Saudi Preacher Apologises On TV for Years of ‘Hardline’ Islam
Accuses UAE of 'Violence and Hatred' At World Court
Sri Lanka, Hijab-Clad Teachers Hounded From Christian School Are Assigned
to ‘Intervene’ If Hezbollah Flags Flown On Quds Day in London
M: ‘Protect Islam’ Rally Only Served To Further Divide Muslims in Malaysia
of Polarisation Tempers Opposition’s Muslim Outreach
Ulema Board Has Issued a Decree: ‘Terrorists Enemy of Islam, Pakistan’
Jihad Leader Expects War with Israel to Break Out Next Summer
Sends B-52s To Deal With Threat Of Attack By Iran, Iran Says 'Despised' U.S. To
Takfiri Jailed for Inciting Women to Join ISIS
protests in east Syria could endanger US plans
begins for man feds say was Hezbollah ‘sleeper’ agent
interrupt aid deliveries as 150,000 displaced in Idlib
of ISIS members handed over to Swedish delegation in Syria
Militias, Accused of Threatening U.S., Pose a Quandary for Iraq
court upholds death penalty for 13 militants
holds trial for over 500 Daesh terrorists
Islamic State fighter Motaj is not saying anything: Police
attack aid group office in Afghan capital kills 5
Charity Serves Iftar to Orphans in Bangladesh
worshipper killed at Bangladesh mosque; one detained
militants suffer heavy casualties in self defense strikes of Afghan Special
Forces in Faryab
tunnel systems destroyed in Uruzgan operation
says Iran will face consequences if it breaks nuclear deal
France say Iran nuclear deal should be fully implemented
lectures UK on Daesh, says British militants should be taken home
artists urge EU not to hold Eurovision in Israel
seeks Libya ceasefire after migrant centre strike
These Muslims, Learning the Quran Starts with YouTube
Fears of Low Turnout, Sandakan Muslim Votes Become Focus
authorities arrest suspected members of ISIS-affiliated group, thwart planned
terrorist attack: report
questions if Islamic gathering was for religion or politics
plot nor slot given to Zakir Naik, says Putrajaya
Praises India for Counter-Terrorism Support, Says Terrorists Fleeing IS Should
Questions NRI from Doha over Suspected ISIS Links
firm linked to Zakir Naik sold in 2017 over ‘negative publicity’ in media
air strike killed 130-170: Italian reporter
shot at two civilians in Shopian
Pakistanis Detained In Turkish Detention Centres, Senate Told
By Tuesday’s Show PML-N to Gradually Build Anti-Govt Drive
leader among 3 killed in Chaman blast
willing to file petition against imprisonment: Qureshi
Newspaper Publishes Terms Of US ‘Deal Of Century’ On Palestine
strike 'kills 4 Qaeda suspects' in Yemen
Fails to Convince Houthis to Lift Restrictions on Lollesgaard’s Movements
Iran nuclear announcement ‘intentionally ambiguous’
tells Russia its partial roll back of nuclear deal is legal
won’t let Iran get nuclear weaponry, says Netanyahu
funding gap means 1,700 in Gaza may face amputations
announces sanctions on Iran’s steel and mining industries
will need forces in Afghanistan until no insurgency left, says top General
skips visit to Greenland amid new tensions with Iran
will maintain relations with Iran, PM tells Pompeo
Sudan President: Formation of Unity Government Should Be Delayed
urges Sudan military to seal deal with protesters
protest coalition calls for civil disobedience
killed in fresh herder violence in Nigeria's Taraba
by New Age Islam News Bureau
Saudi preacher apologises on TV for years of ‘hardline’ Islam
Aaidh Al Qarni has caused a lot of noise after he appeared on a talk show and
apologized for his hardline interpretations of Islam and called for a more
apologise in the name of the Sahwa to the Saudi society for the mistakes that
were not related to Islam and for the extreme fatwas," Al Qarni told Saudi
TV show Al Laiwan airing on Rotana Khaleej on Monday evening.
Sahwa movement was a faction of Muslim Brotherhood in Saudi Arabia. They
demanded a bigger role for clergy in governing and a more conservative society
as a defense against Western cultural influences. They also opposed the
presence of US troops on “Muslim land.”
religion is a religion of peace, safety and mercy. Thanks to God, we discovered
this in the texts and interpretations of our scholars," Al Qarni said.
"You cannot compare my ideas that I had when I was only 24 or 26 years old
to my current thoughts.
I visited 40 countries and read thousands of books. I also knew and met
intellectuals, scholars and wise people."
Qarni said he now supported the moderate Islam advocated by Saudi Crown Prince
Mohammed Bin Salman.
apologize to Saudi society for the mistakes that have contradicted the Qur’an
and Sunnah, and contradicted the tolerance of Islam, a moderate religion.”
“I am today supportive of the moderate Islam, open to the world, which has been
called for by Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman,”
Qarni exposed Doha’s anti-Saudi posture
Qarni apologised in the same interview about his ties with Qatar, accusing it
of “conspiring” against Saudi Arabia.
public apology by Saudi cleric Aidh Al Qarni over links with Qatar and militant
views is “bold” and “very important”, Emirati Minister of State for Foreign
Affairs Anwar Gargash said on Wednesday.
Shaikh’s talk reinforces what we know about the policies of [former Qatari
emir] Shaikh Hamad Bin Khalifa and his role,” Gargash said in a tweet.
we close the door over the stage of radicalism and manipulation of religion for
political goals, we also close the door over the stage of Qatar’s conspiracy
against its neighbours,” the official added.
Qarni, 59, used to appear on religious shows at the Qatari television Al
an interview with the Saudi television Rotana Khaljeea this week, the cleric
criticised Al Jazeera, sarcastically saying it pushes for freedom everywhere
except in Qatar.
disclosed a meeting with Hamad when the latter was in power before he abidcated
the throne to his son Tamim in 2013.
Qarni also said he had stopped links with Qatar after he found about its
conspiracy against Saudi Arabia, accusing Doha of espousing Saudi dissidents.
June 2017, Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain and Egypt broke off
diplomatic and transportation ties with Qatar over its support for extremist
accuses UAE of 'violence and hatred' at world court
accused the United Arab Emirates Wednesday of a "campaign of violence and
hatred" against its citizens, urging the International Court of Justice to
quash a case brought by Abu Dhabi.
Persian Gulf states are locked in a battle at the UN's top court, where the UAE
on Tuesday asked judges to stop Qatar "severely aggravating" a
two-year-old crisis between Doha and other countries in the oil-rich region.
lawyers however hit back, saying in fact it was Abu Dhabi who continued with
"discriminatory policies that severely impacted Qatari citizens."
is the Qatari people who are the true victims in the racial discrimination
case, not the government of the UAE," Qatar's representative Mohammed
Abdulaziz Al-Khulaifi said.
included Abu Dhabi's move to gag the Doha-based and state-funded Al Jazeera
global news network, which was accused of spreading "propaganda", the
lawyer told the Hague-based tribunal.
silencing of... media voices is part-and-parcel of the UAE's campaign to incite
violence and hatred against Qataris," Khulaifi said.
has long been engaged in the fight against global terrorism and it continues to
has faced an economic and diplomatic boycott since June 2017 by Persian Gulf
rivals who accused Doha of backing terrorism and being too close to regional
has repeatedly denied the claims, accusing its rivals of seeking regime change
and alleging the UAE broke the 1965 International Convention on the Elimination
of All Forms of Racial Discrimination (CERD).
June, in a case brought by Qatar, the ICJ ruled that the UAE must allow
families which include Qatari members to be reunited, and that Qatari students
must be given the chance to complete their education in the Emirates.
Abu Dhabi on Tuesday went back to court, accusing Doha of blocking its own
citizens from accessing Emirati websites to ease travel issues, and therefore
failing to honor last year's judgment.
parried those claims on Wednesday, saying that Qatar found a "high risk
security breach" on the UAE's website including so-called
"malware" designed to infiltrate Qatar's information systems.
said Doha told Abu Dhabi about the breach but the UAE was "yet to take
Sri Lanka, hijab-clad teachers hounded from Christian school are assigned
Eleven Muslim teachers hounded from a Christian school in Sri Lanka for wearing
hijabs have been redeployed.
country’s Western Province Gov. Azath Salley was forced to intervene in the row
after the women were barred on Tuesday from entering the Puwakpitiya Tamil Maha
Vidyalaya school, located about 30 km from the capital Colombo.
members of the school’s development society along with former students blocked
the teachers’ entry to the premises, telling them they would only be allowed
back in if they were dressed in saris.
group’s action came in response to the devastating Easter Sunday bombings of
hotels and churches in Sri Lanka, which left 268 people dead and hundreds
injured. Daesh has since claimed responsibility for the attacks.
the blasts, Sri Lankan President Maithripala Sirisena imposed a ban on the
wearing of niqabs to allow security officials to more easily identify people,
but no restrictions were placed on the abaya (a robe-like dress) or hijab.
on behalf of the banned teachers, Fathima Shafeena told Arab News that she had
worked at the school for more than six years and felt humiliated over her
treatment. She said: “Hijab is my traditional Islamic attire and they cannot
ask me to replace it with the sari,” adding that the move was a violation of
their human rights.
Afrah, another teacher, said she and her fellow Muslim tutors were chased off
the premises in full view of schoolchildren and other teaching colleagues, and
she could never return there out of sheer embarrassment. “Although it was a
non-Muslim school, I did not show any discrimination while I was teaching in
the classrooms,” she added.
summoned senior provincial education officials to an urgent meeting with the
teachers on Tuesday afternoon, which resulted in them being transferred to
other schools in the province.
Tamil Maha Vidyalaya principal, P. Manoharan, told Arab News that the school
had 800 children and 41 teachers, and about 35 percent of the students were
Christians. He said that he had no prior knowledge of the protest action.
told Arab News that appropriate measures would be taken against those involved
in what he described as an “unfortunate incident.”
teachers’ dresses were proper and in accordance with government regulations.
The government has banned only the niqab face cover,” the governor said. He
pointed out that the abaya and hijab were well within the accepted norms.
a landmark ruling in April last year, the Human Rights Commission of Sri Lanka
(HRCSL) recommended that “preventing teachers from wearing the abaya while
performing their duties” was a violation of the Sri Lankan constitution.
HRCSL stated that national schools were bound by the constitution and could not
violate the absolute right to religious freedom. It reiterated the need for
respect for diversity and pluralism in the multi-ethnic and multi-religious
Police To ‘Intervene’ If Hezbollah Flags Flown On Quds Day In London
Metropolitan Police Service for London appears ready to confiscate flags,
banners and other items bearing the insignia of the Hezbollah terrorist
paramilitary organization during the annual Quds Day demonstration, stating on
Tuesday that it will ‘intervene’ if it sees such things publicly displayed.
Day is an Iranian sponsored anti-Zionist event which takes place in several
international cities, including London, at the end of Ramadan, the Muslim month
of fasting. This year it falls on June 2.
event typically sees many expressions of anti-Israel and anti-Zionist
sentiment, as well as the flying of Hezbollah flags and the display of the
February, the House of Commons voted to ban all wings of Hezbollah, including
its political branch which had previously not been proscribed, due to its
destabilizing influence in the Middle East, classifying the movement as a
new law also tightened restrictions regarding the display of proscribed
organization’s flags, granting the police stronger powers to confiscate such
Nick Collins of the Metropolitan Police wrote to the Campaign Against
Antisemitism organization on Tuesday, noting the previously widespread display
of Hezbollah flags and symbols at the Quds Day march and the fact that the terrorist
group has now been banned in its entirety by the UK government.
are a number of offenses under this [Terrorism] Act. One of these is that it is
illegal to be a member of, or show support for a terrorist organization
proscribed under the Act,” wrote Collins.
banners and chanting can all lead to the suspicion that the individual involved
is a member of, or supporter of the terrorist organization Hezbollah,” he
concluded by saying that the Metropolitan Police “fully intend to intervene to
enforce the law, where possible, should any offenses be disclosed.”
Silverman, Director of Investigations and Enforcement at the Campaign Against
Antisemitism, said that it had been “outrageous that Hezbollah supporters were
allowed to march through the streets of our capital” in previous years, given
the organization’s responsibility for international acts of terrorism. He said
that the announcement was the result of hard work by the Jewish community to
bring this to an end.
are pleased that the police have put in place robust plans to enforce the law,
and our Demonstration and Event Monitoring Unit will be out in force as well,
to capture evidence should any crimes relating to supporting banned terrorist
organizations be committed.”
M: ‘Protect Islam’ rally only served to further divide Muslims in Malaysia
LUMPUR, May 9 — Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad today questioned whether
a gathering by Muslims in the city on Saturday was to defend the sanctity of
Islam and the Constitution or to draw support for certain political parties.
welcome gatherings by Muslims aimed at defending the sanctity of Islam and the
Constitution, I fully support these noble aims.
I am wondering whether these were the real objectives or aimed at getting
support for certain political parties,” he said in his latest posting on his
blog chedet.cc titled Mendaulatkan Islam
Mahathir said the gathering was reported by the media as one to remind the
government on the status of Islam but the leaders who spoke at it were from
Umno and PAS.
it was to defend Islam, by right it should not have been limited to certain
political parties only. The alliance of these parties does not reflect Islamic
solidarity. In fact, it divides Muslims in Malaysia,” he said.
Mahathir said PAS had earlier claimed Umno members were (kafir) infidels for
cooperating with infidels and that ‘this allegation is still not retracted’.
the Amanat Hadi, which claimed that the
Umno government (then) was a kafir and those who opposed the Umno government,
if they die are martyrs,” he said, adding that this claim by PAS split the
Malays for the first time.
said the Malays were all Muslims and were including the Sunni (Sunnah Wal Jamaah) sect led by Imam Shafie.
was no difference of opinion or understanding on Islam (by Malays) since
ancient times. They profoundly split only when PAS was formed and claimed that
Umno members were kafir for cooperating with the infidels,” he said.
said so obsessed was PAS with this some much so some deemed even if their
parents join Umno they were kafir and claimed Umno people’s marriages were not
valid and they should remarry and that even cattle or poultry slaughtered by
Umno members was not halal and cannot be eaten by PAS members and many other
prime minister said until today PAS had never retracted the Amanat Hadi that
labelled Umno members as infidels.
PAS, a person who does not join PAS is an infidel. According to PAS, only PAS
members are Muslims. Indeed, Muslims seeking asylum in non-Muslim countries
have become infidels,’’ he said.
Mahathir also questioned how PAS with Umno had the right to claim that their
gathering pictured the solidarity of Muslims for the sovereignty of Islam.
are people with posts, who are silent on the allegations by PAS and Amanat
Hadi," he said.
said there were Muslims who purportedly wanted to practice Islamic teachings
but their focus was on small matters which had elements of politics and
"on the other hand the strict prohibitions of Islam does not get
reprimands from them."
we find Malaysian Muslims joining wars among other Muslims. They are willing to
kill other Muslims, something that is prohibited by Islam. There is no movement
by Muslims who want to uphold Islam who have talked about the sins of killing,
especially killing Muslims,” he said.
worse is shouting the name of Allah during the gathering to strengthen the
party’s divide and rule politics. Allah's name is used to justify the rejection
of Islamic teachings that denounce other Muslims without any apparent reason.
Committing sin by doing things prohibited by religion should not be done in the
name of Allah," he said.
Mahathir said Islam prohibits theft, but PAS negotiated and cooperated with the
previous administration which is known to the world as a government of thieves.
PAS continues to work with the people rejected by society for stealing,” he
said. — Bernama
Of Polarisation Tempers Opposition’s Muslim Outreach
(Faizabad) Aggressive Hinduism has left the Muslims in a quandary in Uttar
Pradesh, where until the 2014 Lok Sabha polls, socialist and centrist political
groups used to make a beeline to the community’s doorstep at election time.
growing consolidation of Hindus under the banner of the Bharatiya Janata Party
(BJP) and the so-called soft Hindutva it has engendered among its political
rivals is contributing to a sense of insecurity among Muslims in India’s most
populous state, which elects 80 members to the 543-member Lok Sabha.
Zulfiqar Ali, a resident of Muzaffarnagar, said: “The BJP has unleashed a false
propaganda against rival parties and created such an atmosphere that even they
are compelled to toe the BJP’s line to get support of the people. How much it
would work to their advantage is hard to say.”
Muslims have started describing themselves privately as the new political
untouchables. No party is openly courting them except in constituencies where
they make up a decisive majority in the electorate.
such as the implementation of the Rjindar Sachar Committee’s recommendations to
improve the Muslims’ social, economic and educational status have disappeared
from the political discourse in Uttar Pradesh. Politically divisive slogans
such as ‘kabristan” vs. “shamshan” (graveyard vs. cremation ground) are the new
fear of communal polarisation has compelled the non-BJP parties to temper
pro-Muslim overtures, and once firebrand clerics have by and large gone silent.
To be sure, the national president of the Jamaat-e-Islami (JIH), Syed
Sadatullah Husaini, has issued a circular to the organisation’s members to work
for the Samajwadi Party-Bahujan Samaj Party-Rashtriya Lok Dal (SP-BSP-RLD)
make up 19.5% of Uttar Pradesh’s population and until the last general
election, they used to play a dominant role in about 30-odd constituencies
where they accounted for 15-50% votes, primarily in the west and central
parties, barring the BJP, pampered the community by fielding more Muslim
candidates every election. The consolidation of Hindus under the BJP and
vertical division in their votes between the SP and the BSP reduced their influence
in the last Lok Sabha elections . The BJP and its ally, Apna Dal, comfortably
won 73 of the 80 Lok Sabha seats in UP, which including the ones where Muslims
made up decisive numbers like Moradabad (41.12%), Rampur (50.57%) and
Akeel, a student in Kaiserganj, said: “We have always been a vote bank. But
today we feel our support is no more indispensable.” Not only were the three
non-BJP parties — SP, BSP and Congress — decimated, winning just seven out of
the 80 seats, no Muslim could make it to the Lok Sabha as the BJP swept the
state in 2014.
time around, the three secular parties have fielded fewer Muslim candidates.
all, 54 Muslim candidates contested the polls in 2014.The SP fielded 12, the
BSP and the Congress 17 and 11. Another 14 Muslims contested as Independent
candidates or were fielded by smaller parties. In a small consolation, they
finished runners-up in 17 constituencies.
first Muslim to enter the Lok Sabha after BJP’s 2014 resurgence was in the 2018
by-poll held in Kairana where the Opposition joined hands to defeat the saffron
party and the Rashtriya Lok Dal’s Tabassum Hasan was elected .
2019, 20 Muslim candidates are in the fray —10 each fielded by the Congress and
SP-BSP-RLD alliance. BJP has not fielded a Muslim candidate in 2019; it didn’t
in 2014 either.
Hussain, director of Centre for Objective Research & Development says, “
During the last 5 years the ideology that dominated the political discourse is
perceived to be spreading hatred. The challenge before the Muslims is to stop
that ideology rather than political empowerment.”
Muslim resident of Bahraich, who didn’t want to be identified, said, “It is
understandable that the politics of the state has taken such a queer turn that
even the non-BJP parties do not wish to be publicly identified with Muslims as
they fear it might alienate the Hindus. Why? Aren’t we getting isolated in the
the SP-BSP alliance representing different castes that gives us some hope, or
else, the days of our social exclusion are not far away,” he added.
you travel through the Muslim belt of the state comprising Barabanki, Bahraich,
Gonda, Kaiserganj, Shrawasti and Faizabad districts, in the vicinity of Ayodhya
– the epicentre of the Ram Janmbhumi-Babri Mosque conflict – one can sense the
disquiet. It is more pronounced in the political arena but is deepening at the
social level, too.
of them have moved away from the contentious Ayodhya issue that had first
polarised society on communal lines. The common refrain is that they would
abide by a court verdict although hardline Hindus are adamant that they want a
temple to Lord Ram built at the disputed site they believe marks the birthplace
of the warrior-god .
one gets to hear in Aligarh-Agra and Meerut-Moradabad — infamous for the
politics of polarisation — is also heard in Varanasi or Azamgarh.
Zulfiqar Ali of Muzaffarnagar said, “In last five years, Muslims had no voice
or say on any matter. Their complete marginalisation in every sphere is the
only reason behind their determination to defeat BJP.” He says it was
unfortunate that the Congress did not join the SP-BSP-RLD alliance. It may not
have won many seats but would have strengthened the alliance in the fight
against the BJP.
on the Faizabad-Prayagraj road, is about 30 km from the disputed structure in
Ayodhya. Every time the Vishwa Hindu Parishad (VHP) and its associates campaign
for a Ram temple in Ayodhya, truckloads of policemen reach the town, which was
witness to communal riots in June 2012 over a Durga puja procession. Two
persons were killed, several were injured and shops razed. The provocation was
the gulal (coloured powder) that had fallen on the Nawab Khan mosque in the
years, all mosques were covered with a tarpaulin. But soon the 30,000-odd
population had learnt from their past mistakes. Now the de-facto chairman of
the nagar panchayat, Rashid, leads the processions. “We don’t cover the mosque
as Muslims lead the procession. Hindus are also careful.” Election time divides
is not so acute as it was in 2014 when some Yadavs also supported the BJP,” he
are supporting the alliance in a direct contest with BJP. Congress nominee
Nirmal Khatri is seasoned and sophisticated but lacks support of other castes,”
he added. Jarwal is a town in Kaiserganj with 80%Muslim population. Though the
20%Hindus by and large voted for Narendra Modi in 2014, this time, a section is
in favour of the alliance along with Muslims. Both Qamrul Hasan and Arun Kumar
Yadav say the divide is only political, otherwise they are together. Yadav
says, “We all know who votes for whom. Muslims do tactical voting, we go to SP
while Brahmins and Banias vote for the BJP.”
Ulema Board Has Issued A Decree: ‘Terrorists Enemy Of Islam, Pakistan’
The Muthahida Ulema Board has issued a decree against the terrorists targeting
the officials of law enforcement agencies and innocent people.
Shariah forbids suicide blasts, terrorists attacks and killings of innocent
people. The suicide blast outside Data Darbar, Lahore, is a heinous terrorist
act of the enemies of humanity, the ulema said, adding, people of Pakistan were
united and standing with the law enforcement agencies of the country to
eliminate the menace of terrorism and extremism from Pakistan.
statement released by Muthahida Ulema Board, Punjab, with the consent of
leading scholars of different schools of thought in Pakistan, condemned suicide
attack at police and innocent people during Ramazan. The PUC and Muthahida
Ulema Board Punjab chairman has also convened an emergency meeting.
Jihad Leader Expects War With Israel To Break Out Next Summer
leader of the Islamic Jihad said in a televised interview that he expects war
with Israel to break out by next summer.
to Al Mayadeen, a Lebanese news channel, on Tuesday night, Islamic Jihad
Secretary-General Ziad al-Nahala described the most recent escalation against
Israel as “just preparation for the greater battle.”
resistance in Gaza is fully prepared for any war,” Nahala said, adding that
when the ceasefire was reached they were about to shoot rockets at Tel Aviv.
Islamic Jihad leader further said that the weekly protests at the border with
Israel will continue. He explained that a first test for the ceasefire will
take place next Friday, which marks the commemoration of “Nakba Day,” Day of
the Catastrophe, as Palestinians refer to the foundation of the State of
Israel. He vowed that if the demonstrators are hurt, there will be retaliation.
Palestinian terrorist group has strong ties with Iran and with the Lebanese
group Hezbollah, and they are sometimes seen as a rival faction to Hamas, which
controls the Gaza Strip.
in the interview, Nahala said that the group's cooperation with Hamas is solid.
were with Hamas in Cairo and we made a joint decision to activate the Joint
Operations Room to respond to the aggression of the occupation,” he explained,
describing how the decision to launch the escalation against Israel was taken.
700 rockets were fired against Israel over the course of last weekend, before a
ceasefire was reached on Monday.
the U.S. doesn't feel safe, it's because they're despised by the people of the
region — blaming Iran won’t reverse that," tweeted Javad Zarif, Iran's
Foreign Minister, on Tuesday. "The B-Team is at it again. From
announcements of naval movements (that actually occurred last month) to dire
warnings about so-called 'Iranian threats'." The "B-Team" is
Israel's Benjamin Netanyahu, U.S. National Security Adviser John Bolton, Saudi
Arabia's Mohammed bin Salman and the UAE's Mohammed bin Zayed.
ramped up still further on Tuesday, with CBS News reporting that "four
B-52 bombers are being deployed to the Middle East in response to what
administration officials said earlier this week are threats of a possible
attack by Iran or allied fighters on American troops in the region. Two of the
bombers are expected to leave Tuesday from Barksdale Air Force Base in
Louisiana, arriving at Al Udeid Air Base in Qatar on Wednesday... CENTCOM is
expected to request additional forces, including Patriot anti-missile
Sunday night, Bolton announced that "the United States is deploying the
USS Abraham Lincoln Carrier Strike Group and a bomber task force to the U.S.
Central Command region send a clear and unmistakable message to the Iranian
regime that any attack on United States interests or on those of our allies
will be met with unrelenting force."
Monday, CNN reported that, according to U.S. officials, this move followed
"specific and credible" intelligence that suggested "Iranian
forces and proxies were targeting U.S. forces in Syria, Iraq and at sea, [which]
led the Pentagon to recommend a carrier strike group be moved to the
region." Media reports in Israel suggested that this intelligence
originated there: "According to Israel’s Channel 13, Israeli officials
conveyed information gathered largely by the Mossad on an Iranian plan to
attack either a U.S. or U.S.-allied target, details of which were not provided
to the network."
on Monday, Keivan Khosravi, a spokesperson for Iran's Supreme National Security
Council, described Bolton's statement as a "gauche recourse to an abortive
development for psychological warfare. Bolton lacks understanding of military
and security issues. His remarks are more intended to serve as
court of first instance has sentenced a Tunisian takfiri to 18 months in prison
for inciting young people to join ISIS terrorist organization.
counter-terrorism agency had placed the takfiri fighter called “Emir of
Tajerouine” under surveillance. Tajerouine refers to the city where he lived.
said he contacted a group of four girls via social media, encouraging them to
adopt extremist thinking.
said he asked the girls for marriage and then invited them to head to Syria to
his arrest, the man denied his intention to travel to Syria or wanting to send
the girls there by urging them to join the terrorist organization. However, he
admitted to his desire to marry the girls.
other news, Tunisian security sources confirmed the arrest of Tunisian
terrorist Raed Touati during a recent operation in the Sidi Ali Ben Aoun area
of Sidi Bouzid, a city in central Tunisia.
operation allowed security forces to have access to very important information
on the terrorist elements in the mountainous areas, especially in al-Kasserine,
Jendouba, and el-Kef.
were able to gather clear and accurate data on the number of terrorists killed
in the mountains and their burial places.
informed investigators that around 18 terrorists were buried in the mountains.
Most of them were killed in clashes with the army and guards, while others died
in the explosion of landmines that they had planted in the mountains.
latest pre-emptive security operation succeeded in thwarting terrorist plots by
al-Qaeda’s Oqba Bin Nafie Brigade to target mainly security and military forces
during the month of Ramadan.
The US-backed Syrian Democratic Forces took credit for defeating the Daesh
group in its last stronghold in eastern Syria, celebrating the victory in front
of throngs of journalists at a ceremony in March following a bloody four-year
the Kurdish-led force now faces protests by local Arab tribesmen demanding
better services, jobs and a bigger role in decision-making in the predominantly
Arab, oil-rich and fertile region.
in more than a dozen villages in the eastern province of Deir Ezzor are limited
for now, but they present a growing challenge to the US and its local partners
at a time when President Donald Trump plans to reduce America’s military
presence in Syria.
SDF official, who spoke on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized
to speak to the media, said the protesters are a small percentage of Deir Ezzor
residents. But the demonstration benefit the Syrian government, its Iranian
backers and Turkey, and undermine “our victory against Daesh,” he said.
rounds of talks between the SDF and local officials have so far failed to make
progress, leading to concerns the protests could transform into an all-out
uprising against the predominantly Kurdish force.
protests come as the force, founded in 2015 to fight Daesh and armed by the US,
faces multiple challenges.
sleeper cells have intensified their attacks in areas controlled by the SDF in
recent weeks. Syrian President Bashar Assad’s troops, based along the west bank
of the Euphrates River that cuts through Deir Ezzor, have vowed to reassert
control over Kurdish-held areas in northern Syria. And Turkey, which considers
the force to be a terrorist organization, has also set its sights on the
SDF controls nearly a third of Syria, but unlike the provinces of Raqqa and
Hassakeh in the north that have large Kurdish populations, Deir Ezzor in the
east is almost purely Arab, leading to ethnic tensions between the local
population and the Kurdish force.
years after entering the province in their push against Daesh, the SDF appears
to have failed to win the hearts and minds of the residents in the region,
which suffers from a lack of services, rising crime, fuel shortages and anger
over what they see as growing Kurdish influence.
the SDF is a mixed force consisting of Kurds, Arabs and Christian fighters, its
backbone is the Kurdish People’s Protection Units, or YPG.
SDF officials say that what’s happening in eastern Syria are not protests, but
riots backed by Assad’s government with the aim of hurting the SDF and its
American backers. SDF officials warn that if the protests continue, it will
affect the search for IS sleeper cells in the region.
nearly two weeks, residents in more than a dozen towns and villages in Deir
Ezzor have been rallying, closing major roads with burning tires to prevent SDF
tanker trucks from taking crude to Kurdish-held areas in the country’s north.
liberated from the IS suffer fuel shortages and IS sleeper cells are launching
a guerrilla campaign to avenge their defeat two months ago when the SDF
captured the village of Baghouz, marking the end of the extremists’
of the protesters believe that Kurdish fighters sell oil to Assad’s loyalists
amid severe fuel shortages in government-held parts of the country, aggravated
by US sanctions on Syria and its main backer, Iran.
SDF began capturing parts of Deir Ezzor in 2017, residents have expressed anger
at what they say has been forced recruitment of Arab residents into the SDF, as
well as the detention of many on suspicion of links to Daesh.
are fed up with the SDF,” said Omar Abu Laila, a Europe-based activist from
Deir Ezzor who runs a group that monitors developments in the province. “They
are robbing the wealth of the people in the region.”
protests took a turn for the worse on April 24, when according to Deir Ezzor
activists, the US-led coalition and SDF fighters stormed a house in the village
of Daman and killed six people, including two women and a child. They said the
raid targeted a man called Farhan Al-Sarhan, whom the SDF says is linked to IS,
a charge that activists deny.
day later, protests spread quickly to nearby villages and towns including
Tayyaneh, Haseen, Mheimda, Husan, Shannan and Shheil.
to Kurdish occupation,” read one banner carried by protesters, according to
images posted on social media.
pace of rehabilitation, economic development and provision of essential
services has not been sufficient to meet the basic needs of the population,”
Bassam Barabandi, a former Syrian diplomat now based in Washington, said of the
protests. “As a result, people are feeling very hopeless about their current
situation and the future. They do not see the regime as an acceptable
alternative, and they are looking for the US to act.”
meetings have been held over the past weeks between SDF officials and Arab
dignitaries from Deir Ezzor to try to ease the tension without success,
according to Barabandi and the Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human
Rights, a war monitoring group.
Arab man from Deir Ezzor who took part in the talks, said that “the Kurds have
been refusing to make any concessions.” He spoke on condition of anonymity out
of concern for his safety.
said the SDF is taking away most of the oil it pumps in Deir Ezzor — about
60,000 barrels a day — and leaves hardly anything behind.
officials demanded, among other things, the release of SDF-held detainees,
stopping the flow of oil from the province, giving Deir Ezzor fighters within
the SDF a bigger role, ending compulsory conscription into the SDF and
improving electricity and fuel services.
Abdurrahman, who heads the Observatory, said chaos in eastern Syria is not a
good omen for the SDF.
regime could be the biggest winner from what is happening,” he said.
Bronx man who is accused of working as a deep-cover “sleeper” agent for
Hezbollah — appearing to lead an otherwise normal life while secretly
conducting surveillance on New York City-area airports and military
installations — went to trial this week.
prosecutors say that from 2009 to 2015, the Lebanon-born Ali Kourani, 34, ran
surveillance on military and intelligence facilities in anticipation of an
attack from the Islamic Jihad Organization, an arm of Hezbollah.
feds also allege that, in 2011, Kournai took a trip to Lebanon to receive
weapons and combat training.
to court papers, Kourani immigrated to the United States legally in 2003. He
obtained a degree in biomedical engineering from the City University of New
York in 2009 and later obtained an MBA.
had attempted to become an informant for the FBI, court papers state — he
agreed to sit down with agents for five interviews with hopes that he could
give up information in exchange for financial support and immigration benefits
for his relatives. In one of his interviews, Kournai boasted that his family
was akin to the “Bin Ladens of Lebanon.”
the feds say they made him no promises to Kournai for the information he
provided and instead arrested him in 2017.
interviews with the FBI will be presented to the jury at his trial, which is
being conducted in Manhattan federal court.
100,000 civilians have been displaced in northern Syria’s Idlib in the last
week, the United Nations said on Tuesday as hospitals, houses and first
responders have been targeted in the ongoing week-long offensive.
are alarmed by ongoing reports of aerial attacks on population centres and
civilian infrastructure, resulting in hundreds of civilians dead and
injured," said David Swanson of the UN Office for the Coordination of
Humanitarian Affairs, or OCHA.
than 152,000 women, children and men have been displaced in Aleppo and Idlib
governorates over the past week alone," he said.
subsided early on Tuesday after pro-government forces thwarted several
counter-attacks and consolidated new positions, head of the UK-based Syrian
Observatory for Human Rights, Rami Abdul Rahman, said.
then air strikes and artillery shelling on Tuesday killed at least 13
civilians. Nine were killed in similar strikes on Monday.
first responders, known as the White Helmets, say warplanes bombed a market in
the village of Ras El Ain on Tuesday, killing four people and wounding 20.
President Emmanuel Macron expressed his "extreme concern" over the
troops captured a village and a strategic hill from hardline militant groups on
Monday in the northwest region of Idlib, regime media reported, as United
Nations head Antonio Guterres called for action to prevent civilian casualties
and mass displacement.
Syrian government's advance was the deepest push so far this year into Syria's
last major rebel stronghold. The latest wave of violence, which began April 30,
has raised fears the government may launch a wider offensive to retake the
area, home to around 3 million people. It is also the most serious challenge to
a Russia-Turkey sponsored cease-fire in place since September.
21 hardline fighters from the former Al-Qaeda affiliate Hayat Tahrir Al Sham
and its ally in the Turkistan Islamic Party as well as 22 pro-government
fighters have been killed in the violence. Thousands of civilians have been
displaced and medical centres destroyed by regime and Russian airstrikes.
senior Russian official said Russia's air base in the coastal province of
Latakia came under fire from the insurgents, the latest assault on the military
post since Friday.
threats, interference and aid deliveries in jeopardy relief workers say
hardline militants are adding to the huge challenges they face in
violence-plagued northwest Syria.
2.7 million of its roughly three million residents need humanitarian assistance
according to the UN.
rely heavily on food, medicine and other aid brought across from Turkey by the
UN and charity groups.
efforts by the "de-facto authorities" in Idlib "to tamper with,
impede or frustrate the delivery of humanitarian assistance including by
undermining the safety of humanitarian workers, has been an unfortunate
reality", said Rachel Sider of the Norwegian Refugee Council (NRC).
Hayat Tahrir Al Sham’s civil wing – the so-called "Salvation
Government" – cemented control over Idlib at the beginning of the year.
interference has increased since January," said a humanitarian worker in
Idlib, who wanted to remain anonymous for fear of retaliation.
is not a single aid organisation that has been spared threats, arrests, or
closure for very silly reasons," he said, even as Idlib has come under
increased bombardment by the regime and its ally Russia over the past month.
April, jihadists threatened to detain him because he refused to provide them
with food baskets his team was distributing at a camp for the displaced in
southern Idlib, he added.
told me I should give them aid because they are mujahideen," said the
said Hayat Tahrir Al Sham also detained him for four days seven months ago in
Idlib city for photographing aid deliveries without their authorisation.
beat him, confiscated his laptop, and broke his camera, he said.
told me I should thank God I was being released alive."
Donohoe of the International Rescue Committee said, "aid groups face
interference from armed groups in Idlib, such as the restricting of access to
vulnerable populations or attempting to influence beneficiary selection and the
location of aid delivery."
declined to provide more detail but a second humanitarian worker in Idlib, who
also asked to remain anonymous, said several projects by international aid
agencies have been dropped in recent months because of such meddling.
plan to provide bakeries in Idlib with free flour was scrapped because the
Salvation Government insisted on limiting beneficiaries to bakeries it is
affiliated with, the 29-year-old said.
activities as an organisation have become very modest since this happened to
us," he added.
governing body is also trying to ensure its affiliates are among those who
secure tenders with aid agencies, which attempt to avoid this through
screening, he said.
want a cut of any project implemented in the area," he said.
encroachment has sparked concern that relief items and aid money may fall in
the wrong hands.
Sider, of the NRC, said: "In this environment, aid agencies cannot
completely eliminate the risk of diversion and we'd like donors to recognise
UN has said it is taking extra measures to combat diversion.
include "additional screening from partners, suppliers, even workers,
staff, and third-party monitoring, including the use of modern technology –
barcoding, establishing hotlines to be able to be sure that aid reaches the
right people," the UN regional coordinator for Syria, Panos Moumtzis,
has yet to be any major decrease in humanitarian assistance but some donors
have cut funding, said Ahmed Mahmoud, Syria director for the Islamic Relief
far, five major hospitals have had to close entirely and seven other medical
facilities – including hospitals focusing on paediatrics and obstetrics –
severely cut back their operations due to funding cuts," he said.
there could also be other reasons, "some donors may have concerns
regarding the shifts in control in northwestern Syria, which may have affected
their funding decisions.
one facility after another shuts its doors, the pressure only grows on those
that remain," he said.
its part, the Salvation Government denies jeopardising relief efforts.
Salvation Government official in charge of coordinating aid, who gave his name
as Dr Jihad, said the administration was "striving to organise
[humanitarian] work" by strengthening cooperation with relief agencies and
facilitating aid deliveries.
(Kurdistan 24) – Local authorities in northeastern Syria on Tuesday handed over
seven children belonging to members of the so-called Islamic State to a Swedish
transfer was made at the Faysh Khabur border crossing, also known as the
“Semalka” crossing, which connects Syria’s northeast with the Kurdistan Region.
Swedish delegation met with the foreign relations department in northern and
eastern Syria to receive seven children of Swedish nationality whose parents
were killed in Syria fighting for the Islamic State, local Kurdish media reported.
delegation was received by the Deputy Head of the Department of Foreign
Relations in North and East Syria, Sana Deham, and the Director of the Women’s
Body for North and East Syria, Rokan Mullah Ibrahim.
the children were handed over, an extradition contract was signed. The Swedish
delegation then returned to the Kurdistan Region with the children where they
are expected to repatriate them to Sweden.
April, Sweden’s Foreign Minister Margot Wallström said the country wants to
facilitate the return of children of Swedish nationals who traveled overseas to
join the terror group.
wrote in a Facebook post that the Swedish government was “working intensively
so that children with a connection to Sweden who are in Syria get the help they
should not be any doubt that the government is doing what we can for these
children and, if possible, they will be brought to Sweden.”
Kurdish-led authorities in northern Syria have urged foreign states to take
back female nationals suspected of membership to the Islamic State and their
US has also called on Western countries to take responsibility and take their
citizens back. So far, a majority of them have not responded to the calls.
Houry, a terrorism and counterterrorism director at Human Rights Watch (HRW),
said Syrian Kurdish authorities who played a significant role in defeating the
Islamic State had shouldered a heavy burden by holding countless numbers of
noted that Sweden’s decision to repatriate the children is an important step
for the youth who are the real victims.
[the children] were brought [to Syria] by their parents who were born [in
Sweden], and their future is in their home countries,” he told Kurdistan 24.
HRW director called on other nations to launch similar efforts.
future of children cannot be detention in the camp; they need to return to
their home countries,” Houry explained. “The sooner it happens, the better.”
hope that these efforts will actually build up to a more sustained return to
end the situation in the camps.”
Al Hol camp in Syria witnessed an increase in numbers of residents during an
offensive by the Syrian Kurdish-led forces, backed by the US-led coalition to
defeat the Islamic State in its last bastion of Baghouz which ended in March.
Alissa J. Rubin
the United States said this week that American forces in Iraq faced threats
from Iranian “proxies,” it was referring to the armed groups that helped fight
the Islamic State and have bedeviled Iraq ever since.
Iraqi armed groups, some with ties to Iran, have a footprint in every Iraqi
province. Whether they function as Iranian proxies, however, is far from
word ‘proxy’ implies that these are tools of Iran, and they aren’t,” said
Anthony H. Cordesman, a national security analyst at the Center for Strategic
and International Studies.
have a range of groups in Iraq’s Popular Mobilization: Some are Sunni, some are
pro-Iraqi government, some have ties to the Quds force and the Islamic Guard,”
question is further clouded by the fact that these groups are recognized and
funded by the Iraqi government.
week, the United States ordered an aircraft carrier and bombers to the Persian
Gulf in response to what it termed as threats from the groups. On Tuesday,
Secretary of State Mike Pompeo made an unannounced trip to Iraq to press its
leaders about what he said were increased dangers to Americans there from
Iran’s forces and allies.
are roughly 30 of the militias, known as the Popular Mobilization Forces, with
at least 125,000 active-duty fighters.
relationships with Iran vary widely, according to experts and government
officials in Iraq and Washington. Some Popular Mobilization groups keep their
distance from Iran while others — including some of the most powerful — are
deeply intertwined with it.
that the fight against the Islamic State has dwindled, the problem facing Iraq
is what to do with these groups. While there has been talk of having them
disband and disarm, only a couple of them seem willing to do so.
the militias have been absorbed into the Iraqi security forces, they are not
under the command of either the Defense or Interior Ministries. Instead, they
enjoy a special status, reporting to the prime minister.
of the groups seem relatively benign and carry out almost exclusively local
responsibilities, providing policing services where the police are in short
others are corrupt, behaving like mafias, and several have been accused of
human rights abuses. And while they report to the prime minister, it is not
clear that anyone really can restrain them.
they have armed wings and are corrupt, no one can control them,” former Prime
Minister Haider al-Abadi said in an interview this year.
major concern among some officials is that, much like Iran’s Islamic
Revolutionary Guard Corps, they will go into business, but with the unfair
advantage of having armed men behind them and the implicit protection of senior
figures in the Iraqi government.
Iraq if you don’t put controls on these groups, you will have these guys morph
into networks that will range from semi-criminal entities to politically
predatory forces that would act as a state within a state,” said Alex Vatanka,
a senior fellow at the Middle East Institute.
is the four or five groups with the closest ties to Iran that are seen as
exercising unauthorized power. Some run kickback schemes on a local level,
using coercion to force business people to give them a piece of the action or
compel citizens to use their services.
of these groups have large numbers of representatives in the Iraqi Parliament,
where the power to designate ministers is divided among the political blocs. If
a bloc or a party controls who becomes a minister, they have a chance to
influence who gets valuable contracts or jobs.
groups also can act as a lobby for Iranian interests within the Iraqi state.
Iraqi government officials worry privately about the influence of the groups
that have proved closest to Iran and are impervious to efforts to bring them
under the government’s control, but the officials are generally reluctant to
speak publicly about it.
Defense Ministry was angry when some of the Popular Mobilization’s brigades
moved to the Syrian border in November, taking up crucial positions, but the
ministry worked out a way of avoiding a confrontation with them.
soon after the United States Treasury Department announced in March it was
listing one of the Popular Mobilization groups, Harakat Hezbollah al-Nujaba, as
a foreign terrorist organization, the Iraqi government made clear it disagreed.
Minister Adel Abdul Mahdi did not defend the group by name — al-Nujaba has
proved difficult for the Iraqi military to work with at times — but he did
support the Popular Mobilization groups.
Americans can make the decisions they want, but the Americans see things
differently from the way we do, and our attitude toward the Popular
Mobilization is well known and clear,” he said in March. “We respect all of the
groups of the Popular Mobilization that made sacrifices.”
sacrifices he was alluding to were largely made from 2014 through 2016, when
the Islamic State swept across northern Iraq with little resistance and was
moving fast toward the capital. Urged by a call in June 2014 from Grand
Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani, Iraq’s influential Shiite spiritual leader, for
volunteers to defend their nation, young men and old formed a pickup army.
sent some Iraqis who were fighting with them in Syria, on behalf of President
Bashar al-Assad’s Syrian Army, back to Iraq to confront the threat on their
places where the Iraqi Army collapsed in the face of the Islamic State, the
Popular Mobilization Forces went in: They secured roads, fought the Islamic
State and cut off their escape routes. Iran helped the Popular Mobilization
acquire weapons and supplies, but gradually that role was taken over by the
the time, the Popular Mobilization groups “did a lot of good and sacrificed
with their blood” to help save the country from the Islamic State, said Wafiq
al-Hashimi, a political scientist at the Iraq Strategic Studies Group.
in areas where they defeated the Islamic State, some militias took over the
extremists’ illegal activities, enriching themselves but doing little for local
communities. These groups, most notably in northern Iraq, fought Iraqi
government forces as recently as last year to hold on to their oil smuggling
business. They ultimately lost, but still have bases near the now-capped oil wells.
least a couple of the Popular Mobilization groups are led by figures who
attacked American forces in the years after the United States invaded Iraq,
making any threats against United States forces and civilians in the region
particularly worrying to officials.
of those groups is Asaib Ahl al-Haq, led by Qais al-Khazali, whom American
officials accused of masterminding an audacious attack against Americans in
Karbala, Iraq, in 2007. More recently, the group was accused by rights groups
of the extrajudicial killings of Sunnis during the fight against the Islamic
State. In recent months, it has been criticized for demanding that business
owners in northern Iraq give it a cut of any business they are involved in. The
group has denied the accusations against it.
inimical to American interests are the armed groups and political party linked
to Moktada al-Sadr, a cleric whose supporters have the largest number of seats
in the Iraqi Parliament. Although Mr. al-Sadr has recently kept Iran at arm’s length,
he has taken a strongly nationalist stance. He often ends up on the same side
as Iran when it comes to the United States, since he, too, would like to see
American soldiers leave Iraq.
Egyptian court Tuesday upheld the death sentences of 13 militants for attacks
against security forces, a judicial official said.
defendants were charged with forming a militant group, Ajnad Misr (Soldiers of
Egypt), which has claimed responsibility for lethal attacks on security forces
in and around the capital Cairo.
Cassation Court rejected an appeal against initial rulings passed by a Giza
criminal tribunal in December 2017.
accused were found guilty of “making and possessing explosive materials, bombs
and firearms, and of receiving training outside the country”.
were also convicted of “terrorist acts against police forces and public
facilities from late 2013 to May 2015”.
from the 13 death sentences, 17 defendants were handed life prison terms, and
nine to between five and 15 years in jail, while five were acquitted.
Misr claimed several deadly attacks against security forces and bombings
outside key buildings such as the Supreme Court and the cabinet offices.
2015, the group’s leader Hammam Mohamed Attiyah was shot dead in a Cairo
gunfight with police.
said Attiyah belonged to Ansar Beit al-Maqdis, the Egyptian branch of ISIS
before he broke away in 2013 to found Ajnad Misr.
has been battling an insurgency affiliated with ISIS in the restive North Sinai
region since 2013.
government in February 2018 launched a large-scale military operation against
ISIS in the Sinai Peninsula of eastern Egypt.
Iraqi judiciary has tried and sentenced more than 500 foreigners since the
start of 2018 for joining the Daesh group, the country's Supreme Court
announced on Wednesday.
said "514 verdicts were issued, for both men and women, while another 202
accused are still being interrogated and 44 are still being tried."
11 were acquitted and released, it said.
statement referred to "different nationalities" but did not list any
said interrogations were taking about six months for those simply accused of
Daesh membership, but anyone accused of actively taking part in the terrorist
group's operations could be questioned for up to a year.
declared victory over Daesh in late 2017 and began trying foreigners accused of
joining the terrorist faction the following year.
has condemned many to life in prison, including 58-year-old Frenchman Lahcen
Ammar Gueboudj and two other French nationals.
has also issued death sentences for other foreign Daesh members, although they
have not yet been carried out.
those awaiting trial in Baghdad are 12 accused French Daesh members, who were
caught in Syria and transferred to Iraqi custody in February.
sources have told AFP that Baghdad would be willing to try all foreigners
currently held in Kurdish detention in northeast Syria for a price.
1,000 suspected foreign Daesh terrorists are in detention in northeast Syria,
in addition to around 9,000 foreign women and children in camps there.
groups including Human Rights Watch have criticized the trials, which they say
often rely on circumstantial evidence or confessions obtained under torture.
statement by the court "urged all trials of foreign terrorists to be moved
to Baghdad, as most of the embassies are in the capital and so embassy
representatives from the terrorists' countries can attend the sessions."
has also already tried thousands of its own nationals arrested on home soil for
joining Daesh, including women.
has begun trial proceedings for nearly 900 Iraqis repatriated from Syria and
sentenced four to death last month under its counter-terrorism law.
country remains in the top five "executioner" nations in the world,
according to an Amnesty International report released last month.
number of death sentences issued by Iraqi courts more than quadrupled from 65
in 2017 to at least 271 last year.
Counterterrorism and Transnational Crime or CTTC unit arrested Motaj last
Sunday and took him under a four-day custody for grilling on Tuesday.
days have passed. But he is tightlipped about fighting in Syria. Let’s see what
information we can get from him in the remaining two days,” CTTC Assistant
Commissioner Ohiduzzaman Noor told bdnews24.com on Wednesday.
and raised in Saudi Arabia, Motaj came to Bangladesh for the first time in
February this year.
holds a Bangladeshi passport as his father is a Bangladeshi citizen.
said Motaj’s work permit in Saudi Arabia was about to expire.
had travelled to Syria via Turkey illegally twice, according to CTTC Deputy
Commissioner Mohibul Islam Khan.
CTTC officials were also trying to know who he had contacted in Bangladesh
after arriving in the country, Mohibul said.
was arrested on suspicion following a scrutiny of the list of the people who
came to Bangladesh from Turkey recently.
comes weeks after the Easter Sunday attacks on churches and hotels in Sri
Lanka. Over 250 people died in the bombings claimed by the Islamic State.
radical group reportedly claimed responsibilities for a bombing on police in
Dhaka on Apr 29. In Bangladesh, it had made such claims for the last time more
than two years ago.
Rahim Faiez and Amir Shah
Afghanistan — Taliban fighters attacked the offices of a U.S.-based aid
organization in the Afghan capital on Wednesday, setting off a huge explosion
and battling security forces in an assault that lasted more than six hours and
killed at least five people, the Interior Ministry said.
of civilian vehicles and shops were either destroyed or damaged, and several
buildings were also damaged. A large plume of smoke rose from the area and the
sound of sporadic gunfire could be heard.
ministry’s statement said four civilians and a police officer were killed and
24 others were wounded in the assault. It was not immediately clear if any
foreigners were killed or wounded.
ministry’s statement said the attack ended after all five insurgents were
killed by Afghan forces. “Around 200 people were rescued from both buildings
within the compound,” it said.
attack targeted U.S.-based aid organization Counterpart International, which
has offices near those of the Afghan attorney general, said Interior Ministry
spokesman Nasrat Rahimi. The group’s offices are in a compound with two
are incredibly saddened by this attack and are working as quickly as possible
to account for our staff,” the organization said in a statement on its website.
“Their safety and security is our primary concern.
Bass, U.S. ambassador in Afghanistan, strongly condemned the attack on the NGO.
He said the targeted organization helps local communities, trains journalists
and supports the Afghan people.
United Nations Assistance Mission in Afghanistan in a statement also condemned
the insurgents for deliberately targeting a civilian aid organization.
attack was particularly deplorable, hitting civilians helping Afghans,” the
spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid said the group attacked the organization because
it was involved in “harmful Western activities” inside Afghanistan, without
insurgents stage near-daily attacks on Afghan forces, even as peace efforts
have accelerated to find an end to the country’s 17-year war.
President Ashraf Ghani called for peace with the Taliban last week and promised
to free 175 Taliban prisoners ahead of the Muslim holy month of Ramadan, which
Taliban said they would continue their attacks during Ramadan, but would be
“very careful of civilians during any operation.”
charity serves iftar to orphans in Bangladesh
Turkish charity on Wednesday served fast-breaking meals, or iftar, to orphans
in Bangladesh’s Cox’s Bazar .
Istanbul-based Humanitarian Relief Foundation (IHH) organized the dinner at the
Dar Al Iman Orphanage in Cox’s Bazar.
at the event, Ahlul Islam, one of the teachers at the orphanage, said they are
teaching holy Quran to 45 students.
orphanage hosts Rohingya and Bangladeshi children.
IHH has a total of nine orphanages in Bangladesh. Besides, it sponsors and aids
15 other orphanages in the country.
killing took place at the mosque in the Mothbarhi neighbourhood under Amgram
union during Tarabih prayers about 9pm on Tuesday, Rajoir Police Station OC
Shajahan Mia said.
dead, Mojibor Bepari, 50, had a dispute over ownership of a piece of land with
his cousin Ali Ashraf, the OC said.
son Rubel Bepari and Ashraf’s son ‘Lincoln’ had engaged in an altercation in
the presence of Ashraf over keeping shoes at the mosque before the Isha prayers
on Tuesday, Shajahan said.
Mojibor was offering his Tarabih prayers at the mosque later in the night,
Ashraf’s men wounded Mojibor in an attack with sharp weapons, the OC said.
doctor declared Mojibor dead when he was taken to the Rajoir Upazila Health
Complex, according to the police officer.
person has been detained for questioning over the incident while Ashraf, his
sons. and others blamed for the murder are on the run, he said.
Taliban militants suffered heavy casualties in self defense strikes of the
Afghan Special Forces in northern Faryab province, the military sources said
sources further added that the Afghan Special Forces carried out the self
defense in Andkhoy district of the province.
strikes by Afghan Special Forces in Andkhoy district killed 33 Taliban fighters
and wounded two,” the sources said.
anti-government armed militants including Taliban have not commented regarding
the strikes so far.
least 4 Taliban militants were killed and tunnel systems of the group were
destroyed during the operation which was conducted in southern Uruzgan
strike in Tarin Kot district of Uruzgan targeting Taliban leadership resulted
in 4 Taliban fighters killed and tunnel systems destroyed,” the informed
military sources said Wednesday.
sources also added that 7 Taliban fighters killed and 3 others were wounded in
a separate operation of the Afghan Special Forces in Musa Qala district of
a large number of weapons, military equipment and explosives were destroyed,
the sources added.
said Iran would face consequences if it backed away from its nuclear deal,
following Tehran’s announcement on Wednesday that it was scaling back curbs to
its nuclear program that had been agreed under a 2015 deal with world powers.
announcement from Tehran is ... an unwelcome step,” junior foreign office
minister Mark Field told Britain’s parliament. “We are not at this stage
talking about re-imposing sanctions, but one has to remember that they were, of
course, lifted in exchange for the nuclear restrictions.”
year after Washington pulled out of the nuclear deal, Iran’s President Hassan
Rouhani unveiled measures that do not appear to violate its terms yet but could
do so in the future if Iran were to persist on the course he set out.
Iran cease meeting its nuclear commitments, there would, of course, be
consequences,” Field said.
Work on Iran SPV taking time
on setting up a special purpose vehicle (SPV) for business with Iran is taking
longer than expected, a German government spokesman said on Wednesday.
the last steps need to be taken for this corporation to be able to operate –
that includes Iran making the necessary preparations on its side,” spokesman
Steffen Seibert told a regular government news conference.
response to Iranian President Hassan Rouhani’s statement that the Islamic
Republic will resume high level enrichment of uranium if world powers did not
keep their promises under the agreement, both China and France issued warnings
against the move.
foreign ministry said on Wednesday the 2015 Iran nuclear agreement should be
fully implemented and all sides have a responsibility to ensure it happens.
ministry spokesman Geng Shuang made the remarks during a daily briefing.
call on all relevant parties to exercise restraint, strengthen dialogue, and
avoid escalating tensions,” he said, adding that China “resolutely opposes”
unilateral US sanctions against Iran.
France’s defense minister reacted to Iranian President’s statement by saying
that France wanted to keep the Iran 2015 nuclear deal alive and warned that if
Iran were to not keep to its commitments then the question of triggering a
mechanism that could lead to sanctions would be on the table.
to BFM TV, Defense Minister Florence Parly said nothing would be worse than
Iran withdrawing from the deal and that France ,Britain and Germany were doing
all they could to keep the accord alive.
and France are among the six parties that signed a 2015 deal to lift
nuclear-related sanctions on Iran in return for Tehran’s agreement to rein in
nuclear activities and ease fears it was seeking the capability to produce an
US renewed sanctions on Iran have had a severe effect on the Iranian economy.
has warned that if the five other parties to the agreement - China, Britain,
France, Germany and Russia - failed to deliver on their commitments within 60
days to help Iran benefit from the deal despite the US sanctions, it would
suspend other key limits set by the deal.
Secretary of State Mike Pompeo has rejected Britain’s policy to revoke
citizenship of people who have fought along terrorists in the Middle East,
saying London should take them back.
a Wednesday press conference with his British counterpart Jeremy Hunt in
London, Pompeo said Britain had a responsibility to take back its citizens who
fought along the ranks of groups like Daesh in Syria.
United Kingdom has contributed mightily to the coalition to defeat ISIS (Daesh)
... we need to keep up that fight against radical Islamic terrorism,” said
Pompeo, adding, “A key part of that fight is that every coalition member must
take back terrorist fighters captured on the battlefield.”
and allies like Britain has held a military presence in Iraq and Syria with an
alleged mission to fight Daesh since 2014.
comes as hundreds of Western nationals have joined militant groups in those
countries over the past years, prompting concerns that they might pose security
risks once they return home.
a shock decision earlier this year, Britain’s interior ministry said it had
revoked citizenship of Shamima Begum, a schoolgirl from east London who wished
to return to the UK and resume her normal life after breaking away from Daesh
remarks come as Washington has itself blocked the return of several American
nationals suspected of involvement in Middle East militancy.
in his press conference, Pompeo used insulting remarks to describe Labour Party
leader Jeremy Corbyn, saying his expression of support for Venezuela’s
legitimate government was “disgusting”.
is disgusting to see .... American leaders or leaders from this country
continue to provide support and comfort to a regime that has created so much
devastation, so much devastation,” said Pompeo while asked about Corbyn’s
position on a political crisis in Venezuela.
Association of Palestinian Artists in the Gaza Strip has called on the European
Union not to hold this year’s Eurovision Song Contest in the Israeli city of Tel
NGO issued the appeal at a Wednesday press conference, attended by dozens of
Palestinian artists, outside the EU’s office in Gaza City.
and music is the language of humanity; it’s the best way to express love, peace
and coexistence,” Palestinian actor Nabil al-Khatib told reporters.
the decision to hold this year’s Eurovision contest in Israel, he added, “only
serves to legitimize the persecution of the Palestinian people by beautifying
Israel’s racist face”.
Palestinians, we were shocked to find out that the biggest international song
competition would be held this year in Tel Aviv,” al-Khatib said.
decision, he added, “will provide support for an occupying power that oppresses
Eurovision contest, which will be held this year in Tel Aviv from May 14 to 18,
is an international music competition organized by the European Broadcasting
Union since 1956.
President Emmanuel Macron on Wednesday urged warring sides in Tripoli to stop
fighting after an attack on a migrant detention centre the night before.
Macron met the internationally recognised Libyan leader Fayez Al Sarraj in
Paris as foreign powers called for an end to the battle.
president's office said there was no military solution to the conflict and that
Mr Macron proposed a ceasefire line under international supervision at the
he has backed a UN peace plan and elections, France has also previously
supported eastern Libyan forces commander Field Marshal Khalifa Haftar.
Marshal Haftar supports a rival administration to that of Mr Al Sarraj, in the
east of the country.
allied to Mr Al Sarraj's Government of National Accord have been locked in
battle with Field Marshal Haftar's Libyan National Army since it launched an
offensive to take Tripoli on April 4, although the conflict eased during the
day with the start of Ramadan.
initial advances by the LNA, its rivals have launched a counter-offensive,
leading to a stalemate.
hit the migrant detention centre on Tuesday night, causing shock and fear among
sub-Saharan migrants caught up in the fighting.
have almost lost hope in our life," a migrant told Reuters. "War here
is too much. Please, we need help."
casualties were reported at the centre.
These Muslims, Learning the Quran Starts With YouTube
Indonesia — Every year, as the Islamic holy month of Ramadan approached, Surya
Sahetapy and his close friends would start to feel depressed.
were at their wits ends about how to help more Indonesians study the Quran,
Islam’s holiest book, which may seem surprising in the world’s most populous
Muslims around the world recite the entire Quran during the month of Ramadan,
which began in Indonesia on May 5. Learning all 114 chapters, known as surahs,
can take years, and many here learn the melodic Arabic recitations — as well as
Indonesian translations and interpretations — by listening to audio recordings.
Mr. Surya, 25, and his friends had a unique challenge when it came to studying
the sacred texts: They are deaf.
deaf friends and I felt depressed because we didn’t have any way to help other
deaf people to access Islam,” he said in an interview, accompanied by a
that changed last year when Mr. Surya teamed up with a local Islamic
organization on a project to produce sign-language videos, translating all 114
released the first video, on YouTube, before the start of Ramadan last year.
work has been slow going. In time for Ramadan this year, the Quran Indonesia
Project produced four more surah videos and one of the azan, the Muslim call to
Quran Indonesia Project started with celebrities reading verses from the holy
book, but has moved on to include videos of sign language translations.
many deaf Muslims in Indonesia can read and memorize some scriptures, they have
little access to Islamic scholars who can communicate with them.
help deaf Muslims not just memorize verses but understand their meaning, the
group also plans to release an educational board game about the basics of Islam
as well as 10 sign-language DVDs explaining some prayers.
changing everything,” Mr. Surya said of the project. “The videos also have
their own message: If you want deaf Indonesians to learn Islam, they must learn
sign language. Islam is not limited to what you read, but much more what you
idea for a sign-language Quran began in 2017 when Mr. Surya met Archie Fitrah
Wirija, founder and executive producer of the Quran Indonesia Project.
Wirija’s nonprofit group was already trying to get young people interested in
the Quran by producing audio recordings of the book in Arabic, Indonesian and
English, voiced by popular Indonesian singers and actors.
was like the Quran was not cool enough,” Mr. Wirija said, explaining his
decision to use celebrities and create an Quran smartphone app.
sign-language project took off with help from Galuh Sukmara Soejanto, a deaf
Indonesian teacher and disability rights activist. She coached Mr. Surya on the
finer points of translating the Quran into sign language, and his progress was
monitored by an organization for deaf people based in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia.
Quran project has become one of the few educational resources for deaf
Indonesians. There were 2.9 million deaf citizens as of 2015, according to the
Central Statistics Bureau, although activists believe the number is actually
is the most populous Muslim-majority country on the planet, but deaf Muslims
have few resources to learn the Quran.
are few special education options for deaf children and limited access to
public services for adults, especially in the country’s many far-flung rural
areas. Indonesian sign language was not even recognized by the Ministry of
Culture and Education until 2016 and there are few government officials who can
communicate in sign language.
Galuh opened a small school and home schooling program for deaf children in
2013 in West Java Province, just outside Jakarta, the Indonesian capital. Most
of its teachers and support staff are also deaf.
public schools, she said, do not accommodate sign language users, placing deaf
students instead into mainstream classrooms where they must teach themselves to
lip-read in order to receive an education.
language is the main push factor used to develop communication skills, including
expressing themselves,” Ms. Galuh said in an email. “Starting from personal
experiences about communication and supported by much scientific research, we
are positive that sign language is one of the most important factors to develop
communications skills as well as the foundation of education in general.”
runs in Mr. Surya’s family. A deaf older sister and an uncle exposed him to
sign language at an early age.
when it came time during class to study Islam, I started crying because I didn’t
understand,” Mr. Surya said, remembering that he was required to read his
elementary schoolteacher’s lips. “I was forced to live as a hearing person, and
even today parents don’t want their children to sign; they want them to speak.”
are changing — albeit slowly. A small number of mosques around the country have
begun providing sign-language interpreters for their deaf congregants.
many national television stations now include sign-language translations for
news and religious programs.
shows people we have the right to use sign language,” he said. “We want to
change the stigma of, ‘If you can’t talk, you are different.’”
fears of low turnout, Sandakan Muslim votes become focus
, May 9 — In a shoplot at the heart of old Sandakan town, 44-year-old Hassan
Mohamad yawns loudly behind the counter of his sundry store while watching his
is a Wednesday morning and business is slow.
it's not bad this week, more people around now. It’s usually even quieter,” he
said, referring to the various politicians on the campaign trail that has
descended on this town along Sabah’s east coast.
Sandakan had been known as “Little Hong Kong” for its many Chinese settlers,
bustling trade during its heydays and cornucopia of Chinese cuisine, but a
visitor now would not know this just from walking the streets of the town, even
on its touristy waterfront esplanade.
most shops and the market are run by Muslims who live in the township and in
the vicinity. Nearby, Western tourists staying at the Four Points Sheraton hang
out with the locals at the grilled fish restaurant, juice stall and local
bistros, enjoying the sea breeze in an otherwise quiet town.
this federal constituency, the second largest city in Sabah, just under half
the population in the federal constituency are Muslim natives — Orang Sungai,
Suluk and Bajau and others make up some 45 per cent of the voter base — but
they tend to be overshadowed by the more affluent Chinese community that is now
spread out in the suburbs or moved on to other cities.
misconceptions may have portrayed Sandakan as a clear Chinese majority seat
but, now, the competing politicians have realised otherwise and are quickly
shifting their attention to the large Muslim community that may be the new
like Kampung Sim Sim and Pulau Berhala have become major stopping points for
the candidates in this five-corned by-election contest, and the Muslims here
thankful their gripes are now being heard.
grouses are no different from most: the cost of living has become unbearable
and his family of six is struggling under his meagre earnings from his modest
town used to be bustling. Even when the timber boom died down we still did OK.
But lately, it’s just gotten so bad. There’s no tourists, no activity, no
movement. I think everybody has been struggling since prices went up in the
last few years,” he said.
fishermen of Kampung Sim Sim, Kampung Pukat, and Pulau Berhala also complain
about the lack of direct aid like the Bantuan Sara Hidup since the new
government came in and said the low-cost homes promised to them still have not
is where Umno, stumping for the Opposition Parti Bersatu Sabah’s candidate, has
stepped in to use the unfulfilled promises against the nascent state and
drawing a modest but rousing crowd last Monday in Kampung Sim Sim, the Malay
nationalist party has begun sending in its big hitters.
Umno president Datuk Mohamad Hasan headlined their ceramah last night while
former prime minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak is expected to use his break from
ongoing criminal trial to show support in the last stretch of the campaign to
woo voters for PBS on Friday night.
PBS, which claimed ignorance of Najib’s visit here amidst his trial for money
laundering and corruption, his presence is a dilemma; it may shore up support
with Muslim Bumiputera voters but at the risk of alienating the Chinese vote.
political observer said that with Umno on its side, the state Opposition could
rake in a few more thousand votes, which would put it within striking distance
of DAP that had been considered the favourite to win.
his legal troubles, Najib may still have some vestige of popularity courtesy of
projects announced when he had been PM. These include approval for a RM40
million flood mitigation project along Sungai Anip and RM80 million for the
expansion of Sandakan airport, including the extension of the runway, during
Umno chief Datuk Bung Mokhtar Radin has also pledged that 9,700 Umno members,
or half of the total Muslim Bumiputera voters in Sandakan, will back PBS and
called on others in the community to also vote the same way.
call to arms has unnerved DAP, which in turn is urging voters to turn up in
numbers to vote on polling day, in the hopes that a high turnout will tip the
scales in their favour again.
need the office workers and those away to come back and vote,” said DAP
secretary Chan Foong Hin.
a lower voter turnout, DAP needs at least 80 per cent of the Chinese vote and
50 per cent of the Malay ballots to pull off a win. Chinese voter turnout was
at 51 per cent during the general election but is expected to be just 35 per
cent this time.
party source has indicated PBS may be ahead in terms of Muslim votes but is
trailing DAP among Chinese voters.
hopes for the Muslim Bumiputera votes are pinned on a local hero — Sabah Chief
Minister Datuk Seri Shafie Apdal whose draw was evident in GE14 when the late
Datuk Stephen Wong pulled off an unprecedented 10,098 majority victory that was
at least double the previous margins.
who will visit Kampung Sim Sim and Pulau Berhala today, is undoubtedly popular
with the local crowd who greet him enthusiastically wherever he goes, but
without the momentum for change they enjoyed in general election, it remains to
be seen whether he will get the same support.
observers are divided as of now, noting that while the Muslim Bumiputera tend
to be establishment voters, the slowing economy has hit them hard and may be
enough for them to switch allegiances in a show of disgruntlement.
suspected terrorists were killed and six others were detained during weekend
raids in Indonesia aimed at thwarting a potential terror attack, according to a
said the ISIS-linked group was planning an attack on a crowd later this month.
One of the suspected terrorists was shot and killed by Indonesia’s
anti-terrorism squad, Special Detachment 88, while the other died after blowing
himself up to avoid capture near Jakarta in a separate incident, Reuters
said the six arrested were linked to the radical Islamist group Jemaah Ansharut
Daulah (JAD), which is the largest ISIS-affiliated group in Indonesia. The
group was disbanded last year for terrorist activities and its affiliation with
ISIS, Reuters reported.
police spokesman said the group was planning an attack on a large crowd later
this month that is tied to Indonesia’s recent contested election.
LUMPUR: Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad (pix) has questioned whether a
gathering by Muslims in the city on Saturday was to defend the sanctity of
Islam and the Constitution or to draw support for certain political parties.
welcome gatherings by Muslims aimed at defending the sanctity of Islam and the
Constitution, I fully support these noble aims.
I am wondering whether these were the real objectives or aimed at getting
support for certain political parties,” he said in his latest posting on his
blog chedet.cc titled Mendaulatkan Islam last night.
said the gathering was reported by the media as one to remind the Government on
the status of Islam but the leaders who spoke at it were from Umno and PAS.
it was to defend Islam, by right it should not have been limited to certain
political parties only. The alliance of these parties do not reflect Islamic
solidarity. In fact, it divides Muslims in Malaysia,” he said.
said PAS had earlier claimed Umno members were kafir (infidels) for cooperating
with infidels and that ‘this allegation is yet to be retracted’.
the Amanat Hadi, which claimed that the Umno government (then) was a kafir and
those who opposed the Umno government if they die are martyrs,” he said, adding
that this claim by PAS split the Malays for the first time.
said the Malays were all Muslims and were including the Sunni (Sunnah Wal
Jamaah) sect led by Imam Shafie.
was no difference of opinion or understanding on Islam (by Malays) since
ancient times. They profoundly split only when PAS was formed and claimed that
Umno members were kafir for cooperating with the infidels,” he said.
said so obsessed was PAS with this that some people deemed their parents kafir
if they joined Umno, claiming Umno people’s marriages were not valid and they
should remarry and that even cattle or poultry slaughtered by Umno members was
not halal and cannot be eaten by PAS members.
also questioned how PAS with Umno had the right to claim that their gathering
pictured the solidarity of Muslims for the sovereignty of Islam.
are people with posts, who are silent on the allegations by PAS and Amanat
Hadi,’’ he said.
said there were Muslims who purportedly wanted to practise Islamic teachings
but their focus was on small matters which had elements of politics.
worse is shouting the name of Allah during the gathering to strengthen the party’s
divide and rule politics. Allah’s name is used to justify the rejection of
Islamic teachings that denounce other Muslims without any apparent reason.
Committing sin by doing things prohibited by religion should not be done in the
name of Allah, “ he said.
said Islam prohibits theft, but PAS negotiated and cooperated with the previous
administration which is known to the world as a government of thieves.
PAS continues to work with the people rejected by society for stealing,” he
said the Malays often accuse that this government does not have high regard for
Islam but on the contrary Muslim delegations from other Muslim countries claim
that Malaysia is role model of an Islamic state, and look up to Malaysia as an
have expressed their desire to see their countries become like Malaysia, even
saying that though their population is 100% Muslim they could not govern and
stabilise their countries, far from developing them,“ he said.
said countries with 100% Muslim population were often hostile towards each
other, killing and going to war, causing chaos forcing their citizens to
migrate to non-Muslim countries.
differences, disparity in Islamic teachings, political differences, leadership
differences have disrupted peace. Often they are forced to abide by the will of
a non-Muslim major power. Some are also influenced by Jews, whether directly or
indirectly,“ he said
said Muslims in these countries were often impressed with Islam in Malaysia and
they do not say that Islam is not revered in Malaysia and those accusing so are
only Muslims in Malaysia.
the accusations against the government are not because Islam is not being
revered but merely due to political reasons. In this way the holy religion of
Islam gets a bad name because of non-religious interests.
JAYA: Putrajaya has denied a report from India which claimed that the Malaysian
government had given controversial Muslim preacher Dr Zakir Naik a plot of land
to restart his banned Peace TV satellite channel.
Prime Minister’s Office also rejected a claim that Naik, who was recently
charged in India with acquiring criminal assets worth millions of ringgit, will
be given a slot on the government’s broadcast channels.
would like to clarify that these allegations are baseless,” it said.
Republic TV has claimed that Malaysia decided to “reward” Naik to operate his
Peace TV operations.
week, India’s Enforcement Directorate (ED) charged Naik in absentia with money
agency said Naik had made “inflammatory speeches and lectures” which incited a
number of Muslim youths in India to commit terrorist acts.
chief praises India for counter-terrorism support, says terrorists fleeing IS
should be tackled
NATIONS: UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres has appreciated India's support
to the counter-terrorism work of the world body and underscored the need to
"detect and disrupt" terrorists fleeing the Islamic State prior to
them carrying out an attack as a high priority for the international community.
UN chief made these remarks during the launch of the United Nations Countering
Terrorist Travel Programme on Tuesday, over two weeks after the Easter Sunday
terror attacks in Sri Lanka claimed by the ISIS.
programme would help to strengthen international counter-terrorism cooperation,
expand multilateral networks for sharing information to detect, identify,
disrupt and prosecute terrorists and to ensure that member states most affected
by terrorism have the capacity to tackle this evolving threat, he said.
United Nations Countering Terrorist Travel Programme we launch today is about
helping to meet all these objectives. I would like to thank the Dutch
Government for its generous contribution to this effort," he said.
appreciate the continued support of the Governments of India, Japan, the
Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and the State of Qatar to the counter-terrorism work of
the United Nations," Guterres said.
UN chief noted that following the territorial defeat of ISIL (also known as
ISIS and Islamic State), many terrorists are trying to return home or relocate
to safe havens or other troubled parts of the world.
are well trained and could carry out future terrorist attacks. Others hope to
radicalize and recruit new followers to their cause. They, as well as those
they inspire, represent a major transnational threat," he said.
and disrupting these terrorists and other high-risk criminals prior to them
carrying out an attack is a high priority for the international
community," he said.
programme will help member states collect, process and share travel data with
other competent national and international authorities, with full respect for
privacy and other fundamental freedoms, he said.
know that policies that fully respect human rights are essential in tackling
violent extremism. This information sharing will enhance the abilities of
member states to effectively detect, prevent, investigate and prosecute
terrorist offences, including their related travel," Guterres added.
that there has been a dramatic movement of terrorists to and from conflict
zones around the world over the last seven years, he said that just two years
ago, more than 40,000 people from more than 110 countries may have travelled to
join terrorist groups in the Syrian Arab Republic and Iraq.
recent despicable attacks in Kenya, New Zealand and Sri Lanka, among others,
are tragic reminders of the global reach of the scourge of terrorism," he
said, adding such incidents underscore the need to work closely with partners
across the United Nations system and beyond.
General Assembly and Security Council resolution 2396 have reaffirmed the need
to strengthen international cooperation and information sharing to improve
national detection capacities and prevent the travel of terrorists, Guterres
this (the programme) will also enable the detection and disruption of human
trafficking and other forms of serious organised crime and to faster identify
their victims," he said.
said that the UN family is ready to assist in protecting and ensuring the
rights of all victims whose interests are served by this project.
represents the kind of cooperative, inter-governmental and institutional
approach that I aimed for when I established the Global Counter-Terrorism
Coordination Compact last year to enhance counter-terrorism coordination and
coherence across the system," he stressed.
that context, the United Nations Counter-Terrorism Centre has also stepped up
its efforts to meet the growing expectations and demands from countries most
affected by terrorism, he said.
Questions NRI From Doha Over Suspected ISIS Links
Delhi: The National Investigation Agency questioned Muhammed Faizal, an NRI
from Doha, for suspected ISIS links, stated news agency ANI on Wednesday. The
person was called back from Doha for questioning. He is suspected to have
connections with Riyaz Aboobacker who was arrested on April 29.
the NIA arrested a Palakkad resident last month for staying in touch with the
members of an Islamic-State type module from Kasargod. Riyas Aboobacker was
also allegedly planning a suicide attack in Kerala.
ISIS Kasaragod Module case came to light last year when the NIA busted an ISIS
module in the said district and arrested a 25-year-old man named Habeeb Rahman.
Upon investigation, it was found that a group of 14 people had left India and
their workplaces in Middle-East Asia, between mid-May and early July 2016, to
join the terror organisation.
April 23, the NIA had arrested an ISIS sympathiser from Delhi named as Mohammad
Faiz was arrested for allegedly conspiring to carry out blasts in Delhi-NCR and
Uttar Pradesh. Faiz was a key member of Harkat-Ul-Harb-E-Islam, which is a
pro-Islamic State module.
in April, the NIA arrested an ISIS sympathizer from his home in Kings Colony
while carrying out searches at three locations in Hyderabad of Telangana
against the ISIS module. 13 cellphones, 11 SIM cards, 1 iPad, 2 laptops, 1
external hard disk, 6 pen drives, 6 SD cards and 3 walkie-talkie sets were
seized during the raids. Sources added that raids were also conducted at a
location in Wardha of Maharashtra.
ITS chargesheet filed last week against Zakir Naik’s Islamic Research
Foundation (IRF), the Enforcement Directorate has relied on a statement of a
close aide of the controversial preacher, claiming that one of his media
companies was sold in 2017 due to the “negative publicity” in the Indian media
and an economic slow down in the Middle East.
ED had recorded multiple statements of Najmuddin Sathak, an alleged Naik aide,
who was arrested in March this year.
ED has claimed that Sathak, a Tamil Nadu-based jeweller, was one of the directors
of the Dubai-based Global Broadcasting Corporation (GBS), which telecasts
Naik’s speeches through Peace TV and other content provided by Naik’s Harmony
Media Private Limited.
to the ED, a probe had shown that the GBS was established in 2006 and was
linked to Naik.
his statement recorded on March 28, 2018, Sathak told the ED that GBS
maintained a strict, ethical standard for all its programmes as well as
advertisements. It prohibited advertisements depicting women, or products, like
tobacco and alcohol, after receiving negative feedback from viewers.
company was making profits from the beginning, but in 2015, it took a loss of
about one million dirhams due to increase production cost as the programmes in
Bangla and Chinese were recorded in UAE. In 2016, the revenues fell further due
to the slowing of economy in the Middle East and a negative publicity in the
Indian media about Naik,” the ED chargesheet states, citing Sathak’s statement.
told the ED that this was when the decision to sell the company was taken. The
GBS was sold to a UK national in 2017.
ED, however, has claimed that the sale was done to “obfuscate the routes
undertaken for suspected money-laundering”.
its chargesheet, the ED said that the total proceeds of crime, in the case
involving Naik, amounted to Rs 193.06 crore. It claimed that in response to the
appeals made during his speeches, Naik received donations from “unknown
sources” and layered them through his companies and close relatives.
also states that Naik used some of the proceeds of the crime in the IRF
Education Trust, claiming to use it to build a school in Chennai to launder it
as “untainted money”. It further said that the money was used to purchase
properties in Mumbai and Pune.
case was registered against Naik by the National Investigation Agency (NIA) in
2016 under the Unlawful Activities Prevention Act (UAPA), following allegations
that his speeches were being used to incite “terror activities”.
45 people are still undergoing medical treatment following the Indian Air Force
strikes on the Jaish-e-Muhammed terror training camp in Pakistan's Balakot,
while the bombings could have killed 130-170 JeM cadres, including 11 terror
"trainers", according to Italian journalist Francesca Marino.
says in her report that despite Pakistan's efforts to deceive the world,
details of what happened at Balakot in the early hours of February 26 have
trickled in. She said that according to a source, a Pakistan Army unit from
Shinkiari reached the location at 6am, two-and-a-half hours after the strikes.
is around 20km from Balakot, and the (Pakistan) army unit would have taken
around 35-40 minutes to reach the location from where the climb to the camp
begins. Incidentally, Shinkiari is also a base of the Pakistan army, with the
Junior Leaders Academy (JLA) located there," Italian journalist Francesca
Marino said, writing for online magazine Stringer Asia.
claims that the injured were taken to a Harkat-ul-Mujahideen camp at Shinkiari
and treated by Pakistan army doctors.
sources say around 45 persons are still undergoing treatment in this camp,
while around 20 have died during treatment due to serious injuries. Those who
have recovered are still in custody of the army and have not been
said that information from her contacts indicated the strike immediately killed
a large number of Jaish-e-Muhammed (JeM) cadres. "The numbers estimated
have ranged from 130-170, including those who have died during treatment. Those
killed included 11 trainers, ranging from bomb makers to those imparting
the casualty figure at Balakot has been subject to heated speculation, Pakistan
army has so far refused access to the Jaish complex to any one. Some
journalists have been taken to vicinity of the strikes but no one has been able
to interview those who were at the camp or continue to be there.
of the trainers were from Afghanistan. To prevent news on fatalities leaking
through statements of family members of cadres, a group of JeM members also visited
the families of those killed and handed over cash compensation to them,"
has written that adjacent to the Blue Pine Hotel, located at the foothill from
where the trek to the JeM camp begins, is a painted signboard indicating
presence of the Taleem-ul-Quran on the hilltop. "Unlike the earlier board,
all links to JeM leader and now internationally proscribed terrorist Masood
Azhar has been removed. The camp area is still under the control of the army,
with a Captain rank officer of the Mujahid battalion in command."
to the dust track to the camp is restricted, even to local police. Apart from a
few children and 3-4 teachers, the complex has been cleared of any traces of it
being a JeM camp.
Suspected terrorists on Wednesday shot at and injured two civilians in Shopian
district of Jammu and Kashmir, police said.
ultras shot at two civilians at Zainapora in Shopian, resulting in injuries to
them, a police official said.
said both the injured persons have been shifted to a hospital.
details are awaited.
The Senate on Wednesday informed that there were at least 2396 Pakistanis
detained in Turkish detention centers across Turkey on an account of illegal
a written replying to a question of Rana
Mahmood Ul Hassan, the house was informed that this number kept on varying
according to the number of illegal Pakistanis entering Turkey.
on March 2019, 281 Pakistani prisoners were imprisoned in Turkish jails and
some of them had been convicted and awarded a sentence, it was further told.
to a question raised by Talha Mehmood, Minister for Parliamentary Affairs Azam
Khan Swati told the house that the government had consistently raised Dr Aafia
Siddiqui’s case, including possibility of her repatriation to Pakistan, with
the US authorities.
Consul General in Houston paid periodic Consular visits to Aafia, to inquire
after her well-being and conveys her messages, if any, to her family, he said.
request had been made by Pakistan to the US for exploring possibilities of
accession to Inter-American Convention Serving Criminal Sentences Abroad, 1993
to serve as the platform for negotiating options of repatriation of Aafia, he
to the requirements of US judicial system, the decision to file an appeal could
only be taken by Dr Aafia Siddiqui herself. There were also normally time
limits involved to file an appeal. During the consular visit of April 18, 2019,
Dr Aafia Siddiqui indicated her willingness to file the appeal, he said.
the chairman Senate referred the question to the concern standing committee for
by Tuesday’s show PML-N to gradually build anti-govt drive
Encouraged by the response people gave on Nawaz Sharif’s return to prison on
Tuesday, the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz has decided to gradually build its
campaign against the government instead of going into dormancy like in the
you witnessed yesterday (Tuesday) was a warm-up tie while the real game would
start post-Eid and by the month of August a full-fledged drive would be
launched,” said a senior party official privy to the formation of the policy.
official told Dawn that the party would focus on media during the month of
Ramazan and build momentum for gradually initiating an anti-government campaign
official said that it was decided to schedule visits of newly-appointed
vice-president Maryam Nawaz to press clubs, bar associations and other forums
not accessed by her so far.
of the party down to district and town level would also be taken on war footing
to mobilise the cadre, he added.
said earlier it had been decided to bifurcate the party into South and Central
Punjab chapters in line with likely administrative division of the province but
the decision was reversed seeing that the PTI government itself was going slow
on the issue.
a balanced representation of the two regions, it was decided to pick provincial
president from Central Punjab and general secretary from the southern belt, he
supremo Nawaz Sharif had chaired a meeting of the party bigwigs at his Raiwind
residence hours before surrendering himself to Kot Lakhpat Jail administration
in which former prime minister and senior vice-president Shahid Khaqan Abbasi
was assigned the task of directly establishing links with the Pakistan People’s
Party even without taking along JUI-F chief Maulana Fazlur Rehman, a party
said the purpose of the contacts was for taking the PPP leadership on board
regarding the changes the PML-N recently introduced in the parliament as well
as framing a joint future strategy against the PTI government.
least three people, including a tribal leader named Wali Khan Achakzai, were
killed in a blast in Killa Abdullah, Levies forces said on Wednesday.
was returning home from work when the blast occurred, Levies officials said,
adding that two of his guards were also killed in the explosion while his car
was completely destroyed.
was not immediately clear if it was a targeted attack.
nature of the attack is being determined, Levies officials said.
Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi Wednesday informed the Senate in a
written reply that Dr Aafia Siddiqui is willing to file a petition against her
foreign minister told that Aafia Siddiqui is completely aware of her case
status, and only she can move the court against her punishment according to the
United States judicial system.
is continuously discussing the matter of Aafia Siddiqui’s return to Pakistan
with the US authorities, and Pakistan’s Consulate General in Houston is
constantly in touch with Aafia Siddiqui.”
newspaper publishes terms of US ‘deal of century’ on Palestine
Israeli Hebrew-language daily newspaper has published the main points of US
President Donald Trump’s controversial proposal for peace between the Israelis
and Palestinians, dubbed “the deal of the century.”
Tuesday, Israel Hayom, which is close to Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu,
published a leaked document circulated by the Israeli Foreign Ministry – the
details of which are as follows:
tripartite agreement will be signed between the Tel Aviv regime, the
Ramallah-based Palestinian Authority (PA) as well as Hamas resistance movement,
which controls the besieged and impoverished Gaza Strip, and subsequently a
Palestinian state will be established that will be called “New Palestine.”
"New Palestine" will be established in the occupied West Bank and
Gaza, with the exception of Israeli settlements built on Palestinian lands in
the West Bank.
settlement blocs in the occupied West Bank, which are illegal under the
international law and UN Security Council Resolution 2334, will remain under
the Israeli regime’s control and will expand to reach out to other isolated
the Israeli-occupied holy city of Jerusalem al-Quds will not be divided but is
to be shared by Israel and the “New Palestine,” with the Israeli regime
maintaining general control.
Arab population living in Jerusalem al-Quds will be citizens of New Palestine,
but the Tel Aviv regime would remain in charge of the municipality and
therefore the land.
newly formed Palestinian state would pay taxes and water costs to the Jerusalem
present status of the holy sites will continue, and Jewish Israelis will not be
allowed to buy Palestinian houses and vice versa.
will offer the new Palestinian state land to build an airport, factories and
serve the commercial and agriculture sectors. Palestinians will not be
permitted to live on this land. The borders of these lands and leasing price
will be determined between the two parties through the mediation of supporting
United States, the European Union and the oil-rich Persian Gulf states will
provide a budget of $30 billion over five years for national projects in the
new Palestine. The US will pay 20% of the cost for such projects and the EU
10%, while Persian Gulf littoral states will fund 70%.
the new Palestine will not be allowed to create an army. The only weapons it
will be allowed to possess will be light weapons for the police.
protection treaty would be signed between the Israeli regime and New Palestine
under which it will pay Israel to defend it from foreign aggression. The cost
of the payment must be determined in negotiations between the parties which
would be mediated by the supporting states.
will deposit all its weapons, including personal arms, with the Egyptian
members, including leaders, will continue to receive salaries from the
supporting countries until the government is formed.
border of the Gaza Strip, including the maritime border, will be open to the
movement of goods and workers to Israel and Egypt, as the current situation of
Judea and Samaria.
one year, democratic elections will be held and a government of New Palestine
will be elected and every Palestinian citizen will be able to run for election.
year after the elections and establishment of the government, Palestinians held
in Israeli prisons will be released gradually over the course of three years.
highway connecting the West Bank and Gaza Strip will be established. China will
pay 50% of its cost, while South Korea, Australia, Canada, the US and the EU
will each pay 10%.
Jordan Valley will remain under the Israeli control. The New Palestine will be
given two new routes to Jordan with crossings under its control.
Hamas and the Palestinian Authority refuse to sign the 'deal of the century',
Washington will then cancel all financial support to the Palestinians and
ensure that no country transfers funds to them.
PA signed the deal but Hamas or Islamic Jihad refused, the leaders of these two
movements will be considered responsible. In a new Israeli military aggression
against the Gaza Strip, the US will back Israel in targeting these leaders.
Israel refused to sign the deal, the US would cease all financial support to
the Tel Aviv regime.
so-called “peace plan” has been dismissed by Palestinian authorities ahead of
its unveiling at the end of the holy fasting month of Ramadan and the formation
of the new Israeli cabinet, most likely in June.
in the occupied West Bank city of Ramallah on April 16, Palestinian Prime
Minister Mohammad Shtayyeh lashed out at Trump’s initiative, asserting that it
was “born dead.”
noted that negotiations with the US were useless in the wake of the country’s
relocation of its embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem al-Quds, which
Palestinians consider the capital city of their future state.
suspected US drone strike killed four alleged Al-Qaeda militants in central
Yemen on Tuesday, a security official in the area said.
strike targeted the men's vehicle as they were heading to a farm in Marib
province, according to the official, who did not want to be named.
United States considers Yemen-based Al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) to
be the radical group's most dangerous branch.
long-running US drone war against AQAP has intensified since President Donald
Trump took office in January 2017.
and other jihadist groups have flourished in the chaos of the country's civil
war, which pits the government -- backed by a Saudi-led military coalition --
against Shiite Huthi rebels.
Sunday, four suspected Al-Qaeda members were killed in a suicide attack claimed
by the Islamic State group in Bayda province, a local official told AFP.
more than four-year conflict in Yemen has killed tens of thousands of people,
many of them civilians, relief agencies say.
envoy to Yemen Martin Griffiths has failed to pressure Houthi militias in Sanaa
to allow the head of the UN Redeployment Coordination Committee (RCC),
Lieutenant-General Michael Lollesgaard, in reaching government-controlled areas
in Hodeidah, where he should sit down with representatives of the government.
UN envoy has failed to convince Houthis to withdraw from Hodeidah and its
ports, as he failed to push the militias to lift restrictions on the movements
of Lollesgaard,” West coast liberation operations spokesman Waddah al-Dbish
told Asharq Al-Awsat on Tuesday.
revealed that the ongoing Houthi intransigence compelled Lollesgaard to send a
letter to the legitimate government's representative in the RCC, Saghir bin
Aziz, asking him to choose another location for the meeting, either in Aden or
in Riyadh next Sunday or Monday.
leaders had prevented Lollesgaard from crossing into government-controlled
areas south of Hodeidah.
don’t want to remove bombs and explosive devices they planted in routes that
the UN General and his team were planning to use to cross from Al Khamseen
Street towards government-controlled positions in the south,” al-Dbish said.
accused Griffiths of writing misleading reports on Hodeidah without mentioning
the militias’ lack of seriousness in implementing the Stockholm deal that was
struck between the Houthis and the legitimacy in December.
said the legitimacy plans "to take a decision after May 15 on how to deal
with the ongoing UN inaction vis-à-vis the militias.”
announcement that it had stopped respecting limits on its nuclear activities
agreed under a 2015 deal was “intentionally ambiguous”, US Secretary of State
Mike Pompeo said during a visit to London on Wednesday.
think it was intentionally ambiguous... We’ll have to wait and see what Iran’s
actions actually are” before deciding the US response, Pompeo said after a
meeting with British foreign minister Jeremy Hunt.
Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif told his Russian counterpart on Wednesday
that Tehran’s decision to reduce some voluntary commitments within its nuclear
deal with world powers was legal, the RIA news agency reported.
in Moscow for talks, told Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov that Iran’s
actions did not violate the original terms of the nuclear agreement and that
Tehran now had 60 days to take the necessary diplomatic steps.
announced earlier on Wednesday it was scaling back curbs to its nuclear program
under a 2015 deal with world powers, and threatened to do more - including
enriching uranium to a higher level - if countries did not shield it from US
on Wednesday the Kremlin said that Iran had been provoked into rolling back
some of the terms of a 2015 nuclear deal due to external pressure which it
blamed on the United States.
Putin has repeatedly spoken of the consequences of un-thought-out steps
regarding Iran and by that I mean the decision taken by Washington (to quit the
deal). Now we are seeing those consequences are starting to happen,” Kremlin
spokesman Dmitry Peskov told reporters on a conference call.
was speaking as talks in Moscow between avad Zarif and Lavrov got underway.
said Russia wanted to keep the nuclear deal alive and that its diplomats were
doing all they could behind the scenes in talks with European officials to try
to save it.
will not allow Iran to obtain nuclear weaponry, Prime Minister Benjamin
Netanyahu said on Wednesday, reiterating a long-held Israeli position after
Tehran announced it was scaling back some of its commitments under a 2015
morning, on my way here, I heard that Iran intends to pursue its nuclear
program,” Netanyahu said in a speech marking Israel’s Memorial Day.
added: “We will not allow Iran to achieve nuclear weaponry. We will continue to
fight those who would kill us.”
Wednesday, President Hassan Rouhani said that Iran will resume high level
enrichment of uranium if world powers did not protect its interests against US
A lack of health funding in Gaza means 1,700 people shot by Israeli security
forces may have to have amputations in the next two years, Jamie McGoldrick,
the UN Humanitarian Coordinator for occupied Palestinian territory, said
said 29,000 Palestinians had been wounded in protests in the past year, and
7,000 of them had gunshot wounds, mostly in the lower legs.
got 1,700 people who are in need of serious, complicated surgeries for them to
be able to walk again,” McGoldrick said.
are people who have been shot during the demonstrations and who are in need of
rehabilitation, and very, very serious and complex bone reconstruction surgery
over a two year period before they start to rehabilitate themselves.”
those procedures, all these people are at risk of needing an amputation, he
UN is seeking $20 million to fill the gap in health spending.
lack of funding to the World Food Programme and UNRWA, the UN humanitarian
agency that supports Palestinians displaced by the 1948 war of Israel’s
founding, also meant there could be an interruption of food supplies for 1
that stops, there is no alternative for people to bring food in from any other
sources, because they don’t have purchasing power,” McGoldrick said.
spokesman Herve Verhoosel said a severe lack of funds meant WFP had cut aid for
193,000 people this year in the West Bank and Gaza, with 27,000 getting nothing
and the rest getting only $8 per month instead of the usual $10.
2 million Palestinians live in Gaza, the economy of which has suffered years of
Israeli and Egyptian blockades as well as recent foreign aid cuts and sanctions
by the Palestinian Authority, Hamas’ West Bank-based rival.
prospects were “precarious,” McGoldrick said. Gaza families averaged $4,000 of
debt, while salaries averaged $400 per month, but 54 percent of the population
health system was impoverished, with unpaid salaries and dilapidated equipment,
and many medical professionals had left if they could find opportunities
teaching hospital was now only teaching trauma medicine, McGoldrick said, but
the doctors on the ground did not have the technical ability to carry out the
treatment required for the people at risk of amputation.
President Donald Trump on Wednesday announced sanctions against Iran’s steel
and mining sectors, hours after Tehran said it would suspend some curbs under a
denuclearization deal rejected by Washington.
White House said it was targeting the country’s biggest revenue source after
oil and warned in a statement: “Tehran can expect further actions unless it
fundamentally alters its conduct.”
news sanctions came on the first anniversary of Washington’s withdrawal from
the 2015 landmark deal between Tehran and world powers, as US officials said
they would keep squeezing Iran to force it to return to the negotiating table
for a more comprehensive deal that would seek to curtail Iranian ambitions in
the Middle East.
United States will need to keep counterterrorism forces in Afghanistan until
there is no insurgency left in the country, the top US general said on
Wednesday, suggesting a far longer military presence even after more than 17
years of war.
think we will need to maintain a counterterrorism presence as long as an
insurgency continues in Afghanistan,” Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff
General Joseph Dunford said during a congressional hearing.
United States is currently in talks with the Taliban to seek an end to the nearly
US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo has canceled a visit to Greenland to return
to Washington amid an escalation of tensions with Iran.
had been due to wrap up a trip to Europe on Thursday with a stop in Greenland
aimed at promoting the Trump administration’s Arctic policies. Those policies
were criticized earlier this week for not containing the words “climate change”
when Pompeo attended an Arctic Council meeting in Finland.
State Department says that Pompeo will still order a restoration of a permanent
US diplomatic presence in Greenland.
Greenland stop was the second Pompeo canceled on what was supposed to be a
four-nation tour of Europe. On Tuesday, he abruptly dropped a trip to Germany
to fly to Baghdad for meetings with Iraqi leaders.
Prime Minister Adil Abdul-Mahdi has affirmed his country’s commitment to
pursuing “balanced” regional policies, including the maintenance of good
relations with neighboring Iran.
made the remarks in a statement released by his office on Wednesday after a
meeting with U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, who arrived in Baghdad on
Tuesday evening for an hours-long visit.
the U.S. as an “important strategic partner for Iraq”, Abdul-Mahdi went on to
assert that his country hoped to “maintain a policy of building bridges… with
its friends and neighbors, including Iran”.
he said, hopes to build relations with regional and international capitals
“based entirely on Iraq’s best interest”.
added: “Iraq has returned to its basic role in the region, providing a venue
for dialogue -- not conflict.”
for his part, commended Iraq’s “efforts to promote regional security and
attract foreign investment and expertise”, according to the statement issued by
also hailed what he described as Baghdad’s “special relationship” with
Sudan president: Formation of unity government should be delayed
president of oil-rich South Sudan said on Wednesday that the formation of a
unity government should be delayed by at least a year, despite a May 12
deadline in a September peace agreement that ended the civil war.
Salva Kiir said the government had been unable to disarm, house, train and
integrate South Sudan’s various forces since the deal had been signed, and
rejected a suggestion by former rebel leader Riek Machar that the new
government be formed in six months.
said that postponement came at Machar’s request, but said the rainy season
would make it hard to accomplish the integration of their forces within six
of six months let us call for one year, because from May up to November, there
will be rain still and you cannot move with a car to any location,” Kiir said
in his speech. “We can form the government by April or May.”
called for a six-month delay during a meeting with the Pope last month.
400,000 people died during South Sudan’s five-year civil war, which broke out
in 2013 between forces loyal to Machar - then vice president - and Kiir.
September agreement followed a string of failed peace deals, but has largely
held so far, despite both parties missing key deadlines. The cash strapped
government has tried to use the breathing space to boost oil production, its
only significant source of revenue.
progress has been made on state boundaries or the integration of government and
rebel forces. On Wednesday, Kiir also accused Machar’s group of seeking new
recruits, breaking the peace agreement.
suggested he could do the same.
is now recruiting and this recruitment is prohibited in the agreement and if it
is a matter of recruitment, it does not cost me much to also recruit.”
military spokesman denied the recruiting accusation, saying they only were
sending envoys to communities to discuss the peace deal.
chief of general staff and his commanders are for peace not war,” Lam Paul
Gabriel, the acting spokesman for Machar’s rebels, said by phone from Addis
Ababa on Wednesday.
added: “Peace dissemination is what is being misunderstood as recruitment.”
United States pressed Sudan’s military leader Wednesday to reach an agreement
with protesters, who have threatened a disobedience campaign unless there is a
transfer to civilian rule.
Secretary of State John Sullivan spoke by telephone with General Abdel Fattah
al-Burhan, the chairman of the military council, and voiced support for “the
Sudanese people’s aspirations for a free, democratic and prosperous future,”
the State Department said.
encouraged the military leader to “move expeditiously toward a civilian-led
interim government” and to reach an agreement with the Alliance for Freedom and
Change protest group.
called on the military council to “respect the human rights of all persons” and
to “allow peaceful protest and the freedom of expression consistent with
Sudan’s human rights obligations,” State Department spokeswoman Morgan Ortagus
said in a statement. Thousands of people remain camped outside the military’s
headquarters in Khartoum nearly a month after the army sacked veteran
autocratic leader Omar al-Bashir, a key demand in the protests sparked by
rising bread prices and fueled by young people.
leaders said late Tuesday that they had agreed overall to a proposal by
protesters to set up a civilian structure but had “many reservations” --
leading demonstrators to accuse the council of delaying the transfer of power.
Nagy, the top US diplomat for Africa, said that Washington was in touch with
all sides in Sudan.
fundamental policy is that we want to support what the Sudanese people want,”
Nagy told reporters.
was speaking in Washington at a first-of-its-kind strategic dialogue with
Kenya, which Nagy called “one of our key and most important partners” anywhere
in the world.
Juma, Kenya’s cabinet secretary for foreign affairs, hailed Sudan’s protesters
as “really responsible” for being both “peaceful” and “patient.”
believe that the Sudanese themselves should forge the future of their country,
and that is what our message to Sudan has been,” she said.
protest and opposition leaders called on Wednesday for civil disobedience in
response to the military’s “disappointing” answer to their interim
Transitional Military Council (TMC) said it broadly agreed with the draft but
that it neglected some important issues such as a reference to Islamic shari’ah
as a source for legislation.
the opposition groups’ umbrella body, the Declaration of Freedom and Change
Forces (DFCF), said shari’ah was not a matter for the interim constitution, and
that the TMC response would in effect give the military control of a proposed
call for and prepare for civil disobedience,” Madani Abbas Madani, a DFCF
leader, told a news conference in Khartoum.
of protesters have been camping outside the Defense Ministry in central
Khartoum and, having secured a military overthrow of president Omar Hassan
al-Bashir, are now demanding that the TMC hand over power to civilians.
TMC has said it is willing to agree to a government of technocrats, but wants to
retain overall control, pending elections, to prevent Sudan sliding into chaos.
people were killed in fresh hostilities between herders and farmers in
northeast Taraba state this week, police said Wednesday.
spokesman David Misal told Anadolu Agency the attacks occurred in Murbai,
Kisbap, Sembe and Yawai-Abbare villages of Ardo-Kola and Jalingo local
government areas sometime between late Monday and Tuesday.
men who have deployed in the area learnt one person died Monday night when the
attack first occurred and another five died later on Tuesday evening," he
victims sustained gunshot injuries, he said.
said casualties toll was up to 11, according to the Punch newspaper.
have been displaced from the affected areas.
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