Ould al-Walid, known as “Abu Hafs al-Mauritani”, is the former Mufti of
Mufti Abu Hafs Sheds Light on Iran, Qatar Influence on Extremist Groups
Hell Awaits If Non-Muslims Lead, Hadi Says In Piece Calling For Islamic
Must Respect Intl. Law, Leave Occupied Golan Heights: Jordan
Taliban Call off Peace Talks with US Over ‘Agenda Differences’
MPs Pass Contentious Citizenship Bill That Excludes Muslims
as Islamists Reportedly Spotted at Muslim Meeting in Cologne, Germany
Affirms Support for Regional Peace Initiatives
Hell Awaits If Non-Muslims Lead, Hadi Says In Piece Calling For Islamic
to focus on Shariah financing to fund infrastructure projects in 2019
against Muslim group draws flack in Indonesia
Siang: Will Hadi Awang’s ‘hell’ warning scare MIC away from Cameron Highlands?
running mate offers Ahok olive branch
politician reports Muslim official over Mandarin campaign remark
Mufti Abu Hafs Sheds Light on Iran, Qatar Influence on Extremist Groups
Tortured In Iraq Kurdistan for ‘Daesh Links’
to Distance Itself from GCC as Israel Expand Ties With Arab States'
No Practical Step Taken to Establish Ceasefire in Hudaydah
Attack in East Syria Leaves 32 Dead
Security Forces Attack Qatif, Kill 5 People
US-Backed SDF Militants Killed, 11 Wounded by Unknown Assailants in Raqqa
ambassador to Russia: Iran has legitimate interests in Syria
Must Respect Intl. Law, Leave Occupied Golan Heights: Jordan
Town Honours 'Martyrs' Killed In Recent Protests against Government
airstrikes kill 10 al-Shabaab militants in Somalia
troops foil Boko Haram attack
Buhari accepts setbacks in Boko Haram fight
Taliban Call off Peace Talks with US Over ‘Agenda Differences’
of Rohingya flee India for Bangladesh: Officials
Rohingya deportations slammed
militants killed in separate airstrikes of Coalition and Afghan Special Forces
MPs Pass Contentious Citizenship Bill That Excludes Muslims
here to stay as long as nations use it as state policy: Army chief
Can use ‘influence’ over Taliban for India
Swaroopanand Saraswati Seeks Muslims’ Cooperation to Defeat Communal Elements
Australia discuss trade, defence, counter-terrorism ahead of Raisina Dialogue
State flag desecrates Kashmir mosque
Ranjan Gogoi-led Constitution bench on Ayodhya, hearing starts Jan 10
as Islamists Reportedly Spotted at Muslim Meeting in Cologne, Germany
Outreach to Islamic World In 2019 Has Deep Roots
puts Iran intelligence unit and two staff on terrorism list, freezes assets
Minister: Iran behind two assassinations in the Netherlands
lost legitimacy, British envoy says
to impose sanctions on Iranian intelligence service
Affirms Support for Regional Peace Initiatives
Asserts Pak ‘Paid Huge Price’ In Afghan War
questions why Crown Prince was feasted at a ‘university’
body proposes giving boost to construction activities in Gwadar
reiterates Pak’s commitment to help end bloodshed in Afghanistan
pledges to continue efforts for peace in country
Opposition Politician Secretly Visits Abu Dhabi, Meets Top Emirati Officials:
to ask US to hand over military bases in Syria
pact can be ‘misused for military missions’ in the Gulf
set to discuss new Yemen mission proposed by Guterres
limits crossing Rafah for Palestinians of Gaza, Hamas official says
envoy holds talks with Yemen president amid preparations to boost Hodeidah
Special Envoy Khalilzad Embarks On 4-Country Tour for Afghan Peace Efforts
US committed to security of Jordan, confronting ISIS and Iran
Trump, Pompeo Vows To Punish Saudi over Khashoggi Murder
says new US conditions for Syria withdrawal a 'mistake'
Community Hopes To Build Mosque in Leamington
by New Age Islam News Bureau
Hell Awaits If Non-Muslims Lead, Hadi Says In Piece Calling For Islamic Supremacy
LUMPUR, Jan 8 — Datuk Seri Abdul Hadi Awang has delivered a warning to Muslims
to place their trust in Muslim leaders regardless of their wickedness, claiming
that believers will end up in hell if led by non-Muslims.
a lengthy opinion piece titled “Rule of Law: Where is Allah?” today, the PAS
president stressed the importance of religion in keeping the law, and the
importance for Islam to reign supreme in the governance of country.
the one leading is a Muslim, even if he were cruel, at least (others) can
become cattle herders,” the Marang MP wrote.
if the one who leads is a non-Muslim, even if he were the kindest, (others) can
work however they wish [but] without any limits of what is ‘halal’ and ‘haram’
they will still end up in hell.”
remark was a rehash of a quote he frequently cites from Muhammad ibn Abbad
al-Mu’tamid from the Abbadid dynasty, the third and last ruler of Seville under
al-Andalus, the medieval Muslim territory over Iberia.
his kingdom fell to Moroccan Berber invaders, Al-Mu’tamid was quoted saying: “I
have no desire to be branded by my descendants as the man who delivered
al-Andalus as prey to the infidels I would rather be a camel-driver in Africa
than a swineherd in Castile”.
his piece, Hadi stressed that the country can only be saved with guidance from
Allah, including a faith-based judiciary that is superior to man-made laws.
also claimed that only an Islamic party deserves to inherit Quranic teachings
to provide such guidance — a veiled reference to his own Islamist party —
rather than party devoid of morals and faith to God and his Prophet.
his dissection of the “Rule of Law”, Hadi had urged for Prophet Muhammad to be
the role model of law-keeping, including forsaking revenge by pardoning those
ever take the infidelic West as an example, because the best of them will still
end up in hell, since their kindness is without any faith to Allah and the End
Times,” he wrote.
of Law” refers to a concept where all members of society, regardless of status,
are subject to and governed by the same set of laws.
has long been a proponent of a Malay-Muslim rule. In 2017, he pointed out that
Malaysia should be led by the Malay-Muslims as they are the dominant community,
and suggested that the group holds the top decision-making positions in the
Mufti Abu Hafs sheds light on Iran, Qatar influence on extremist groups
Ould al-Walid, known as “Abu Hafs al-Mauritani,” the former Mufti of al-Qaeda,
revealed in an interview with Al Arabiya English what he described as the
balanced relationship pursued by both the Iranian regime and Qatar with armed
to his interpretation, the two countries’ relations with al-Qaeda, the Takfir,
Hijra, Libyan Islamic Fighting Group and other armed groups are part of the
agenda to maintain “political interests”.
is no doubt that Iran was present with al-Qaeda for more than one reason,
including the geographical location adjacent to Afghanistan. Qatar also had a
partial presence, as it wasn’t in the face of the Taliban, and I think it is
the only country that did not send troops to Afghanistan during the American
war,” he told Al Arabiya English.
Hafs added: “Qatar had a certain policy towards Islamic trends and it was less
hostile than the rest of the other countries. This led armed groups and
organizations to exclude Qatar from the rest of the Gulf countries, despite its
involvement in what is known as the war on terrorism.”
Hafs – the negotiator who finalized the deal to house al-Qaeda and other armed
terrorist organization in Iran after the war on Afghanistan following the 9/11
attacks – said: “Iran was keen not to clash with Islamist groups and was really
doing politics. Iran was able to avoid the armed confrontation on its territory
with these groups. At the same time, Iran sought to not be the starting point
for any military action against other countries, (as he described)”.
to him, Tehran “managed to retain a kind of excellence and independence in the
face of the so-called terrorism, Iran did not engage in the US war on
terrorism, making gains through this balance.”
explained: “I was responsible for negotiating with the Iranians when members of
the organization and their families entered Iran. Al-Qaeda leaders asked me to negotiate
with the Iranians, but I refused because in the past Iran tried to initiate a
relationship and al-Qaeda turned it down, so it was clear that considering the
situation they will not accept”.
also said that this impression was transferred to the Iranian side so they
sought contact and discussed the humanitarian situation and about overcoming
past differences. “Negotiating with them was not limited to the issue of
al-Qaeda, but included all the jihadi and Islamic groups that were present in
Afghanistan,” said Abu Hafsa.
Hafs said that after the fall of Taliban, when militant groups had to leave
Afghanistan, the Iranians asked him to negotiate the admission of women,
children, widows and victims of the US war on terror and the transit of
fighters across their territory.
large number of young men who were under watch were able to return and others
couldn’t since they didn’t have official papers or had problems in their
countries of origin. They stayed in Iran until the international community
became wary of their presence so they were arrested,” he said.
news emerged about the presence of some al-Qaeda leaders in Tehran, the Iranian
Revolutionary Guard had to hand over some individuals and others to the
government of Pakistan, while keeping the more important figures in the
fact is Iranians handled the situation very well; they secured themselves with
the Americans as well as with militant groups.”
Hafs also praised how the Iranian regime treated al-Qaeda Shoura Council and
other leaders of the extremist groups. “At first, we were put in jail and then
they liberated us, they treated us well, and they did not deliberately insult
our sects or doctrines,” he said.
the mysterious relationship between Qatari and Iranian regimes, and Islamist
armed groups, Abu Hafs said: “This does not mean there is a special
relationship between Qatar and Iran and these armed groups, in fact these two
countries were looking after their political interests, where they were less
severe in the confrontation and had converging policies and I think they
succeeded to a large extent, while there are major countries which couldn’t
assess things properly and engaged in the US war.”
‘infidels’ from the Arab Peninsula
Hafs al-Mauritani who stayed in Tehran – with other al-Qaeda leaders – for a
decade, explained that the “Jihadist” extremist groups ignored the presence of
al-Udeid American base in Qatar, which was the base for launching American
raids targeting Taliban and al-Qaeda in Afghanistan and Iraq.
to him, they believed in the agenda: “Expel the Infidels from the Arab
groups do not classify Qatar as a state that applies the rules of Islamic
Sharia’h, nor is it a good role model, nor their view toward Turkey or Iran,
according to the understandings and definitions of these groups, but they see
that these countries did not consider the wars of these groups a priority for
them. There are countries that volunteer in the fight against al-Jamaat and all
that is Islamic and thus topped the list of hostility by Islamic groups.”
added that both Qatar and Iran managed to break the intensity of hostility
toward Islamist groups and have not made it a priority to confront them at
Hafs also explained Osama bin Laden’s choice of Qatar as a destination for his
son, Hamza bin Laden currently the leader of al-Qaeda, as mentioned in his
diaries released by the US authorities.
to him, this is due to his (Osama bin Laden) contentment at Qatar’s political
approach of not confronting Islamist and armed groups and not pursuing strict
policy against them.
Sheikh Osama felt it (Qatar) will be the best country for his sons to live in,
and today Qatar hosts a number of Osama bin Laden sons after they returned from
their mother’s home in Syria’s Latakia, after leaving Iran, and they were
granted the Qatari nationality,” he added.
Jazeera and Osama bin Laden
Hafs al-Mauritani, who was al-Qaeda Mufti, confirmed that details mentioned in
documents seized from Osama bin Laden’s compound in Pakistan’s Abbottabad –
regarding al-Qaeda leader’s communication with Al-Jazeera’s correspondents –
channel was for them the most important watched Arab satellite TV, that’s why
addresses for Al-Jazeera correspondents were provided, as it was very natural
that these Islamist movements seek to spread their messages through the most
popular channels,” he said.
Osama bin Laden and al-Qaeda were eager to deliver their message through it. On
the other hand, Al-Jazeera allowed broadcasting of the messages of Islamist
movements more than any other channel, and it also sought to cover news related
to Osama bin Laden and al-Qaeda,” he said.
Hafs pointed out that Al-Jazeera – following pressure from the United States
and Britain – “adopted a different policy, only publishing news with value to
its standard and editorial policy.”
must respect intl. law, leave occupied Golan Heights: Jordan
has hit out at Israel over its recent call for the United States to recognize
the regime’s occupation of the Golan Heights, saying Tel Aviv will have to
eventually pull its forces out of the Syrian region.
Golan Heights are occupied Syrian territory. International law is clear on
that. It has to be treated as such,” Jordanian Foreign Minister Ayman Safadi
told a press conference with US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo in Amman on
then called on the Tel Aviv regime to leave the Golan Heights based on the 1974
Golan ceasefire deal with the Damascus government.
position is that Israel needs to withdraw from that territory in the framework
of a peace agreement,” Safadi said.
two days earlier, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu stressed that Israel would
“never leave the Golan Heights,” urging all countries to recognize the regime’s
grip over the occupied territory. Netanyahu made the comments in a meeting with
US National Security Adviser John Bolton in the occupied Jerusalem al-Quds.
1967, Israel waged a full-scale war against Arab territories, during which it
occupied a large swathe of Syria’s Golan and annexed it four years later, a
move never recognized by the international community.
1973, another war, known as the Arab-Israeli War, broke out. A year later, a
United Nations-brokered ceasefire came into force, according to which Tel Aviv
and Damascus agreed to separate their troops and create a buffer zone in the
has over the past decades built dozens of settlements in the Golan Heights in
defiance of international calls for the regime to stop its illegal construction
has repeatedly reaffirmed its sovereignty over the Golan Heights, saying the
territory must be completely restored to its control.
2011 – when foreign-sponsored militancy first broke out across Syria – Israel
has been using Golan to prop up anti-Damascus Takfiri terrorists.
in his remarks, Safadi, whose country is the custodian of Jerusalem al-Quds'
Muslim holy sites, described the decades-long Israeli-Palestinian conflict as
the region’s central problem.
Amman and Washington “don’t always agree on every issue, we will continue to
work together to solve the region’s problems,” he added.
Taliban call off peace talks with US over ‘agenda differences’
Afghan Taliban said on Tuesday they had called off peace talks with US
officials in Qatar this week due to an “agenda disagreement”, especially over
the involvement of Afghan officials as well as a possible ceasefire and
days of peace talks had been set to start on Wednesday, Taliban officials told
Reuters earlier, but the hardline Islamic militant group had refused to allow
“puppet” Afghan officials to join.
war in Afghanistan is America’s longest overseas military intervention. It has
cost Washington nearly a trillion dollars and killed tens of thousands of
U.S. officials insisted that the Taliban should meet the Afghan authorities in
Qatar and both sides were in disagreement over declaring a ceasefire in 2019,”
a Taliban source told Reuters.
sides have agreed to not meet in Qatar.”
spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid said earlier the two sides were still working on
the technical details and were not clear on the agenda for the talks.
US Embassy in Kabul did not immediately respond to a request for comment about
talks, which would have been the fourth round with US special envoy Zalmay
Khalilzad, would have involved a US withdrawal, prisoner exchange and the
lifting of a ban on movement of Taliban leaders, a Taliban leader had told
sources said that they had demanded US authorities release 25,000 prisoners and
they would free 3,000, but that US officials were not keen to discuss the
exchange at this stage.
would never announce any ceasefire until and unless we achieve major gains on
the ground. We have the feeling that Zalmay Khalilzad doesn’t have enough power
to make important decisions,” a second Taliban official said.
Taliban said Khalilzad would visit the United Arab Emirates, Afghanistan,
Pakistan, India and China to continue the discussion. Khalilzad’s office was
not available for a comment.
Taliban have rejected repeated requests from regional powers to allow Afghan
officials to take part in the talks, insisting that the United States is their
main adversary in the 17-year war.
insurgents, seeking to reimpose strict Islamic law after their 2001 ouster by
US-led troops, called off a meeting with US officials in Saudi Arabia this week
because of Riyadh’s insistence on bringing the Western-backed Afghan government
to the table. Saudi Arabia, Pakistan and the UAE took part in the last round of
talks in December.
diplomats based in Kabul said Pakistan’s cooperation in the peace process will
be crucial to its success. Independent security analysts and diplomats said the
neighbouring country’s powerful military has kept close ties with the Afghan
officials have accused Pakistan of providing safe haven to Taliban militants in
its border regions and using them as an arm of its foreign policy. Pakistan
denies the claim.
United States, which sent troops to Afghanistan in the wake of Sept. 11, 2001,
attacks on New York and Washington and at the peak of the deployment had more
than 100,000 troops in the country, withdrew most of its forces in 2014.
keeps around 14,000 troops there as part of a NATO-led mission aiding Afghan
security forces and hunting militants.
last month about U.S. President Donald Trump’s plans to withdraw thousands of
troops from Afghanistan triggered uncertainty in Kabul which depends on the
United States and other foreign powers for military support and training.
peace talks gained momentum a draft agreement drawn up by the influential U.S.
think tank RAND Corporation outlining the clauses for a potential peace deal
was circulated among Afghan officials and diplomats in Kabul.
document, reviewed by Reuters, suggests that the United States and NATO
withdraw their military missions in phases over an expected period of 18
months. It adds that the United States may continue providing civilian
MPs pass contentious citizenship bill that excludes Muslims
DELHI: India's lower house passed Tuesday legislation that will grant
citizenship to members of certain religious minorities but not Muslims,
sparking protests in the country's northeast.
bill seeks to give citizenship to Hindus, Sikhs, Jains, Buddhists, Christians
and Parsis from Afghanistan, Pakistan and Bangladesh, who came to India before
Dec. 31, 2014.
have called the proposal, contained in a Citizenship Amendment Bill, 2019, blatantly
anti-Muslim and an attempt by Prime Minister Narendra Modi's Hindu nationalist
Bharatiya Janata Party to boost its Hindu voter base ahead of a general
election due by May.
legislation, which still needs approval in the upper house, sparked a second
day of protests Tuesday in the northeastern state of Assam, where millions have
settled in recent decades after fleeing neighboring countries.
in the state are angry about the bill not because it excludes Muslims but
because it grants citizenship to settlers from elsewhere, accusing the migrants
of taking away jobs from indigenous groups.
wants to give citizenship to immigrants belonging to religious minorities
persecuted in neighboring Muslim countries, including Pakistan, because they
have nowhere go except India, Rajnath Singh told Parliament Tuesday. "The
beneficiaries of the bill can reside in any state of the country."
there is significant opposition to the proposal, in particular from the
northeastern state of Assam, where residents have for years complained that
immigrants from Bangladesh have put a big strain on resources.
Singh tried to reassure Assam it would not have to bear any burden alone.
burden of those persecuted migrants will be shared by the whole country. Assam
alone should not have to bear the entire burden," he said.
year the Assam government published a draft citizens' register that left off
four million people unable to prove they were living there before 1971, when
millions fled Bangladesh's war of independence.
deadline to provide documents to be included in the registry passed on December
31, and the final list is due to be published on June 30.
Tuesday's protests in Assam, the militant North East Students' Organization
vandalized BJP offices and set banners and posters on fire.
Bhattacharyya from NESO told AFP that people in the region would not
"accept the political injustice perpetrated by the BJP".
said that protesters threw stones at officers.
have identified the stone pelters by seeing video footage and they will be
booked soon," Assam police official Surjeet Singh Panesar said.
Monday a small party in the BJP-led coalition in Assam, the Asom Gana Parishad,
walked out of the alliance in protest at the bill, saying it would lead to an
influx of Bangladeshi Hindus.
representatives of the Muslim Brotherhood, regarded as an Islamist and even
terrorist organization in some countries, have reportedly attended a recent
conference in Cologne, dedicated to the future of European Muslims. The event’s
organisers have insisted it is important to stay in contact with all
"socially relevant groups".
Turkish-Islamic Union for Religious Affairs (DITIB), that organised the II
Meeting of European Muslims in the recently opened central mosque in Cologne
(the biggest one in Germany), is under fire in Germany over reports about the
Muslim Brotherhood* participating in the gathering.
the newspaper Kölner Stadt-Anzeiger reported, members of the Egyptian-founded
organisation, attended the event along with about a hundred guests, who
gathered to discuss the future of Muslims in Europe. The regional Interior
Minister in North Rhine-Westphalia confirmed that two participants were
identified as ones linked to the Muslim Brotherhood, which the Office for the
Protection of the Constitution closely monitors.
from both the Christian Democrat Union and the Social Democrats have strongly
criticised the organisers for cooperating with religious radicals. The head of
the city district, where the event took place, also lambasted the DITIB,
condemned earlier for receiving support from Turkey’s governmental body of
religious affairs Diyanet. Josef Wirges (SPD) told the German broadcaster ARD
that he had not been informed about the three-day congress.
the same time, the DITIB’s spokesman told the German press agency that it was
important to stay in contact with all "socially relevant groups".
Although in the final statement the DITIB mentioned terrorist organisations
that abuse Islamic teachings, there was no reference to the Muslim Brotherhood.
Additionally, it expressed concern over physical manifestations of
security authorities in Germany are warning about a growing number of Muslim
Brotherhood supporters, topping 1,000, with 109 radical prayer houses, 50
Islamic centres and the central office "Islamic Community in Germany
e.V." (IGD), located in Cologne. In an interview with the German outlet
Focus, head of the regional office for the constitutional protection Burkhard
Freier noted that the danger posed by the Muslim Brotherhood is much greater
than by Salafists.
assurances, the IGD and the network of co-operators pursue one goal above all:
the establishment of Islamic states of God, eventually in Germany as well”, he
its founding in Egypt in 1928, the Muslim Brotherhood has fledged into a
pan-Islamic organisation with over a million worldwide members in 70 countries.
It is regarded as a terrorist organisation in many countries, including Russia,
Egypt, Saudi Arabia, and the United Arab Emirates. In Sweden, the MB has been
active since the late 1970s.
affirms support for regional peace initiatives
The army’s top brass on Tuesday affirmed its support for “all initiatives” for
affirmation was made at the corps commanders’ conference held at the General
reiterated to continue its efforts for bringing enduring peace in the country
while supporting all initiatives towards regional peace,” the Inter-Services
Public Relations (ISPR) said at the end of the meeting presided over by Army
Chief Gen Qamar Javed Bajwa and attended by the corps commanders and the
principal staff officers. The meeting reviewed geo-strategic environment and
security situation of the country.
statement did not specify which regional peace initiatives it was referring to,
but it was apparently about the Afghan peace process.
has lately initiated a new effort to restart the stalled peace talks by
facilitating a meeting between the Taliban and the United States at Abu Dhabi.
meeting was described as “positive” and “productive” by the UAE and the US,
respectively, and it had been decided by all stakeholders that the process
would continue. The next meeting, it is said, would be held soon though its
venue and dates are yet to be announced.
alongside this process Pakistan has announced revival of a trilateral process
with Turkey and Afghanistan although it is being pitched as a new initiative,
whose summit will be held in Istanbul. Moreover, Pakistan has in the past also
worked with Qataris, Russians, and the Chinese for Afghan peace. Iranians have
also started their own process and have held a couple of rounds of meetings
with the Taliban.
latest effort launched together with the US, the UAE and Saudi Arabia has not
gone down well with some of Pakistan’s other partners with whom it remained
engaged in the past. It was for this reason Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood
Qureshi last month undertook a whirlwind regional tour for explaining his
government’s latest initiative.
ISPR in a way endorsed what Mr Qureshi told the Russians, Chinese, Qataris and
Iranians during his visits. The Pakistani position has been that it supports a
negotiated settlement of the Afghan conflict.
commanders also deliberated on the progress made on fencing of Afghan border.
Of the total planned length of 2,611km, 643km have been fenced — 461km in
Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and 182km in Balochistan. Moreover, 233 forts have been
completed and another 140 are under construction. A total of 843 border forts
are planned to be constructed along Pak-Afghan border.
meeting also discussed ceasefire violations by India along the Line of Control.
Afghan President’s Special Envoy for Regional Consensus for Afghan Peace, Umer
Daudzai, met Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi at the Foreign Office.
was Mr Daudzai’s first visit abroad since he was given this new role.
Qureshi told the envoy that there was a growing international convergence on
the need to end the suffering of Afghan people through peaceful settlement of
said that Pakistan would do all it could to help the people of Afghanistan see
the earliest possible end to bloodshed and enter a new phase of peace and
will dip further into Islamic sovereign bond sales this year to fund
infrastructure projects, relying less on global investors and expediting a
deepening of its financial markets.
finance ministry expects to use 28.43tn rupiah ($1.96bn) of 2019 sukuk proceeds
to build 619 projects encompassing roads, ports, airports, railways, and
marriage halls, director general of Budget Financing and Risk Management Luky
Alfirman said last month.
year’s sukuk projects are expected to reach 22.53tn rupiah.
want to bring alternatives to state budget financing and deepen the Shariah
financial market,” Alfirman told a forum in Jakarta on December 21.
Islamic bond market in the world’s largest Muslim-majority nation is lagging
behind neighbouring Malaysia. With Muslims making up almost 90% of the
population, the size of Shariah-compliant bonds will account for about 25% to
30% of the gross borrowing set for this year.
total outstanding of tradable government bonds amounted to 2,374.5tn rupiah as
of December 11, 16% of it in Islamic securities. The slice of banking assets
complying with the ban on interest hovered at about 5% for the past three
sukuk market is smaller compared to the conventional market,” Alfirman said.
“Hence, companies issue more conventional bonds rather than sukuk.”
Asia’s largest economy relies heavily on offshore funds to finance its budget
deficit, with foreign investors owning almost 40% of its bonds. The government
sees the fiscal deficit at 1.9% of gross domestic product last year.
hardliners in Indonesia have come under fire from rights activists for breaking
up a recent book launch held by members of an Ahmadiyya group.
incident sparked calls for regulations limiting the activities of Ahmadis to be
of the book launch at an Ahmadiyya mosque in Bandung in West Java province were
forced to call the event off after protesters from dozens of hard-line groups,
including the notorious Islamic Defenders Front, gathered outside and
threatened to storm the venue despite a heavy police presence.
book in question featured works of the sect's founder Mirza Ghulam Ahmad.
protesters claimed the event was in defiance of a 2008 joint ministerial decree
banning the Ahmadiyya from disseminating their beliefs and teachings as well as
a 2011 regulation from the governor restricting Ahmadi activities.
held the rally to enforce the joint ministerial decree and the regulation which
both clearly prohibit the Ahmadiyya community's activities in Indonesia,"
one protester, Muhammad Ro'in, told BBC Indonesia.
Ahmadiyya community, which believes the Prophet Mohammed was not the last
prophet, has long been subjected to persecution and discrimination from
has included restricting the sect's ability to worship and turning a blind eye
to acts of violence, according to rights activists, who said such persecution
runs contrary to Indonesia's secular constitution.
2008 joint ministerial decree and subsequent local edicts have helped spur such
persecution they said.
director of research at the Jakarta-based Setara Institute for Democracy and
Peace, said intolerant groups would continue to make use of the regulations to
justify their acts.
actions like this will re-occur if the regulations are not revoked,"Halili
and local governments have a duty to serve as protectors of citizens' rights
particularly those of vulnerable minority groups, he said.
Selestinus, coordinator of the Indonesian Democratic Defenders Team, said
authorities should act to dispel the idea held by many hard-line groups that
they are more powerful than the state.
happened in Bandung certainly threatens minority groups' safety," he said.
constitution states that adhering to a certain religion or belief is the right
of every citizen, with no exception," he said.
moderate Muslim scholar Ahmad Suaedy also strongly condemned the protest.
LUMPUR, Jan 9 — DAP's Lim Kit Siang continued today to press MIC over the
party’s apparent decision to possibly give up contesting the Cameron Highlands
by-election amid reports that Umno wants the seat for itself.
Iskandar Puteri MP questioned MIC’s delay in naming a candidate for the federal
seat, and wondered if it was due to PAS president Datuk Seri Abdul Hadi Awang’s
warning yesterday that hell awaits Muslims if they are led by non-Muslims.
is of more immediate interest, however, is whether MIC is going to concede
Cameron Highland seat to Umno because of Hadi’s warning of ‘hell’ and PAS’ 3578
actual fact, I have great doubts that Hadi will be able to deliver the 3,578
votes in the Cameron Highlands by-election on January 26, as I do not believe
that the general PAS membership are ‘all fours’ with Hadi in rejecting Malaysia
as a plural society and his antediluvian view that a corrupt Muslim is always
better than clean and honest non-Muslims, which is also not the teaching of
Islam or the great religions of the world,” Lim said.
the Cameron Highlands federal seat has been contested by MIC since 2004. During
the 14th General Election, the party’s vice-president Datuk C Sivarraajh
defeated DAP candidate M Manogaran.
then filed a petition on June 4, 2018 to cancel the result of the Cameron
Highlands constituency for violating the Election Offences Act.
accused Sivarraajh of allegedly giving bribes of between RM30 and RM1,000 to
Orang Asli voters via their Tok Batin (community chiefs) to ensure they voted
November 30, 2018 the seat was declared null and void by the Election Court as
it was proven that Sivarraajh was aware and consented to corrupt practices
the same statement, Lim also condemned Abdul Hadi’s warning of ‘hell’ and
accused the PAS chief of finally showing his true colours.
said the nation could now understand why under Abdul Hadi’s leadership the
Islamist party had supported former prime minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak’s
veteran politician accused Abdul Hadi of not being fully committed to battle
corruption, since the latter regards a corrupt Muslim as better than a clean
non-Muslim and this was the reason there was no strong objections against
corruption scandals such as 1MDB, Felda, Felcra, Mara and Tabung Haji.
also observed that PAS is now laying claim to be the only party to fight for
the Malay-Muslim agenda in light of Umno’s fall from grace.
PAS leaders cannot be more wrong as PAS cannot have the monopoly to champion
the Malay-Muslim agenda in Malaysia.
recent statement of regret issued by Indonesian vice-presidential candidate
Ma'ruf Amin for testifying against former Jakarta governor Basuki Tjahaja
Purnama in a blasphemy case has paved the way for a reconciliation between the
two, with analysts viewing it as a political move to appease pluralists.
a 48-second interview with a local media outlet which went viral last week, the
75-year-old conservative cleric, formerly chairman of the influential
Indonesian Ulema Council (MUI), admitted that he was made to give the testimony
as part of law enforcement.
Ma'ruf, the running mate of President Joko Widodo in polls set for April, was a
key prosecution witness in a case that led to the imprisonment of Basuki,
popularly known by his Chinese nickname Ahok, on the grounds that he had
insulted the Quran.
Institute of Sciences socio-political researcher Amin Mudzakkir said Mr
Ma'ruf's recent statement has served as a precondition to a reconciliation with
Basuki on his expected release from jail on Jan 24. He underlined the
statement's political nature, saying it is aimed at attracting voters from
minority groups, particularly Basuki's supporters.
Ahok later responds to Ma'ruf positively, that could be productive for Ma'ruf's
campaign," Mr Amin told The Straits Times, adding that the statement needs
to be followed by a meeting between the two later, in order to create a
Jakarta's first Chinese and Christian governor, was sentenced to two years'
jail after a Jakarta court ruled that he was guilty of blasphemy against Islam
in May 2017, just weeks after he lost the Jakarta gubernatorial election to his
rival, former culture and education minister Anies Baswedan.
early release took into account remission that he received over the Christmas
analyst Arya Fernandes from the Centre for Strategic and International Studies
said Mr Ma'ruf's statement is a political move based on electoral
considerations as he does not want to lose votes from minority groups and
groups are waiting to see Mr Ma'ruf's further commitment on pluralism because
Ahok's case showed his different stance," Mr Arya said. "The
statement is to comfort the minority."
his tenure as MUI chairman, Mr Ma'ruf supported controversial regulations, like
a ministerial decree that bans religious activities of Ahmadiyah followers, and
issued unfavourable recommendations, including one suggesting that Muslims do
not congratulate Christians celebrating Christmas.
decision by Mr Joko, a reform-minded leader, to pick Mr Ma'ruf as his partner
in his re-election bid is seen by many as a way to boost his Islamic
credentials - and temper his image of being anti-Islam - in the country with
the world's biggest Muslim population.
Arya, however, noted that the impact of the statement on the electability of
the Joko Widodo-Ma'ruf Amin pair is likely to be insignificant as there has
been no notable change in Mr Joko's popularity among voters after he declared
his intention to team up with Mr Ma'ruf in August last year.
(THE JAKARTA POST/ASIA NEWS NETWORK) - A National Awakening Party (PKB)
politician of Chinese descent has filed a police report against a senior
Indonesian Ulema Council (MUI) official for questioning his use of Mandarin to
gain support from Chinese-Indonesian voters.
Lim, a legislative candidate, filed the report on Sunday (Jan 6).
claimed that a Jan 2 tweet made by Tengku Zulkarnain, the deputy
secretary-general of MUI, in which he questioned Heriandi's nationality for
using Mandarin on his campaign poster was a form of hate speech.
tweet, which has since been deleted, received 1,896 likes, 1,210 retweets and
is the campaign posters of legislative candidates. The question is, which
country are these candidates from...? If these are truly campaign posters for
an election in Indonesia, how do all of you feel about them...? Happy...? Or
upset...?" Zulkarnain wrote on his Twitter account @ustadtengkuzul.
post was accompanied by a photo of campaign posters for Heriandi and four other
candidates that bear Chinese characters.
said he was reporting Zulkarnain for allegedly spreading hatred, in accordance
to Article 28 (2) of Law No. 11/2008 on information and electronic
transactions, which carries a maximum prison sentence of six years and a fine
of 1 billion rupiah (S$96,035).
legislative candidate also accused Zulkarnain of violating Article 310 of the
Criminal Code, which carries a nine-month jail term.
came here to file a report against a blasphemous statement made by an
Indonesian," Heriandi told reporters after submitting his report at the
National Police's Criminal Investigation Division (Bareskrim) in Central
Jakarta on Sunday.
was warned beforehand not to come because the person I'm reporting is said to
have impunity and can say whatever he wants. But I ignored (the
said he became aware of the situation upon receiving a notification from
Facebook asking whether he wanted to tag himself in a photo.
was shocked to discover that the photo was part of several Facebook posts
urging people not to vote for him in the upcoming April 17 legislative
later found that someone on Twitter had slammed his election campaign for using
Chinese characters, prompting him to report the person to Bareskrim.
Chinese characters form my Chinese name; I don't know why that's such a problem
for them," Heriandi said, adding that he had decided to use Chinese
characters on his campaign posters to cater to his Chinese-Indonesian
questioned the motives of Zulkarnain's Twitter post, which doubted his
clear that I'm a legislative candidate and an Indonesian citizen that has
passed the National Election Commission's (KPU) screening test to run for a
legislative seat," he said.
secretary-general Daniel Johan stepped forward in defence of Heriandi.
don't see a problem with (campaigning in Mandarin); it's a similar campaign
strategy used by other legislative candidates who use local languages such as
Javanese, Maduranese, Batak and Arabic," Daniel told The Jakarta Post.
"It's a cultural approach to winning the hearts of the constituents."
Tjandra, a legislative candidate from the Indonesian Solidarity Party (PSI),
echoed Daniel's sentiments.
tortured in Iraq Kurdistan for ‘Daesh links’
Security forces in Iraqi Kurdistan have been “torturing children” to force them
to confess to having links with Daesh, Human Rights Watch said on Tuesday.
rights group said it interviewed 23 boys aged between 14 and 17 who were
charged with, or convicted of, belonging to Daesh, and that 16 of them said
they had been “tortured” during questioning.
boys said members of the Kurdish security forces known as Asayesh beat them
with plastic pipes, electric cables or rods while others said they were
subjected to electric shocks or a painful stress position dubbed the
“scorpion,” the watchdog said.
boys said the torture continued over consecutive days, and only ended when they
confessed” to involvement with Daesh, it said.
said they had no access to a lawyer and they were not allowed to read the
confessions Asayesh wrote and forced them to sign,” it added. It said the
punishment inflicted by security forces of the Kurdistan Regional Government in
northern Iraq took place in 2017 and 2018 despite promises by authorities to
investigate the torture claims.
two years after the Kurdistan Regional Government promised to investigate the
torture of child detainees, it is still occurring with alarming frequency,”
said Jo Becker, children’s rights advocacy director at HRW.
watchdog said its staff interviewed the boys during a November visit to a
detention center in Irbil, where 63 children are being held.
senior Kurdish official dismissed the allegations.
Zebari, international affairs adviser to the Kurdish government, told AFP that
“HRW never visited” the detention center.
to HRW, most of the boys said their interrogators told them what they should
confess and many said they gave false testimony only to stop the torture.
confession says that I joined Daesh for 16 days, but actually I didn’t join at
all,” a 16-year-old child told HRW.
14-year-old said: “First they said I should say I was with Daesh, so I agreed.
Then they told me I had to say I worked for Daesh for three months. I told them
I was not part of Daesh, but they said, ‘No, you have to say it’.”
boy said that after two hours of interrogation and torture he agreed to their
Kurdistan authorities should immediately end all torture of child detainees and
investigate those responsible,” HRW said.
to distance itself from GCC as Israel expand ties with Arab states'
Persian Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) states concur on many policies, such as
Syrian government being admitted back into the Arab world, some issues remain
unresolved within the council as Kuwait is apparently not following in the
footsteps of others to normalize diplomatic ties with the Israeli regime.
to a commentary published by the US-based al-Monitor media site, Kuwaiti
officials are not on board with their GCC counterparts on establishment of
relations with the Tel Aviv regime.
noted that Kuwait threw its backing behind Lebanon at the UN Security Council
on December 19, 2018, saying the Israeli military’s operation to block what it
claims are tunnels the Hezbollah resistance movement has dug into the occupied
territories are in violation of Lebanese sovereignty.
has been living for years with Israeli violations. Israel has tried to
exaggerate this incident militarily, and in the media,” Kuwaiti Ambassador
Mansour Ayyad al-Otaibi asid at the time.
then condemned "Israeli violations against Lebanese sovereignty, in land,
air and sea,” stressing that efforts by Hezbollah to counter Israel are
“legitimate” resistance and not terrorism.
Kuwaiti government even considered opening an embassy in Palestine last year as
part of attempts to strengthen its diplomatic presence in the occupied
of the Kuwait Football Association, Sheikh Ahmad Yussef, recently told the
Kuwaiti Arab-language al-Rai daily newspaper that his country would not co-host
the 2022 FIFA World Cup soccer tournament with Qatar as the Persian Gulf
kingdom would not issue entry visas for Israelis – something that is against
is while Israeli politician and the leader of the opposition Israeli Labor
Party, Avi Gabbay, secretly visited Abu Dhabi, the United Arab Emirates, last
month and discussed various regional issues with three senior Emirati
Transportation and Intelligence Minister Yisrael Katz visited Oman on November
4 last year to attend an international transport conference and pitch a railway
project that would link the Persian Gulf to the Mediterranean via the
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in late November 2018 visited Oman, where he
met Sultan Sayyid Qaboos bin Said Al Said at the Bait al-Barakah Royal Palace
in the coastal city of Seeb near the capital Muscat.
English-language daily newspaper The Jerusalem Post reported that the two men
had discussed ways to advance the so-called Middle East peace process as well
as mattes of mutual interest with regard to the region’s stability.
was accompanied by senior officials, including the head of the Mossad spy
agency and his national security adviser.
unpublicized visit to Oman came on the same day that Israeli Culture and Sports
Minister Miri Regev traveled to the UAE to accompany Israel’s judo team at the
Abu Dhabi Grand Slam 2018.
arrived in Abu Dhabi on October 26, and she participated in the opening
ceremony of the international event at the Emirati capital’s Zayed Sports City,
Palestinian Arabic-language Ma’an news agency reported.
visit to the UAE marked the first of its kind by an Israeli minister to a
Persian Gulf littoral state.
Aviv and Abu Dhabi have no diplomatic ties and the UAE does not recognize
Israel, but the two sides have increased backchannel cooperation in recent
years. There have been numerous reports of growing contacts between Saudi and
Israeli officials too.
there has been no action taken in this regard yet," Adnan Qassem Ali
Qoflah, Ansarullah's official in charge of foreign relations, told FNA on
expressed the hope that the UN envoy to Yemen could take effective steps to
implement the peace agreement in Hudaydeh.
also warned of the dire situation of the Yemeni nation after three years of war
in the country, and said 27mln people are in dire need of humanitarian aid.
remarks came after Dayfallah al-Shami, the spokesman of Yemen's National
Salvation Government, announced on Monday that over 15,000 civilians had been
directly killed by the Saudi-led war on Yemen since 2015, while more than
17,000 others had lost their lives as a result of the coalition siege on the
said that 15,359 civilians had been killed directly by the Saudi airstrikes and
attacks against Yemen since the start of war in 2015.
added that more than 17,608 people had also died as a result of the Saudi-led
coalition's siege on Yemen and the forced stay of patients who needed to travel
abroad for treatment.
to al-Shami, over 24,121 civilians were also wounded during the Yemen war.
said millions of people were in need of different humanitarian aid due to the
catastrophe created by the Saudi-led coalition's aggression.
Arabia and some of its allies, including the United Arab Emirates, Morocco, and
Sudan, launched a brutal war against Yemen in March 2015 in an attempt to
reinstall Yemen’s former president Abd Rabbuh Mansur Hadi.
aggression initially consisted of a bombing campaign but was later coupled with
a naval blockade and the deployment of ground forces to Yemen.
Saudi-led war has also taken a heavy toll on the country’s infrastructure,
destroying hospitals, schools, and factories. The United Nations (UN) has said
that a record 22.2 million Yemenis are in dire need of food, including 8.4
million threatened by severe hunger.
Riyadh's claims that it is bombing the positions of the Ansarullah fighters,
Saudi bombers are flattening residential areas and civilian infrastructures.
attack in east Syria leaves 32 dead
defending their last bastion in eastern Syria used the cover of bad weather to
launch a deadly counterattack against a Kurdish-led force, a war monitor said
was unable to hold on to the positions they attacked but the assault killed 23
members of the US-backed Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) and also left nine
fighters took advantage of poor visibility to unleash suicide attackers on SDF
forces along the front line in the Euphrates valley late on Sunday, the Syrian
Observatory for Human Rights said.
SDF fighters were killed and nine IS jihadists were also killed in fighting
that lasted all night and into Monday morning,” Observatory chief Rami Abdel
extremists often launch attacks under the cover of bad weather that cancels out
their opponents' advantage of US-led coalition air power.
sources in Eastern Saudi Arabia were quoted by Mer'at al-Jazirah news website
as saying that the Saudi forces attacked the houses in al-Jash and Um al-Homam
regions in al-Qatif on Monday, killing 5 people and detaining 2 others.
operations were conducted on the threshold of the 3rd anniversary of execution
of prominent Shiite Leader Sheikh Nimr al-Nimr by the Saudi regime.
situated in Saudi Arabia’s Eastern Province, has been the scene of anti-regime
protests since 2011, with demonstrators demanding free speech, the release of
political prisoners, and an end to economic and religious discrimination.
has suppressed pro-democracy rallies, but they have intensified since January
2016 when the Al Saud regime executed respected Sheikh Nimr.
2017, Awamiyah, another Shiite-populated Qatif town, witnessed a deadly
military crackdown on protests that were being held against the regime’s
attempt to raze the historical Musawara neighborhood.
rulers claimed the district’s narrow streets served as a hideout for armed men
who were behind the attacks on Saudi forces in Eastern Province.
then deployed military forces with heavy weapons to the town, while bulldozers
escorted by heavily armored military vehicles demolished several houses,
businesses and historical sites across the region.
activists in Raqqa reported that the assailants exploded a bomb in a military
headquarters of the Kurdish forces near the Arabic School in Raqqa city center,
killing six SDF militants and injuring eight more.
some battlefield sources said that the attack has been carried out by the ISIL.
another attack a roadside bomb hit the SDF forces in al-Kantari-Solouk Road in
Northern Raqqa which resulted in the death of a SDF member and injury of
Turkish army also targeted a patrol car of the Kurdish forces near Nas-Tal
village in Northern Raqqa near Turkish border. There is yet no report on the
number of casualties among the SDF forces.
a relevant development on Sunday, media reports said that the Syrian Democratic
Forces retreated from a region in Eastern Deir Ezzur after residents protested
against the SDF's presence in that area.
SDF forces withdrew from the village of al-Kashkiyeh in Southeastern Deir
Ezzur, the Arabic-language al-Manar news website reported.
noted that local people objected to SDF's presence in Deir Ezzur and the death
of a number of civilians in a recent US airstrike and SDF's attacks on a house
in the region.
has the right to defend its interests in Syria, Qatar’s Ambassador to Russia,
Fahd bin Mohammad Al-Attiyah told the Interfax News Agency on Sunday.
just like any other country has legitimate interests,” Al-Attiyah said. “We
don’t mind these legitimate interests to be protected.”
the interview, Attiyah blamed the Syrian regime for crushing its opposition,
adding that they should be held accountable for foreign interferences in the
country, not anyone else.
we mind is when they cross the line of legitimacy and when Iran starts, just
like any other country, to entrench itself in a way that does not serve the
Syrian interests, the Syrian people, when sectarianism becomes a policy in
order to divide and control, and that is what we do not accept,” Al-Attiyah
of people have held what they called a martyrs' rally in the eastern Sudanese
town of al-Gadaref to honor those killed in clashes during recent nationwide
demonstrations against the 29-year rule of President Omar al-Bashir.
Tuesday protest was organized by the Sudanese Professionals' Association, a
group of teachers, doctors and engineers that has spearheaded the ongoing
anti-government demonstrations across the country.
is an impoverished agricultural town in eastern Sudan. The main market was shut
as demonstrators gathered downtown.
held anti-government placards and chanted slogans such as "Peace, justice,
freedom" and "Revolution is the choice of the people."
angry demonstrators were confronted by riot police who fired tear gas as
protesters prepared to march on the provincial council building.
said groups of protesters managed to reach the council building and one of
their representatives read out a petition calling for the president to resign.
have expanded to a dozen cities across the country since December 19 in the
wake of a move by the government to triple the price of a loaf of bread.
have been calls by human rights groups for authorities in Sudan to investigate
the use of lethal force by security forces against protesters.
Khartoum, authorities say 19 people have died. On the other hand, Amnesty International
says it has “credible reports” that 37 people died in the first five days of
Rights Watch said independent groups monitoring the situation in Sudan had put
the death toll at 40.
Minister Ahmed Bilal Osman said Monday that more than 800 protesters had been
arrested across Sudan since the unrest began. Opposition leaders, activists and
journalists have also been detained as part of a crackdown to prevent the
spread of protests.
economy has stagnated for most of Bashir’s rule. He has also failed to keep
peace in the religiously and ethnically diverse country, losing three-quarters
of Sudan’s oil wealth when South Sudan seceded in 2011 following a referendum.
is currently running at 70 percent and the Sudanese pound has plunged in value.
Shortages of bread and fuel have hit several cities.
least 10 al-Shabaab militants were killed over the past three days in a series
of air strikes in Somalia aimed at weakening the terrorist group, the U.S
military said in a statement on Tuesday.
first airstrike was conducted on Saturday in the Lower Shabelle Region, killing
six militants and destroying one vehicle.
airstrike was conducted to diminish al-Shabaab’s freedom of movement and to
increase pressure on the terrorist network in the area,” the statement said.
second airstrikes took place on Monday targeting al-Shabaab in the vicinity of
Baqdaad, killing at least 4 militants, it added.
statement said the two airstrikes carried out on Monday were in self-defense of
Somali partner after they were reportedly engaged by al-Shabaab militants.
this time we assess no civilians were injured or killed in these airstrikes,”
U.S. military said it conducts operations jointly with its Somali partners and
are committed to preventing al-Shabaab from taking advantage of safe havens
from which they can build capacity and attack the people of Somalia.
remain fully committed to supporting the Federal Government of Somalia, its
forces, and its partners in the fight against al-Shabaab,” said Marine Corps
Maj. Gen. Gregg P. Olson, director of operations of the U.S. Africa Command.
fighters have been pushed from urban centers and are currently using rural
areas in the southern and central parts of Somalia to plot and direct attacks.
U.S. army further said it will continue to work with its partners in Somalia to
transfer the responsibility for long-term security in the country from the
African Union peacekeepers to the Federal government of Somalia.
of Boko Haram terrorists were killed Monday night as they set fire to homes in
one community and raided another close to Maiduguri, the capital of northeast
Nigeria’s Borno State.
suspected to be from the Abubakar Shekau faction of Boko Haram invaded and
burnt many houses in Ajilari while another set attacked Auno. But they met
stiff resistance from the troops, who inflicted heavy casualties on them,”
Babagana Ibrahim, a member of the local vigilante group, told Anadolu Agency.
fewer than 50 terrorists were killed and their gun[-mounted] trucks seized. The
ground troops were closely supported by the Air Force, which shelled the
militants as they fled from the ground troops.”
Salkida, a local independent journalist believed to have a deep understanding
of the insurgency, confirmed the attacks on his Twitter account.
said the brazen attacks on communities less than 25 kilometers from Maiduguri
underline the ambition of the militants to capture the city if given the
Monday, the army said over 100 militants were killed in various clearance
operations in the communities of Goniri, Damasak, Kross Kauwa and Monguno in
Yobe and Borno -- the two states most ravaged by the militancy.
a lull, Boko Haram in the middle of last year resumed deadly attacks on troop
locations, resulting in the deaths of many soldiers in the region.
President Muhammadu Buhari has acknowledged setbacks in the fight against Boko
Haram, as the jihadists launched fresh attacks in the restive northeast.
76-year-old head of state was elected in 2015 on a promise to end the Islamist
insurgency, which has killed more than 27,000 people since 2009 and left 1.8
as he seeks a second term in elections next month, a wave of attacks, including
against military bases, has undermined his repeated claim that the group is
have also complained that Boko Haram fighters are better armed and that morale
is low, particularly because of a lack of rotation and support.
a recorded interview broadcast late on Monday on Arise TV, Buhari conceded that
troops had come under pressure from the Islamists' guerrilla warfare.
a former army general who became military ruler after ousting the elected
government in a coup in 1983, said the "question of morale is
were being made to address the issue, he said.
hit-and-run raids, as well as suicide bomb attacks, were hard to deal with by
conventional means, he argued.
is really what I would call battle fatigue," he said, adding that
retraining would help combat the jihadists' tactics.
Monday evening, fighters loyal to factional leader Abubakar Shekau attacked
Sajeri village on the outskirts of the Borno state capital, Maiduguri, killing
the same time, militants aligned to the Islamic State group-backed Boko Haram
faction attacked a military facility in Auno, some 23km south of the city.
increase in attacks has seen the appointment of five different commanders of
the military operation against Boko Haram in the last two years.
Buhari has refused to sack his military top brass, unlike his predecessor
Goodluck Jonathan, who removed senior officers as the jihadists began taking
accept responsibility for that," Buhari said in the interview, adding that
he was "measuring the options very critically".
he said that such appointments were not to be taken lightly.
of Rohingya flee India for Bangladesh: officials
Dozens of Rohingya Muslims have crossed the border into Bangladesh from India
in recent days, officials said Tuesday, as New Delhi faces censure for
deporting the persecuted minority to Myanmar.
week India handed a Rohingya family of five to Myanmar authorities, despite the
army there being accused of genocide against the stateless group.
forced return — the second in recent months — was criticized by the United
Nations and rights groups who accused India of disregarding international law
and sending the Rohingya to danger.
which is not a signatory to the UN Refugee Convention, arrested 230 Rohingya in
2018 — the most in years as Hindu hard-liners called for the displaced Muslims
to be deported en masse.
border officials and police said dozens of Rohingya had been detained crossing
from India in the past week. They were sent to refugee camps in the country’s
south, where a million of the displaced Muslims live in hardship.
round-ups in India, and fear of deportation to Myanmar, had fueled the recent
exodus, Bangladesh officials said.
told us they panicked after India started detaining Rohingya refugees and
deporting them to Myanmar,” said Shahjahan Kabir, a police chief in the eastern
Bangladeshi border town of Brahmanpara.
told AFP that 17 Rohingya were detained last Thursday after crossing into
Bangladesh, followed by 31 at a different border point. Most had been living in
India for up to six years, Kabir added.
Cox’s Bazar, a border district where some 720,000 Rohingya have sought refuge
from a Myanmar army crackdown in August 2017, local officials said at least 57
had arrived in recent days.
have come from places like Hyderabad and Jammu and Kashmir,” said Rezaul Karim,
government administrator of the giant Kutupalong refugee camp in Cox’s Bazar.
Hyderabad is a major city in southern India and Jammu and Kashmir the only
Muslim-majority territory under Indian control.
decades the Rohingya have faced persecution and pogroms in Buddhist-majority
Myanmar, which refuses to recognize them as citizens and falsely labels them
“Bengali” illegal immigrants.
were concentrated in Rakhine state, the epicenter of a brutal Myanmar army
offensive in August 2017 that UN investigators described as genocidal in
International, among other rights groups, has blasted India for forcibly
repatriating the Rohingya to Myanmar when persecution in Rakhine is ongoing.
of Rohingya were also deported from Saudi Arabia to Bangladesh at the weekend,
reported the London-based Middle East Eye website.
officials say around 40,000 Rohingya are living in India. The United Nations
refugee agency says around 18,000 Rohingya are registered with the UNHCR.
activists and Rohingya refugees have slammed Saudi Arabia's detention and
deportation to Bangladesh of allegedly illegal Rohingya immigrants as inhuman
Arabia deported at least 13 Rohingya from a Jeddah detention center early Jan.
8, reported the English language The Daily Star based in the Bangladesh
policeman at the Hazrat Shahjalal International Airport in Dhaka, Abdur Rahman,
told publication that the Rohingyas arrived there around 2 am.
have admitted that they are Rohingyas, but they have Bangladeshi
passports," he said.
on video footage, the London-based 'Middle East Eye' said Jan. 8 that Saudi
Arabia was moving to deport scores of stateless Rohingyas who were seen
"being handcuffed, lined up and prepared for removal to Bangladesh."
Sin Lwin, a Rohingya activist based in Frankfurt, Germany, told Al Jazeera that
most Rohingya entered Saudi Arabia after deadly sectarian violence in Rakhine
State of Myanmar in 2012 using passports obtained through allegedly fake
San Lwin explained that upon entering Saudi Arabia, their fingerprints had been
registered as "Indian, Pakistani, Bangladeshi or Nepalese" as the
Rohingya identity was not accepted.
from various embassies, apart from those of Bangladesh, had refused to accept
them, he told Al Jazeera.
the Saudi government being legally within its rights, Rohingya deportations to
Bangladesh were inhuman, said Holy Cross Father Liton Hubert Gomes, secretary
of Catholic Bishops' Justice and Peace Commission in Bangladesh.
don't know what makes Saudi Arabia detain and deport Rohingya immigrants to
Bangladesh right now," he said.
the illegal status of the Rohingya in Saudi, they deserved sanctuary on
humanitarian grounds and at least as fellow Muslim brethren, the priest added.
Khan, a Dhaka-based lawyer and rights activist, also criticized the Saudis.
are stateless people and denied citizenship despite their presence in Rakhine
State of Myanmar for centuries, and they have never been citizens of
Bangladesh," Khan told ucanews.com.
have fled to Bangladesh to save their lives as Myanmar authorities have clearly
demonstrated Rohingya are not welcome through their repressive and aggressive
is already overburdened with more than a million Rohingya refugees, so Saudi
should have lessened the load instead of putting more pressure on
Muslims have endured abuses and persecution in Rakhine State of Buddhist
Myanmar for decades.
their presence in the country for generations, Rohingya have been denied
citizenship and basic rights and are seen by many in Myanmar as recent illegal
decades, Rohingya have trickled into Bangladesh, residing in squalid refugee
camps in south-eastern border districts.
Taliban militants have been killed in separate airstrikes conducted by the
Afghan Special Forces and Coalition Forces based in Afghanistan.
airstrikes have reportedly been carried out in Helmand, Uruzgan, Laghman,
Logar, Ghazni, and Faryab provinces in the past 24 hours.
to the informed military sources, Afghan Special Operations Forces conducted a
raid in Musa Qalah, killing 6 Taliban fighters and destroying 2 roadside bombs,
while the coalition forces carried out a separate airstrike in support of the
Afghan forces and self-defense in Musala Qala district, killing 3 additional
Taliban militants and destroying a weapons cache.
Afghan Special Operations Forces conducted a raid in Safaar of Helmand, killing
5 Taliban fighters while a coalition air strike killed 1 Taliban fighter in
Nahr-e Saraj, the sources said, adding that a coalition air strike in Tarin Kot
of Uruzgan left 2 Taliban fighters dead.
the meantime a coalition air strike killed 1 Taliban fighter in Qarghah’i
district of Laghman and the Afghan Special Operations Forces killed 1 Taliban
fighter in Baraki Barak of Logar.
DELHI: Asserting that terrorism is becoming a new form of warfare, Army chief
General Bipin Rawat said on Wednesday the menace is spreading its head like a
"multi-headed monster" and is "here to stay" as long as
states continue to use it as a state policy.
speaking at a panel discussion at the Raisina Dialogue here, also said that
there was a need to control social media as it was becoming a source of
said a different kind of radicalisation was being witnessed in India and in
Jammu and Kashmir, the youth were getting radicalised due to a lot of misinformation,
disinformation, and a lot of falsehoods on religion being fed to them.
is why you find more and more educated youth being drawn into terrorism,"
is here to stay as long as there are nations that continue to sponsor it as a
state policy, Rawat said, without naming Pakistan.
is becoming a new form of warfare. A weaker nation is using terrorists as proxy
to put pressure on another nation to come to terms with it," he said.
phenomenon of terrorism is now spreading its head like a multi-headed monster,
the Afghan peace process, he said there should be negotiations with the
Taliban, but without conditions.
also asserted that Pakistan has always kept the Taliban in its backyard and
should be concerned about it.
DELHI: Iran has admitted to having “influence” on the Taliban in Afghanistan,
and offered to “use” that influence for India. As Iranian foreign minister
Javad Zarif meets the Indian leadership for bilateral talks as well as address
the Raisina Dialogue, Tehran’s connections with the Taliban are coming out of
week, an Iranian delegation met the Taliban in Tehran, though highlevel Iranian
sources say the first meeting was held in Moscow. “We have some influence on
the Taliban, but we generally use it on behalf of the Afghan government. We’re
happy to use it for India too,” they said.
is not likely to accept any such offer. In the past 17 years, India has built
some contacts, though no one is certain how broad or deep they may be. In any
case, India remains squarely on the side of the Kabul government. So any
"contacts" with the Taliban is necessarily covert, sources said.
Washington “leak” that the Trump administration might reduce its Afghanistan
footprint by as many as 7,000 fighters has resurrected regional manoeuvres with
the Taliban for a possible post-US situation.
US has opened direct talks with the Taliban, the fourth round of which will be
held in Qatar on Wednesday. According to reports, the US acquiesced to the
Taliban’s demand to hold the talks in Qatar refusing to go to Riyadh as was
originally planned. Reports say a draft agreement includes a phased withdrawal
of US troops while keeping a civilian footprint in the country. Others say the
US might restrict itself to a counter-terrorism role, keeping main urban
centres away from the Taliban.
there is no clarity on the issue at all yet, only a lot of jostling by
sources, on the other hand, say the “deal” under discussion, has brought the
old group of countries — Saudi Arabia, UAE and Pakistan back together,
countries that had supported the Taliban government in the first place. The US
envoy, Zalmay Khalilzad too has a long history of negotiating with the Taliban
in the 1990s, working for US oil interests then. Media reports from Pakistan
say the UAE and Saudi Arabia have given financial assistance to Pakistan to
incentivise Islamabad to bring the Taliban to the negotiating table.
Afghan NSA, Hamdullah Mohib, who was in Delhi for talks with Indian officials
last week was dismissive about the efficacy of the peace negotiations under
way. He represented the Afghan government at a recent meeting with the UAE,
Saudi Arabia and US in Abu Dhabi late December. But despite the demand for the
Afghan government to join the talks, the Taliban have refused to have them at
the Afghan government, the Taliban talks are a "hurried" affair,
believing that there are different views within the US on this.
and Afghanistan government share one belief which they have shared with the
Indian government -- that a Talibandominated Afghanistan would be a security
threat for India and Iran but "would be an existential threat for
is not how Pakistan sees its situation, instead believing it is on the cusp of
a second victory against a superpower.
Swaroopanand Saraswati seeks Muslims’ cooperation to defeat communal elements
Delhi: Shankaracharya of Dwarka peeth Swami Swaroopanand Saraswati in a
statement condemned the elements who are creating violence and disrupting peace
in the name of the temple. He said followers of every religion living in India
have the responsibility to play their role in the development and growth of the
country while following their own religion. He urged all to solve their issues
peacefully while defeating violent elements. He said while the Babri Masjid
case is in the court, several organisations are making propagandas regarding
immediate construction of the temple.
Acharya said we want to solve the matter through consensus.
Delhi: India and Australia held discussions for collaboration between the two
countries in the areas of defence, trade and investment, and counter-terrorism.
Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj held discussions with her Australian counterpart
and “friend” Marise Payne here on Tuesday, ahead of the much anticipated
Raisina Dialogue, 2019. Payne is slated to deliver the Ministerial Address on
‘The Arrival of Global Politics’ at the event.
friend and counterpart @SushmaSwaraj ahead of @raisinadialogue to discuss our
shared strategic interests & opportunities for India, Australia
collaboration in trade and investment, defence and counterterrorism,” Payne
tweeted after the meeting.
two leaders took stock of defence and security partnerships, discussed
enhancing regional cooperation in Indo-Pacific, and collaboration in all
aspects of the bilateral relationship, according to a statement from India’s
Ministry of External Affairs.
in India's Jammu and Kashmir state have joined to wash clean a mosque after it
was desecrated by Islamic State supporters who waved the militant
organization's flag inside it.
in droves congregated at Jamia Masjid in the city of Srinagar on Jan. 4 and
took part in the cleaning before Friday prayers.
the previous Friday, Dec. 29, a group of masked youths moved to the chief
cleric's seat and waived the flag of the so-called Islamic State, the global
terrorist organization seeking to establish an Islamic caliphate.
video of the incident that went viral showed a masked youth waiving the group's
flag while others chanted slogans.
person was seen trying to stand on the chief cleric's chair and fix the flag on
incident was shocking and has deeply hurt the sentiments of the people in this
Muslim majority state, according to Sheikh Ghulam Hassan, a senior member of
the mosque's management committee.
shows utter disregard of this group of miscreants for Islamic institutions,
values and Islamic teachings," Hassan told ucanews.com.
elements not only malign the name of Islam but also abuse it."
added that Jamia Masjid has been the epicentre of region's Islamic religious
life since being built 1394 and any attempt to desecrate it would be sternly
after the flag waving was reported, Kashmir's chief religious cleric, Mirwaiz
Umar Farooq, appealed for worshippers and the heads of all religious
organizations to assemble at the mosque to take part in the purification
who leads a popular demand for the region's freedom from Indian rule, said the
"sacrilegious" act would damage the cause of freedom.
way our right to self-determination is being maligned, and attempts are being
made to change its direction, won't be tolerated," Mirwaiz said.
whole community is against these elements."
separatist leaders Syed Ali Geelani and Yasin Malik said in a joint statement
that there are attempts to high-jack Kashmir's freedom movement and link it
with a global agenda.
said that the Kashmir struggle is purely indigenous in nature as people are
fighting Indian rule.
goal of self-determination was motivated by Islamic values, the separatists
June 23, last year, the Jammu and Kashmir government for the first time
admitted the presence of Islamic State in the strife-torn Kashmir Valley.
official Indian agencies dismissed reports about the IS presence as media
of youth in Kashmir gained ground following the killing of the militant leader
Burhan Wani in mid-2016.
the past 30 years, an estimated 100,000 people have died in Jammu and Kashmir,
including civilians, militants, and army personnel, after groups began an armed
struggle to free Kashmir from Indian rule or to merge it with neighbouring
Supreme Court on Tuesday set up a five-judge Constitution Bench to hear the Ram
Janmabhoomi-Babri Masjid land title dispute case. Chief Justice of India Ranjan
Gogoi will head the bench, which will also comprise Justices S A Bobde, N V
Ramana, U U Lalit and D Y Chandrachud.
notice issued by the Court said the Bench will take up the matter for hearing
at 10.30 am on January 10. It is hearing appeals against the Allahabad High
Court verdict of September 30, 2010, ordering a three-way division of the
disputed 2.77 acres at the Ram Janmabhoomi-Babri Masjid site, giving a third
each to the Nirmohi Akhara sect, the Sunni Central Wakf Board, Uttar Pradesh, and
January 4, the top court had said that further orders in the matter would be
passed on January 10 by “the appropriate bench, as may be constituted”.
apex court is hearing 14 appeals against the 2010 Allahabad High Court judgment.
On October 29 last year, the court had fixed the matter for hearing in the
first week of January. An application for an urgent hearing by advancing the
date, filed by the Akhil Bharat Hindu Mahasabha, had been turned down by the
on September 27, during a hearing of the Ayodhya land dispute case, a
three-judge bench of the Supreme Court, by 2:1 majority, had refused to refer
to a five-judge Constitution bench the issue of reconsideration of its
observations in a 1994 judgment that a mosque was not integral to Islam.
of the plea to refer the matter to a larger bench had cleared the way for
beginning of the final hearing of the appeals.
the 1994 order in the Dr M Ismail Faruqui etc vs Union Of India And Others
case, the court had said a mosque not an “essential part of the practice of the
religion of Islam, and hence “its acquisition (by the State) is not prohibited
by the provisions in the Constitution of India”. The petitioners had contended
that earlier decisions in the Ayodhya case were influenced by this statement
and hence it should be re-examined by a Constitution bench.
the Supreme Court judgment rejected this and said, “to conclude, we again make
it clear that questionable observations made in Ismail Faruqui’s case… were
made in context of land acquisition” and that “those observations were neither
relevant for deciding the suits nor relevant for deciding these appeals”. The
judges added that “the observation need not be read broadly to hold that a
mosque can never be an essential part of the practice of the religion of
Faruqui verdict had come on a plea challenging the constitutional validity of
the Acquisition of Certain Area at Ayodhya Act-1993, under which 67.703 acres
were acquired in the Ram Janmabhoomi-Babri Masjid complex.
outreach to Islamic world in 2019 has deep roots
Pope Francis embarks on his trip to Panama to celebrate the Catholic Church’s
World Youth Day on Jan. 23, it’s essentially off to the races. For the rest of
the spring, he’ll have a jam-packed papal itinerary that will focus heavily on
dialogue with the Islamic world.
a recent interview with the Italian broadcast network TV2000, Vatican Secretary
of State Cardinal Pietro Parolin said Christian/Muslim relations has been a
priority for Francis since the beginning of his papacy and it will continue to
be a priority in 2019, seen mostly through trips the pope is taking to Islamic
pope’s attention toward the Arab world is due to the difficulties which today
are found in relations between Christianity and Islam, with the tragic drifts
of terrorism and religious fundamentalism,” Parolin said in the interview.
with this situation the pope from the beginning of his pontificate has sought
to promote encounter,” he said, adding that Francis is in many ways
“characterized by this desire to promote encounter against every indifference.
This is the meaning of the attention he will be giving this year through his
trips to the Arab world.”
keen attention to Catholic-Muslim relations was showcased by the fact that his
first international trip after being elected to the papacy in 2013 was a May
2014 visit to the Holy Land. Since then, dialogue with Islam has continued to
be a strong emphasis for the pope in his travels, including a visit to Turkey
in November 2014, to the Central African Republic in 2015 and to Egypt in the
spring of 2017, all of which have a Muslim majority.
was during his stop in the Central African Republic’s capital of Bangui that
Francis decided to inaugurate his Jubilee of Mercy early, opening the holy door
of the city’s cathedral a full week before the jubilee was officially set to
begin in Rome.
looming Feb. 3-5 trip to the United Arab Emirates and subsequent outing to
Morocco March 30-31 are further signs that dialogue with the Islamic world will
continue to be a strong priority.
a statement announcing the pope’s visit to the UAE, former Vatican spokesman
Greg Burke said the trip “shows the fundamental importance the Holy Father
gives to inter-religious dialogue. Pope Francis visiting the Arab world is a
perfect example of the culture of encounter.”
this interest in dialogue with Islam is not something that began with his
election, but it goes back to his time in Argentina. Even as Archbishop of
Buenos Aires, the future pope fostered strong ties with both the Jewish and
then-Archbishop Bergoglio made at least three visits to the Centro Islamico -
the Islamic Center - of Buenos Aires and met frequently with Omar Abboud, the
leader of Buenos Aires’ Islamic community, leaving a clear impression that he
wanted the Catholic and Muslim communities to be partners.
2010 he co-authored a book with his friend Rabbi Abraham Skorka, rector of the
Latin American Rabbinical Seminary in Buenos Aires. Both Skorka and Abboud were
invited by the now-Pope Francis to be part of his formal delegation during his
visit to the Holy Land in 2014, and they were also both present for his 2015
trip to Philadelphia for the World Meeting of Families.
were also both present at a June prayer event in the Vatican gardens with
Orthodox Patriarch Bartholomew of Constantinople, former Israeli President
Shimon Peres and Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas to pray for peace between
the two nations.
the time, the decision to have both a Jew and a Muslim as part of his Holy Land
delegation was hugely symbolic given not only the tensions between the
communities in the area, but also because Francis inherited the papacy at a
time when the Vatican’s relationship with Islam was suffering from the fallout
of an unfortunate comment made by his predecessor, Benedict XVI, during a
speech that offended the Islamic community.
a 2006 visit to Regensburg, Germany, Benedict gave a 40-minute academic lecture
at the University of Regensburg on the relationship between reason and faith,
at one point quoting a Byzantine emperor who had been critical of Islam. In the
backlash, Christian churches were attacked throughout the Muslim world and
small bouts of violence sprang up amid protests.
Benedict apologized for the comment, relations between Islam and the Catholic
Church continued to be strained - a strain that has been eased with remarkable
speed and depth during the Francis papacy.
visible sign of this thawing in relations can be seen in the Vatican’s
restoration of dialogue with the prestigious al-Azhar mosque and university in
Egypt. The Imam of al-Azhar, currently Ahmed al-Tayyeb, is considered by some
Muslims to be the highest authority in Sunni Islam.
first met al-Tayeeb at the Vatican in May 2016, marking a reconciliation
between the al-Azhar institution and the Holy See whose relationship had been
strained in 2011 with claims that Benedict XVI had “interfered” in Egypt’s
internal affairs by condemning a bomb attack on a church in Alexandria during
the time of Coptic Christmas.
then, al-Tayeeb has made further visits to the Vatican, and Francis himself
visited al-Azhar during his visit to Egypt last spring.
improved relations between Islam and Catholicism are undeniably due at least in
part to Francis’s frequent amicable remarks about Islam and his insistence that
not all Muslims are terrorists. In a March 2017 speech to popular movements,
for example, Francis famously said: “Muslim terrorism does not exist…there are
fundamentalist and violent individuals in all peoples and religions.”
comments sparked debate among both faithful and scholars, who argue that
passages of the Quran inciting violence against those considered “infidels” are
recently a group of Algerian and French converts to Christianity launched an
online petition asking Francis to reconsider his conciliatory attitude toward
Muslims and the Islamic faith.
the petition, which so far has garnered some 2,740 signatures from around the
world, the authors spoke to Francis directly, saying “you do not like to beat
around the bush and neither do we, so allow us to say frankly that we do not
understand your teaching about Islam.”
Islam is a good religion in itself, as you continue to teach, then why did we
become Catholic?” they said and asked the pope to convene a synod on the
dangers of Islam.
the pope’s travel itinerary this spring, particularly his visits to the UAE and
Morocco, sends the message that whatever the concerns about his attitude toward
Islam may be, it likely won’t change.
a speech to the diplomatic corps accredited to the Holy See on Monday, Francis
said his visits to the UAE and Morocco “represent two important opportunities
to advance interreligious dialogue and mutual understanding between the
followers of both religions in this year that marks the 800th anniversary of
the historic meeting between Saint Francis of Assisi and Sultan al-Malik
al-Kāmil,” the fourth sultan of Egypt.
European Union on Tuesday agreed to place a unit of the Iranian Intelligence
ministry and two of its staff on the EU terrorist list for planning assassinations
in Europe, the Danish Foreign Ministry and EU diplomats said.
decision, which freezes financial assets in the bloc belonging to the unit and
the two individuals, comes after Denmark said last year it suspected an Iranian
government intelligence service of carrying out an assassination plot on its
has said there was no doubt the Iranian intelligence ministry was behind a
failed attack in Paris.
has denied any involvement in the alleged plots, saying the accusations were
intended to damage EU-Iran relations.
just agreed to enact sanctions against an Iranian Intelligence Service for its
assassination plots on European soil. Strong signal from the EU that we will
not accept such behaviour in Europe,” Denmark’s Foreign Minister Anders
Samuelsen said on Twitter.
decision was taken without debate at an unrelated meeting of Europe ministers
in Brussels and the asset freeze comes into effect on Wednesday, EU officials
Danish Foreign Ministry named the two employees as the deputy minister and
director general of intelligence, Saeid Hashemi Moghadam, and Assadollah Asadi,
a Vienna-based diplomat. Their names are set to appear officially in the EU’s
Official Journal on Wednesday.
move follows efforts by Denmark and France to marshal an EU-wide response to
the accusations of the Iranian attack plots in France and Denmark late last
imposing economic sanctions on Iran, however slight, remains highly sensitive
for the bloc.
EU has been straining to uphold the 2015 nuclear accord between Iran and world
powers that U.S. President Donald Trump pulled out of in May. It has been less
willing to consider sanctions, instead seeking talks with Tehran.
Netherlands accused Iran Tuesday of involvement in the murder of two dissidents
on Dutch soil, adding that the EU was hitting Tehran with sanctions partly as a
result of the killings.
Dutch secret service “has strong indications that Iran was involved in the
assassinations of two Dutch nationals of Iranian origin in Almere 2015 and in
The Hague in 2017,” Foreign Minister Stef Blok said in a letter to parliament.
individuals were opponents of the Iranian regime,” he said in the letter, also
signed by Dutch Interior Minister Kajsa Ollongren.
Netherlands considers it probable that Iran had a hand in the preparation or
commissioning of assassinations and attacks on EU territory,” the ministers
added that the EU had on Tuesday “partly at the recommendation of the
Netherlands” agreed to impose fresh sanctions on Iran.
police have previously named the two victims as Ali Motamed, 56, who was killed
in the central city of Almere in 2015, and Ahmad Molla Nissi, 52, murdered in
The Hague in 2017.
June, the Netherlands expelled two workers from the Iranian embassy in
connection with the murders.
at the time protested the expulsion of the two diplomats as an “unfriendly and
destructive move” and threatened to retaliate.
Prime Minister Lars Lokke Rasmussen had earlier confirmed that the European
Union has agreed on new sanctions targeting the Iranian Intelligence and
Security Ministry and two Iranian nationals.
had led efforts for sanctions after allegations that Tehran tried to kill three
Iranian dissidents on Danish soil.
Ahmet Gurhan Kartal
Assad regime in Syria “lost its legitimacy due to its atrocities against Syrian
people,” according to Martin Longden, the U.K.’s special representative for
said on Twitter on Tuesday that the U.K. closed its embassy in Damascus in 2012
and “we have no plans to reopen it.”
of story,” he stressed.
U.K. shuttered its embassy in Damascus after the Bashar al-Assad regime
targeted Syrians following anti-regime protests, which followed similar
protests of the Arab Spring.
critical of Assad
U.K. has been critical of the regime in Syria since the beginning of atrocities
Syrians and getting them the lifesaving aid they need must be paramount,” said
then-Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson almost a year ago, in response to the
devastating siege of Eastern Ghouta.
U.K. is committed to working closely with all international partners to secure
an end to the terrible bloodshed and make progress towards a political
solution, which is the only way to bring peace to the people of Syria,” he
Syrian regime has an abhorrent record of using chemical weapons against its own
people,” and chemical arms have “become an all-too-regular weapon of war in the
Syrian conflict,” Peter Wilson, Britain’s representative to the Organization
for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW), said following chemical weapons
use by Assad forces in various locations, including Douma.
statement came at an OPCW Executive Council Meeting last year following joint
airstrikes by the U.S., U.K., and France on reported Assad regime chemical
weapons facilities in Syria.
has been locked in a vicious civil war since early 2011, when the Assad regime
cracked down on protesters with unexpected ferocity.
EU has agreed to impose sanctions on an Iranian intelligence service over its
alleged plots to assassinate figures critical to Tehran in Europe, Danish foreign
minister said on Tuesday.
just agreed to enact sanctions against an Iranian Intelligence Service for its
assassination plots on European soil,” Anders Samuelsen wrote on Twitter.
signal from the EU that we will not accept such behavior in Europe,” Samuelsen
foreign minister described the move as an “Important day for European Foreign
Foreign Ministry said together with the EU countries, the ministry has decided
to include two persons from the Iranian intelligence, including director Saeid
Hashemi Moghadam, to the EU’s terror list.
decision comes after police averted plots by the Iranian intelligence service
in Europe, including Denmark and France, the Foreign Ministry said in a
year, France froze the assets of two Iranians, including Moghadam, thought to
be members of Iran's security and intelligence establishment over a bomb plot
near Paris in June, 2018.
October, local media in Denmark reported that the county thwarted an Iranian
plot to assassinate a Tehran opponent in the country after a bomb attack killed
at least 25 people in Iran’s southwestern city of Ahvaz.
Tuesday, Danish Prime Minister Lars Lokke Rasmussen wrote on Twitter: “Very
encouraging that EU has just agreed on new targeted sanctions against Iran in
response to hostile activities and plots being planned and perpetrated in
Europe, including Denmark.”
asserts Pak ‘paid huge price’ in Afghan war
Minister Imran Khan has categorically stated that Pakistan would neither fight
anyone’s war in future nor be treated like a hired gun because the country had
paid a huge cost in the Afghan war.
an interview with TRT World, a Turkish news channel, the prime minister said
from Afghan jihad onward, Pakistan paid an enormous price in the form of 80,000
casualties, four million Afghan refugees, militancy and the emergence of
prime minister said instead of the previous mantra of doing more, Pakistan
would now be an ally in peace, adding the country has been playing its role to
facilitate the peace process in Afghanistan.
KNOW ABOUT UIGHURS’
to a query pertaining to conditions of Uighur Muslims in China’s far western
Xinjiang province, the PM feigned ignorance, saying he doesn’t know much about
the conditions Uighur community lives in.
interviewer asked about Pakistan’s silence on the treatment being meted out to
the Muslim ethnic community, asking is Pakistan not criticising China because
it is doing business with the emerging superpower.
Muslim community is reportedly facing persecution at the hands of the Chinese
government. According to a report, up to 1.1 million people are believed to be
held in “concentration camps” where they are allegedly forced to renounce their
religion and Uighur language, and memorise and recite Chinese characters and
denies these reports and terms it “Western propaganda”.
to a query, he said China has been extremely helpful to Pakistan as it has been
developing special economic zones and Gwadar Port that would boost the national
economy. He said China has cooperated with Pakistan in a number of areas, which
he cannot even disclose because China wants Pakistan to keep the details of aid
GOVT USING ANTI-PAK RHETORIC TO BAG VOTES’:
Pak-India ties, the prime minister said far before breaking ground for Kartarpur
Corridor, he had offered the Indian government to hold dialogue as two nuclear
nations could not even afford cold war, what to talk of a nuclear one. But, he
said, Pakistan was rebuffed by India just to bag anti-Pakistan votes as the
elections are coming up there.
Khan also lamented the unabated killings of innocent Kashmiris in Indian
Occupied Kashmir. He said the international community including the United
Nations acknowledge that there is an indigenous freedom struggle in occupied
Kashmir and its solution lies only in dialogue, not violence.
CLOSE TO PAKISTANIS’ HEARTS’:
Pak-Turkish ties, PM Imran claimed that even before the creation of Pakistan,
the Muslims of the sub-continent had a special liking for Turkey for being the
only independent Muslim state that time.
added that even the Muslims of this region had donated money to support the
Turkish freedom struggle. [Muslims of
sub-continent launched Khilafat Movement to support Ottoman Caliphate that had
been abolished after Ottomans lost the World War I. Kamal Attaturk finally
abolished the institution in 1924 and sent the caliph in exile].
his visit to the brotherly country, the two sides decided to form a working
group to ponder over the enhancement of bilateral trade during the next five to
ten years, he revealed.
the state of economy, the PM said that the government was striving to stabilise
the national economy by increasing foreign reserves and exports.
Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz Spokesperson Marriyum Aurangzeb has said Prime
Minister Imran Khan ‘chauffeured’ the Abu Dhabi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Zayed
Al Nahyan during his visit to please him as he owns secret businesses in the
UAE and Aleema Khan is their Benami custodian.
to media outside the Islamabad High Court, Marriyum pointed out the Pakistan
Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) government’s second U-turn on turning the PM House into a
university and inquired as to why the PM took a dignitary to a university for
an official feast.
PM Imran was so keen on taking the crown prince to lunch in a University then
the Quiad-e-Azam University is a much better university in the city,” she said.
former information minister also said the government has no economic projects
that can generate money for the country or the lender, which is why they are
taking this money and piling it onto the people of Pakistan as pure debt with
no pay-back mechanism.
Imran is at best a conjurer with no principle stance who performs to suit
different audiences,” she said adding when animal conservation suits his
interests he becomes a wildlife saviour and when he wants to please someone he
opens hunting of endangered species.
also said the entire notification fiasco of Farrukh Saleem was a distraction;
the real questions raised by the government’s economic spokesperson have still
not been answered by the premier.
PML-N leader further said comments passed by the Supreme Court regarding
Buzdar’s Punjab government are a testament of the fact his government has no
capacity or capability to run the country.
A parliamentary committee has proposed giving a boost to construction
activities in Gwadar, especially construction of houses, so that businesses in
the port city could flourish.
Senate Committee on Maritime Affairs made the recommendation during a meeting
on Tuesday after Senator Shamim Afridi complained about poor housing facilities
Port Authority (GPA) chairman Dostain Khan Jamaldini also agreed with the
committee’s suggestion, saying that construction activities should be allowed
in those zones in the port city which have been cleared in the master plan to
meet accommodation requirements.
briefed the Senate committee on hurdles in the way of the port city’s
development and steps being taken to remove them.
Jamaldini informed the committee that a railway network was still missing in
the city, besides there was a shortage of skilled workforce.
tax incentives the Gwadar port needs subsides like those offered to Port Qasim
for 15 years. These steps are important at a time when Saudi Arabia is showing
interest to invest in Gwadar,” he said.
his presentation, the GPA chairman responded to queries and complaints by the
members complained that while development of Gwadar was being planned,
interests of local fishermen had not been taken under consideration.
Jamaldini replied that a new fishery was being developed in Gwadar. He said
that space had been allocated for residential areas for local people of the
members of the committee were of the view that a false impression was created about
business opportunities in Gwadar through advertisements during the tenure of
former president retired Gen Pervez Musharraf. They said the move attracted a
large number of investors who purchased land in the port city from local people
at throwaway prices.
Mohammad Akram of the National Party claimed that local fishermen were still
being dislocated in Gwadar.
Rana Mahmoodul Hassan lamented the downgrading of the fishing industry in the
Kauda Babar said a sub-committee was formed by the chairperson of the main
committee, Nuzhar Sadiq of the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz. The sub-committee,
he added, prepared a report about Gwadar’s problems.
The Afghan president’s special envoy for regional consensus on Afghan peace met
Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi in Islamabad on Tuesday, in what was his
first visit abroad following his appointment to the new position.
Umer Daudzai conveyed President Ashraf Ghani’s greetings to the Pakistani
leadership and expressed Afghanistan’s “strong desire to work closely with
Pakistan in all areas of mutual interest”, a statement issued by the Foreign
special envoy also relayed “deep appreciation of the sincerity and vision of
Prime Minister Imran Khan for peace and stability in Pakistan”, the press
acknowledged that the fact that Qureshi visited Kabul thrice within a span of
four months was “a clear proof of Pakistan’s strong support for Afghanistan”.
his visit, the envoy briefed the foreign minister on the nature of his position
which entails that he “help create harmony among the various stakeholders”.
foreign minister welcomed Daudzai and assured him of Pakistan’s commitment to
peace in the region. He said stability in Afghanistan was in Pakistan’s own
national interest, and necessary for economic development and prosperity in the
highlighted the growing global view that the suffering of the Afghan people
needs to be brought to an end through a peaceful resolution of the conflict. He
assured the envoy that Pakistan “would do all to help the people of Afghanistan
see the earliest possible end to bloodshed and enter a new phase of peace and
Afghan special envoy noted that the two countries had a “unique relationship
marked by commonalities and similarity of interests”. He stressed that the
relationship needed to be utilised to its fullest through various bilateral
cooperation mechanisms. He communicated the Afghan government’s strong desire
to take maximum advantage of the Afghanistan-Pakistan Action Plan for Peace and
Solidarity (APAPPS) in all areas of cooperation.
noted that “enhancing bilateral trade and economic activities and more regular
cultural and people-to-people contacts was the need of the hour”, according to
the FO statement.
Army on Tuesday vowed to continue efforts for bringing peace to the country as
well as the region.
reiterated to continue its efforts for bringing enduring peace in the country
while supporting all initiatives towards regional peace,” a statement issued by
the Inter-Services Public Relations (ISPR) after the 217th Corps Commanders
Conference held at the GHQ said.
meeting chaired by Chief of Army Staff (COAS) General Qamar Javed Bajwa
reviewed geo-strategic environment and security situation of the country.
Progress of ongoing operations, fencing along Pak-Afghan border, situation
along Eastern Border, including Indian ceasefire violations deliberately
targeting innocent citizens, and Afghan reconciliation process were also
discussed, according to the ISPR.
opposition politician secretly visits Abu Dhabi, meets top Emirati officials:
politician and the leader of the opposition Israeli Labor Party, Avi Gabbay,
has reportedly paid a secret visit to the United Arab Emirates and discussed
various regional issues with three senior Emirati officials, as a number of
Arab countries in the Persian Gulf region are warming their relations with the
Tel Aviv regime after clandestine contacts.
secretly visited Abu Dhabi last month, and exchanged viewpoints on the
Israeli-Palestinian conflict, US President Donald Trump's "deal of the
century", the so-called Arab Peace Initiative, Iran’s regional clout as
well as political developments in the occupied territories with the trio,
Israel’s Channel 10 television network reported.
three Emirati officials, whom the Israeli opposition politician held talks with
are believed to be ministers or even higher-ranked officials.
report added that Gabbay was accompanied on his visit, which took place between
December 2 and 4 last year, by former journalist Henrique Cymerman.
was said to have flown to Abu Dhabi on a commercial flight via the Jordanian
capital city of Amman. He was protected by local security forces during his
reportedly updated the director of Israel's Mossad spy agency, Yossi Cohen, on
the content of his meetings immediately upon return to Israel.
visit was reportedly coordinated via a Moroccan national, who has ties with
senior Emirati officials and has previously arranged other meetings for Gabbay
with senior Arab officials.
Arab countries, Israel has diplomatic relations only with Egypt and Jordan.
Arabia has hostile ties with resistance movements in the Palestinian
territories, including Hamas which is fighting the Israeli occupation.
was expected to ask US officials either to hand over its military bases in
Syria to Ankara or to destroy them, the newspaper Hurriyet reported, a request
that could further complicate discussions over the US withdrawal from Syria.
request was expected to come in talks on Tuesday between US National Security
Adviser John Bolton and his Turkish counterpart, Ibrahim Kalin. Bolton had also
added a condition to the talks: Turkey must agree to protect the Kurdish YPG
militia, a US ally. Ankara calls YPG a terrorist group.
was unclear immediately after the talks whether either condition was met. With
tensions simmering over US plans to exit Syria, Bolton did not meet with
President Recep Tayyip Erdogan.
said last month he was bringing home the some US 2,000 troops in Syria, saying
they had succeeded in their mission to defeat ISIS. His abrupt move sparked
concern among officials in Washington and allies abroad and prompted Defense
Secretary Jim Mattis to resign.
YPG has been a key ally in campaign against ISIS, an alliance that has long
caused tension between Washington and Ankara. Turkey views the YPG as an
extension of the outlawed Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK), which has waged a
three-decade insurgency in Turkey’s mainly Kurdish south east.
them or destroy them,” a Hurriyet newspaper headline said, referring to what it
said were 22 US military bases in Syria. It cited unspecified sources as saying
Turkey would not accept Washington’s handing them over to the YPG.
senior Turkish security official told Reuters last week Washington needed to
allow Turkey to use its bases in Syria.
was joined by US Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff General Joseph Dunford
and US special Syria envoy James Jeffrey as he met with Kalin on Tuesday
morning in Ankara. They concluded their talks by late morning.
is Erdogan’s spokesman and deputy head of Turkey’s security and foreign
warned on Monday the US withdrawal must be planned carefully and with the right
partners. Only Turkey, he said, had “the power and commitment to perform that
an op-ed article for the New York Times, Erdogan said Turkey was committed to
defeating ISIS and “other terrorist groups” in Syria.
military agreement with Qatar is full of loopholes and vague terms that appear
to have been deliberately inserted, according to a report by the Nordic
Monitor, a Sweden-based monitoring site.
report by Abdullah Bozkurt, reveals that the bilateral agreement would allow
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan to use Turkish air, land and naval
assets to promote his own ideological and personal interests in the Gulf and
beyond by using the hard power of the NATO military alliance’s second largest
not checked, the agreement carries huge risks of escalation of Turkey’s
involvement in potential conflicts that may have nothing to do with protecting
or promoting Turkey’s national interests. This further confirms the view that
the vagueness in the agreement provisions were deliberate and systematic to
allow Erdogan to use them as he sees fit,” writes Bozkurt.
agreement goes beyond mere training and joint exercises and also incorporates
“operations,” which may very well suggest combat missions for Turkish troops.
to the report in the Nordic Monitor, “The agreement was rushed through the
cumbersome and slow-moving process in the Turkish Parliament in 2017 when
Turkey wanted to send a message to Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates and
other Arab states that had picked a fight with Qatar, Erdogan’s sweetheart
4 of the “Implementation Agreement Between the Government of the Republic of
Turkey and the Government of the State of Qatar on Deployment of Turkish Forces
into Territory of Qatar,” which was signed on April 28, 2016 in Doha, includes
the undefined phrase “any other missions” for the deployment of Turkish troops.
This means Erdoğan can also bypass the Turkish Parliament for authorization of
overseas missions, using the vague definition to fit his whims and would not
need to obtain the advance approval from Parliament that is required for the
deployment of Turkish troops abroad according to the Turkish Constitution.
full text of this provision in the agreement reads as follows: “The main
mission of the unit is to support enhancement of defense capabilities of Qatar
through joint/combined exercises and training, and subject to approval by both
parties, execute training/exercises with other nations’ armed forces and
contribute to the counter-terrorism and international peace support operations
and any other missions mutually agreed upon by written consent of both
in the agreement
ambiguity in the agreement, which was incorporated into Turkish law on June 9,
2017, is that it does not say how long Turkish troops will remain in Qatar.
Article 1 of the agreement on the scope and the purpose of the agreement say
that the deal regulates “the long term, as well as temporary, presence and
activities of Turkish Armed Forces.”
“the long term” prospect is and who defines the duration of the commitment for
Turkish troops and on what criteria are not specified in the agreement. Article
17 specifies the duration of the agreement to be 10 years with automatic
renewals for an additional term of five years for each extension. Whether that
term applies to the presence of troops remains an open question.
agreement does not specify force level or the number of troops. Article 2
states that Turkey will send air, land and naval assets to Qatar without
setting any number or level of the forces. Although section two of this article
states that “the deployment of the forces shall be in accordance with the plan
to be accepted by the Parties,” the following section says Turkey will make a
determination on “the duration of the mission of personnel to be assigned.”
Turkey’s military agreement with Qatar does not foresee a third-party dispute
settlement mechanism, either. Article 16 of the agreement says disputes “shall
be resolved by negotiation between the Parties, without referring to the
jurisdiction of any third party, establishment, or national or international
implementation agreement is actually a follow-up of the “framework” military
cooperation agreement that was signed by the two countries on December 19,
2014, and entered into force on June 15, 2015. In contrast to the framework
deal, the implementation agreement gives detailed clues as to what Turkey and
Qatar hope to accomplish in the Gulf.
UN Security Council (UNSC) is set to discuss a proposal for a new observer
mission to Yemen’s lifeline port city of Hudaydah, which will be tasked with
monitoring a ceasefire recently agreed by the warring parties and the pullout
of rival forces from the flashpoint area.
said the 15-member UN body would meet on later Wednesday to assess the proposal
put forward by UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres after Yemen’s warring
parties, namely Houthi Ansarullah movement and the country’s former
Saudi-backed government, agreed a truce in the Houthi-held port in Sweden on
a letter on Tuesday, Guterres asked the council to approve the deployment of up
to 75 observers to the ports of Hudaydah, Saleef and Ras Isa, backed by
additional administrative and security staff, for six months to “monitor the
compliance of the parties to the ceasefire.”
said the larger monitoring mission would contribute to sustaining a “fragile
political process” re-launched by UN Yemen envoy Martin Griffiths.
proposed mission “would provide important support for the special envoy’s
efforts to facilitate an inclusive political process with the aim of reaching a
negotiated settlement that will bring about a permanent end to the conflict in
Yemen,” said Guterres in his proposal.
will also brief the council on Wednesday on his latest efforts aimed at shoring
up the truce.
Tuesday, Griffiths met with Yemen’s former Saudi-backed government officials,
including president Abedrabbo Mansour Hadi and members of the ex-parliament in
the Saudi capital, Riyadh, after holding talks with Houthi leaders in the
the proposal is approved, diplomats would begin negotiations on a draft
resolution to formally establish the mission.
said Britain was working on a draft resolution to approve Guterres’ proposal,
but had not yet circulated it to council members.
Council will need to take action on Guterres’ request by about January 20, when
a 30-day authorization for an advance monitoring team led by retired Dutch
General Patrick Cammaert expires.
a resolution adopted last month, the world body deployed to Yemen a small team
of about 16 international monitors led by Cammaert.
to Guterres’ proposal, Cammaert would also head the new observer mission.
UN is proposing to bring the warring sides together again for a new round of
talks later this month, probably in Kuwait.
a lifeline for millions of Yemenis, has seen some of the heaviest fighting in
the Saudi-led aggression, which began in March 2015.
Arabia and the United Arab Emirates launched the Hudaydah offensive in June but
have been facing strong resistance from Yemeni armed forces — led by the
Houthis — as well as the city’s residents.
Saudi war has killed tens of thousands of Yemeni people and made the country
the world’s worst humanitarian disaster.
has blocked Palestinians from entering the country from the Gaza Strip after
Palestinian Authority personnel left the Rafah border crossing and officers
from the Islamic resistance movement Hamas replaced them, Hamas officials say.
Abu Omar, a spokesman for the Hamas-run authority in charge of the border
crossing, said on Tuesday that Gazans seeking to return from Egypt would still
be allowed through but no one would be able to leave the Palestinian enclave.
now, it is just for one day, it is not clear if it will be extended," the
resistance movement says it took control of the crossing in a bid “to avoid a
General Yehya Hammad, the Hamas-appointed director of the crossing, said his
men had completed their deployment and were ready to operate the passage.
they took up their posts, the body of a Palestinian who had died in the
Egyptian capital, Cairo, and two women accompanying the coffin were allowed to
enter Gaza. The women's passports were stamped by Hamas officers.
travelers hoped that the Egyptian side would open the crossing permanently.
hope the Egyptian side will open the crossing permanently as it did in the past
to allow stranded patients, students, residents of third countries and
humanitarian cases to travel," said Hammad, standing in the passport hall.
arriving in Gaza, Hani Abu Sharekh, 48, said he hoped Egypt would soon resume
full operation of the facility to allow passengers out of the coastal enclave.
"There is no alternative to Rafah crossing, it is the only window for most
of our people to travel and to seek treatment and education," Abu Sharekh
said after returning from a trip to Cairo, where his wife had received medical
rights groups say Rafah, the only way for Gazans to leave the Palestinian enclave
that bypasses Israel, has been the sole exit point from Gaza for an estimated
95 percent of its population of two million.
Sunday, the Palestinian Authority, which is led by President Mahmoud Abbas,
announced its pullout from Rafah, accusing Hamas of undermining its operations
and detaining some of its workers. The authority had retaken control of the
crossing in late 2017 as part of a reconciliation deal between Abbas' Fatah
party and Hamas. The deal has since broken down and Abbas has taken a series of
measures against Gaza.
said Abbas, who has imposed a series of economic sanctions on Gaza, was
destroying the prospects for unity.
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has already said he would put his stamp on
the Fatah-Hamas reconciliation deal only if Hamas recognizes Israel, cuts ties
with Iran, and disbands its military wing, known as the Ezzedine al-Qassam
Brigades, and its estimated 25,000 fighters, who have defended Gaza against
three deadly Israeli wars over the past decade.
has restricted the movement of Palestinians in and out of the Gaza Strip since
the early 1990s. Restrictions intensified in June 2007, when Tel Aviv imposed a
land, sea and air blockade on Gaza, citing security concerns.
The United Nations envoy for Yemen held talks Tuesday with the country’s
president, as he sought to shore up a truce in key port Hodeidah.
Griffiths met with the Yemeni authorities after seeing Houthi militant leaders
in Sanaa on a tour aimed at ensuring both sides make good on a ceasefire deal
agreed in Sweden last month.
internationally recognized leader Abed Rabbo Mansour Hadi expressed his
“support for the efforts and work” of Griffiths at the talks in the Saudi
capital, the Saba news agency reported.
head of the president’s office Abdullah al-Alimi wrote on Twitter that Hadi
remained committed to the Sweden accord and stood ready to open up “all
is set to brief the UN Security Council Wednesday on the ceasefire deal, AFP
Secretary-General Antonio Guterres has asked the Security Council to approve
the deployment of up to 75 observers to Hodeidah for six months to monitor the
ceasefire, Reuters reported.
council will need to take action on Guterres' request by about Jan. 20, when a
30-day authorization for an advance monitoring team led by retired Dutch
General Patrick Cammaert expires.
was not immediately clear how many monitors were currently on the ground with
United Nations has said the monitors are not uniformed or armed.
his Dec. 31 proposal to the council, seen by Reuters, Guterres described the
proposed 75-strong team as "a nimble presence" to monitor compliance
of the deal and establish and assess facts and conditions on the ground.
UN has said the truce has largely held in the city since the agreement came
into force on Dec. 18.
pro-Hadi Arab coalition, which includes Saudi Arabia, has accused the Houthis
of dozens of violations of the truce.
is looking to push on with steps agreed
in Sweden, including the redeployment of rival forces from Hodeidah.
is also hoping to bring the sides together again for a new round of peace talks
later this month.
Special Envoy Khalilzad Embarks On 4-Country Tour For Afghan Peace Efforts
special envoy Zalmay Khalilzad on Tuesday embarked on a two-week tour of
Afghanistan, Pakistan, India and China for talks with each country's leadership
on the Afghan peace process.
US Secretary of State's Special Representative for Afghanistan Reconciliation,
Ambassador Khalilzad, is leading an intra-agency delegation and will meet
officials in each country in order to "facilitate an inclusive peace
process in Afghanistan", a handout from the US State Department said.
envoy's trip will end on Jan 21.
press release stressed the US' desire to reach a "political
settlement" to the Afghan conflict and "empower the Afghan people to
chart a shared course for their nation’s future".
United States supports the desire of the Afghan people and the international
community for a political settlement that ends the 40-year conflict and ensures
Afghanistan never again serves as a platform for international terrorism,"
the statement added.
further claimed that the US goal is to "promote dialogue among
Afghans" and ensure that all concerned parties reach a solution that will
allow "every Afghan citizen [to] enjoy equal rights and responsibilities
under the rule of law".
US special envoy is actively trying to broker a political solution to the
Afghan conflict and has held multiple meetings with the leadership of
Afghanistan as well as that of other countries in the region, including
has also held three round of talks with the Afghan Taliban in order to reach a
settlement that would allow the US to withdraw its army and end a 17-year-old
war — America's longest.
a joint press conference with his Jordanian counterpart, Ayman Safadi, US
Secretary of State, Mike Pompeo stressed over Washington’s commitment to
Jordan’s security, and to confronting the most important threats facing the
region, ISIS and Iran.
assured the relations between the two countries will continue to strengthen, in
terms of settling the Syrian crisis and in the fight against terrorism.
Safadi, Pompeo said: “Your nation plays a critical role in regional security
and stability including through its efforts to peacefully resolve the Syrian
conflict, fight the spread of radical Islamic terrorism and counter the Iranian
regime’s malign activities in the region and the world.”
made a powerful statement by recalling its ambassador in Tehran last year in
protest of the Iranian regime’s flagrant transgressions of security and
sovereignty. I also want to thank the governor Jordan for its help to combat
Iran’s attempts to evade sanctions,” he added.
also said that the withdrawal of US troops from Syria would not affect Jordan’s
his part, the Jordanian foreign minister said that the US’s support for Jordan
has helped the Kingdom host nearly 1.3 million Syrian refugees so far.
tapped on Jordan's suffering with Iran's “expansion policy in the region”, as
well as shed light on Jordan’s work with Washington for securing Al Tanf
region, and the return of the Syrian refuges in Rukban refugee camp to Syria.
Trump, Pompeo vows to punish Saudi over Khashoggi murder
Secretary of State Mike Pompeo says his country will punish Saudi Arabia for
the “heinous” murder of dissident journalist Jamal Khashoggi, contrasting
President Donald Trump’s statements that doing so would hurt American
Trump had suggested in the aftermath of the murder that there was too much at
stake for Washington to go after Riyadh, Pompeo made it clear that Khashoggi’s
murderers were not getting away with their deeds.
taken a very clear message to the world with respect to the murder of Jamal
Khashoggi," the top US diplomat told CNBC on Monday. "This was a
heinous act. It's unacceptable. It's inconsistent with the way nations ought to
behave around the world."
after Khashoggi, a US resident, went missing after entering the Saudi consulate
in Turkey’s Istanbul on October 2, Riyadh admitted that he had been killed by
security agents in a brawl.
evidence released by Turkish officials, coupled with a controversial CIA
assessment, left little doubt that the hit job had been ordered by Saudi
leaders, Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman in particular.
his own intelligence agents, however, Trump said back then that punishing the
Saudi would jeopardize billions of dollars in weapons deals with the kingdom
and cause oil prices to skyrocket.
the time, Trump even warned that punishing Saudis puts Israel in the harm's
whether oil prices had anything to do with Washington’s response, Pompeo said:
told the Saudis that we've held Saudi citizens accountable for the murder of
Jamal Khashoggi. We will continue to do so as new facts arise," Pompeo
said, referring to a series of sanctions that Washington slapped on 17 Saudi
officials in the aftermath of the killing.
the same time, we're going to continue to do the things that protect the
American people, and that includes a deep and lasting relationship with the
kingdom of Saudi Arabia" he continued.
made the remarks a day before setting off on a Middle East tour that would
include stops in Jordan, Egypt and several countries in the Persian Gulf
was not yet clear how serious Pompeo's pledge was because several outlets
reported later on that he was planning to applaud Riyadh's handling of
Khashoggi's murder in a speech in the Egyptian capital on Tuesday.
Trump administration’s reluctance to punish bin Salman over Khashoggi’s murder
as well as the kingdom’s deadly war on Yemen has prompted bipartisan fury in
month, the Senate voted overwhelmingly in favor of a resolution that called MbS
an “accomplice” in the murder.
President Recep Tayyip Erdogan on Tuesday lambasted comments made by US
National Security Adviser John Bolton over the need for Ankara to guarantee the
protection of Kurdish groups in Syria.
Ergodan said new conditions laid out by Mr Bolton regarding the withdrawal of
US troops from Syria are “unacceptable” and a “grave mistake,” shortly after
the national security adviser held meetings with officials in Ankara.
Erdogan refused to meet Mr Bolton who landed in Turkey on Monday after visiting
Israel, in an apparent snub over disagreements about Kurdish fighters in Syria.
Security Council spokesman Garrett Marquis said US officials were told Mr
Erdogan cited local election season and a speech to parliament for not meeting
with Mr Bolton.
Turkish president spoke in parliament to criticise new conditions for a US
is not possible to accept or swallow the message given by Bolton from
Israel," Mr Erdogan told his party's members of parliament.
Bolton said while in Israel that the US would not withdraw troops from Syria
until it could guarantee that its Kurdish partners would not be endangered by
don’t think the Turks ought to undertake military action that’s not fully
co-ordinated with and agreed to by the United States,” Mr Bolton said. “So that
they meet the president’s requirement that the Syrian opposition forces that
have fought with us are not endangered.”
US backs the People’s Protection Units (YPG) — a Syrian Kurdish group that
commands much of the country’s northeast and is the main backbone of a
US-backed alliance fighting ISIS in the country.
Erdogan on Tuesday said that "despite the fact that we reached a clear
agreement with Mr. Trump, different voices have been raised from different
echelons of the US administration."
he added that "Mr. Trump's views on Syria and his determination to pull
out remain our point of reference."
said that he could not compromise on the issue of the YPG in Syria, which
Ankara views as a terrorist organisation and part of the outlawed Kurdistan
Workers Party (PKK).
Turkey, there is no difference between PKK, YPG … or Daesh," he said,
using an Arabic acronym for ISIS.
soon we will act to neutralise terrorist groups in Syria. And we will take out
other terror groups that might try to prevent us from doing this," he told
parliamentarians from his Justice and Development Party.
Erdogan also criticised the US for claiming that Turkey targets “Kurds” in
Syria. He said such allegations are “dishonourable, ugly, vulgar and defaming”.
on Tuesday, Mr Bolton and his Turkish counterpart Ibrahim Kalin had a
productive discussion regarding the US decision to withdraw from Syria, a
spokesman for the US National Security Council said.
Marquis also said in a statement the two sides had identified further issues
for dialogue and that the United States looks forward to military-to-military
consultations on Tuesday.
Trump's shifting timetable for pulling US troops out of Syria has left allies
and other players in the region confused and jockeying for influence over a
withdrawal strategy that appeared to be a work in progress.
Trump insisted on Monday that his policy on withdrawing troops from Syria had
not changed, even as the drawdown timeline shifted from “coming back now” to
“leaving at a proper pace”, which his national security advisor has suggested
could take months, if not years.
community hopes to build mosque in Leamington
growing congregation in Leamington has members of the Muslim-faith raising money
to build their own mosque in the municipality.
say it started out with about five people, but has grown over the last 10
years. They have been renting a small store in the town, but two years ago St.
John the Evangelist Anglican Church provided space to rent to hold their
prayers. It`s grown since then, often up to 70 adults now show up for prayers.
were looking for something that could accommodate these numbers," said Dr.
Basel El-Tawil, a member of the community.
were able to find a piece of land in Leamington, but have yet to close the
deal. So far, they have raised more than the half of what's needed for the
hopes their goal is met so they can build the mosque by the end of the year.
a place for gathering, for refugees and the rest of the Muslim community here
in Leamington," said El-Tawil. "It's a place where you know it will
be safe and good for the kids, for the families together."
have been working with Windsor Islamic Association to raise money. The new
mosque will become a part of the association. Imam Mohamed Al-Gammali said
Syrian families have settled in Leamington and having a mosque would mean a lot
thought that our obligation to help them as newcomers to find a place for them
to keep their identity, to come together, not only just for religious purpose
even for other social life to connect to each other, help one another," he
are growing so we have to help them for their basic needs."
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