft stand
sanctions Hezbollah operative, updates Iranian terrorist group designation
finds Navy SEAL not guilty of murdering ISIS prisoner
calls Afghanistan “the Harvard of terrorists,” says he’ll leave intel assets
warns Iran to be ‘careful with threats’
has ‘failed in plan to make Iran surrender’ after scrapping nuclear deal
willing to engage Mahmoud Abbas on peace plan, says Kushner
Security Council fails to condemn airstrike in Libya
Magid: Muslim MEP ‘asked to leave European Parliament’ on first day
fines Facebook for under-reporting illegal content
dialogue group launched in Berlin
Panel discusses concerns over ‘deal of the century’
condemns Israel’s 'destabilising' air strikes in Syria
Court Sentences 9 To Death For 1994 Attack On Sheikh Hasina
airstrikes kill 28 Taliban militants in Wardak and Ghazni provinces
peace summit set for July, but on Taliban terms
Rizvi: Rohingya crisis will become biggest security threat to South Asia
biggest cache of arms and munitions destroyed in Helmand province
reacts to Donald Trump’s recent remarks regarding Afghanistan
Uyghur Council Remembers the Victims of the Urumqi Massacre on the 10 Year
Will Determine Fate of Indonesian Islamic State Sympathizers in Syria
Watchdog Blasts Islamic Bloc at U.N. for Silence on China’s Muslim Camps
and perpetrators': Rehabilitating Indonesia's child bombers
chief pushes for enhanced cooperation with Russia
Meeting' Between Prabowo and Jokowi Likely to Take Place Later This Month
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grave of dozens of Daesh victims found near Syria’s Raqqah
hands over 100 Islamic State fighters to Iraq, says mayor
pro-gov’t forces kill four Islamic State terrorists in Nineveh
kills three in Syria's Sweida: governor
organization condemns Israeli tunnel near al-Aqsa
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suspected U.S. spies 'due to be' sentenced to death, Iran says
Won’t Stand Down in a US-Iran Conflict
threatens Gaza with ‘large-scale military operation’
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kills 44 migrants in Libyan detention center
Zakzaky's Step-Daughter Utterly Worried about Parents' Health Conditions
National Army announces destroying main control room in Mitiga airbase
envoy to Libya: Air strike on migrant center amounts to a war crime
calls for immediate evacuation of refugees in Libya
by New Age Islam News Bureau
Details revealed by the state government in the assembly reflect that central
Gujarat witnessed the most religious conversions in the state, with Anand
district topping with 67 persons applying for permission for convert in the
last two years.
response to various questions, the government said 152 persons in 20 districts
had applied for permission to change their faith under the Freedom of Religion
Act, which mandates government permission for a citizen to convert.
concerned district collectors granted permission for conversion in 105 cases.
Of the total applications received, 127 were from Hindus wanting to convert to
other religions, 16 from Muslims and 9 from Christians. The reply did not
specify to which religion they wanted to convert.
Anand district collector received 67 applications and 62 persons were granted
permission. There were 61 Hindus, two Muslims and four Christians among the
applicants. The second highest number of applications were in Ahmedabad
district, with 28 Hindus, three Muslims and one Christian asking for permission
to convert. The Ahmedabad district collector permitted 12 persons to embrace
central Gujarat district, Vadodara, saw 17 such applications and the authority
permitted 16 persons to convert. Eight Hindus, seven Muslims and two Christians
wanted to renounce their religions for a new faith. There were nine applicants
in Kheda district and all succeeded. Five Hindus, one Muslim and three
Christian wanted to embrace a new faith.
this, the tribal areas witnessed very little enthusiasm for conversions with
the Dang district collector not getting any such request in the last couple of
years. Dahod had two Muslims who wanted to convert and they were granted
Hindus wanted to convert in Aravalli district, but only one got permission. The
Panchmahal collector got only one application for conversion.
central Gujarat seeing more conversions, Ghanshyam Shah, a sociologist, said,
"There is a concentration of Dalit population in central Gujarat and they
convert to Buddhism and Christianity." For the low number of requests for
conversion in tribal areas, he believes the anti-conversion law must be playing
president of the VHP for North Gujarat, Dilip Trivedi, said, "Hindus need
to be aware against religious conversion by various tactics. Christian
missionaries are converting Hindus in the name of social service while the
Muslims are doing so in the name of Love Jihad. Conversion to Buddhisim,
Jainism or Sikh religion is not a conversion. One can change panth (sect) in Sanatan
Hindu religion but converting to Islam or Christianity does major damage to the
religion. Their idea of nationhood also changes with their conversion."
announces crackdown on terror funding, Hafiz Saeed booked
authorities on Wednesday announced a crackdown on terror financing by the
Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT) and its front organisations, saying cases had been
registered against LeT founder Hafiz Saeed and 12 of his aides.
cases were registered in Lahore, Gujranwala and Multan in Punjab province
against the leadership of LeT, Jamaat-ud-Dawah (JuD) and Falah-e-Insaniyat
Foundation (FIF) for using a network of trusts and non-profit organisations to
collect funds for terrorism, a spokesman for the Counter-Terrorism Department
spokesman identified the LeT and JuD leaders booked in the cases as Hafiz
Muhammad Saeed, his brother-in-law and close aide Abdul Rehman Makki, MaliK
Zafar Iqbal, Ameer Hamza, Muhammad Yahya Aziz, Muhammad Naeem Sheikh, Mohsin
Bilal, Abdul Raqeeb, Ahmad Daud, Muhammad Ayub, Abdullah Ubaid, Muhammad Ali,
and Abdul Ghaffar. The LeT and JuD leaders were accused of collecting “funds
for terrorism financing through assets/properties made and held in the names of
trusts/non-profit organisations”, the spokesman said.
said this was probably the first time Saeed was directly named in a case
registered against LeT and its front organisations for involvement in terror.
The move came less than two weeks after the Financial Action Task Force (FATF)
assessed Pakistan’s actions to curb terror financing and concluded it had missed
two sets of targets under an action plan finalised after the country was put on
the watchdog’s “grey list” last year. FATF also called for the prosecution of
those involved in terror financing.
has been banned in Pakistan since 2002 and the charities since last year.
CTD spokesman said the action was being taken in line with the implementation
of UN sanctions against designated groups and individuals and also in keeping
with a directive issued by the National Security Committee following a meeting
chaired by Prime Minister Imran Khan in January.
cases, which were registered on July 1 and 2, named trusts and organisations
such as Dawat ul Irshad Trust, Muaz Bin Jabal Trust, Al-Anfaal Trust, Al Hamd
Trust, and Al Madina Foundation Trust.
spokesman said: “Large-scale investigations have been launched into matters of
JuD , LeT & FIF regarding their holding and use of trusts to raise funds
for terrorism financing. They made these assets from funds of terrorism
financing, they held and used these assets to raise more funds for further
terrorism financing. Hence, they committed multiple offences of terrorism
financing and money laundering under the Anti-Terrorism Act 1997. They will be
prosecuted in Anti-Terrorism Courts for commission of these offences.”
assets and organisations had already been taken over by the government in
compliance with UN Sanctions, the spokesman added.
was no official reaction from Indian officials but people familiar with
developments said Pakistan had resorted to similar steps in the past to ease
pressure from the world community.
counterterrorism official: U.S. must avoid returning to "pre-9/11
the U.S. has not seen a large-scale terrorism attack on its soil in almost two
decades, threats from several extremist organizations persist and some trends
are "ominous," says Russ Travers, the deputy director of the National
Counterterrorism Center within the Office of the Director of National
I testify [before Congress] now, 'complacency' is a word that I use a lot,
because I do worry that we are a bit of a victim of our own success,"
Travers said. "There's a bit of a fatigue factor, I think, settling in
with terrorism in general."
are a lot of ominous trends out there," he continued. "And the key
question now is going to be the extent to which we reallocate resources and
attention away from terrorism."
an interview with Intelligence Matters host and CBS News senior national
security contributor Michael Morell, Travers said he was in "complete
agreement" with the country's strategic shift, as described in the 2018
National Defense Strategy, from a focus on counterterrorism objectives to one
on competition with Russia and China.
just need to be careful that we don't take our eye off the ball when it comes
to terrorism," he told Morell. "We need to ensure that we don't go
too far and undermine our capabilities and put us back in kind of a pre-9/11
pointed to the evolving threat from ISIS, which, since the collapse of its
territorial caliphate earlier this year, has reconstituted a core group of
leadership in other areas.
known that this has been coming for a couple of years, and so they've been
planning for it," Travers said. "[T]hey're operating in insurgent
estimated that just over 14,000 ISIS fighters continue to operate in Iraq and
Syria – an "order of magnitude more people than ISIS had six, seven years
ago at the beginning of the insurgency," he said – but that the network
has spread to more than 20 countries. "The global nature of this can't be
overestimated," he told Morell. "[T]his is going to be a concern for
us for a very long while."
insurgencies throughout Africa, for instance, have "wrapped themselves in
the ISIS" flag, Travers said, presenting new challenges for intelligence
gathering. "It's not an area that we are particularly well-postured to do
collection against," he told Morell.
while theological differences remain between ISIS and Al-Qaeda, the two groups
do occasionally cooperate in areas in West Africa – while fighting against one
another in Yemen and Somalia. Of the existing Al-Qaeda offshoots, Travers said,
"I think [Al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula] in Yemen is probably the
greatest long-term concern for us."
challenges are also being compounded by technological shifts that are
fundamentally changing the scope and focus of intelligence collection, Travers
now, pretty much every department and agency is going after all the data it
possibly can in support of its analysis. That's probably not the most efficient
way to do things," he said. "So we've got some really hard questions
going forward, I think, because we are all swimming in that ever-increasing
size of the haystack. And the needles themselves are getting more subtle."
United States designated on Tuesday Pakistan’s Balochistan Liberation Army and
Lebanese Hezbollah operative, Husain Ali Hazzima, as Specially Designated
Global Terrorists (SDGTs), the State Department said in a statement.
the US has amended the terrorist designations of Jundallah, which has started
using the name Jaysh al-Adl.
to the statement, the new measures seek to deny Hazzima, BLA and Jaysh al-Adl
the resources to plan and carry out terrorist attacks.
also expose and isolate organizations and individuals and deny them access to
the US financial system.
all of their property and interests subject to US jurisdiction are blocked, and
US persons are prohibited from engaging in any transactions with them.
actions notify the US public and the international community that Hazzima and
BLA have committed, or pose a significant risk of committing, acts of
terrorism,” the statement said.
is the chief of Hezbollah Unit 200, the party’s intelligence unit that analyzes
and assesses information collected by its military members.
was designated as an FTO in 1997 and as an SDGT in 2001.
BLA has carried out several terrorist attacks in the past year, including a
suicide attack in August, 2018 that targeted Chinese engineers in Balochistan,
a November, 2018 attack on the Chinese consulate in Karachi, and a May, 2019
attack against a luxury hotel in Gwadar.
boy faces 6 terrorism charges in London court
July 2 (Xinhua) -- A 16-year-old boy is to face six terrorism charges at
Westminster Magistrates Court in London, counter terrorism police in northeast
England said Tuesday.
teen from Durham, who cannot be named because of his age, has been charged with
offences following an investigation led by Counter Terrorism Policing North
East and supported by Durham Constabulary.
boy is charged with one offence of engaging in the preparation of an act of
terrorism, a charge of disseminating terrorist publications, one offence of
possessing material for terrorist purposes, and three offences of collecting or
possessing information useful in the preparation of an act of terrorism. He
also faces one sexual offence.
said the boy was arrested on March 13 after an intelligence led operation into
Right Wing Terrorism.
Fatima Faizi and Rod Nordland
Afghanistan — Even by the standards of Afghanistan’s long war, the Taliban
attack near a school that wounded dozens of schoolchildren on Monday stood out
as unusually brutal, and expressions of outrage came thick and fast from governments
around the world.
from Doha, the Qatari capital where American negotiators were meeting with
Taliban officials in a seventh round of talks, now in their fourth day, there
was publicly only silence on the assault.
of the earlier rounds of talks, which began in earnest this year, also
coincided with attacks in Afghanistan, where more than 32,000 civilians have
been killed in the last decade of the war, now in its 18th year. Most of those
deaths have been blamed on the insurgents, a result of indiscriminate bombings
and suicide attacks.
earlier rounds this year, American negotiators had brought up the violence at
the negotiating table, according to officials with knowledge of the talks,
speaking on condition of anonymity because of diplomatic sensitivities. But now
they have stopped doing so, the officials said, in a possible sign of just how
keen negotiators have become to seal a deal that would set a timeline for an
American troop withdrawal in exchange for a Taliban promise not to let terrorists
operate from Afghanistan.
most, there have been condemnations on the margins of the earlier sessions.
That happened again after Monday’s attack, which was apparently aimed at a
government facility in Kabul, the Afghan capital, but badly damaged a nearby
school, museum and television station.
member of the Afghan security forces at the site of the bomb attack on Tuesday.
addition to wounding 51 children and killing one, the militants also took the
lives of another 39 people, most of them civilians, according to Afghan
authorities. In all, 116 people were hospitalized with serious injuries, 26 of
them children and six women, according to Wahidullah Mayar, the spokesman for
the ministry of public health in Kabul.
State Department condemned the attack on Tuesday, calling it “particularly
barbarous” and demanding the Taliban cease attacks on civilians. But in Doha,
American envoys initially gave no public statement about the Kabul attack, only
repeating the State Department statement at the end of the fourth day of talks,
close to midnight — two full days after the attack.
previous negotiating sessions, American efforts to complain about Taliban
violence sometimes turned into shouting matches, according to the officials.
The Americans would challenge the Taliban about killing civilians, and the
Taliban would accuse the Americans of doing the same by bombing villages and
homes. As the Taliban mounted an offensive this spring, the Americans and the
Afghan government increased attacks as well, leaving both sides blaming one
another for the surge in violence.
Seddiqi, the spokesman for President Ashraf Ghani, predicted that Monday’s
attack would have repercussions in Doha, saying, “Not only the United States
but the entire world is condemning it, obviously it will have its repercussions
on the results of the ongoing talks.”
was no outward sign of that, however. The officials with knowledge of the talks
said that the issue did not come up at the Doha peace talks themselves,
although American negotiators raised the violence with senior Taliban officials
informally on the sidelines of the talks Monday.
health workers carrying a wounded student after the attack on Monday.
Taliban said it did not deliberately target the Uzair High School, whose 300
students, in first through 12th grade, used the lower floors of an 11-story
building near a Ministry of Defense facility. Many witnesses of the attack said
the insurgents entered the school so they could reach the tower’s rooftop, which
they used as a firing position.
Darwish, 25, an English teacher at the school, described the scene after an
initial explosion. “After a few minutes I thought to myself that I am the
teacher, I must take over and control the children and get them out of the
classroom,” he said. “Many students were injured and covered in blood.”
blast was from a Taliban car bomb, which destroyed much of the school’s outer
wall — a tactic that drew condemnation from rights workers, who said the
insurgents should not have used such an indiscriminate weapon so close to
should be havens of peace,” said Henrietta Fore, the executive director of
Unicef, the United Nations Children’s Fund. “Violence in or around schools is
top United Nations official in Kabul, Tadamichi Yamamoto, said it was clear
that the attackers were aware of the school.
attack, which was apparently aimed at a government facility in Kabul, badly
damaged a nearby school, museum and television station.
attack in Kabul took place when children were arriving at nearby schools,
indicating that those who planned and launched it at that time showed a
reckless disregard for the safety of innocent lives,” he said.
head teacher of the school, Aziza Sayar Amiri, 55, said students recalled the
attackers telling the children to stay out of the way. The students included
five of her grandchildren, one of whom was injured.
attacker told them, ‘You are good human beings, you have nothing to do with
this, get out of here. You are here to study, we won’t do anything to you,” she
to a United Nations report on Afghanistan for 2018, 28 percent of all civilian
casualties were children, a total of 927 deaths and 2,135 injuries. The agency blamed
most of those on “antigovernment elements,” a term that in most cases refers to
the Taliban. There were 18 attacks on educational facilities in the first three
months of 2019, according to a more recent, quarterly report.
were the biggest killers, the data showed. “A staggering 80 percent of
conflict-related child deaths in Afghanistan are the result of explosive
weapons,” said Onno van Manen, country director for Save the Children.
“Children’s smaller bodies sustain more serious injuries than adults,
particularly to the head and chest. These injuries can kill or cause
attack drew condemnation from human rights workers, who said the insurgents
should not have used such an indiscriminate weapon so close to civilians.
of psychological distress appeared immediately after Monday’s attack. Sayed
Adel, 11, bleeding from his ears, was led home by his 12-year-old brother, who
was also at the school.
Adel was so shocked and the entire night he could not sleep and didn’t allow us
to sleep either,” said his grandmother and the head teacher, Ms. Amiri. “He
kept telling us that he doesn’t want to go to school anymore. He was saying
that something is eating him from inside.”
fifth-grade religion teacher at the bombed school, Safiullah, 24, woke up in a
hospital bed after the explosion. (Like many Afghans, he uses only one name.)
“I am really worried about my students,” he said. “They are just 10 and 12,
they have no idea about war and peace. It is a dirty game by the Americans and
Taliban said the attack was aimed at the military facility. In an unusual
admission, however, the insurgents acknowledged there were civilian casualties.
to some reports, some civilians have been slightly wounded,” Taliban spokesman
Zabihullah Mujahid said. “But civilians were not the target.”
Ghani’s government has so far been excluded from the peace talks, although the
Americans have insisted that once a deal is made the next step would be talks
between the Afghan government and the Taliban.
Afghan government used the attack on the school as evidence of Taliban bad
faith. “This shows they are not committed to peace,” Mr. Seddiqi said.
Darwish, the English teacher, said he is having trouble sleeping. “Yesterday
all the students were screaming, ‘Mom, please come and save me,’ and I was
hearing that again and again,” Mr. Darwish said.
July 3, 2019
earlier version of this article misattributed a quotation about the Kabul
attack. It was Henrietta Fore, Unicef’s executive director — not Erica Vogel, a
Unicef spokeswoman — who said, “Schools should be havens of peace.”
Fatima Faizi and Rod Nordland on Twitter: @FatmaFaizi and @RodNordland.
Faizi reported from Kabul, Afghanistan, and Rod Nordland from New Delhi, India.
Reporting was contributed by Mujib Mashal in Doha, Qatar, and Jawad Sukhanyar
on China's treatment of Uighur Muslims: "This is absolute Orwellian style
to the United Nations, more than 1 million Chinese Uighur Muslims are being
detained in government internment camps. China calls these prison camps in
Xinjiang province "re-education" facilities meant to fight extremism
and separatism in the region. The U.S. Congressional-Executive Commission on
China describes it as "the largest mass incarceration of a minority
population in the world today."
new documentary by VICE News correspondent Isobel Yeung sheds light on this
draconian policy instituted by the Chinese government. Yeung talked to CBS News
on Wednesday about her experience in China.
I witnessed there is just unlike any sense of fear I have witnessed
before," Yeung told CBSN. "When it comes to going into this kind of
dystopian reality, people are really, really afraid to do the wrong thing or to
say the wrong thing or to even think the wrong thing."
province is the largest province in China, home to 21.8 million people,
including more than 11 million Muslims. The major languages are Chinese and
Uighur and the major religion is Islam. In 2009, violent riots erupted in the
area, and in the years that followed, China blamed Uighur separatists for
the installation of hardliner Chen Quanguo as Xinjiang party chief in 2017, a
network of detention facilities sprung up in the region. Police have
increasingly used new forms of surveillance, including facial recognition
technology and a DNA database, to control the population. The Wall Street
Journal calls Xinjiang "a laboratory for new surveillance
technology." Chinese authorities recently told Radio Free Asia they
"have been ordered to send almost half of area residents to re-education
bad has happened," a hidden Uighur man tells Yeung during a train ride in
her VICE News documentary. "I can't talk about it. I can't talk about
call them 'vocation centers,'" the man tells Yeung, his voice barely above
a whisper. "These places are prisons."
told CBSN that Muslim children are taken from their parents and suspected to be
placed in state-run institutions, which are disguised as kindergartens but
double as live-in re-education facilities.
seems that within these places they are indoctrinated with Communist Party
propaganda and taught all-out loyalty to the Chinese Communist Party," she
conditions are far worse for adult Muslims forced into the Xinjiang interment
camps. A 2018 U.S. State Department Human Rights report detailed instances of
torture, sexual abuse, repressive surveillance measures, forcible eating of
pork and drinking of alcohol (both of which are forbidden for observant
Muslims), confiscation of Qurans, and even deaths.
is the strictest surveillance state in the world right now," Yeung told
CBSN. "Security cameras are absolutely everywhere, facial recognition
everywhere, voice recognition, face scanning, iris scanning, body scanning, the
phone is scanned as well to check for any content that might upset the Chinese
major armed group in Syria has committed to identifying and releasing young
boys and girls currently within its ranks, and put in place preventative,
protection and disciplinary measures related to child recruitment and use,
according to the United Nations.
Democratic Forces (SDF), a Kurdish-led military alliance that has played a
significant role in defeating the Islamic State (IS) terror group, signed an
action plan with the U.N. to end and prevent the recruitment and use of children
under the age of 18.
is an important day for the protection of children in Syria and it marks the
beginning of a process as it demonstrates a significant commitment by the SDF
to ensure that no child is recruited and used by any entity operating under its
umbrella,” said Virginia Gamba, the Special Representative of the U.N.
Secretary-General for Children and Armed Conflict.
People’s Protection Units (YPG), the main group within the SDF, has been listed
in the U.N. Secretary-General's annual report on children and armed conflict
for the recruitment and use of children since 2014.
its 2018 annual report on children in armed conflict, the U.N. found 224 cases
of child recruitment by the YPG and its women’s unit in 2017.
1949 Geneva Convention on the Protection of Civilian Persons in Time of War
prohibits the use of children under the age of 15 as soldiers.
Kurdish military officials charge that they have been taking serious measures
to address the issue of child soldiers in recent years.
are the only non-state group in Syria that adheres to international standards
when it comes to recruitment of children and the conduct of war in general,” an
SDF commander who declined to be identified told VOA.
said the U.S.-backed SDF is under pressure from its international patrons to
reform in terms of ethnic and sectarian inclusivity.
SDF has a mandate to institutionalize and become a ‘normal’ security force, not
just an umbrella coalition of militias, and this step is one of the important
ways that it can achieve this goal,” said Nicholas Heras, a Syria expert at the
Center for a New American Security.
has criticized the U.N. for signing such an agreement with a group it deems as
views the SDF as an extension of the Turkey-based Kurdistan Workers’ Party
(PKK), which is considered a terrorist organization by Turkey, the United
States and the European Union.
signing of an agreement by the U.N., which should be at the forefront in the
fight against terror, with a terrorist organization cannot be explained in any
way,” Turkey’s Foreign Ministry said in a statement on Tuesday.
March 2018, Turkish military and allied Syrian rebels took control of the
SDF-held city of Afrin in northwestern Syria after a two-month-long battle
against Kurdish fighters.
has also threatened to carry out attacks against Kurdish forces in northeast
U.S. President Donald Trump said recently that he has told his Turkish
counterpart Recep Tayyip Erdogan not to make such a move.
“had 65,000 men, army, on the border and he was going to wipe out Kurds… I
called him, and asked him not to do it. I guess, they [Kurds] are natural
enemies of his, or Turkey’s, and he has not done it. Then I said he [Erdogan]
cannot do it,” Trump said over the weekend during a press conference in Osaka,
Japan, where he attended the G-20 summit.
amount we want': Iran poised to increase uranium enrichment at higher levels
President Hassan Rouhani issued a fresh ultimatum Wednesday over its
civilian-use nuclear program, saying the country would on Sunday "take the
next step" toward increasing its enrichment of uranium unless European
powers are able to find a way to offset the impact of the Trump
administration's sanctions on its economy.
this week, the International Atomic Energy Agency, the United Nations' nuclear
watchdog, confirmed Iran passed the limit on its stockpile of low-enriched
uranium by exceeding the 300kg (661 pounds) that was set in a landmark 2015
nuclear deal made with world powers. President Donald Trump has pulled the U.S.
out of that agreement.
higher-level enrichment Rouhani said will commence July 7 is still far off the
levels Iran would need to produce weapons-grade nuclear materials, but it
narrows the time it would take to make a nuclear bomb – something Iran says it
does not want to do.
during a Cabinet meeting in Tehran on Wednesday, Rouhani warned that because of
the faltering nuclear deal Iran was entitled to increase its enrichment of
uranium to "any amount that we want, any amount that is required."
the current terms of the nuclear deal negotiated by former President Barack
Obama, Iran is not allowed to enrich uranium above 3.67%, a level that is
sufficient to operate its nuclear power plants, but falls below weapons-grade
levels of about 90%.
does it mean that Iran has technically breached one of the limits of the
historic anti-nuclear deal? It is not a sprint to a bomb. They are a long way
away," Joseph Cirincione, president of Ploughshares Fund, a San
Francisco-headquartered global security foundation, wrote on Twitter on Monday
as part of a lengthy thread that explains how much enriched uranium is required
to produce a nuclear bomb.
forecasted that Iran, if it wanted to, would be about a year away. Other
analysts and former officials have said it could take two years or as little as
six months for the Middle Eastern country whose relationship with the U.S. has
been defined by a hostage crisis in the U.S. Embassy nearly 40 years ago to
produce a nuclear bomb.
wants European signatories to the deal – Britain, France and Germany – to come
up with a plan to stave off the impact of U.S. sanctions targeting its oil
industry and top officials, including Iran's supreme leader, and caused large
have now breached their stockpile limit. Not good!," Trump tweeted late
Tuesday. He did not say if further punitive measures are being planned.
has previously warned that Iran will be met with "great and overwhelming
force" if it attacks U.S. interests. His comments followed the apparent
sabotage of oil tankers in the Persian Gulf and the shooting down, by Iran, of
a U.S. drone off its coast.
Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif said Wednesday that his country remains
committed to the nuclear deal as long as European nations keep honoring it.
he warned that European parties needed to fully operationalize a
U.S.-sanctions-circumventing financial mechanism to allow Iran to trade its
goods and services internationally or Iran would further modify its
relationship with the accord.
violation of one of its consequential commitments under the deal should be seen
for what it is: a calibrated response to compel the remaining signatories
(Europe, Russia, and China) to counter the U.S. 'maximum pressure through
sanctions' campaign, just as was its downing of an unmanned drone," write
Gérard Araud, a former Ambassador of France to the United States, and Ali Vaez,
a leading Iran analyst and expert on nuclear weapons at the International
Crisis Group think tank, in an opinion piece published in Foreign Policy
magazine this week.
it also should be seen as a warning shot, a signal that should economic
pressure remain, Tehran is likely to up the ante and accelerate its nuclear
program," they write.
authors argue that Trump's claims Iran was cheating when the U.S. was in the
nuclear deal are not true, as repeatedly verified by the UN's nuclear watchdog.
They also write that Trump's assertions that coming out of the nuclear deal
with Iran and aggressively renewing sanctions would lead to a better deal have
not proved accurate and that the "chances of that are diminishing if they
were ever realistic."
Turkey admits to arming Libya militants, Ankara's open support is causing
support of fighters against eastern-based Libyan commander Field Marshal
Khalifa Haftar’s has been no secret, but recent statements from Ankara mark a
particularly brazen step.
Field Marshal’s Libyan National Army has consistently accused Turkey of
aggressively violating Libyan sovereignty and bolstering groups, including
extremists, who the LNA says run Tripoli, propping up the UN-backed government.
weeks ago, President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, for the first time, admitted his
country was supplying arms to the militias of western Libya who are fighting
the LNA for Tripoli.
Erdogan government has allegedly provided armoured vehicles and weapons, with
even the Turkish president conceding it had provided drones.
militias supported by Ankara published photos purporting to show the new
arsenal. Unverified videos shared online appears to show Turkish-speaking
advisers showing Libyan fighters how to operate the arms.
has also been the home of Libyan rivals to the field marshal’s camp, some of
whom are sanctioned by the United Nations.
the creation and initial success of the Justice and Construction Party – the
Libyan branch of the Muslim Brotherhood, fashioned in the likeness of Erdogan’s
Justice and Development Party – Turkey began to see Libya as important to its
attempt to boost its influence by cultivating the political Islamist groups
that emerged across the region during the Arab uprisings,” a report by the
European Council on Foreign Relations said last week.
the onset of Libya’s civil war in 2014, Turkey became a haven for Libyan exiles
– including political Islamists – as one of the rare countries Libyans could
travel to, and conduct business in, without encountering significant red tape.”
April 4 the LNA, which controls eastern Libya, launched its long-awaited
assault on Tripoli, vowing to cleanse the city of the militias that have held
court and run an effective cartel that has extorted the capital.
LNA and Ankara have always been at odds but the fierce upturn in rhetoric
happened after anti-Haftar forces took the strategic town of Gharyan to the
south late last week.
have now reached unprecedented levels and the LNA has hit back. Over the
weekend it said it would target Turkish ships operating in Libyan waters,
ordered attacks on any assets owned by the Ankara government and banned flights
between LNA-controlled territories and Turkey.
Sunday night, an LNA spokesman said it had destroyed a Turkish drone from
Tripoli’s Mitiga airport having also made similar statements since fighting
erupted in early April.
LNA also launched an aerial torrent on western Libya after losing Gharyan.
itself has threatened the field marshal’s forces after accusing it of detaining
six Turkish sailors off the port of Brega. Ankara now says they have been
is particularly close to the city of Misrata, to the east of Tripoli.
fighting broke out it was the battle-hardened revolutionary fighters of Misrata
to the east were among those to join forces to repel the LNA and its local
also has a consulate in Misrata and local officials are often pictured at
high-profile events next to important political and commercial figures in the
port, which counts for roughly 60 per cent of Libya’s imports according to
local officials in 2018, is where some of the weapons from Turkey have been
allegedly been brought in.
intense source of ire is Turkey’s harbouring of figures the LNA regard as
terrorists. Among them is Salah Badi, sanctioned by the UN last year for
undermining the political progress and currently engaged in the Tripoli war.
has provided a permanent base for Abdul-Hakim Belhaj, the former Libyan Islamic
Fighting Group leader, who operates openly from an office block in Istanbul.
former Grand Mufti, Sadiq Al Ghariani, who has been banned from the UK for his
radical comments, also spends long periods of time in Turkey but recently
returned to western Libya.
military rulers and opposition alliance meet for talks in Khartoum
has been made towards an opposition demand for the release of prisoners in
Sudan Late on Wednesday after talks resumed between the ruling military council
and the main opposition alliance.
sides met a Khartoum hotel on Wednesday to restart talks over who should lead
Sudan toward elections.
between the two parties had collapsed a month ago after members of the security
services raided a sit-in protest camp outside the defense ministry.
opposition has been staging protests to demand the military give up power since
April, when the armed forces toppled President Omar al-Bashir, ending his
30-year rule after months of demonstrations.
Forces of Freedom and Change opposition alliance said it was prepared for
direct talks with the ruling Transitional Military Council over who should head
a sovereign council to lead Sudan toward elections.
opposition alliance said the talks, launched in response to a call for negotiations
from an Ethiopian mediator, should last three days. It also called on the
government to release political prisoners.
appeared to be progress towards that demand later on Wednesday when state TV
reported that the military council had pardoned 235 detained members of the
Sudan Liberation Movement, a rebel group active in the western Darfur region.
prisoners would be released immediately unless they are wanted in connection
with other legal proceedings, it said.
two sides have agreed on proposals presented by Ethiopian and African Union
mediators to solve the crisis, Mahmoud Dirir, the Ethiopian mediator, said on
they still disagree over the structure of a sovereign council meant to lead the
country during the transitional period, Dirir said.
Hindus promised a home in India demand citizen rights
India - Krishna heated oil in a cracked aluminium pan, added chopped onion and
coriander leaves before sprinkling in turmeric and red chilli powder.
nine-year-old daughter, Radha, waited for her mother to add some more
vegetables, but Krishna told her: "There isn't anything else for lunch
her husband, barely earns Rs80 ($1) a day selling fruit at a stall.
is a 30-year-old Hindu, originally from Tando Allahyar, a city in Pakistan's
currently lives in a slum in Majnu-ka-tilla, 15km from Rashtrapati Bhavan, the
official presidential residence in New Delhi, where on May 30 Narendra Modi was
sworn in as prime minister after being reelected.
Modi do something for us now?" said Krishna.
Hindus live in India on long-term visas, which get renewed every five years,
and complain of being treated as second-class citizens having arrived in the
country fleeing discrimination and economic persecution.
to a spokesperson for India's Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA), 36,000 Pakistani
Hindus were granted these visas between 2011 and 2018, and there is no official
data about the size of the population in total.
Rai Khanna, vice president of the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), told Al
Jazeera that "all of them are awaiting Indian citizenship," adding
that he has raised the issue of their welfare at parliament several times.
Indian government has granted citizenship to some Pakistani Hindus, but its
process is arbitrary, according to interviews carried out by Al Jazeera and
other local reports.
they receive citizenship, Pakistani Hindus continue to their stay on long-term
are mostly from underprivileged castes in the Hindu tradition - Bheels,
Meghwars, Baghris and Kolhis - and worked as farmers, fruit sellers and clothes
sellers in Sindh, the southern Pakistani province that is home to 95 percent of
roughly 420,000 Hindus in the Muslim-majority country.
spate of alleged forced conversions to Islam pushed them to leave Pakistan.
conversions, particularly of economically marginalised young Hindu women, is an
alarming practice which seems to be continuing unabated," Brad Adams, Asia
director at Human Rights Watch, told Al Jazeera.
Faisal, Pakistan's ministry of foreign affairs spokesperson, explained that
"whenever a complaint is brought to the government's notice, it is
thoroughly investigated and dealt with on its merit, in line with the
Hindus migrated en masse to India during Partition in 1947, and again after two
Indo-Pakistan wars in 1965 and 1971.
then, the migration has not stopped.
a few clothes and very little money, they flee to India either on pilgrimage or
Hindus, we wanted to safeguard our religion," said Krishna, who arrived in
2013 to participate in Maha Kumbh Mela, a Hindu festival, and never returned.
still hold Pakistani passports but, in some cases, their passports have expired
and they have not yet received Indian citizenship.
a 50-year-old who sells mobile phone accessories, also arrived in 2013 for Maha
Kumbh Mela and moved to the same slum in Delhi.
was elected as India's prime minister the next year, running for the
pro-Hindu government hasn't looked into our needs," he told Al Jazeera.
his neighbour, 42-year-old Ram Chander, believes Modi can "save"
Modi should consider us one of his own," he said.
in the slum, home to 525 Pakistani Hindus who are all awaiting citizenship, is
made of bamboo and twigs are surrounded by rubbish. There are only two
functional toilets and one bathroom for everyone and there is no electricity.
years ago, when there was an outbreak of dengue and Chikungunya virus here, a
local NGO, the Centre for Social Development and Research Foundation,
facilitated medical treatment in government hospitals. It also helped get 120
children from the slum into a state school.
the 2014 elections, the BJP announced a "Ghar Wapasi (Homecoming)"
campaign, positioning India as a refuge for persecuted Hindus across the world.
January this year, a bill was proposed seeking to amend the existing
Citizenship Act to grant citizenship to persecuted minorities from Bangladesh,
Pakistan and Afghanistan.
the home affairs ministry and district collectors oversee the process of
Hindus have been granted citizenship mostly by naturalisation, if the applicant
has lived in India for the 12 months immediately preceding the date of
application and for 11 out of the past 14 years.
2005 until 2018, about 20,000 Pakistani Hindus living in northern states of
Rajasthan and Gujarat were granted citizenship," said Hindu Singh Sodha of
Rajasthan-based NGO Seemant Lok Sangathan, which advocates for their welfare.
"But there are many who returned to Pakistan after waiting and converted
to Islam for survival."
its concern, the BJP-led government in March issued an official report to
Pakistan over the alleged abduction and conversion of two Hindu girls in Sindh,
a move which was followed by a social media spat between senior ministers of
the two countries.
BJP views Pakistani Hindus as an "amorphous" population which serves
their Hindu nationalist agenda, according to social scientist Shiv Visvanathan
of Sonipat-based OP Jindal Global University.
BJP wants to be the messiah of Hindus by raising issues of conversion in
Pakistan. But this arbitrary granting of citizenship reflects that they are not
serious about building a consistent citizenship programme for them," he
told Al Jazeera. "There isn't any humanitarian concern for their welfare
the mobile phone accessories seller who arrived in 2013, alleged that BJP
leaders promised them citizenship while parading him and his friends at
political rallies for the Ram Janmabhoomi movement campaign, aimed at building
a temple in northern India.
citizenship never came.
denied the charges and stressed: "Once the Citizenship (Amendment) Bill is
passed, there won't be any delay in granting citizenship. They would have a
dignified life in India, their home."
now, they feel unwelcome in India, neither official refugees nor citizens.
said locals suspect them as being "Pakistani spies", so they have put
a tricolour at the entrance of their slum.
Sodha, the activist, said citizenship alone is not a cure for everything.
to the 20,000 Pakistani Hindus who have been granted citizenship, he said:
"Many of them live without basic amenities. They don't have domicile
certificates to avail of government benefits pertaining to medical and
officials often pose unwarranted questions such as who do they call up in
Pakistan and how many times they call."
at Sukhnand's slum, residents assert their Hindu identity.
piece of saffron cloth, considered sacred for Hindus, is fixed onto an iron rod
so it cannot be missed by any visitors.
greet outsiders with an enthusiastic
Shree Ram (Hail, Lord Rama)."
BJP should know we are devout Hindus," said Ram Chander.
born in recent years are mostly named after Hindu Gods and Goddesses – Ram,
Lakshmi, Durg and Shiv.
few children have learned patriotic Hindi poems hailing Bharat Mata, or Mother
the end of the recitation, they chant in chorus - "Bharat Mata Ki Jai
(Hail, Mother India)," cheering for their "motherland."
day," said Krishna, "Modi will be convinced. Our children love India
like any other Indian."
Muslim preacher Dr Zakir Naik will be embarking on a tour of Kelantan next
month amid an extradition request from India.
executive councillor Mohamed Fadzli Hassan said the programme from Aug 7 to 10
would be an indirect show of support for the Indian-born preacher and Prime
Minister Dr Mahathir Mohamad's refusal to extradite him.
who is now a Malaysian permanent resident, is wanted by Indian authorities over
money laundering charges, which the preacher claims are false.
to a Harakah Online article, Fadzli said the preacher would hold an “executive
talk” with civil servants at Kota Darulnaim on Aug 8.
the same night, he would present an intellectual discourse with university
lecturers and youths at Dewan Besar Kompleks Balai Islam Lundang.
next day, Zakir is scheduled to deliver the Friday sermon at Masjid Sultan
Ismail Petra di Kubang Kerian.
the preacher's wife, Farhat Naik, would attend a programme with Muslim women on
Aug 9 at the Kota Bharu Municipal Council hall.
“Dr Zakir Naik: The Kelantan Tour 2019” would culminate with a speech on
uniting Muslims at Stadium Sultan Muhammad IV on the night of Aug 9.
June 28, Foreign Minister Saifuddin Abdullah confirmed that Malaysia had
received a request from India for the extradition of Zakir.
to this, Zakir said he would return to India if the Supreme Court guarantees
that he would not be arrested or imprisoned until he is convicted.
was responding to the order for him to appear before India's Special Court on
the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA) in Mumbai on July 31.
and half months after the deadly attack on a Central Reserve Police Force
convoy in Kashmir’s district, in which 40 troopers were killed, forensic
experts have finally submitted their report on the explosives used by the
Jaish-e-Mohammad in the high-intensity bomb, according to two senior officials
in the National Investigation Agency (NIA).
of the Central Forensic Science Laboratory (CFSL) in Delhi, which functions
under the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI), has concluded that the
explosive used in the February 14 suicide bombing was a mixture of “RDX” and
“ammonium nitrate”, which was assembled in a jerry can before it was placed in
a Maruti Eeco car.
NIA officer who asked not to be named said: “We have received the final report.
It will be the most important (piece of) evidence in the charge sheet, which
will be filed soon”.
on the forensic report, the investigators believe that the RDX was mixed by JeM
in the bomb to multiply the impact of the blast.
second NIA officer, who also spoke on condition of anonymity, said the impact
was so strong that everything melted. The explosion was heard by locals several
kilometers away and it took forensic experts days to pick the DNA samples from
intelligence agencies told investigators right away that military grade RDX was
used and that this explosive was provided to terror outfits by the Pakistani
military. They also suggested that the explosive was brought to India in
different tranches in the months leading up to the attack.
asked about the quantity of explosive used in the bomb, the second officer said
it is usually guesswork in such explosions, but that be believes 30 to 50 kg of
explosives were planted in the jerry can.
Ahmad Dar, a JeM terrorist from Kashmir, carried out the suicide bombing on February
14 when he drove the car laden with high intensity explosives into the convoy.
Indian government retaliated for the attack by launching an air strike on a JeM
training camp in Pakistan’s Balakot area following which the two countries came
to the brink of war.
was only after the Pulwama attack that China was forced to support India’s case
for declaring JeM chief Maulana Masood Azhar a UN-designated global terrorist.
the government, according to a senior ministry of home affairs official, has
expressed its unhappiness over forensic experts taking so much time in
finalising the report in such a sensitive case.
are already underway in the government to reform the country’s forensic
laboratories, which are swamped by samples in thousands of criminal cases even
as they cope with a massive shortage of equipment.
NIA has arrested several JeM cadres and overground workers (OGWs) over the last
four months while the mastermind – Mudassir Khan and others involved, Khalid,
and Sajjad Bhat, were killed in encounters with the security forces.
says its relations with Iran are not influenced by any third party, as the US
tightens the screws on the customers of the Iranian crude oil.
bilateral relations with Iran stand on their own and are not influenced by
India's relations with any third country," Minister of State for External
Affairs V Muraleedharan said in a written reply on Wednesday.
six-month-long exemptions from US sanctions to buy oil from Iran ended in May,
India said it will deal with the issue based on three factors: the country's
energy security, commercial consideration and economic interests.
Ambassador to India Ali Chegeni on Tuesday stressed that his country can
provide "affordability, accessibility and security" of energy to
Iranian envoy also alluded to the possibility of using barter, rupee and
European mechanisms for trade in oil with India and other countries to
circumvent the US sanctions.
remarks came days after US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo assured New Delhi
that America is "doing everything" to ensure India has crude oil
imports in the wake of the situation arising out of sanctions on importing oil
US had told India and other countries to cut oil imports from Iran to
"zero" by November 4 or face sanctions. However, Washington had
granted a six-month waiver from sanctions to eight countries, including India.
The waivers, however, ended on May 2, when India stopped oil imports from Iran.
senior Indian government official stressed in late May that India was opposed
to the US sanctions and “is keen to resume imports, though the quantum will be
is Iran’s second biggest oil buyer after China, sourcing about 10% of its
supplies from the Islamic Republic.
US decision to end sanctions waivers has angered Washington's allies.
security forces have killed 800 terrorists since 2014, of which 249 were in
2018, the Centre told the Parliament on Wednesday.
a written response to a question in the Lok Sabha, Minister of State in the
Defence Ministry Shripad Naik said 104 terrorists were killed in 2014, 97 in
2015, 140 in 2016 and 210 in 2017.
security forces are combating the terrorists’ activities, both along the Line
of Control by eliminating the infiltration bids and in hinterland by carrying
out counter-terrorist operations and responding to terrorist-initiated
incidents,” Naik said.
minister said sustained operations conducted by the security forces “have
resulted in (the) elimination of (a) large number of terrorists”.
to a separate question, Naik said firm and decisive response was given by the
Army to the ceasefire violations on the India-Pakistan border.
March, April and May, he said 267, 234, 221 cases of ceasefire violations were
a response to another question on whether the United States had approved the
sale of armed drones to India, Naik said: “This is a continuous process
undertaken through procurement from various indigenous as well as foreign
sources. Highest priority is accorded to optimally equip the armed forces and
keep them in a state of readiness.”
on Kashmir can be
held only at highest level’: Hurriyat
as the Narendra Modi government has articulated its intent to address the
festering Kashmir issue — both houses of Parliament have seen a substantive
debate on this — the Hurriyat Conference has indicated its willingness for a
dialogue with the Centre but with the caveat that meaningful talks can only be
held at the highest political level.
is better to have a dialogue at the level of the home minister and prime minister,
like we did during (Atal Bihari) Vajpayee’s time,” Hurriyat chairman Mirwaiz
Umar Farooq told Hindustan Times.
asked why the separatists were not talking to Dineshwar Sharma, the
interlocutor appointed by the NDA government, the Mirwaiz said his mandate was
not clear and that political talks would be more meaningful than a dialogue at
the bureaucratic level. Sharma is former director of the Intelligence Bureau.
The Vajpayee government had made headlines for several rounds of talks with the
Hurriyat Conference in 2004, when it even granted leaders of the separatist
group passports and signalled that they could simultaneously hold talks with
the Pakistani establishment.
realised that the Kashmir problem needs a peaceful, political engagement.
Narendra Modi has won a strong mandate and he should hold talks within the
ambit of humanity,” Mirwaiz said, referring to Vajpayee’s offer of looking at
Jammu and Kashmir through the prism of “Kashmiriyat, jhamooriyat and
home minister Amit Shah said earlier this week that the current government’s
Kashmir policy would be guided by these three aspects. Sharma, the government’s
interlocutor, has been trying to meet the senior leadership of the Hurriyat
since his appointment but has only managed to meet one of its leaders, Abdul
Ghani Bhat. The separatists have had no structured dialogue with him.
possibility of a dialogue was revived after state governor, Satya Pal Malik, at
a function in Srinagar last week said that the Hurriyat Conference was willing
to have a dialogue. Malik’s comments assumed significance because he spoke in
front of two NDA ministers: Union Minister for Information & Broadcasting
Prakash Javadekar and Minister of State in the PMO, Jitendra Singh.
more youths have joined militant ranks in North Kashmir’s Baramulla five months
after the district was declared “militancy free’’ following the killing of
three last surviving militants in January.
Tuesday, pictures of the two, Arif Maqbool Bhat and Uzair Amin Bhat, carrying
rifles and a pistol went viral on social media. The first has joined the
home-grown Hizbul Mujahideen while the second Lashkar-e-Taiba.
missing persons return in Balochistan over last 9 days
many as 12 missing persons have returned to their homes in various areas of
Balochistan during the last one week, Voice for Baloch Missing Persons (VBMP)
Chairman Nasrullah Baloch confirmed to DawnNewsTV on Wednesday.
12 missing persons returned at a time when the federal government’s commission
on missing persons headed by retired Justice Fazalur Rehman Bazai was hearing
cases in Quetta.
the nine consecutive hearings in Quetta, starting June 24, the commission took
up 122 cases. According to sources in the provincial home department, nine
missing persons — whose cases were being heard by the commission — reached home
during the last nine days.
missing persons belong to Chaghi, Khuzdar, Pishin and other parts of the
province, sources said.
commission, however, rejected two cases of missing persons due to a lack of
development surfaced days after Balochistan Home Minister Mir Ziaullah Langove
revealed that 200 missing persons have returned home since January across the
recovery of missing persons is our top priority since the establishment of the
incumbent government in the province," Langove had said.
August last year, following the Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI) government
coming into power, the Balochistan National Party-Mengal (BNP-M) had signed a
six-point agreement with the PTI leadership after detailed negotiations.
six points included recovery of missing persons, implementation of the National
Action Plan, implementation of six per cent quota for Balochistan in the
federal government, immediate repatriation of Afghan refugees and the
construction of dams in the province to resolve the acute water crisis.
Special Assistant to Prime Minister on Political Affairs Naeemul Haque on
Wednesday said that PM Imran Khan would meet the Taliban leadership for a
peaceful resolution to the Afghan crisis.
Afghan government has also assented to the idea, he said while addressing a
press conference here.
said that Afghan President Ashraf Ghani’s recent visit had restored the
confidence between the two countries and as this newly developed relationship
will proceed further, both countries can resolve the issues of refugees and
also expressed his thoughts on relations with India and said, “We hope that
Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi will visit the Kartarpur corridor on the
eve of 585th birth anniversary of Gurunanak in November.”
Pakistan on Wednesday welcomed the United States’ decision to declare the
separatist group Balochistan Liberation Army (BLA) as a “global terrorist
the US announcement, the Foreign Office issued a statement which said that “BLA
remains a proscribed entity in Pakistan since 2006 and in recent times has
carried out several terrorist attacks in the country”.
is hoped that this designation will ensure that BLA’s space to operate is
minimized,” the statement read.
is important that the perpetrators, organizers, financiers and external
sponsors including those glorifying these acts of terror against Pakistan are
held accountable and brought to justice,” the statement further added.
the past, the group’s actions have been dubbed as terrorism by the US
Department of State and European Union too.
the new listing of BLA to SDGT has put sanctions on the funding and movement of
the terrorists affiliated with the BLA which of late has targeted several
Chinese installations and Chinese nationals working on projects linked to
China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC).
rose to prominence during the summer of 2000 after it claimed credit for a
series of bombing attacks on state authorities. It has been claimed that
Brahumdagh Bugti, the son of former Balochistan chief minister late Akbar
Bugti, is one of the founders of the BLA.
2004, the BLA has been in a state of war against the state. It is operating
mainly in Balochistan, the largest province of Pakistan, where it carries out
attacks against the military.
has often been accused of being an Indian proxy and receiving funding from
Research and Analysis Wing (R&AW), its spy agency, through Indian
consulates in Afghanistan’s Kandahar and Jalalabad.
Five Pakistan army soldiers were killed and one injured in a blast that
occurred a few metres from the Line of Control in Pakistan-occupied Kashmir, the
military said in a statement on Wednesday.
Public Relations (ISPR), the Pakistan army’s media wing, said the explosion
took place in Chamb sector of Barnala tehsil. “The nature of the blast is being
ascertained,” the statement said.
incident is evident of state-sponsored terrorism by India violating the
bilateral ceasefire agreement and international rules,” the ISPR statement
Pakistan Army chief Gen Qamar Javed Bajwa on Wednesday said that the country is
on positive trajectory of peace and development and shall carry forward the
same towards enduring peace and prosperity.
was addressing the 222nd Corps Commanders' Conference at General Headquarters
is on positive trajectory of peace & development and shall carry forward
the same towards enduring peace and prosperity," Bajwa said.
army said Geo Strategic, regional and National Security environment including
India, Afghanistan, Iran, ongoing internal security operations and actions
against proscribed organisations were discussed at the conference.
between India and Pakistan worsened after the Pulwama terror attack and both
the countries were almost on the brink of a war after India's military planes
struck a terrorist training camp in Pakistan's Balakot on February 26 and
Pakistan carried out a counter-offensive the next day.
said the PML-Q would never support the idea of creating a forward bloc in the
opposition parties as the party had itself been a victim of such tactics in the
past when the Shahbaz Sharif government in Punjab had created a forward bloc in
the Q. Such ploys had never been in the best interest of democracy and
democratic norms, he added.
asked who in the PTI had been orchestrating such moves aimed at limiting the
importance of the PML-Q in Punjab, he said the elements who had previously been
part of the Janoobi Punjab Suba Mahaz (South Punjab province front) that later
on merged into the PTI, were actually employing these tactics as most of the
lawmakers who had reportedly met with the premier were from south Punjab.
he said some of these assembly members had already denied being part of any
forward bloc, he said and advised those who wanted to leave the PML-N to first
tender their resignations and then join the PTI or any other party of their
choice to contest by-elections.
a question, he said the Q delegation led by party chief Chaudhry Shujaat
Hussain that had called on the prime minister recently, did not complain about
the unfulfilled promises the PTI had made to the party while forging an
alliance with it.
he said the Q’s reservations regarding the introduction of the new local
govenment system in Punjab had already been conveyed to the PTI leadership as
the party had not been taken into confidence in this regard.
Prime Minister Imran Khan said on Wednesday he had been politically victimised
by his opponents but had proved himself Sadiq and Ameen (honest and sagacious)
before the Supreme Court.
faced all my cases and did not escape to London,” the prime minister said at a
ceremony after inaugurating a new train called Sir Syed Express.
his fiery speech, the prime minister indicated that former prime minister Nawaz
Sharif had asked some countries for mediation to seek a National Reconciliation
Ordinance (NRO)-like concessional deal for safe exit from the corruption cases
he was facing. “I will not give them NRO even if they approach any monarch for
it,” Mr Khan added.
said when he had raised the issue of corruption of former rulers that had been
exposed in Panama Paper leaks, they (the then government) had politically
victimised him and filed two references in the Supreme Court, 32 FIRs and six
cases in the Election Commission of Pakistan against him. “But I proved myself
Sadiq and Ameen before the Supreme Court,” he added.
cases they [former rulers] are presently facing were made before I came to
power, but they made cases against me because I wanted to make them accountable
for their deeds,” he said.
prime minister said that the previous governments of the Pakistan Muslim
League-Nawaz and Pakistan Peoples Party had increased the volume of foreign
debt from Rs6,000 billion to Rs30,000bn in 10 years.
Leader Shahbaz Sharif blames me for Pakistani rupee’s devaluation,” the PM
said. “But if Shahbaz Sharif and Asif Zardari bring back to the country even
half of their looted wealth [from abroad], the rupee will appreciate a lot
against the dollar.”
said those who had been convicted in mega corruption cases and involved in
money laundering would not be provided luxuries in jails and would be treated
as common criminals.
indirectly about jailed PML-N leader Nawaz Sharif, he said, “These convicts
have big LED TVs and air conditioners in their rooms in jail.”
Minister Khan said the government was committed to improving lifestyle of poor
and downtrodden people and therefore had allocated Rs200bn for their welfare in
the budget 2019-20.
about the country’s railway system, he said losses of the Pakistan Railways had
dropped by Rs4bn during the last 10 months. “Despite devaluation of the rupee
and increase in oil prices, the railway has reduced its losses from Rs36bn to
Rs32bn in 10 months,” he added.
the prime minister inaugurated Sir Syed Express, a non-stop train from
Rawalpindi to Karachi. The train aims at facilitating passengers from Khyber
Pukhtunkhwa, Gilgit Baltistan and Azad Kashmir who travel to Karachi and other
southern cities of the country.
new train offers various facilities including in-house television, wi-fi, cabin
service, on-wheel restaurant, bedding, sound system and accessories kit. After
completion of the ML-1 track, the travel time of the train will reduce to 10
in his tweet, Prime Minister Khan congratulated the power ministry for reaching
the highest ever power supply mark of 22,550MW in the country. “I want to
congratulate the power ministry as on 2nd July we reached the highest ever
power supply at 22,550 MW in national grid with the system running smoothly
across the country; almost 3000MW more than the max supply last summer,” he
also appreciated the performance of the power ministry for generating
additional revenue of Rs106bn in eight months (Oct 2018 - May 2019) compared to
same period last year. “75 percent of this revenue increase is the result of
the anti theft drive of PTI government,” the PM tweeted.
United States sanctioned on Tuesday a top Hezbollah operative, updated a
designation of an Iranian terrorist group and designated Pakistan’s Balochistan
Liberation Army as a terrorist entity.
Ali Hazzima is the chief of Hezbollah’s intelligence unit, while the Iranian
group Jundallah, which was designated in 2010 as a terrorist group, began using
the new name Jaysh al-Adl and associated aliases in 2012, according to the U.S.
has allegedly been behind numerous attacks that have killed Iranian civilians
and government officials, including a suicide-bombing in February and
kidnapping of Iranian security personnel in October.
Balochistan Liberation Army has allegedly been responsible for terrorist
attacks in the Pakistani province.
actions notify the U.S. public and the international community that Hazzima and
BLA have committed, or poses a significant risk of committing, acts of
terrorism, and that Jundallah, having adopted the new name Jaysh al-Adl,
continues to engage in terrorism that threatens the national security of the
United States,” said the State Department in a statement. “Terrorist
designations expose and isolate organizations and individuals, and deny them
access to the U.S. financial system.”
Navy SEAL accused of killing a war prisoner under his care in Iraq in 2017 was
found not guilty by a military jury in San Diego.
jury Tuesday also found Special Operations Chief Edward Gallagher not guilty of
all other counts except for the violation of posing for photographs with a dead
was accused of fatally stabbing an ISIS prisoner who had been wounded by an
airstrike in Iraq in 2017 and other crimes.
Donald Trump wants to get out of Afghanistan. But he says he’s worried that the
country has become the “Harvard of terrorists” — so even if the US does end up
leaving, he says he plans to keep a US intelligence presence behind to monitor
the biggest takeaway from Trump’s interview with Fox News’s Tucker Carlson,
which aired Monday night.
by the death of two US soldiers in Afghanistan last week, Carlson asked the
president if he had plans to remove all service members from the country nearly
20 years after America first went in to defeat al-Qaeda. Trump rattled off some
usual talking points, like how he believes the US shouldn’t be the world’s
policeman and that America has spent too much money building things like hotels
and gas stations in Afghanistan.
Trump, who remains skeptical of US intervention abroad, surprisingly said that
the terrorism situation in Afghanistan is why he wouldn’t fully withdraw. “I
would like to just get out. The problem is it just seems to be a lab for
terrorists,” the president told Carlson. “I call it ‘the Harvard of
what’s his proposal instead? “I would leave very strong intelligence there,” he
said. “You have to watch.”
unclear exactly what Trump means. He didn’t specify if “strong intelligence”
requires a bolstered CIA presence in Afghanistan, for example, or if he aims to
devote more resources to tracking terrorists’ digital communications. He also
failed to mention if any troops should be left behind to protect US intelligence
assets in the area.
saying that the situation in Afghanistan is so tough that he can’t fully bring
troops home is a shocking admission for a president voted into office partly
for promising to end US wars.
expect a full Afghanistan withdrawal under Trump
no question that Afghanistan remains a violent place. On Monday, the Taliban
launched an attack in Kabul, the capital, that reportedly killed about 40
people — including children — and injured at least 100 more. That kind of bloodshed
is the major reason the US is currently negotiating with the Islamist insurgent
group to find a solution that allows the US to leave.
saying he wouldn’t completely take all US personnel out of Afghanistan may hurt
those talks, as the Taliban wants America out entirely, experts say.
statement, then, seems like both a potential complication in the US-Taliban
negotiations and a reversal of his position on Afghanistan.
president fought his own administration for months when advisers told him he
should send more troops to Afghanistan, mainly because he felt the US had
fought too long there. He eventually relented in September 2017 and agreed to
send 3,000 additional service members to the country, fewer than many of his
Trump noted in the interview that military advisers have influenced his
thinking. He told Carlson that he spoke with generals about whether the US
could soon leave Afghanistan. And while they replied, “Yes, sir,” in Trump’s
telling, he said they also expressed their desire to “attack them over there
[rather] than attack them in our land.”
surprising, as Trump has previously claimed that he knows a lot more than the
generals do about war. He also reportedly complained to top brass during a
tense 2017 meeting that the US was “losing” in Afghanistan despite him having
given the military more authority to launch offensive operations in the country
several months before.
now, it seems, US military leaders are on the president’s good side.
has never been shy about announcing US troop withdrawals. He surprised everyone
last December when he ordered all of America’s few thousand fighters still in
Syria to come home, despite apparently not having coordinated that decision
with the rest of his administration. He soon reversed that decision and allowed
roughly 400 troops to remain in the country.
Trump made sure to tell Carlson that he has reduced the number of US service
members in Afghanistan to about 9,000 total now.
President Donald Trump warned Iran Wednesday its threats could “come back to
bite” after Tehran vowed to exceed the maximum uranium enrichment level allowed
by the 2015 nuclear deal.
has just issued a New Warning. Rouhani says that they will Enrich Uranium to
‘any amount we want’ if there is no new Nuclear Deal,” Trump tweeted, referring
to Iran’s President Hassan Rouhani. “Be careful with the threats, Iran. They
can come back to bite you like nobody has been bitten before!”
is acting on its May 8 threat to suspend parts of the agreement in response to
Trump’s reimposition of crippling sanctions after withdrawing from it in May
said Wednesday’s decision to exceed the enrichment limit was in response to
failure by other parties to the deal to keep up their promises and provide Iran
relief from the US sanctions.
senior Iranian parliamentary official said on Wednesday that the US has failed
in its plan to make Iran surrender by withdrawing from the nuclear deal. after
imagined that by withdrawing from the nuclear deal and escalating sanctions and
military threats, they could make the Islamic Republic of Iran surrender, but
the people of Iran failed America’s plan with their resistance,” said Iran's
First Deputy Parliament Speaker, Masoud Pezeshkian.
by the semi-official Tasnim news agency, Pezeshkian added that the US is the
cause of unrest and tension in the region.
and its agents in the region are the cause of all the unrest and tension,”
Pezeshkian said. “The only thing America’s presence in the region has achieved
is tension,” he added.
who is attending the Second International Forum “Development of
Parliamentarism" in Russia, said that “Iran and Russia must cooperate more
closely than ever due to the continuation of common threats” against them.
imagined that by withdrawing from the nuclear deal and escalating sanctions and
military threats, they could make the Islamic Republic of Iran surrender, but
the people of Iran failed America’s plan with their resistance,” he said.
said that the US “must leave the region,” adding that the countries of the region
are capable of ensuring the region’s security on their own.
President Donald Trump is “very fond” of Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas
and is willing to engage him on the US peace proposal at the right time, White
House senior adviser Jared Kushner said on Wednesday.
briefing reporters on a conference call, also hinted the US peace plan might
call on Palestinian refugees to permanently settle where they are rather than
return to lands now in Israel.
a workshop in Bahrain last week, Kushner unveiled a $50 billion economic plan
for the Palestinian territories, Jordan, Egypt and Lebanon.
later this year, he is to outline a 50- to 60-page page plan that will offer
proposals on resolving the thorny political issues between the Israelis and the
have harshly criticized the economic plan.
door is always open to the Palestinian leadership,” Kushner said.
UN Security Council on Wednesday failed to condemn a recent airstrike in Libya
because the U.S. would not support the statement's text, according to multiple
council met behind closed doors for two hours to discuss the attack, which took
place Tuesday, on a migrant detention center in the Tajoura suburb of the
country's capital, Tripoli, which killed at least 44 people and injured 130
emergency meeting was called by Peru, which holds the council presidency in
U.K. reportedly circulated a statement that condemned the attack and called for
a ceasefire and return to political talks.
U.S. diplomats did not approve the statement, saying they would need word from
Washington to be able to vote in favor of it, according to reports.
Government of National Accord (GNA) blamed the airstrike on commander Khalifa
Secretary General Antonio Guterres said he was outraged over the attack and
called for an independent investigation.
U.S. State Department condemned the attack but did not call for a ceasefire.
early April, Haftar, who commands forces loyal to a rival government based in
eastern Libya, launched a wide-ranging campaign to take the capital, but his
forces have failed to achieve their primary objective, although they have
captured several strategic towns and cities in the vicinity.
has remained beset by turmoil since 2011 when a bloody NATO-backed uprising led
to the ouster and death of long-serving President Muammar Gaddafi after more
than four decades in power.
British-Muslim MEP has claimed that he was asked to leave the European
Parliament on his first day.
Magid, who was elected after May’s European elections as a Green Party
representative for the Yorkshire and Humber region, said he did not know who
the person was that asked him to leave.
Magid said he thought the individual was a staff member.
European Parliament said none of its staff were involved in the incident.
Magid, who was wearing a black T-shirt emblazoned with the message “[expletive]
fascism” at the time, said the person had asked him if he was lost.
know I'm visibly different. I don't have the privilege to hide my identity. I'm
BLACK & my name is Magid. I don't intend to try fit in. Get used to it!” he
wrote on Twitter.
30 year old later thanked people for the support he had received. “I obviously
didn't leave. But to even be put in this position says a lot about what people think
the stereotypical politician is meant to look like,” he said.
spokesperson for the European Parliament said: "We investigated the matter
immediately after our attention was brought to it and can safely say that no
member of Parliament staff was involved."
Magid, who came to Britain in 1994 as a child refugee from Somalia, is an
anti-Brexit politician who came to prominence after he became the youngest
councillor to hold the role of Lord Mayor of Sheffield.
(CNN Business)Facebook has been fined more than $2 million in Germany for
inaccurately reporting the amount of illegal content on its platform.
authorities said Tuesday that Facebook had provided "incomplete"
information in mandatory transparency reports about illegal content, such as
Network Enforcement Act, which took effect last year in Germany, requires
social media platforms to publish reports every six months detailing the number
of complaints of illegal content they have received.
are also required to remove hate speech and fake news within 24 hours of it
being flagged, or face penalties of up to roughly $60 million.
German Federal Office of Justice said in a statement Tuesday that a 2018
transparency report from Facebook was "inadequate," and it issued a
fine of €2 million ($2.3 million).
report lists only a fraction of complaints about illegal content," the
regulator said, suggesting that Facebook had made it difficult for its users to
find the form used to flag illegal content.
then created a distorted public image about the size of the illegal content and
the way the social network deals with the complaints," it added.
(FB) said in a statement that it was confident its report was in accordance with
critics have pointed out there are a number of areas where this law lacks
clarity," a Facebook spokesperson said. "We will analyze the fine
notice carefully and reserve the right to appeal."
Facebook does appear to have reported less illegal content than some rival
social media networks.
report that Facebook was fined over, which covers the first half of last year,
disclosed 1,704 pieces of illegal content. Google's YouTube reported 144,836
pieces of content for the same time period.
has tougher hate speech laws than many other countries. Hate speech, Holocaust
denial and the display of certain symbols, such as the swastika, are illegal
and punishable by prison.
has been trying to clean up its image after a series of scandals sparked
questions over whether the company should be broken up.
— Jewish and Muslim entrepreneurs met in Berlin on Wednesday to launch an “an
unconventional Jewish-Muslim dialogue.”
Shalom Aleikum: Jewish-Muslim Dialog, the project of the Central Council of
Jews in Germany began with young business leaders having an open exchange on
the issue of cultural identity and the job market. TV journalist Shakuntala
Banerjee served as the moderator.
Council President Josef Schuster said the project aims to break down
stereotypes and prevent anti-Semitism and Islamophobia.
has seen a rise in anti-Semitic crimes. Although German officials report that
the vast majority of anti-Semitic incidents are carried out by members of the
far right, some Jewish leaders worry that anti-Semitic acts by Muslims are more
widespread than believed and are being underreported.
is not too soon to intervene, Schuster suggested.
who who speak to each other from the realities of their lives can approach each
other without reservations,” Schuster said in a media statement.
nationwide project has the support of Minister of State Annette Widmann-Mauz,
who heads Germany’s Federal Commission for Migration, Refugees and Integration.
The first year’s events are funded with 1.2 million euros ($1.35 million), and
will encompass various dialogue formats nationwide.
to a Protestant news service, Widmann-Mauz said the project was designed to
break down barriers between Jews and Muslims, as well as prevent anti-Semitism
and anti-Muslim sentiments from developing at an early stage.
said she was appalled at the reported increases in hate crimes related to
is not a situation that we want in our country,” she said.
London panel on Wednesday discussed U.S. President Donald Trump’s proposed
peace plan for Palestine and Israel, also known as the ‘deal of the century’,
and whether it is viable for a future peace in the region.
seminar was organized by the Arab Organization for Human Rights in the U.K. and
featured senior BBC journalist Bill Law, human rights and international
criminal lawyer Rhys Davies and senior Labour party councilor and Palestine
activist Jenny Lynn.
session also looked at the role of Jared Kushner, Trump’s son-in-law and senior
advisor, in piecing together the peace deal, his relationship with Israeli
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and the geopolitical significance of Saudi
Arabia and the United Arab Emirates in financing the agreement.
here today to say how important it is that we respond to the call for global
solidarity for the Palestinian people and that we reject this deal, which is
absolutely outrageous” Lynn said.
view is that actually, this attempt to try to sell out the rights particularly
of Palestinian refugees will not succeed”.
also believes there is a lot of work being done to undermine the global
Palestinian solidarity movement due to the success of the Boycott, Divestment
and Sanctions (BDS) movement around the world and that more people are turning
against what is happening to the Palestinian people as they are now
understanding the true nature of the Israeli government.
believes the proposed peace plan will further weaken any prospect of a future
Palestinian state and a two-state solution as it will force Palestinians to
give up the little land they do possess and warned that Kushner should not be
story of the ‘deal of the century’ is really the ‘steal of the century’ in that
Palestinians are losing land, they are losing water and they’re even losing
their image” through cultural appropriation, the senior journalist said.
to Law, no political substance of the deal has been revealed as of yet, and
only the economic details of the agreement have been put forth, which is to
pump billions of dollars into the Palestinian Authority and supporting states
without any specific plan as to how that money would be spent and on what
projects it would be used on. He said that essentially, the deal is an economic
package intended to coerce the Palestinians into giving more of their land to
Israel with the support of the Arab states.
think the point to remember about Jared Kushner is don’t underestimate him.
He’s very good at what he does, and what he wants to do thus far is to push the
Palestinians into a corner from which they can only say no” to the deal, he
also explained how Kushner has financial support and backing from the UAE and
Saudi Arabia, specifically from Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed Bin Salman and
Emirati Crown Prince Mohammed Bin Zayed, and why this is a difficult situation
for the Palestinians as the two main regional powers are supporting a plan that
will essentially strip away their rights and representation as an independent
people and state.
close relationship with Netanyahu and prominent right-wing Zionists was also
analyzed as well as his past experience as a real estate agent in New York,
which led Law to conclude that his plan for peace will not succeed among
Palestinians as it will act as a catalyst for more illegal Israeli settlements
to be built and the stripping away of more Palestinian land.
the geopolitical significance of Saudi Arabia and the UAE in supporting the
agreement, Davies believes that the pledge of support from the two Gulf states
is pivotal in defeating the prospect of a two-state solution and lasting peace
in the region. He argued that Saudi support for the deal is in response to the
growing tensions with Iran and that Bin Salman sees a common ally in Israel, as
they share the same enemy.
conflict is winding down to its concluding phase, with just Idlib province in
the north outside of Mr Assad’s control. Russia has voiced mounting frustration
over frequent Israeli air strikes in Syria, which have mostly targeted Iranian
military assets and the Tehran-backed Hezbollah militant group.
between Russia and Israel peaked in September last year when Moscow blamed
Israeli jets for the shooting down of an Il-20 military plane, claiming the
lives of all 15 Russian personnel on board. The Israeli military expressed
“sorrow” over the incident, but said the Syrian military was responsible.
summit between top security officials from Israel, Russia and the US in
Jerusalem late last month failed to bring about any concrete agreements on what
the Israeli leadership has described as Iran’s malign role in Syria.
court sentences 9 to death for 1994 attack on Sheikh Hasina
A court in Bangladesh has sentenced nine opposition activists to death and 25
others to life in prison for an attack on a train carrying political leader
Sheikh Hasina 24 years ago.
main opposition Bangladesh Nationalist Party, led by Hasina’s archrival and
former Prime Minister Khaleda Zia, rejected Wednesday’s verdict, calling it
current prime minister and then-opposition leader, Hasina was riding a
passenger train attacked at Pakshi Rail Station on Sept. 23, 1994. The
attackers fired shots and hurled bombs at the train, injuring scores of people,
though Hasina was unhurt.
Paban district trial court also Wednesday sentenced 13 other people to 10 years
in jail in a case filed under the Explosives Substances Act of 1908.
prosecution and local Awami League leaders voiced satisfaction the offenders
had been convicted even after the completion of the trial took 24 years.
Pabna unit office secretary Jahirul Islam said all of the convicts are leaders
and activists of the party and its associate bodies.
a statement, BNP Secretary-General Mirza Fakhrul Islam Alamgir alleged the
verdict was “dictated” and “cruel” and alleged the train attack had been staged
to create a political issue. “The verdict is part of the government’s policy to
eliminate BNP using the court,” the BNP leader added.
won her fourth term and her third straight with an overwhelming victory in
Bangladesh’s last election in late December. Amid worry that the dominating
victory would allow her to become more authoritarian, she vowed when Parliament
opened that she would allow criticism from the opposition.
main opposition alliance received only seven of the 300 seats in Parliament.
Zia’s party is the main partner of the alliance.
and Zia have ruled the country alternately since 1991, when democracy returned
after nine years of military rule. Zia is serving two corruption sentences in
cases she says are politically motivated.
least 19 attacks or assassination attempts have been made against Hasina, the
eldest daughter of the country’s founder Sheikh Mujibur Rahman, who was
brutally killed along with several family members in a coup by an army cabal in
U.S. forces carried out a series of airstrikes in Wardak and Ghazni provinces
killing at least 28 Taliban militants.
203rd Thunder Corps in a statement said Wednesday the U.S. forces conducted
airstrikes in Maidan Shar, Jalrez adn Nerkh districts of Maidan Wardak province
in the past 24 hours.
statement further added that the airstrikes killed 28 Taliban militants in the
the U.S. forces conducted airstrikes in Andar district of Ghani province and
killed 7 Taliban militants.
203rd Thunder Corps also added that the airstrikes were carried out in Rahim
Khel area of Andar district.
Kathy Gannon and Amir Shah
— A surprise announcement by President Donald Trump seemed to accelerate the
expected time frame for U.S. troop withdrawal from Afghanistan ahead of an
all-Afghan peace summit planned for July 7-8 in Qatar. The gathering apparently
will be held on Taliban terms as there will be no official Afghan government
told Fox News Channel’s Tucker Carlson Tonight on Monday that nearly half of
all American troops have already been pulled out.
pullout was expected to be announced as part of a time frame being negotiated
by Washington’s peace envoy Zalmay Khalilzad, who is in the middle of talks
with the Taliban in Qatar.
wanted to pull them out. And you know, I have pulled a lot out. We were at
16,000. We’re down to about 9,000, which a lot of people don’t know,” Trump
said, according to the transcript of the interview shared with The Associated
Press. “So we’ve reduced the force very substantially in Afghanistan, which I
don’t talk about very much, and that’s okay,” Trump added.
to a senior U.S. defense official, however, there are still close to 14,000
U.S. troops in Afghanistan - a number that has remained fairly steady for many
Taliban’s spokesman in Doha, Suhail Shaheen, has said that talks with Khalilzad
are focused on a timetable for withdrawal of U.S. and NATO troops from
Afghanistan. In a tweet on Monday, Shaheen had said talks would come with an
announcement of a timetable for withdrawal of the estimated 20,000 service
personnel, including American forces.
comments Monday would seem to contradict a statement made by U.S. Secretary of
State Mike Pompeo during a visit to Kabul on June 25. Pompeo said then that
Washington had made no decision on a timeframe for withdrawal.
also said in the Monday TV interview that he wanted to leave a strong
intelligence gathering force behind in Afghanistan.
tell you the problem is, look, I would like to just get out. The problem is,
(Afghanistan) just seems to be a lab for terrorists. It seems — I call it the
Harvard of terrorists. ... But I would leave very strong intelligence there,”
he said, according to the transcript.
on the upcoming all-Afghan dialogue, Germany’s special representative
Ambassador Markus Potzel said Tuesday that those attending “will participate
only in their personal capacity and on an equal footing.”
Taliban have flatly refused to meet with Afghan President Ashraf Ghani’s
government, which they consider a U.S. puppet, while repeatedly offering talks
with anyone who comes to the table as an ordinary Afghan. The Taliban have
already twice met with prominent Afghans, including former president Hamid
Karzai and even members of the government’s peace council as well as opposition
politicians. Those meetings have both been held in Moscow.
announced talks come a day after the Taliban claimed responsibility for a
devastating attack in the Afghan capital of Kabul that killed at least six people
and wounded more than 100 others, many of them children attending two schools
in the area, according to the Education Ministry.
has not responded to the announcement of next week’s talks. He has previously
demanded the Taliban talk directly with his government, some of whom have
complained about their continuing exclusion from meetings between Taliban and
the U.S. peace envoy Zalmay Khalilzad.
who is currently holding a seventh round of direct talks with the Taliban in
Doha, already held a battery of meetings with the Afghan president in Kabul
last month. In an overnight tweet, he welcomed the announced all-Afghan talks.
He tweeted that “this dialogue is an essential element of the four-part peace
framework & and important step in advancing the #AfghanPeaceProcess.”
will co-sponsor the talks with Qatar, according to the statement issued by
Potzel, who is the German special representative for Pakistan and Afghanistan.
earlier intra-Afghan dialogue in Qatar was scuttled when the two sides couldn’t
agree on participants. Potzel said the invitations this time have been jointly
issued by Germany and Qatar.
stands at a critical moment of opportunity for progress toward peace,” Potzel
said in the statement. “Only Afghans themselves can decide the future of their
country.” He said both Qatar and Germany are hoping the talks will create trust
between the warring sides.
for ordinary Afghans battered by relentless violence there is mostly
will never come to Afghanistan,” said an angry Sawab Gul, who was waiting in
the Afghan capital of Kabul on Tuesday to open his partially destroyed bedding
age 40, Gul said he has never seen peace in his country and holds out little
hope for the current attempts at finding an end to Afghanistan’s relentless
adviser said Rohingyas are threatening the security of both Bangladesh and
minister’s International Affairs Adviser Dr Gowher Rizvi has said the Rohingya
crisis will become the biggest security threat to South Asian countries in the
long-running Rohingya crisis is now Bangladesh’s problem, but it will be the
entire world’s problem tomorrow,” he said while addressing the inaugural
session of a seminar in Dhaka as the chief guest on Wednesday, reports BSS.
countries of the world should be concerned about what is happening in Myanmar,”
Dr Gowher Rizvi added.
seminar, titled “Bangladesh-India Cooperation in the Changing Regional and
Global Context,” was arranged by the Bangladesh Institute of International and
Strategic Studies (BIISS) at its auditorium.
migration of the Rohingyas from Myanmar to Bangladesh was not the result of
localized, intercommunal, or inter-sectarian conflict, according to the prime
minister’s international affairs adviser.
the Myanmar army’s atrocities against the Rohingya as “deliberate, planned, and
genocidal,” Dr Gowher Rizvi said Myanmar carried out the acts as it visualizes
itself as a country for only Buddhist people of Chinese-origin.
added that Myanmar has worked to systematically eliminate Muslim minorities
from its soil for decades.
(Myanmar) changed their constitution. They have taken away the Rohingyas’
citizenship. This did not happen overnight. Rather, this was a coldly planned
genocide to force an exodus,” he said.
Gowher Rizvi added that the influx of the large number of Rohingyas through the
borders of Bangladesh and India is threatening the security of both the
have already noticed weapons coming to this region. And before long, if we are
not careful and do not work together, this [the Rohingya crisis] will be the
biggest cause of instability in the region,” he further said.
Bangladesh-India bilateral relations, Dr Gowher Rizvi said the relationship
between the two countries is very important as both want to prosper together by
strengthening existing ties.
also mentioned that Bangladesh always encourages Indian investment, and wants
to be part of both the Indo-Pacific initiative and the Belt and Road
Initiative. “There is no question about it. It [the Indo-Pacific initiative] is
a win-win opportunity. At the same time, we cannot stay away from the Belt and
Road Initiative because that is also an important opportunity for us.”
addressing the discussion, Institute for Defense Studies and Analyses India
(IDSA) Director General Ambassador Sujan R Chinoy said the existing bilateral
ties between India and Bangladesh is a role model for many other countries.
that the Indian government wants inclusive economic development not only in
India but also in other countries of the region, he hoped that many Indian
companies would come to Bangladesh with investment in the future.
The Pakistan Muslim League-Quaid do not see any threat to its importance in the
Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf-led coalition government in Punjab as well as in the
Centre due to emergence of a “forward bloc” within the opposition PML-N after a
number of ‘N’ lawmakers reportedly called on Prime Minister Imran Khan last
senior PML-Q leader requesting anonymity said the party had been calmly
observing the recent developments following a meeting of some disgruntled PML-N
MPAs and MNAs belonging to Punjab.
don’t see any threat to the party’s position in the coalition government,
particularly in Punjab, as constitutionally a dissident member of the assembly
could neither vote for the approval of finance bill, nor for the election of
leader of the house against his/her party’s policy, whereas such members could
not even abstain [from voting], while being present in the house,” said the Q
said in case a lawmaker violated his/her party policy in the house, he/she
might lose the seat and face disqualification whereas the house might also have
to go for another voting if the dissident’s vote was declared null and void for
violating the party discipline.
Afghan Special Forces destroyed the biggest cache of arms and munitions of
Taliban group during an operation in Helmand.
Afghan Intelligence, National Directorate of Security (NDS) in a statement said
the Special Forces of NDS conducted the operation Gandom Rez area of Kajaki
statement further added that the operation was conducted on the compound of
Taliban district shadow military chief Mohammad Khan.
the National Directorate of Security said the NDS Special Forces destroeyd 21
thousand kilograms of explosives during the operations.
former Afghan President Hamid Karzai reacted to U.S. President Donald Trump’s
recent statement for calling Afghanistan ‘a lab for terrorists’.
said in a statement that Afghanistan is the main victim of terrorism which has
grown and became formidable due to the ambiguous policies and financial support
of the United States.
Karzai said the rise of ISIS in Afghanistan amid political and military
presence of the United States is a testimony to the fact.
Karzai said the growing war and violence is not a solution to the issues of the
also emphasized that the ongoing war could be ended through peace process,
strengthening of peace efforts and making reconciliation process an Afghan-led
and Afghan-owned process.
Trump had earlier said that he wanted to “get out” of Afghanistan, but added he
believes the country could be a hotbed of terrorist activity.
during an interview with the Fox News host Tucker Carlson, Trump said “The
problem is, it just seems to be a lab for terrorists. It seems — I call it the
‘Harvard of terrorists.”
also added “When you look at the World Trade Center, they were trained … They
didn’t come from Iraq, all right. They came from various other countries. But
they all formed in Afghanistan, and it’s probably because it’s at the base of
so many countries, but they all formed and it’s rough mountains and you get a
lot of — you know, you get a lot of good hiding places.”
5 July 2019, marks the 10th anniversary of the Urumqi massacre in East
Turkistan. On July 5-7, 2009, thousands of Uyghur protesters were killed,
forcibly disappeared or injured in a brutal reaction from the Chinese
government to peaceful protests from mostly Uyghur students in Urumqi. The
massacre proved to be a major turning point in the strategy of the Chinese
government towards East Turkistan, to one of outright violence and oppression
and a complete lack of tolerance or willingness to listen to the voices and
concerns of the Uyghur people. The effects of this atrocity have remained with
the Uyghur people, as hundreds of students and protestors disappeared into
Chinese custody, never to be heard from again. In the 10 years since the
massacre, the situation of the Uyghur people in East Turkistan has deteriorated
incredibly, as over 1 million innocent Uyghurs have been detained in internment
camps and the Chinese government is striving to completely erode the Uyghur
peaceful protest in 2009 began with several thousand Uyghurs — mostly students
marching towards the People’s square in central Urumqi at around 5:00 pm on
July 5. They expressed their anger at the Chinese government’s handling of
Guangdong Shaoguan incident in which two Uyghurs were killed by Chinese factory
workers in a dispute. Hundreds of Chinese police with shields, rifles, and
clubs were already in position and moved to disperse and arrest the protesters
before they reached the People’s Square, indicating that the government had
full knowledge of the protest beforehand and was well prepared to suppress it.
regional government quickly instituted a communications blackout that lasted
for months following the incidents that prevented the flow of information in
and out of the area through the complete restriction on the internet and mobile
phone use. These tactics have since been used frequently in an attempt to
tightly control who is able to gain access to information, amid a general lack
of access to independent media that persists year round.
from Amnesty International and the Uyghur Human Rights Project, who both conducted
interviews with eyewitnesses to the events, concluded that the security forces
made liberal use of live ammunition during the unrest. Along with those that
were killed and injured in the incident, a considerable number of arrests were
also made shortly afterward. In a report released by Human Rights Watch, it was
estimated that there were 43 verifiable cases of enforced disappearances of
Uyghur prisoners arrested in the aftermath – a number that is likely much
higher in reality. However, the Chinese government was never subjected to any
punitive action by the international states nor subjected to any independent
investigation into this atrocity. The lack of justice and accountability has
enabled the Chinese government to
Chinese government was never held fully accountable by the international
community for this terrible atrocity in 2009.” said WUC President Dolkun Isa.
“The failure to act emboldened the Chinese government to pursue even more
repressive measures, now resulting in the internment of millions of innocent
people in camps. The international community must learn from this and finally
hold China accountable for its crimes against humanity.”
Urumqi massacre also demonstrated the Chinese government’s complete intolerance
and disregard for the voice and concerns of the Uyghur people. Any attempts to
communicate concerns about China’s repressive policies and human rights
violations have been met with violent and brutal responses. The basic rights to
freedom of expression and freedom of assembly have been completely denied to
the Uyghur people. The Uyghur diaspora has looked on with hope and admiration
for the brave protestors in Hong Kong standing up for their rights and
freedoms, as such a protest would be impossible in East Turkistan. The Urumqi
massacre and the current situation in East Turkistan should stand as an example
of what is at risk if the Chinese government manages to pass the extradition
bill and deprive Hong Kongers of their rights and freedoms.
right to freedom of assembly and the ability peacefully voice your concerns to
authorities is a key part of any heathy and free society. In remembrance of the
all those who were killed, disappeared or injured exercising this basic right
in Urumqi on 5-7 July 2009 and of the Uyghur people in East Turkistan are
completely denied this right, Uyghurs around the world will demonstrate on 5
July 2019. Protests will be held in 22 cities in 14 countries around the world
as the Uyghur community remembers of the victims of the massacre and calls on
the international community to finally hold China accountable for its actions.
As Uyghurs in East Turkistan have been deprived of their voice by the Chinese
government, those living outside of the rule of the CCP must loudly raise their
voices. We encourage anyone interested to support the Uyghur people by joining
a demonstration in a city near you. The full list of participating cities and
times of the protests is listed below:
Thousands of Islamic State sympathizers from Indonesia currently in Syria may
wish they had the opportunity to vote for the right candidates in the April 17
election, as the decision whether to allow them to return now rests on a
political compromise between parties in the House of Representatives.
decision is currently being discussed by the various factions in the
legislature, because we know that this isn't only about repatriating someone
with a different mindset," Commissioner General Suhardi Alius, head of the
National Counterterrorism Agency (BNPT), said on Monday, as quoted by Antara.
government has grappled with the dilemma of repatriating supporters of the
international terrorist group since its defeat earlier this year. Under
Indonesian law, they remain citizens because they did not swear allegiance to
any recognized state.
the other hand, returnees from Syria could bring back extremist ideas, or
worse, the skills and means to carry out terror attacks in the country. About a
year ago, a family of six who spent time in Syria, attacked two churches in
Surabaya, East Java.
a practical level, Indonesian Islamic State sympathizers mostly do not have
official identity documents as they burned whatever they had when joining the
radical group, making it difficult for the government to confirm their
to reports, there are thousands of Indonesian citizens, mostly women and
children, among the families of Islamic State fighters sheltering in Al Hol
camp in eastern Syria. Many of them wish for the government to arrange their
executive director of a United Nations watchdog group this week reportedly took
the bloc of Islamic nations at the international body’s human rights council to
task over its silence about China forcing hundreds of thousands of Muslim
minorities, mainly ethnic Uighurs, into concentration camps in Xinjiang.
Tuesday, CNSNews.com quoted Hillel Neuer, the executive director of the
non-governmental organization (NGO) U.N. Watch, as asking, “If they truly care
about Muslims, and for their religious freedoms, why has Pakistan and the
Islamic group failed to introduce a single resolution” about China’s crackdown
was reportedly addressing the 57-member Organization of Islamic Cooperation
(OIC), which wields considerable influence over the U.N. Human Rights Council
(HRC) in Geneva.
to HRC’s Islamic bloc, the watchdog chief proclaimed:
spoke of Islamophobia and of criticism of religion. Yet if they truly care
about Muslims, and for their religious freedoms, why has Pakistan and the
Islamic group failed to introduce a single resolution, a single urgent session,
a single commission of inquiry for one million Muslims currently being detained
in camps and persecuted because of their religion – by China?
the 47 HRC member states, the OIC accounts for 15, or more than 30 percent,
including prominent and outspoken Islamic countries like Pakistan, Egypt, and
Pakistan generally at the helm, the Islamic states have helped to guide the
agenda, and are largely responsible for the HRC’s disproportionate targeting of
Israel, and a controversial push to outlaw “defamation” of religion. Communist
China’s treatment of ethnic Uighurs and other minority Muslims in Xinjiang,
however, has drawn little public attention from the OIC.
being described as an egregious human rights and religious freedom violator by
the United States, China also sits on the U.N. Human Rights Council.
than denouncing China for its mistreatment of their fellow Muslims in Xinjiang,
the OIC praised Beijing’s efforts against Muslims.
the recently voiced positions of several of its members, the OIC said in March
that it “commends the efforts of the People’s Republic of China in providing
care to its Muslim citizens; and looks forward to further cooperation between
the OIC and the People’s Republic of China.”
recent months, Saudi Arabia, Pakistan, Malaysia, Indonesia, and most recently,
Turkey, defended China’s oppression of Muslims.
this week, Turkey had been the only Muslim nation to regularly stand up for the
Uighurs who belong to a Turkic ethnic group.
news outlets have noted that Muslim-majority countries have turned a blind eye
to China’s abuse of predominantly Muslim Uighurs and other Islam adherents out
of concern for their economic relationship with Beijing.
is the leading trading partner of at least 20 of the 57 OIC members. Pakistan,
historically an ally of China, is a key partner in Beijing’s massive
infrastructure program known as the Belt-and-Road initiative [BRI],” CNS News
has repeatedly claimed that its detentions centers, which it describes as
vocational and training facilities, are focused on combating religious
extremism, terrorism, and separatism in Muslim Uighur-majority Xinjiang province.
Nevertheless, China’s actions have triggered condemnation across the world.
countries point to ample evidence that it instead is using alleged terror
threats to violate the human rights of its Muslim citizens.
Thrown off a motorbike as her parents blew themselves up, nine-year-old Mila
was the sole survivor of a family suicide bombing, part of a wave of such
attacks involving children that rocked Indonesia.
and radicalised, there were concerns for her future after the Islamic
State-inspired strike, but a renewed focus on rehabilitating the children of
terror suspects may offer Mila, and others like her, a chance at normality.
is among a small group who are being treated at a Jakarta safe house in a
unique scheme that provides psychological and social care to the offspring of
suicide bombers or children directly involved in terror plots.
world’s biggest Muslim majority nation is grappling with the growing global
threat of ‘family attacks’ and also with how to reintegrate returning IS
jihadists and their relatives as the extremist group’s caliphate lies in ruins,
a challenge faced by many nations including France and the United States.
hasn’t been easy dealing with (the children) because they believed in
radicalism...and that bombing was a good thing,” said safe-house head Neneng
Heryani, who gave AFP exclusive access to the state-run compound on the edge of
were taught that jihad was essential to go to heaven and that you must kill
non-believers. It was very hard to change that mindset,” she added.
workers and psychologists are trying to re-socialise the children with
counselling and an emphasis on normal daily routines which include lessons,
mosque visits, and regular playtime.
Mila – a name given by AFP to protect her identity – this treatment means
helping her find a way to cope with her parents’ suicide bombing and living
with the knowledge they involved her in mass murder, and intended for her to
children of terror suspects, including those linked to the deadly suicide
bombings in Surabaya last year, are also undergoing this dedicated treatment.
children in such a way is indefensible and deplorable,” Human Rights Watch
campaigner Andreas Harsono said, adding that the 2018 incidents were the first
time suicide bombers used their own kids in attacks in Indonesia.
youngsters that survived had been subjected to years of jihadi indoctrination
by their families and often shown violent propaganda, counsellors say.
their trust has not been easy but staff at the safe house believe their
approach could help neutralise the years of radicalisation.
the heart of the rehabilitation effort are lessons about Indonesia’s national
heroes, building trust and Pancasila, the nation’s ideology which stresses
unity and respect for ethnic and religious minorities in a country of some 260
million spread across thousands of islands.
still teach them that the Koran is the foundation for everything and that they
have to believe in it. But if you violate other people’s rights, then that’s
not okay” said social worker Sri Musfiah Handayani.
to help rehabilitate the children of suicide bombers is largely uncharted
is the first time that we know of. It’s not a common phenomenon,” said Sidney
Jones, director of Jakarta-based Institute for Policy Analysis of Conflict
children are easy prey for extremists, “that vulnerability can also provide a
starting point for treatment“, said Haula Noor, an expert in radicalised families
at Australian National University (ANU).
should view these children as both victims as well as potential perpetrators”
surge in Islamist attacks in the past decade has dented Indonesia’s reputation
for religious tolerance.
was wedged between her parents on a motorcycle as they detonated themselves at
a Surabaya police post last May.
attack came after another family – including a nine and 12-year-old girl – from
the same Koran study group staged suicide bombings at several Surabaya
churches, killing themselves and a dozen congregants, while injuring scores
in March, the wife of a suspected Indonesian militant blew up herself and child
at their home after an hours-long standoff with police.
incidents have aggravated international fears that women and their children
would be increasingly used, as they tend to attract less scrutiny.
are going to be two main trends in the future – attacks carried out by families
and also by lone wolves,” said Stanislaus Riyanta, a terrorism expert at the
University of Indonesia.
April, the pregnant wife of one of those involved in the Sri Lanka bombings
that left nearly 260 dead, detonated her own suicide vest killing herself, her
three young children, and several police officers when authorities raided their
AFP visited the safe house she now calls home, Mila, dressed in a bright pink
hijab, appeared bubbly as she took notes and asked questions during lessons.
She had never had any type of formal schooling before.
progress has been very significant. Now she can interact with people,” said
social worker Sri Musfiah Handayani.
children kissed the hand of an AFP reporter as they filed out, a common sign of
respect in Indonesia.
the treatment for Mila and her group is unique because it is specifically for
children who have been involved in suicide bomb plots, Indonesia has broader
de-radicalisation programmes which some 200 children, all related to militants,
have been through.
need to approach them gently because they were willing to die (for the cause)
so it doesn’t make sense for us to use force,” Suhardi Alius, head of the
National Agency for Combating Terrorism told AFP.
say successful rehabilitation comes down to the support they receive
assimilating back into society.
are working on a support plan for the safe-house kids to ensure they receive
healthcare and education after their treatment.
extended families are often wary about taking the children in – and that could
be a trigger for returning to extremism later in life.
secretary-general of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC), Dr. Yousef
Al-Othaimeen, stressed the importance of consolidating the relationship between
the organization and Russia during a meeting on Wednesday in Moscow.
the meeting with Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov, Al-Othaimeen said: “We
agreed on all issues related to both sides, and I can say that there is a joint
desire to promote bilateral cooperation.”
praised Saudi Arabia for supporting the organization and the issues of the
Islamic world, noting that the Moscow discussions addressed issues of common
interest. He said that the two sides were ready to promote and deepen these
terrorism was an international responsibility and Islam was innocent of the
extremism it was being accused of, Al-Othaimeen said. Terrorism and chaos were
threatening stability and peace in many Islamic countries, he added.
said: “Al-Othaimeen is welcome in Russia. Our discussions focused on issues of
common interest, especially that Russia is keen to expand these relations.”
Prabowo Subianto and President Joko "Jokowi" Widodo are set to have
their long-awaited "reconciliation meeting" later this month to heal
the wounds from a particularly divisive presidential election.
Sunday, Jokowi and his running mate Ma'ruf Amin were declared the official
winners of the election after the Constitutional Court threw out Prabowo's
Prabowo and his running mate Sandiga Uno failed to attend the announcement
ceremony at the General Elections Commission headquarters, leading to
speculation that a reconciliation between the two fierce rivals is still off
a spokesman from Prabowo's Great Indonesia Movement Party has said that the
former general will sit down for a meeting with the president sometime in July.
willing, Prabowo will meet Jokowi this month," Gerindra spokesman Andre
Rosiade said on Wednesday.
Sunday, Sandiaga had already indicated that a meeting between the two political
leaders, who also competed against each other in the 2014 presidential election,
are both great statesmen. They will show the people of Indonesia that it is now
time to bury the hatchet, reunite and build the country together," Andre
to him, Gerindra has not decided if it will join the government coalition, as
has been rumored, or remain as opposition.
will wait for Prabowo's decision on that issue," he said.
may raise the issue of the arrests of his key supporters after the election at
his meeting with Jokowi, according to Andre. But he is unlikely to bring up the
thorny subject of power-sharing in the next five years.
asked to explain how Al Qaeda financier was able to withdraw $10,000 a month
French senator has called on Qatar to explain why an Al Qaeda financier had
access to his bank account despite an asset freeze.
Goulet said that Khalifa Al Subaiy circumventing UN sanctions and having access
to his funds at Qatar National Bank was a “collective failure” and a global
needs to explain to the world why it has allowed such a dangerous person to
continue having banking services,” she wrote in an opinion piece in The Hill.
Goulet urged the international community to wake up to the dangers posed by
Subaiy has been accused by the US of giving financial support to Al Qaeda
leaders, including the architect of the September 11 attacks, Khalid Sheikh
Subaiy, who used to work at Qatar’s Central Bank and was designated for
sanctions by the UN in 2008, has been withdrawing up to $10,000 (Dh36,733) a
month for “basic necessities” despite his frozen accounts, The Wall Street
Journal reported last week.
case was part of a wider problem where ISIS and Al Qaeda-linked people were
able to use loopholes to withdraw money.
are able to apply for exemptions so sanctioned people can afford food and rent,
but some member states were criticised for failing to monitor terrorist
Goulet said associates of 9/11 plotters such as Al Subaiy did not deserve
said the bank Al Subaiy used had branches across Europe and around the world.
can only be assumed that Al Subaiy had, through this extensive global banking
network, access to those countries in which banks he uses operate," Ms
not only makes a mockery of the United Nations, it also endangers global
security,” she wrote.
officials have discovered a mass grave containing the bodies of tens of people
executed by members of the Daesh Takfiri terrorist group near the country’s
northwestern city of Raqqah.
of Raqqah Medical Association, Jamal al-Isa, told Syria’s official news agency
SANA on Tuesday that local authorities made the discovery in the al-Fukheikha
agricultural suburb of the province, located about 455 kilometers (283 miles)
northeast of the capital Damascus and there were nearly 200 corpses in the
added that some of the corpses were dressed in orange jumpsuits that were
normally worn by prisoners of Daesh.
October 31, 2018, Syrian government forces discovered a mass grave containing
the bodies of more than 1,500 people, who had lost their lives when the US-led
coalition purportedly fighting the Daesh terror outfit carried out airstrikes
told the pro-government and Arabic-language al-Watan newspaper at the time that
the discovery was made in the Panorama district of the city, which served as
the former de facto capital of the Daesh Takfiris.
day, more crimes are being uncovered which were perpetrated by the Daesh
terrorist group and the illegal US-led military alliance in Raqqah," he
head of Raqqah Medical Association noted that the US-led coalition conducted
blind bombardment on the northwestern Syrian city after Daesh terrorists
withdrew, and destroyed 85 percent of it.
Forensic Medicine General Director Zaher Hajo told al-Watan newspaper in early
January last year that Daesh Takfiris had executed 10,000 people and buried
their bodies in mass graves across Raqqah.
stressed that his colleagues had confirmed the presence of 4,000 bodies in one
went on to say that Syrian Health Minister Nizar Yazigi has ordered the
formation of a committee in order to collect the remains of the victims and
transfer them to a military hospital in Aleppo.
US-sponsored and Kurdish-led militants of the so-called Syrian Democratic
Forces (SDF) said on October 20, 2017 that it had “liberated” Raqqah after
driving out Daesh terrorists from the city.
so-called Syrian Observatory for Human Rights (SOHR) has, meanwhile, said that
the SDF’s purported operations in Raqqah have killed civilians and damaged
infrastructure in the city.
by Mohammed Ebraheem
(IraqiNews.com) – Iraq has received 100 Islamic State jihadists, including
senior leaders, from Syria, an Iraqi mayor said seemingly under an agreement to
hand over a total of 502 fighters.
Syrian side has handed the Jazeerah Operations Command a total of 100 Islamic
State elements, who were arrested by the Syrian army near the borderline with
Iraq,” the independent news website of Almaalomah quoted the mayor of Iraqi
border town Al-Qaim, Ahmed al-Mahallawi, as saying on Tuesday.
terrorists were moved to the Ain Assad airbase in al-Baghdadi district, west of
Anbar, for interrogation and judicial action,” al-Mahalawi said, adding that
there were senior leaders among the arrestees.
800 of foreign jihadist fighters who joined Islamic State, including many
Iraqis, are being held in Syria by the U.S.-backed Syrian Democratic Forces,
the group said. More than 2,000 family members are also in camps, with dozens
more arriving each day.
(IraqiNews.com) – An Iraqi paramilitary force said on Wednesday that its
fighters killed four members of the Islamic State terrorist group in Nineveh
force of the 53rd and 40th brigades of the Popular Mobilization Forces (PMF)
killed four Islamic State militants during a preemptive operation in the Sheikh
Ibrahim mountain range, south of Tal Afar,” Iraqi website Alghad Press quoted
the paramilitary force as saying in a press statement.
hotbeds of the Islamic State terrorist group were also destroyed in the
operation, the statement read.
Iraqi prime minister Haider al-Abadi announced in August 2017 that Nineveh
province was fully liberated from Islamic State after the district of Tal Afar
announcement came after the defeat of the jihadist group in the town of
Ayadiya, where the militants had fled to from Tal Afar.
State militants seized control of much of Nineveh, including the provincial
capital of Mosul, in June 2014.
(Reuters) - A rigged motorcycle exploded in Syria’s Sweida city, which the
government controls, killing three people and injuring seven others on
Wednesday night, an official there said.
situation is stable after the incident, and life is going on as normal,” Amer
al-Eshi, the governor of Sweida province in the southwest, told Syrian state
said security forces would investigate the blast which hit a crowded street,
describing it as as a “terrorist act” without giving further details.
international body of Muslim nations has condemned the opening of an Israeli
tunnel that runs beneath a Palestinian neighborhood in East Jerusalem.
Organization of Islamic Cooperation on Wednesday called it a “bold and
irresponsible move” that seeks “to alter the historic and legal status” of east
Jerusalem. The OIC reiterated its position that East Jerusalem is occupied
captured east Jerusalem in the 1967 Mideast war. Its annexation is not
Sunday, US and Israeli officials attended the opening ceremony for what they
say is a 2,000-year-old underground route that led to the Jewish Temple, where
Al-Aqsa Mosque is now located.
Ambassador David Friedman symbolically sledgehammered through a wall to unveil
the “pilgrimage road.”
J. ABBAS | EDITOR-IN-CHIEF
While most world powers either intervene reluctantly in Middle Eastern affairs
or avoid the region altogether, Japan’s Foreign Minister Taro Kono is actively
advocating a bigger political role for his country in the Arab world.
can play an honest broker in the Middle East, as we have no colonial history or
negative footprint in the region,” he told Arab News in a wide-ranging
interview at the Japanese Foreign Ministry in Tokyo.
regional stability is actually in his country’s national interest, Kono said.
“Our energy depends on imports, mostly from the Gulf region. Forty percent of
the crude oil we import comes from Saudi Arabia, 80 percent of the crude oil
and 20 percent of the gas we import goes through the Strait of Hormuz. So,
stability and peace in the Middle East is directly connected to our economy.”
Japanese diplomacy recently experienced at first hand the hazards of dealing
with some of the region’s rogue players. A Japanese tanker was attacked in the
Gulf of Oman last month during a mediation visit to Tehran by Prime Minister
Shinzo Abe, the first visit to Iran by a Japanese leader in over 40 years.
the US blamed Iran for the attack, and Secretary of State Mike Pompeo described
it as an “insult to Japan,” Tokyo’s official stance has been calm and reserved,
distancing itself from the American accusations for the time being.
strongly condemns any attack on ships going through the Strait of Hormuz and we
strongly condemn Houthi attacks with missiles and drones on Saudi people and
Saudi facilities,” Kono said.
further probed on what Japan’s reaction would be if such an incident were to
occur again, he told Arab News he hoped there would be no further attacks on
ships belonging to any countries.
for the outcome of the prime minister’s mediation visit, which aimed to
persuade Tehran to negotiate a new nuclear deal with the US, Kono said Iran’s
Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei and President Hassan Rouhani had both asserted that
Tehran had “no intention” to develop nuclear weapons, and that “nuclear weapons
are against the teachings of Islam.”
if that is true, we have nothing to worry about,” the minister said.
also seems interested in trying to resolve another Middle Eastern issue — the
lengthy and complex Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
to the US-organized Peace to Prosperity workshop in Bahrain just before the G20
summit in Osaka, Kono praised senior White House adviser Jared Kushner’s
efforts and said Tokyo was waiting to see what the political side of his plan
have been communicating with Mr. Kushner and we are now reviewing his economic
plan,” he said. “It looks nice, and we need to see what the political side
might look like. If the political side is good, I think we should all play some
role to get the peace process rolling forward, and we would be very happy to be
involved in this process.”
course, the Palestinians declined to attend the Manama workshop, citing
mistrust in the US agenda. When asked whether Japan, if invited, would be ready
to play the role of a political mediator, Kono replied: “Yes, we will be glad
has already been investing heavily in the West Bank, he said. “We have worked
with Palestinians, Israelis and Jordanians to set up an industrial park near
Jericho and it’s been going very well. Also, Japan set up a framework called
the CEAPAD (Conference in Cooperation among East Asian Countries for
Palestinian Development) to bring Southeast Asia to this peace process. We
wanted to share how we develop the Asian economy, and we want to share our
experience with Palestinians and people in the region.”
also spoke of the growing relationship his country enjoys with Saudi Arabia. At
the G20 summit in Osaka, Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman was among the
few world leaders granted an exceptional audience with the Japanese prime
said the talks confirmed the “progress of Japan and Saudi Arabia’s Vision 2030.
The Japanese government and the Japanese private sector are determined to
support His Royal Highness’s reform agenda in the Kingdom.”
is great potential for bilateral ties to go deeper, he said, with a diversified
relationship which focused not only on the economy, but on cultural exchange and
many other aspects too.
should have more exchange of people, and Japanese companies investing in Saudi
Arabia,” he said. “There are mega-projects that His Royal Highness is taking
leadership on, and we hope many Japanese companies participate in these
projects, as well as increase Saudi investment into Japan, and not limited to
the economy; we hope to receive more Saudi students coming to study in Japanese
universities and we’ll be happy to send Japanese students to Saudi Arabia.”
has met Crown Prince Mohammed on numerous occasions, and he sees many
similarities between what Vision 2030 is trying to achieve in Saudi Arabia and
what Japan has already achieved.
Royal Highness is very much interested in keeping Saudi history and tradition
but at the same time to develop the Saudi economy and society. This is similar
to what Japan has been doing. We introduced Western technology and the idea of
democracy, but at the same time we have kept Japanese values, traditions and
the Japanese way of life.
Senior Trump adviser Jared Kushner on Wednesday cautioned against
“misunderstandings” about the purpose of the "Peace to Prosperity"
conference laid out during a two-day workshop with world economic leaders last
week in Bahrain.
a 30-minute teleconference with mostly Arab world journalists, Kushner stressed
that the “economic plan” was an incentive and a foundation for a “political
plan” that he expects President Trump to outline later in the year. But he said
the economic plan will not happen unless a political solution is found, and the
economic effort could be refocused on other regions, including Africa.
said there will be more announcements next week, but gave no date for the
unveiling of the “political plan.”
his critics as “ignorant” and “hysterical” through their failure to address the
two-state solution, Kushner urged Palestinians to engage in the process and
stressed the door remains open for their participation.
will be no economic plan unless there is a political resolution” to the
Palestinian-Israeli conflict, he said.
put together a plan and this plan happens in the event that there is a peace
deal. So, again, this is not about let’s go ahead and start investing money in
this area. This is a big plan and we don’t want to start until there is an
actual peace understanding that is fair and viable,” Kushner told journalists.
goal of the workshop was to lay out an economic plan for what can happen in the
region in the event of a political solution. There is no plan to make these
investments before achieving political progress. With regard to the economic plan,
it was meant to be devoid of the politics.”
called critics of the plan “ignorant” and said that regardless of Trump’s
fondness for Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, Palestinians must “come to
their senses” and embrace this process. He said the Palestinian leadership has
failed to take any constructive steps to make their communities safer and their
people more prosperous.
regards to the Palestinian leadership, I’ll just say this: I think they made a
strategic mistake by not engaging on this. They looked very foolish by trying
to fight against this … they are saying, well you can’t have this without the
political issues,” he said.
said he has been “very explicit” that the Trump administration plans to address
the “political issues” at an appropriate time later.
were laying out a vision for what could be if we are able to resolve the
political issues. We have put out a vision of hope and prosperity for the
Palestinian people and, quite frankly, the Palestinian leadership, I am not
quite sure what they are selling to the people,” he said.
argument against it has not been one that has been substantive or even
comprehendable (sic). It has been more hysterical and erratic and not terribly
constructive. We believe the goal of leadership should be figure out how to
keep their people safe and give their people prosperity.”
said he would refuse to allow the process to be “hijacked” by critics who
is very easy to find reasons “not to resolve this,” Kushner said. “There is a
lot of emotion, a lot of issues that are hard to resolve. They are very
uncomfortable with the way that we have approached this. And their natural
response is to attack and say crazy things and, quite frankly, we don’t find
that to be terribly constructive.”
demonstrated his strong pro-Israel bias when he said that “many Palestinians”
are starting to see that it “really is not the Israelis who are responsible for
their problems and their lack of opportunities, a lot of it is their
during a brief Q&A afterwards why the process has failed to address the
two-state solution, Kushner replied: “People who are giving that criticism, I
call that uninformed criticism because they haven’t listened to what we have
been doing with this effort. If that is the best criticism they can come up
with that means they are just ignorant because they have not listened to what
we are trying to do. Those are people who are looking to find things to
criticize as opposed to people who are trying to be thoughtful, opened-minded
said that the problem falls on the shoulders of the Arab world, not on Israel,
explaining the Arab world “failed” by not absorbing the nearly 800,000
Palestinian refugees following the 1948 war, while Israel absorbed 800,000
Jewish “refugees” from Arab countries.
the past two years we have made a lot of progress in terms the Middle East
accepting Israel as a reality and as a real country. We believe this trend will
continue. There will be a point in the future where there will be normalization
with Israel and the rest of the Arab world, and when that happens it will lead
to a much more stable and safer Middle East, and there will be a lot more
economic potential and opportunity for all people in the region,” Kushner said.
have continued to be thoughtful and we have continued to be meticulous … and we
haven’t lost sight of our goal, which is to figure out how to put forward the
best set of proposals to help both the Israelis and the Palestinian people have
the opportunity to live a better life.”
the criticism, Kushner said: “Our door is always open to the Palestinian people
and to the Palestinian leadership. Whether they are willing to take that
opportunity will be up to them. What we are trying to do in our role is to
create an opportunity for both the Israelis and the Palestinians to potentially
resolve a conflict that has been unresolved for too long.”
“will work hard” to try to bring a solution to the Palestinian-Israeli conflict,
he said, but at some point “the Palestinian leadership will have to step up.”
repeated a subtle warning he made during the conference, that many
African-American leaders approached him privately and publicly asking that if
the Palestinians reject the $50 billion laid out in the Peace to Prosperity
plan, that the money be given to African nations to address their economic
we saw from this is that there is a lot of interest in the world in helping the
Palestinian people. And that the constant theme we heard from the speakers was
the plan is very technical, very credible, ambitious,” Kushner said.
is achievable, but it can’t be implemented without a peace deal, and it can’t
be implemented without good governance because without good governance people
will not want to invest in the area.”
Ali Arouzi and Saphora Smith
Iran — Iranian prosecutors are seeking the death penalty for several
individuals accused of spying for the United States, Iran’s spokesman for the
judiciary announced Tuesday.
U.S. spies affiliated with the Iranian military are due to be sentenced to
death because of the “severity of their crimes,” Iranian judiciary spokesman
Gholamhossein Esmaili said on state television.
other suspects who are also accused of spying for Washington but were not
affiliated with the military have received “long” jail sentences, he added.
News could not independently confirm the reports and the CIA said it had no
comment. A State Department spokesperson said, "We cannot comment on
matters of intelligence."
announcement comes as tensions between Tehran and Washington continue to
simmer. Iran’s state-run news agency IRNA reported Monday that the country had
breached the limit on the amount of enriched uranium it is permitted to hold
under the 2015 nuclear deal. President Donald Trump, who pulled out of the
nuclear deal last year, responded to Tehran’s decision Monday saying Iran was
“playing with fire.”
did not elaborate on when the suspected spies had been arrested or on how many
there are in custody. Iran said last year that it had arrested "tens of
spies" in state bodies, many of whom were dual nationals, according to
June, Tehran said it had executed a former contract employee of the defense
ministry aerospace body on charges of spying for the CIA, according to Iran's
state-run MEHR News.
added that Iranian intelligence services had identified U.S. spies operating
around the globe and had informed its allies of suspected spies in their
example is China who upon receiving the information from us arrested and
executed the spies,” he added. A spokesperson for the Chinese Foreign Ministry
told NBC News they had "no information" on the matter.
is not the first time Iran has made such claims. In April, Intelligence
Minister Mahmoud Alavi said Iran had identified 290 CIA agents across different
countries, according to Iran's state-run Press TV.
year, Yahoo reported that from around 2009 to 2013, the U.S. intelligence
community experienced intelligence failures originating in Iran that resulted
in more than two dozen sources dying in China. NBC News could not independently
confirm this report.
January 28, 2015, a colleague and I were driving north in Lebanon’s Bekaa
Valley to report on the latest developments involving the Islamic State of Iraq
and al-Shams (ISIS), which was then occupying a desolate mountain range
straddling the Lebanon-Syria border. Shortly before midday, we received news
that Hezbollah had just launched an ambush against an Israeli military convoy
on Lebanon’s southeast border. We immediately did a U-turn and began heading
by Hezbollah in south Lebanon against Israeli forces had been rare since the
end of the month-long 2006 war. But this one did not come as a surprise. Ten
days earlier, a pair of Israeli combat drones had attacked a motorcade in the
Golan Heights, killing six members of Hezbollah and a major general in the
Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC). Among the Hezbollah fatalities was
the son of Imad Mughniyah, Hezbollah’s military commander who had been
assassinated in Damascus seven years earlier.
“rules of the game” that dictated clashes between Israel and Hezbollah allowed
the former to strike the latter in Syria with relative impunity. But any
Israeli attacks inside Lebanon would be met with retaliation. Nevertheless,
even though the deadly drone strike occurred on Syrian territory, the deaths of
an IRGC general and the son of the revered Mughniyah was too egregious a hit
for Hezbollah to ignore.
we drove further south, the phone rang again. It was a friend in Beirut who
breathlessly asked if we had heard the news. “Hezbollah wiped out an entire
Israeli military convoy. They are talking about at least twenty soldiers dead.”
that point, we stopped driving south and turned west toward Beirut. Twenty dead
soldiers meant that Israel and Hezbollah were going to war and we needed to get
back to the Lebanese capital before the inevitable Israeli air strikes
destroyed bridges and cratered highways.
it transpired, only two Israelis died, a captain and a sergeant. And, even as
Hezbollah’s Kornet missiles were streaking toward their target, the party’s
leaders were sending messages to Israel via the United Nations office in Beirut
and the UN peacekeeping force in south Lebanon that the event was over.
However, if the Israelis chose to counter-retaliate, then Hezbollah was ready
to continue fighting.
than an immediate artillery bombardment of areas near the ambush site, the
Israelis stayed their hand, presumably surmising that the loss of two soldiers
was an acceptable price for the deaths of an IRGC general and six Hezbollah
“rules of the game” had held, but it is by such slender threads that the choice
of war or peace hangs.
more than three decades of experience battling each other among the valleys and
hills of south Lebanon, Hezbollah and the Israeli military have developed an
acute unspoken understanding of each other’s actions and behavior. This, to a
large extent, has offset the risks of accident and miscalculation from their
occasional acts of brinkmanship since 2006 that could otherwise have sparked a
war that neither side seeks.
similar dynamic of brinkmanship is underway in the Persian Gulf between
Hezbollah’s patron, Iran, and the United States. As with Hezbollah and Israel,
neither Washington nor Tehran seek an all-out war. But unlike the
Hezbollah-Israel dynamic of mutual familiarity which helps mitigate against an
escalation, neither Iran nor the US have clear understandings of each other’s
motives, agenda and behavior.
the past year, the Trump administration has sought to implement a “maximum
pressure” policy on Tehran to force compliance on a range of issues related to
Iran’s nuclear program, missile proliferation and strategic reach across the
Middle East. But Tehran has not yielded, and has begun to push back, exploiting
the nation’s asymmetrical capabilities to demonstrate the inherent risks to the
US and its allies in the region if the pressure campaign of sanctions and
threats continues. By the same token, the Iranians are having to evaluate the
intentions of a capricious American president who one moment is reversing a
decision to stage an air strike against Iran, and the next is issuing a tweet
threatening the “obliteration” of the country.
this confrontation plays out in the Persian Gulf remains to be seen, but in
Lebanon, many are anxiously wondering how Hezbollah could react if the tensions
spill over into conflict.
June 1, Hezbollah’s Secretary-General Hassan Nasrallah warned that an attack on
Iran “will mean the whole region will erupt,” adding that, “Any American forces
and American interests will be permissible” as a target.
the US has a massive conventional military edge over Iran, Tehran has
formidable asymmetric capabilities—some of which have been employed in recent
weeks—such as the shooting down of a US surveillance drone, the sabotage
attacks against several oil tankers suspected to be the work of Iran, and an
uptick in missile and combat drone attacks from Yemen into Saudi Arabia. Iran
also extends influence and backs allies across much of the Middle East: Houthi
rebels in Yemen who have been battling a Saudi-led coalition for over four
years; Shia groups affiliated with Iraq’s Hashd al-Shaabi, or Popular
Mobilization Committees; similar Iran-backed militias in Syria; and, most of
all, Hezbollah in Lebanon.
is the greatest success Iran has had in exporting the Islamic revolution. It
has evolved into arguably the most formidable non-state military force in the
world. Hezbollah fields in excess of an estimated 30,000 trained fighters, many
of whom will have gained invaluable combat experience on the bloody
battlefields of Syria since 2012. Israel estimates Hezbollah’s arsenal includes
up to 150,000 rockets and missiles. Hezbollah is believed to have acquired
advanced anti-aircraft capabilities as well as an air wing of surveillance and
combat drones, and an amphibious warfare unit that is believed to be equipped
with semi-submersible craft and swimmer dispersal vehicles for potential
seaborne infiltrations of Israeli territory. Hezbollah also has combat units
trained to breach Israeli territory in the event of another war. Small wonder,
perhaps, that for the past two years Israel has classified Hezbollah as its
number one threat.
the scale of Hezbollah’s military capabilities means that, for Iran, it is a
one-shot deal. If Hezbollah was to attack Israel in support of Tehran, it would
trigger a devastating war that could last weeks and wreak destruction on both
Lebanon and Israel. Depending on the aftermath of such a war, there is no
guarantee that Hezbollah would be able to rebuild to its pre-war capacity and
continue posing a threat to Israel and, therefore, serve as a factor of
deterrence for Tehran. Iran’s leadership understands this and will utilize its
Lebanese ally wisely.
depends on the scale of any conflict between Iran and the US. Short of full
conflict, Hezbollah’s role would likely be covert and deniable. Hezbollah
cadres are already deployed in Syria, and to lesser extents in Iraq and Yemen,
and are well-placed to support the Iranian war effort by providing assistance
and guidance to various Iran-backed entities to attack US and allied targets
across the region. However, if Tehran calculates that the scale of a US
campaign poses a potential existential threat to the Islamic Republic itself,
then Hezbollah could escalate its support mission to one of direct attack on
Israel, irrespective of the consequences on Lebanon.
question is often asked whether Nasrallah would have leeway to reject a call by
Tehran to launch a full-scale attack against Israel, in appreciation of the
destruction Lebanon will experience and the subsequent impact on his party’s
domestic popularity. In short, Nasrallah has no choice. On a pragmatic level,
an existential threat against Iran is equally threatening to Hezbollah. A
significantly weakened, or collapsed Tehran would leave Hezbollah orphaned on
the western littoral of the Middle East and susceptible over time to the
deepening bite of international sanctions and prey to the hostility of Sunnis
in Lebanon and elsewhere in the region.
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has threatened a “large-scale” military
offensive against the Gaza Strip.
claimed Wednesday that Israel wants to “restore calm,” but “same time we are
preparing for a large-scale military operation, if such an action is required.”
are my instructions to the army,” he added.
hawkish premier made the remarks after a cabinet meeting to discuss the
situation in the besieged coastal enclave. Netanyahu also held a meeting with
local and regional council heads, some of whom left the meeting in protest.
prime minister had no intention of holding a special meeting on the Gaza
envelope area as expected and as requested today,” they said.
rockets fired from Gaza in response to frequent Israeli acts of aggression have
turned into a major challenge for Netanyahu, who is grappling with corruption
scandals and whose failure to form an administration has plunged the regime
into unprecedented political chaos.
May, Israeli warplanes struck hundreds sites in Gaza, killing scores of
aerial raids on Gaza prompted the most intense fighting between the regime and
the Palestinian resistance fighters since Tel Aviv’s bloody war on the
blockaded enclave in 2014.
retaliation, the Palestinian fighters fired around 700 rockets from Gaza into
the occupied territories, killing four Israeli settlers and injuring at least
media reported that Israel’s so-called Iron Dome missile system intercepted
only 240 of the projectiles, adding that some 35 rockets and mortar shells had
struck populated areas.
least 100 civilians killed in South Sudan violence after peace deal
Sudan’s army and several armed groups killed more than 100 civilians in a surge
in violence in a southern region of the country after the signing of a peace
deal last year, a UN report said on Wednesday.
armed forces also committed sexual violence including rape against around 100
women and girls in the same region, Central Equatoria, between September 2018
and April 2019, the report by the UN peacekeeping mission in the country found.
violence in the Central Equatorian region is an exception to the trend of a
“significant decrease in conflict-related violations and abuses” across South
Sudan since the deal was signed, the report said.
Ruai Koang, South Sudan’s military spokesman, said he had not seen the report
and declined to comment on its contents.
Sudan gained independence from Sudan in 2011 but descended into a civil war two
years later. A 2018 study found that nearly 400,000 people have died as a
result of the war.
a string of failed agreements, the two main warring parties signed a deal last
September. In May, the two sides agreed to give themselves six more months to
form a unity government as part of the deal.
attackers have killed 16 soldiers in a car bomb attack on a military camp in
western Niger near the border with Mali, local residents and security sources
said on Tuesday.
raid occurred on Monday afternoon near the town of Inates in the same region
where an ambush by the West African branch of the Islamic State of Iraq and the
Levant (ISIL, also known as ISIS) armed group killed 28 soldiers in May.
Insa, the brother of one of the soldiers killed in Monday's attack, and Souley
Marou, a local villager, said that 16 soldiers had died.
security sources confirmed the death toll, and one of them said about a dozen
vehicles had been stolen. Armed fighters have previously launched attacks using
vehicles stolen in previous raids.
hosts an African Union summit from July 6 to 9, less than 200km away in the
the run-up to the summit, the European Union has been training Nigerien forces
to respond to armed attacks.
has deteriorated in recent months across West Africa's Sahel region, a
semi-arid strip of land south of the Sahara.
loyal to Adnan Abu Waleed al-Sahrawi, the ISIL leader in the Greater Sahara,
operate along Mali's border with Burkina Faso and Niger.
2017, they killed four members of US special forces and four Nigerien soldiers
in an ambush near the village of Tongo Tongo.
volatile region around Inates is a major base where soldiers are trained to
serve in a UN peacekeeping mission in Mali.
armed groups operate in Niger's west and north, while Nigeria's Boko Haram is
present in the southeast.
country is part of the so-called G5 Sahel group set up to manage a coordinated
response to the armed group.
and the United States have deployed thousands of troops to the region.
US has a big base for drones in the northern city of Agadez and Niger recently
gave Washington permission to arm their drones.
Rami Musa and Samy Magdy
Libya — An airstrike hit a detention center for migrants near the Libyan
capital of Tripoli early Wednesday, killing at least 44 people and wounding
dozens of others in an attack that the U.N. human rights chief said could
amount to a war crime. The Tripoli-based government blamed the attack on forces
associated with Gen. Khalifa Hifter, whose Libyan National Army has been waging
an offensive against rival militias in the capital of the war-torn North African
country since April.
refocused attention and raised questions about the European Union’s policy of
cooperating with the militias that hold migrants in crowded and squalid
detention centers to prevent them from crossing the Mediterranean to seek better
lives in Europe. Most of them were apprehended by the Libyan coast guard, which
is funded and trained by the EU to stem the flow of migrants.
the United Nations, the Security Council scheduled an emergency session for
later Wednesday on the airstrike in Tripoli’s Tajoura neighborhood, and
Secretary-General Antonio Guterres called for an independent investigation.
forces said they were targeting a nearby military site, not the detention
center. There also were suspicions of involvement by foreign countries allied
with his forces. Countries assisting Hifter include Egypt, the United Arab
Emirates and Russia.
migrants interviewed by The Associated Press said the airstrike hit a compound
that houses a weapons warehouse and an adjacent detention center holding about
150 migrants, including several Sudanese and Moroccans. The two spoke on
condition of anonymity for fear of reprisal.
video purported to be from inside the detention center showed blood and human
remains mixed with rubble and the belongings of the victims.
U.N. gave an initial figure of 44 dead and more than 130 wounded. But the two
migrants told the AP that three or four escaped harm and about 20 were wounded.
They said the rest were killed, indicating the final death toll could be much
higher. A Moroccan consular official said 15 Moroccans were in the center and
at least three were slightly injured. The fate of the others was unclear. The
official was not authorized to be publicly named according to government
Alfani, the Libya medical coordinator for Doctors Without Borders, visited the
detention center hours before the airstrike and said it had held 126 migrants.
Survivors fear for their lives, he said, urging their immediate evacuation.
Yaxley, a spokesman for the U.N. refugee agency, said the detention center’s
proximity to the weapons depot “made it a target for the airstrikes.”
of this detention center were well-known to both sides of the conflict,” Yaxley
said. “It was known that there were 600 people living inside. So there can be
no excuse for this center having been hit.”
said the agency had warned less than two months ago that anyone in the complex
could be caught in the fighting and an earlier airstrike nearby had wounded two
migrants. The UNHCR is sending medical teams to the site, he added.
human rights chief Michelle Bachelet said the attack “may, depending on the
precise circumstances, amount to a war crime.”
attack “killed by surprise innocent people whose dire conditions forced them to
be in that shelter,” said U.N. envoy for Libya Ghassan Salame.
Mughrabi, deputy Middle East and North Africa director for Amnesty
International, said the attack “must be investigated as a war crime” by the
International Criminal Court. The deaths are the “consequences of Libya and
Europe’s callous migration policies,” she said.
group said its research indicated a weapons storage warehouse was in the same
compound as the detention center and some of the migrants were forced to work
at the military site.
Tripoli-based Government of National Accord, which is backed by the U.N.,
called for an investigation by the world body.
became a major crossing point for migrants to Europe after the overthrow and
death of longtime dictator Moammar Gadhafi in 2011, when the North African
nation was thrown into chaos, armed militias proliferated and central authority
least 6,000 migrants from Eritrea, Ethiopia, Somalia, Sudan and other nations
are locked in dozens of detention facilities in Libya run by militias accused
of torture and other abuses. There is limited food and other supplies for the
migrants, who often end up there after arduous journeys at the mercy of abusive
traffickers who hold them for ransom from their families. More than 3,000
migrants are in danger because they are held in detention centers near the
front lines, the U.N. refugee agency said.
incident underscores the urgency to provide all refugees and migrants with safe
shelter until their asylum claims can be processed or they can be safely
repatriated,” U.N. spokesman Stephane Dujarric said.
Khaled el-Mahjoub, a spokesman for Hifter’s LNA forces, denied targeting the
detention center, saying it was the militia camp in the Tajoura neighborhood
that was the target. He did not deny, however, that the migrant detention
center was hit.
didn’t give orders to target the shelter,” he said.
Wednesday, LNA spokesman Ahmed al-Mesmari also denied that its forces targeted
the detention center and said the U.N. should investigate. He also blamed
another militia in Misrata for airstrikes south of Tripoli that killed children
in what he termed “a terrorist operation.”
EU urged Libyan authorities to better protect migrants, with its top diplomat
and two top policy commissioners saying the attack highlights “the dire and
vulnerable situation of migrants caught up in the spiral of violence.”
the attack could increase greater Western pressure on Hifter, Claudia Gazzini,
a Libya expert at the International Crisis Group, said it was highly unlikely
to change the course the fighting in and around Tripoli.
both Hifter-led forces and those loyal to the Tripoli-based government, this is
an existential war that sees little room for compromise,” she said.
did not expect any actions other than a “verbal condemnation” of Hifter’s
forces if it is proven they were behind the airstrike.
who receives support from Egypt, the UAE and Saudi Arabia, says he is
determined to restore stability to the North African country. His rivals,
mainly Islamists, are supported by Turkey and Qatar.
forces control much of Libya’s east and south but suffered a significant blow
last week when militias allied with the Tripoli government reclaimed Gharyan, a
town about 100 kilometers (62 miles) from the capital and a key LNA supply
Monday, the LNA said it had begun an air campaign on rival forces in Tripoli.
El-Mesmari, the LNA spokesman, said air forces had destroyed the main control
room for drones at Mitiga airbase in Tripoli. Mitiga airport, the capital’s
only functioning airport, said earlier it had suspended civilian traffic
following an airstrike.
Bashagha, interior minister of the Tripoli-based government, alleged that
Hifter’s foreign allies were behind the airstrike at the detention center and
told the AP that they “went mad” after his forces lost Gharyan. He did not
identify any countries or provide any supporting evidence. He also denied
weapons were stored at the detention facility complex.
analyst Oded Berkowitz said the LNA has “a handful of obsolete aircraft” in
poor condition. He said it has received spare parts and decommissioned aircraft
from Egypt and possibly Russia.
and the UAE have been conducting air operations on behalf of the LNA, but there
are no indications that the UAE transferred aircraft to the LNA,” he said.
fighting for Tripoli has threatened to plunge Libya into another bout of
violence on the scale of the conflict that ousted Gadhafi.
is suffering medical conditions in his head, neck and eyes and the situation is
the same with my mother. The doctors have diagnosed lead and cadmium in his
blood 20 times higher than normal levels," Badia told FNA on Wednesday.
reminded that lead damages all organs in the body, specially the brain, liver,
blood and bones, and expressed concern that high amounts of lead in the blood
can lead to stroke.
noted that cadmium also causes many problems in the body, including lung
cancer, and said, "Sheikh and his wife are in danger."
called for their immediate transfer to an equipped hospital outside Nigeria to
be treated for all their problems, and said, "There are specialized hospitals
in India to provide the treatment and medication needed for such
Zakzaky, who is in his mid-sixties, lost his eyesight in one eye in a 2015 raid
by security forces, that left more than 300 of his followers and three of his
sons dead. His wife also sustained serious wounds.
has been kept in custody along his wife and a large number of his followers
in 2016, Nigeria’s federal high court ordered his unconditional release from
jail following a trial, but the government has so far refused to set him free.
medical team responsible to treat Sheikh Zakzaky warned of his poor health
conditions due to damage to his liver.
leader of Islamic Movement in Nigeria (IMN), who has been held in detention
since December 2015 following a deadly raid by the Nigerian army troops on his
residence in the country’s Northern Kaduna State is unwell, the medical team
warned last month.
least 44 people were killed and more than 130 wounded in an air strike on a
migrant detention center in the Libyan capital Tripoli, the UN mission to the
country said on Wednesday.
Libya envoy Ghassan Salame condemned the attack, saying in a statement that the
strike “clearly amounts to the level of a war crime.”
Paris-based NGO Wednesday called for urgent evacuation of refugees and migrants
held in detention centers in Libya in the wake of a fresh attack killing many
Alfani, Libya medical coordinator of the international medical humanitarian
organization Doctors Without Borders/Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF), said late
Tuesday's airstrike on the Tajoura detention center in Tripoli, Libya,
reportedly killed dozens of migrants and refugees.
a written statement, Alfani called the airstrike "a horrific tragedy that
could have easily been avoided," adding that the MSF teams provided
medical care at the place.
is needed now is not empty condemnation but the urgent and immediate evacuation
of all refugees and migrants held in detentions centers out of Libya,"
said there were more than 600 vulnerable men, women, and children trapped in the
Tajoura detention center at the time of the attack.
teams visited the center earlier yesterday and saw 126 people in the cell that
was hit. Those who survived are in absolute fear for their lives," he
Libya’s UN-recognized Government of National Accord (GNA) accused forces loyal
to East Libya-based military commander Khalifa Haftar of killing migrants
staying at a shelter in the capital Tripoli.
least 80 migrants were also reportedly wounded in the attack in an eastern
suburb of Tripoli.
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