Khashoggi, a Washington Post columnist living in the United States, was killed
on Oct. 2.
Hateful Fatwa Givers under Terror Laws: Pakistan Supreme Court
US Would Have To Pay For the Damages of War: Sirajul Haq
Murder ‘Planned, Perpetrated’ By Saudi Officials: UN Expert
'Enemy Of Islam'? Actually, we’re Friends of Moderate Islam, Kit Siang Tells
China Uses Lunar New Year to Force Uighur Muslims to Eat Pork, Drink Alcohol
Nadvathul Mujahideen Faction to Drop ‘Salafi’ Tag, Adopt ‘Islahi’
Leader Believed To Have Fled Coup Attempt by His Own Fighters
Lawmakers Revive Push for Sanctions against Saudi over Yemen War, Khashoggi
Violence Threaten Rohingya Men in World’s Largest Refugee Camp
axe to fall on defence budget, decides cabinet
agreement on Afghan crisis to address Pakistan’s equities: US
acquitted in 2012 arson attack case
says working with Pakistan to fight terror
Hinder: dialogue with Islam, the Pope's legacy in the land of Arabia
No choice but to reject terrorist extradition to US
says won’t move Israel embassy to al-Quds
Bible seized by Turkish police
should lead in global Jewish-Muslim ties
reports that key Abu Sayyaf leader killed in Philippines
Command Chief: '16 Terror Camps Active in PoK
Demands Temple in Aligarh Muslim University Campus, Gives VC Tariq Mansoor 15
Days to Reply
Adityanath Raises Ayodhya Ram Temple Pitch In Bihar’s Muslim-Dominated Eastern
to send delegation next month to finalise draft agreement on Kartarpur Sahib
Muslims held under NSA for cow slaughter may be shifted to Rewa jail
Crown Prince Told Aide He Would Use ‘A Bullet’ On Khashoggi: Report
Exhibition Illuminates the History Of Islamic Manuscripts
Study: Millennial Jihadis Educated, Not Outcasts
U.A.E.'s low bar for religious tolerance
Al-Shaabi Pounds ISIL Bases in Syria with 50 Missiles
Wards Off ISIL Attacks in Eastern Syria
of Tens of US, ISIL Attacks Victims Found in Raqqa
Smashes Terrorists' Military Convoys in Northern Syria
ISIS down to less than 1% of original ‘caliphate’
report: WhatsApp messages did not concern Khashoggi killing
'victim of brutal killing by Saudi officials': UN probe
of the ‘caliphate’: Daesh territory slashed by 99.5 percent
Army to Buy Two Israeli Iron Dome Air Defence Systems
to complete Syria pullout by April: WSJ
Authority: Conference in Poland an ‘American conspiracy’
Supreme Court Allows Execution of Muslim Inmate in Alabama to Go Ahead
Seals Off Border with Myanmar amid Fresh Influx of Refugees
and ISIS-K militants killed in Afghan, Coalition Forces operations
arrest three suspects in connection to murder of 2 journalists in Takhar
leader Saif Ul Jihad’s militants arrested in Pul-e-Alam city: NDS
villagers flee fresh fighting in Rakhine state
about Pak violence: Afghanistan
of Hezbollah chief Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah's Islamic Revolution address
move depletes Lebanon's offshore oil reserves, Berri warns
Foreign Policy Priorities are Shifting
Yemen’s warring parties reach preliminary pullout deal
hopes Gaza cancer care will ‘end our suffering’
Group Reacts to Alleged Plot by Buhari Govt to Islamize Nigeria’s Judiciary
Haftar Accused Of Conducting ‘Ethnic Cleansing’ In South
Boko Haram violence on upswing
government agrees deal with union to avert strikes
Coercive Conversion and Religious Abuse Condemned
Africa commander says Somalia airstrikes won’t defeat al Shabab
by New Age Islam News Bureau
The Supreme Court on Wednesday recommended that persons, issuing edict or
fatwa, harming others, must be dealt with under the Anti-Terrorism Act and
ruled that all intelligence agencies must not exceed their respective mandate.
two-member bench of the apex court comprising Justice Qazi Faez Isa and Justice
Mushir Alam disposed of a suo motu case of the 2017 Faizabad sit-in staged by
the Tehreek-e-Labbaik Pakistan (TLP) and issued a detailed judgment. Last year
in November, the court had reserved its judgment.
judgment authored by Justice Qazi Faiz Isa ruled that a person issuing an edict
or fatwa, which harms others or puts others in harm’s way, must be criminally
prosecuted under the Pakistan Penal Code, the Anti-Terrorism Act, 1997 and/or
the Prevention of Electronic Crimes Act, 2016. The verdict observed that the
law applies equally to the government and state institutions.
who obstruct people’s right to use roads and damage or destroy property must be
proceeded against in accordance with the law and held accountable”, the verdict
held. The court observed that subject to reasonable restrictions imposed by law,
citizens have the right to form and to be members of political parties.
citizen and political parties have the right to assemble and protest provided
such assembly and protest is peaceful and complies with the law imposing
in the interest of public order,” the verdict ruled, adding that the right to
assemble and protest is circumscribed only to the extent that it infringes on
the fundamental rights of others, including their right to free movement and to
hold and enjoy property.
court noted that when the state failed to prosecute those at the highest
echelons of government who were responsible for the murder and attempted murder
of peaceful citizens on the streets of Karachi on 12th May, 2007, it set a bad
precedent and encouraged others to resort to violence to achieve their agendas.
verdict ruled that the Constitution earmarks the responsibilities of the
Election Commission which it must fulfil, however, if a political party does
not comply with the law governing political parties then the Election
Commission must proceed against it in accordance with the law.
law is most certainly not cosmetic as contended on behalf of the Election
Commission,” says the verdict and held that all political parties have to account
for the sources of their funds in accordance with the law.
verdict stressed that the state must always act impartially and fairly and held
that the law is applicable to all, including those who are in government and
institutions must act independently of those in government.
verdict ruled that broadcasters who broadcast messages advocating or inciting
the commission of an offence violate the Pemra Ordinance and the terms of their
licences and must be proceeded against by Pemra in accordance with the law.
operators who stopped or interrupted the broadcast of licenced broadcasters
must be proceeded against by Pemra in accordance with the Pemra Ordinance, and
if this was done on the behest of others then Pemra should report those so
directing the cable operators to the concerned authorities,” says the verdict.
The verdict said Pemra has been failed to protect the rights of its licence
verdict further held that those spreading messages through electronic means
which advocate or incite the commission of an offence are liable to be
prosecuted under the Prevention of Electronic Crimes Act, 2016.
court ruled that all intelligence agencies (including ISI, IB and MI) and the
ISPR must not exceed their respective mandates. “They cannot curtail the
freedom of speech and expression and do not have the authority to interfere
with broadcasts and publications, in the management of broadcasters/publishers
and in the distribution of newspapers,” says the verdict.
court ruled that intelligence agencies should monitor activities of all those
who threaten the territorial integrity of the country and all those who
undermine the security of the people and the state by resorting to or inciting
violence. The verdict said the role of agencies in foreign countries is clear.
best ensure transparency and the rule of law, it would be appropriate to enact
laws which clearly stipulate the respective mandates of the intelligence
agencies,” the verdict ruled.
verdict held that the Constitution emphatically prohibits members of the armed
forces from engaging in any kind of political activity, which includes
supporting a political party, faction or individual. The court directed the
Government of Pakistan through the Ministry of Defence and the respective
chiefs of Army, Navy and Air Force to initiate action against the personnel
under their command who are found to have violated their oath.
court said that in the context of terrorism, the Anti-Terrorism Act, 1997 does
envisage a role for intelligence agencies, armed forces and civil armed forces.
Similarly, police and other law enforcement agencies were directed to develop
standard plans and procedure with regard to how best to handle rallies,
protests and dharnas, and ensure that such procedures are flexible enough to
attend to different situations.
verdict clarified that though the making of such plans/procedures is not within
the jurisdiction of the apex court, however, the court expects that in the
maintenance of law and order every effort will be taken to avoid causing injury
and loss of life.
court also directed the federal and provincial governments to monitor those
advocating hate, extremism and terrorism and prosecute the perpetrators in
accordance with the law. It directed its office to send copies of this judgment
for information and compliance to the Government of Pakistan, through the
cabinet secretary, secretary defence, secretary interior, secretary human
rights, secretary religious affairs and interfaith harmony, secretary information,
the chief secretaries of the provinces, the Election Commission of Pakistan,
Pemra, Pakistan Telecommunication Authority and the chief commissioner of
the court directed the secretary defence to forward the judgment to the heads
of the armed forces, the DG ISI, DG ISPR and the head of the Military
Intelligence. The secretary interior is directed to forward the judgment to the
DG Intelligence Bureau, DG Federal Investigation Agency, IGs of Police of the
provinces and the Islamabad Capital Territory. The secretary information is
directed to forward the judgment to the directors of all press and information
departments, who in turn are directed to forward it to all newspapers published
in their territories. Pemra is directed to forward this judgment to all
television channels and all its licenced broadcasters and operators.
Qazi Faiz Isa concluded the judgment by quoting Quaid-e-Azam Muhammad Ali
Jinnah: “I consider it my duty to call upon the Muslims to temper their
resentment with reason and to beware of the dangers which may well overwhelm
their own state. Should they allow their feelings of the moment to gain mastery
over their actions. It is of utmost importance that Pakistan should be kept
free from disorder, because the outbreak of lawlessness... is bound to shake...
its foundation and cause irreparable damage to its future. I pray to God that
He who has bestowed on us this great boon of a sovereign state, may now give
our people courage to... preserve intact the peace of Pakistan for the sake of
US would have to pay for the damages of war: Sirajul Haq
(JI) Ameer Senator Sirajul Haq said on Thursday that the United States (US)
would not only have to withdraw from Afghanistan but also pay the damages of
the JI central workshop at Mansoora, JI Ameer Senator Sirajul Haq said that a
few years back, nobody was ready to shake hands with the Taliban and whoever
attempted was labelled as a traitor. However, he said, now Washington was
begging the Taliban for talks and several countries including Russia were
requesting the Taliban to open their offices in their countries to be able to
participate in the talks.
JI chief further said that the US defeat in Afghanistan after Soviet Union made
it clear that Afghanistan’s future was with Islam and this auspicious
development would be greatly helpful in the enforcement of the Islamic system
in this country.
murder ‘planned, perpetrated’ by Saudi officials: UN expert
UN rapporteur probing the murder in Turkey of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi
said Thursday the killing was “planned and perpetrated” by Saudi officials.
a Washington Post contributor and Saudi regime critic, was murdered at the
ultra-conservative kingdom’s consulate in Istanbul on October 2 by what Ankara
says was a hit squad sent from Riyadh.
collected during my mission to Turkey shows (a) prima facie case that Mr
Khashoggi was the victim of a brutal and premeditated killing, planned and
perpetrated by officials of the state of Saudi Arabia,” Agnes Callamard said at
the end of a visit to Turkey, according to a UN statement.
says Khashoggi was killed by a team of 15 Saudis who strangled him at the
mission, and media reports have said his body was cut up and dissolved in acid.
after denying the killing for two weeks, eventually described it as a “rogue”
operation but denied any involvement by Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman.
has arrested several senior Saudi officials, but the murder plunged the kingdom
into one of its worst diplomatic crises.
four months on, Khashoggi’s body has not been recovered.
was visiting the consulate to obtain paperwork for his upcoming marriage to a
murder of Jamal Khashoggi and the sheer brutality of it has brought
irreversible tragedy to his loved ones,” said Callamard, the UN special
rapporteur on extrajudicial, summary, or arbitrary executions.
is also raising a number of international implications which demand the urgent
attention of the international community including the United Nations.”
rapporteur’s final report is scheduled to be presented in June before the UN
Human Rights Council in Geneva, but is expected to be published a few weeks
earlier, in late May.
the report, the rapporteur will present a series of recommendations, which are
not binding. Callamard had met Istanbul’s chief prosecutor and the head of the
Turkish secret service, as well as the Turkish foreign and justice ministers.
statement did not say whether she had had access to the Saudi consulate in
Istanbul, as she had requested.
Callamard’s team had access to “crucial information” about the journalist’s
murder, including excerpts from an audio recording, described as “chilling and
gruesome”, in the hands of the Turkish secret service.
said her team were unable to perform a “thorough review” of this material and
she did not have the chance to authenticate the recording independently.
Shazwan Mustafa Kamal
LUMPUR, Feb 8 ― Lim Kit Siang today sought to fend of accusations that the DAP
is an “enemy of Islam”, by pointing out that the party had consistently back
those who believed in a moderate version of Islam which is in line with a
pointed out that DAP worked together with PAS in the Barisan Alternatif in
1999-2001 and Pakatan Rakyat from 2008-2015 on the basic of common principles
and not opportunism, and ended these alliances when the Islamist party became
insistent with the push for an Islamic State and its support for ex-prime
minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak.
is always a 'friend of Islam' which is moderate and tolerant which will make
Malaysia a world top-class nation and not an extremist and intolerant Islam
which divide Malaysians and will destroy
the Malaysian Dream,” the Iskandar Puteri MP said in a statement.
claimed the reason why PAS president Datuk Seri Abdul Hadi Awang accused the
DAP of being a “enemy of Islam” was because the latter was trying to divert
public attention from the withdrawal of his legal suit against Clare
Rewcastle-Brown, editor of Sarawak Report and an out-of-court settlement which
enabled the original Sarawak Report article on Najib allegedly giving RM90
million to PAS to remain online.
this week, Abdul Hadi sought to explain why PAS ended its alliance with DAP
some years back, and in doing so accused the latter party of being an “enemy of
PAS president said this was also why the Islamist party cut ties with its
former members and leaders who have since left the party and allowed
“non-Muslims” to lead them.
officials in Xinjiang province, the troubled home of the Uighur Muslims,
reportedly compelled Muslims to eat pork and drink alcoholic beverages during
the Lunar New Year holiday this Tuesday. Muslim dietary practices forbid both
to Radio Free Asia on Wednesday, residents of the Ili Kazakh Autonomous
Prefecture in Xinjiang said they were invited to Lunar New Year dinners where
pork was served. Chinese officials threatened them with imprisonment in
Xinjiang’s notorious “re-education” camps if they refused to participate.
also obtained photographs of a Chinese official visiting poor Muslim households
and offering them pork to eat in honor of the new Year of the Pig. These
deliveries are evidently not a mistake or an abnormal practice. RFA was told
the vast majority of ethnic Kazakh households received a pork delivery by the
end of 2018.
in the Kazakh Autonomous Region said efforts to make Muslims eat pork began in
earnest late last year in concert with a push to make them participate in the
Spring Festival for the new year, a holiday Muslims do not observe.
like us, the Uyghurs, the Hui, and the Kazakhs, don’t do that,” one
correspondent told RFA. “But people have been sticking up New Year poetic
couplets at the doors of Uyghur and Kazakh households and giving them pork. If
we won’t put up the couplets or hang lanterns, they say we are two-faced, and
they send us to re-education camps.”
couplets are an important Lunar New Year custom that dates back some three
thousand years. The modern version of the practice usually takes the form of
two vertical strips of red paper inscribed with Chinese characters spelling out
two lines of poetry with some rather complex rules about how they should be
written and read. The basic idea is that one line of the poem encourages bad
history from the old year to be left behind, while the other offers good wishes
for the year to come, using poetic allusions and traditional proverbs.
with lanterns is also a part of Lunar New Year celebrations, especially during
the Lantern Festival in the first month of the year. Both the couplet and
lantern customs have roots in ancient religious traditions that many Muslims
find objectionable – the couplets derive from a very old story about the
guardians of the spirit world, while the lanterns were originally meant to keep
evil spirits at bay.
course, some Muslims who do not dwell on the spiritual aspect of Lunar New Year
customs might simply resent having Chinese poetry and lanterns hung on their
houses, especially as the Chinese government grows increasingly determined to
forcibly subordinate religious faith to Communist dogma.
spokesman for the World Uighur Congress confirmed to RFA that China is “stepping
up its campaign to assimilate Uighurs into Han Chinese culture” by forcing them
to celebrate Lunar New Year. This campaign of forced assimilation allegedly
includes demands for Uighurs to violate Muslim dietary laws by drinking alcohol
and eating pork to prove they reject “extreme religious beliefs” and show
proper respect for Chinese culture.
additionally noted the epithet “two-faced” is not a schoolyard taunt in China.
It is an ominous allegation that implies members of ethnic groups are bad
citizens, traitors, and troublemakers in need of forcible re-education.
UK Independent published similar reports in May about Uighur prisoners forced
to eat pork and drink alcohol in China’s “re-education” camps. Detainees were
also forced to repudiate Islam, apologize for following ethnic customs, and
recite statements of praise for the Chinese system. The Chinese Foreign
Ministry refused to comment on the report.
reports on the grotesque surveillance state and prison complex in Xinjiang
indicated Muslims have been sentenced to re-education for refusing to eat pork.
Year of the Pig is proving to be a delicate affair in Malaysia, which has large
Chinese and Muslim populations. Chinese New Year celebrations usually feature
prominent displays of the animal the year is named after, but the pig has been
significantly downplayed, particularly at shopping malls that wish to attract
both Chinese and Muslim customers. Malaysians of Chinese extraction seem
remarkably comfortable about replacing the pig with, of all things, a Japanese
Nadvathul Mujahideen Faction To Drop ‘Salafi’ Tag, Adopt ‘Islahi’
The Markazudawa faction of the Kerala Nadvathul Mujahideen (KNM) has decided
get rid of the ‘Salafi’ tag.
the outfit will go back to the word ‘Islahi’ that means enlightenment, which
was used to mark the renaissance movement among Muslims in Kerala.
move is seen as part of the attempt of the organization to distance itself from
the controversies over Salafism, which is alleged to be the fountainhead of
extremism and orthodoxy.
secretary Abdul Latheef Karimpulakkal, while addressing a news conference here
on Thursday, said the word ‘Salafi’ was used to refer to the Mujahid movement
in Kerala only in the early 1980s. Salaf means the pious predecessors who lived
according to Quran and Hadees and all those who follow the path can be called
Salafis. “It is not necessary to use the term Salafi. Renaissance movements in
other parts of the world are functioning in many other names and in Kerala the
name is Nadvathul Mujahideen,” he said.
renaissance movement is Kerala was greatly inspired by the Egyptian Islahi
thought. They were called Salafis because they stood with path of the Salafs or
pious forefathers,” Karimpulakkal said. The publicity materials for the meeting
being organized by the Markazudawa faction here on Saturday do not use the word
‘Salafi’ in the graffiti or the notices.
attempt of the Markazudawa group is to salvage the Islahi tradition in Kerala
renaissance movement from the influence of the Saudi Salafism. The organization
believes that the Islahi content was overpowered by the influx of the ideas
imported from Saudi Arabia and other Gulf countries. Islahi movement is more
sensitive to the pluralistic nature of the Indian society unlike the Saudi
Salafism which is more exclusive, they argue.
debates over influence of Gulf Salafism was one of the reasons that led to a
split in the KNM in 2002. The book ‘Gulf Salafism and Islahi movement in
Kerala’ written by M I Sullami, the scholar in the splinter group, was hotly
discussed in the Mujahid movement at that time. Markazudawa faction held that
renaissance movement in Kerala is a unique one and not a replication of the
after reunion of the Mujahid factions in 2016, the issues related to the
influence of Gulf Salafism persisted. In an interview to a magazine last year,
Markazudawa leader C P Umer Sullami had said that there are extremists among
leader believed to have fled coup attempt by his own fighters
Isis leader, Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, survived a coup attempt last month launched
by foreign fighters in his eastern Syrian hideout, intelligence officials
believe, and the terrorist group has since placed a bounty on the main
incident is believed to have taken place on 10 January in a village near Hajin
in the Euphrates River valley, where the jihadist group is clinging to its last
sliver of land. Regional intelligence officials say a planned move against
Baghdadi led to a firefight between foreign fighters and the fugitive terrorist
chief’s bodyguards, who spirited him away to the nearby deserts.
has offered a reward to whomever kills Abu Muath al-Jazairi, believed to be a
veteran foreign fighter, one of an estimated 500 Isis fighters thought to
remain in the area. While Isis did not directly accuse Jazairi, placing a
bounty on the head of one of its senior members is an unusual move and
intelligence officials believe he was the central plotter.
got wind of it just in time,” an intelligence official said. “There was a clash
and two people were killed. This was the foreign fighter element, some of his
most trusted people.”
officials and their counterparts in Britain and the US are confident that
Baghdadi has recently spent time in the final redoubt of the so-called
caliphate, where the group’s diehard members have regrouped after two years of
battlefield losses for what has widely been billed as a last stand.
holdouts include senior leaders and the remnants of the ranks of foreign
fighters who flooded into Syria and Iraq from 2013-15, swelling the ranks of
the extremist organisation to at least 70,000. Now, an estimated 500 or so
militants remain, along with their families, hemmed in by US-backed Kurdish
forces on the Syrian side of the Iraqi border, and by Iranian-backed Shia
militias on the other.
Isis’s area of control has disintegrated and its leaders have been annihilated,
Baghdadi’s whereabouts have become an increasing focus. A diabetic with high
blood pressure, who suffered permanent injury in an airstrike four years ago,
he has been on the run from the militaries of four nation states as well as
tens of thousands of militia since his only public appearance to anoint himself
as caliph in the al-Nuri mosque in Mosul in mid-2014.
rumours of unrest within the dwindling organisation have swirled in recent
months, there has been little – until now – to suggest a serious threat from
within to Baghdadi’s leadership or life. Those who have stayed near the
extremist leader are themselves also ideologically driven veterans, whose
loyalty has been tested over years of losses. However, Isis fighters – among
them former diehards – have been fleeing the besieged areas each day for the
past three weeks, with several thousand members and their families surrendering
to Kurdish-led forces near Deir ez-Zor.
the new captives are large numbers of foreigners, some of whom insist they were
forced further into the group’s shrinking lands by months of hectic attacks.
Kurdish forces believe that foreigners remain clustered around the remnants of
the Isis leadership. Several captives are believed to be among them – including
the British journalist John Cantlie, who was one of more than 25 foreigners
held by Isis in Raqqa.
was captured by Isis in Syria in 2012 and subsequently fronted a series of
propaganda videos for the group. He has not been seen since the last video was
last released in 2016, but earlier this week the UK security minister, Ben
Wallace, in a briefing with reporters, said he believed Cantlie was still
alive. Reports on Thursday suggested Isis could be using Cantlie and other
western hostages still unaccounted for as bargaining chips in return for safe
forces, and intelligence officials in Iraq, estimate that the remnants of the
group have enough weapons and personnel to survive for at least another month,
if they choose to hold firm. Fighters have an escape route, of sorts, to the
deserts, but Syrian regime and Russian forces are active to the south of that
area, making a dash into the sands a tricky proposition.
to the frontlines remain littered with the ruins of recent clashes: buildings
pancaked by bombsand oilfields ransacked for parts. Roads leading to the Syrian
border have been gouged by the retreating extremists who – even in the depths
of winter – are sustaining a furious rearguard action.
Isis’s losses of land, there are growing signs of a low-level insurgency
re-emerging in Iraq, near where the group overran Mosul in June 2014. The
numbers of roadside bombs and summary executions have steadily increased over
the past year, officials in northern Iraq say. And Isis is believed to have
raised its flag – albeit briefly – in parts of Mosul and the nearby Nineveh
lawmakers revive push for sanctions against Saudi over Yemen war, Khashoggi
group of US lawmakers have revived a push to punish Saudi Arabia for launching
war on Yemen and for the murder of dissident journalist Jamal Khashoggi.
bipartisan group of Republican and Democratic senators introduced legislation
on Thursday to bar some arms sales against Riyadh and impose sanctions on those
responsible for Khashoggi’s murder.
bill aims to cut off weapons sales to Saudi Arabia including tanks, long-range
fighter jets and ordnance for automatic weapons.
bill would also require sanctions against anyone involved in Khashoggi's murder
while calling for State Department reports on human rights violations in the
kingdom as well as the war on Yemen.
'bullet' on Khashoggi
year before Khashoggi was killed and his body dismembered by a hit squad inside
the Saudi consulate in Istanbul on October 2, 2018, Saudi Arabia's Crown Prince
Mohammed bin Salman told an aide that he would use "a bullet" on the
journalist if he did not return home and end his criticism of the government,
according to The New York Times.
comments were made well before Khashoggi's murder, the Times said, citing
unnamed US intelligence sources.
which initially denied knowledge of Khashoggi's fate before admitting to his
murder, continues to deny that MBS was involved in the brutal murder. However,
US intelligence agencies believe the crown prince ordered the operation to kill
the Washington Post columnist who was once a royal insider.
President Donald Trump has said that despite the news of Khashoggi's murder, he
still supports MBS and wants his arms deals with Riyadh to remain in place.
as the Trump administration has no intention of insisting on full
accountability for Mr. Khashoggi's murderers, it is time for Congress to step
in and impose real consequences to fundamentally re-examine our relationship
with the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and with the Saudi-led coalition in
Yemen," said Robert Menendez, the top Democrat on the Senate Foreign
Senate already voted in December to end support for the bloody Saudi-led war on
move is likely to pass the new Democratic-led House of Representatives after a
hearing on legislation Wednesday, although Trump could exercise his veto.
Saudi Arabia is a strategic ally, the behavior of the crown prince - in
multiple ways - has shown disrespect for the relationship and made him, in my
view, beyond toxic," Republican Senator Lindsey Graham said.
is not in our national security interests to look the other way when it comes
to the brutal murder of Mr. Jamal Khashoggi," he insisted.
millions of Yemenis are on the brink of starvation in what the United Nations
has described as the world's worst humanitarian crisis.
Saudi-led coalition invaded Yemen in
March 2015 in an attempt to reinstall Riyadh’s ousted ally President Abd Rabbuh
Mansur Hadi, who had resigned and fled the country amid unrest
aggression started with numerous airstrikes but was later coupled with a naval
and aerial blockade as well as the deployment of ground forces to the
violence threaten Rohingya men in world’s largest refugee camp
BAZAR: Sitting near a tea stall smoking and drinking sugary milk tea, a group
of young Rohingya men are bored and worried about their futures in the world’s
largest refugee settlement.
fled over the Myanmar border into southeast Bangladesh with about 730,000
mainly Muslim Rohingya from August 2017, the men and their families spent the
first year battling to survive, building shelters and readjusting to refugee
18 months on, with the camps more orderly, the men who would have been running
households at home find their roles diminished, and the uncertainty is driving
increasing numbers to drugs and violence, according to other Rohingya and aid
not as though we want to sit here in the afternoons,” Jahid Hasan, 16, told the
Thomson Reuters Foundation on a dusty main road running through Balukhali camp
as stray dogs and scrawny cows wandered past.
not easy to get work in the camps. There are schools for children, but not for us.
We are tense about our future, but there’s not a lot we can do.”
Bangladesh government rules, only children aged up to 14 can attend learning
centres to study English, Burmese, maths, and life skills, while aid agencies
hire adults on cash-for-work projects in the 34 camps making up the refugee
this has left a void for teenagers like Hasan living among the 900,000 plus
Rohingya now in the camps, who complain that they struggle to find ways to fill
boys don’t go to school and moreover they get involved in drugs like yaba,”
said Al Morijam, 35, a mother of two, referring to the highly addictive
synthetic drug produced in Myanmar that is more popular than heroin in parts of
is everywhere in the camps and weed is common. We need the army to come and
stop them selling yaba,” said Morijam, who sits on a women‘s committee set up
by the International Organization for Migrants (IOM) to help women‘s views be
Hossen, aged about 24 and one of few Rohingya in the camps to have attended
university, said he was concerned that many youngsters were “losing their
character” because of a lack of guidance and education.
could destroy the future generation of our country,” said Hossen, who was in
his second year at Myanmar’s Sittwe University in August 2017 when thousands of
Muslim Rohingya started to flee an offensive by the Myanmar military.
has denied all accusations, saying its military launched a counter-insurgency
operation after attacks on security posts by Muslim terrorists.
a recent report the Inter Sector Coordination Group (ISCG), set up to
co-ordinate work between humanitarian groups at the camps, said inadequate
services for adolescents aged between 15 to 24 remained a major issue.
a learning framework for adolescents is on the cards, it was still not certain
when this would begin in the camps.
aid agencies have expressed concerns that this left teenagers particularly
vulnerable to child marriage, child labour, human trafficking, abuse and
the camps, teenage boys can be seen playing football and volleyball on
flattened areas of ground, while aid agencies have set up youth clubs,
community centres and art projects to get them involved.
Victory Cup football match was held in December between players in two camps
watched by a crowd of about 4,000, organised by government officials in charge
of the camps.
reason they are getting involved in drugs is because they have nothing to do.
We need more events,” said Shamimul Huq Pavel, a camp-in-charge officer at
Kutupalong, the largest refugee camp.
they have jobs and education, this will decrease.”
expected more focus on cash-incentive projects in the coming months to make the
Rohingya less dependent on aid.
head of mental health and psychosocial support, Olga Rebolledo, said as time
went on they were witnessing increasing levels of domestic abuse and violence
shelters, the lack of opportunities and food shortages, is all starting to heat
up,” Rebolledo told the Thomson Reuters Foundation.
also comes on top of the lack of recognition, of not being citizens anywhere,
which makes people feel trapped and unable to move because they are not
accepted by anyone.”
a bid to tackle domestic abuse, projects for spreading awareness among Rohingya
men and boys have begun in the camps. One such project is run by BRAC,
Bangladesh’s largest NGO.
men who were involved in domestic violence have come to us. We have also tried
to spread awareness in tea stalls and other areas where men generally gather,”
said Sheikh Jahidur Rahman, a BRAC project coordinator.
use Islamic sayings to try to change their minds. We explain to them that
gender violence is a crime according to Islam and that it shouldn’t take
of the participants of the programme, 19-year-old Mohammad Nasih, said he had
seen his sister suffer at the hands of her husband and he wanted be at the
forefront of this change.
don’t get paid to come and attend these sessions, but we still do and that’s
because we have felt the pain of our own sisters,” he said, recalling the pain
that his family had gone through due to his own sister’s suffering.
the camps, everyone talks about how the men of our community are involved in
these bad things. That’s not always true. I am here to change that mindset.”
The government has decided not to make any cuts in the country’s defence
budget, preferring instead to intend to increase it through the generation of
country’s defence budget is already low as compared to other states in the
region, and therefore it should be increased,” said Information Minister Fawad
Chaudhry in a post-cabinet meeting press conference on Thursday.
about the government’s austerity measures to reduce running expenditures by 10
per cent, he commented, “Some people have problems about the defence budget and
try to make it an issue.
they don’t know that our defence budget is already lower than that of other
states in the region, including India.”
he elaborated, “We want to increase our defence and security; therefore we need
to increase our defence budget and for that purpose we want to generate more
Chaudhry said that the government and army were enjoying a period of
information minister said that the cabinet meeting, presided over by Prime
Minister Imran Khan, lamented the arrest of PTI Punjab provincial minister
Abdul Aleem Khan, terming it a “balancing act” on the part of the National
Accountability Bureau (NAB) to justify its actions against leaders of
should act on the basis of facts and justice and should avoid balancing acts
under which innocent PTI leaders are being targeted,” he added.
information minister said the federal cabinet reiterated that the leader of the
opposition in the National Assembly, Shahbaz Sharif, who is also the chairman
of the Public Accounts Committee (PAC), was using the committee as a shield
against the corruption cases against him. The cabinet was of the view that
ethically, Mr Sharif was not entitled to head the PAC and must step down.
Chaudhry presented the information that Prime Minister Khan took notice of the
complaints of consumers regarding ‘inflated’ gas bills and ordered an external
audit of bills over the last two months. Asked why the prime minister ordered
an audit despite the fact that he himself [PM Imran Khan] approved new slabs of
gas consumption price, being the head of the federal cabinet, the minister said
that the government had decided to revise these.
more: Cabinet wants Shahbaz Sharif to resign from PAC chairmanship
to the current price slabs, those who consume 5 Hm3 (500 cubic metres) and more
will have to pay Rs1,480 for per cubic metre and this will apply to total
consumption. “The gas slab price system will be revised to limit gas-price
increase for the vulnerable 70pc of the population,” the minister explained. (On
Sunday, the premier took notice of increased gas prices for domestic consumers
and ordered the petroleum minister to conduct an inquiry into the matter.)
information minister noted that only 23pc of the population was using natural
gas for domestic needs, with the rest using liquefied petroleum gas (LPG), wood
or other fuel sources. He added that the government was providing a subsidy on
costlier gas that is being imported since the tenure of the PML-N regime.
Mr Chaudhry claimed that the prices of consumer items have been reduced. “When
the PML-N came to power in Nov 2013, prices rose by 5.8pc in the first six
months, while during the ruling PTI’s first six months prices rose by a much
lower 1.4pc,” he said. The prices of chicken, garlic, onion, potatoes,
chickpeas, lentils and potatoes had actually gone down, the minister
maintained, while those of eggs, cabbage, high-speed diesel, and petrol had
also seen a downward trend. Nevertheless, he conceded that the cost of
tomatoes, inter-city bus fares, cement, diesel, electricity, mutton and tea
prices had increased.
Chaudhry provided the information that a committee has been formed under the
leadership of Defence Minister Pervaiz Khattak to monitor the prices of various
goods. The committee will look into the matter along with Minister for Planning
Minister Khan, he said, had ordered the housing minister to deal with those
occupying properties illegally. Mr Chaudhry claimed that former Senate chairman
and PPP stalwart Raza Rabbani and Senator Mushahidullah Khan were illegally
occupying official houses at the Minister’s Enclave.
information minister informed that the government wanted to provide
opportunities to overseas Pakistanis to work in government departments. He,
however, added the rider that “While the prime minister acknowledges that
overseas Pakistanis are an asset, the law ministry is drawing up a list of
government positions in which dual nationals will not be entitled to work.”
talking about development activities regarding the Sikh community’s holy places
at Kartarpur, which lies on the border of Pakistan and India, the Mr Chaudhry
said that a committee headed by Punjab Governor Chaudhry Sarwar had been formed
to oversee the work. (PM Khan performed the groundbreaking ceremony of a
long-awaited corridor connecting Gurdwara Darbar Sahib in the Kartarpur area of
Narowal district to Dera Baba Nanak in India’s Gurdaspur district on Nov 28.)
The US military strategy for South Asia includes assuring Pakistan that its
“equities” are acknowledged and addressed in any future agreement in
Afghanistan, says a key American general.
before the Senate Armed Services Committee earlier this week, Gen Joseph Votel
also said that “some military cooperation activities” between the US and
Pakistan have continued even though the Trump administration has suspended
security assistance to the country.
posture with Pakistan involves supporting our colleagues at the Department of
State as they pursue a diplomatic solution with Islamabad to end the conflict
in Afghanistan while ensuring that Pakistan’s equities are acknowledged and
addressed in any future agreement,” he said.
has never hesitated in sharing its concern with Washington that it feared a
hostile setup in Kabul would be used, particularly by India, for stirring
troubles in Pakistan. American analysts in Washington claim that it’s this fear
that has prevented Islamabad from severing its ties to the Taliban.
Votel, however, told the committee members that Pakistan was an important
regional player — not just because of the Afghan conflict — and that’s why
Washington wants to retain its relationship with Islamabad. “As a state
possessing nuclear weapons that sits at the nexus of Russian, Chinese, Indian,
Iranian, and US geopolitical interests, Pakistan will always be a country of
importance to the United States,” he said.
Votel also acknowledged the positive role Pakistan has played in arranging the
ongoing dialogue between US and Taliban officials in Doha, Qatar, and hoped that
this cooperation would continue.
that ‘regionalisation’ was a key part of the US strategy for Afghanistan, the
general said: “Pakistan, in my estimations, has played a more helpful role, a
more constructive role in helping us move forward towards this objective.”
head of the US Central Command, Gen Votel is directly responsible for US
military and anti-terrorism operations in the Pak-Afghan region. “Pakistan
presents the US with challenges and opportunities in the execution of our South
Asia Strategy,” he told the Senate panel, but also complained that Pakistan’s
actions were “often a source of frustration” to US regional efforts in
An antiterrorism court on Thursday exonerated 14 accused in a six-year-old case
pertaining to an arson attack triggered by politically-motivated violence in
accused — including Mohammad Yamin, said to be a sector in-charge of the
Muttahida Qaumi Movement (MQM) along with Waqar, Arsalan, Tahir Malook, alias
Bengali, Misbah, Nadeem and others — were exonerated of the charges of setting
private properties ablaze in an arson attack, violence and terrorism within the
remit of the Saddar police station in Dec 2012.
ATC-XIII judge, who conducted trial in the judicial complex inside the central
prison, pronounced his verdict reserved earlier after recording evidence and
final arguments from both sides.
judge noted in his order that the prosecution had failed to prove the
allegations it had levelled against the accused persons. Therefore, he
acquitted them of all the charges due to lack of evidence.
judge also ordered immediate release of one detained accused, Mohammad Yamin,
from the prison if his custody was not required in any other case. Thirteen
other accused were already on bail before or after arrest. However, the judge
kept the case against their alleged absconding accomplices in a dormant file
till their arrest or surrender in the case.
to the prosecution, violence had erupted following the pre-dawn killing of an
elderly man reportedly belonging to the MQM in Bizerta Line on Dec 31, 2012. It
further mentioned that it had triggered arson attack on a shop and a two-storey
house reportedly belonging to an activist of the rival Pakistan Peoples Party
in which three vehicles were also burnt.
on Thursday reiterated that it was “closely cooperating” with Pakistan in the
fight against terrorism and negotiating a political settlement in Afghanistan,
reported Radio Pakistan.
Foreign Ministry’s Spokesperson Maria Zhakharova made the comments during a
weekly briefing and added that both countries shared common concerns regarding
the momentum being gained and the expansion of the Islamic State (IS). “Great
contribution is being made by all the countries bordering Afghanistan, and
Russia is a reliable partner of those countries in every effort to ensure the
security of the borders,” said Zhakharova.
January 29, Russian President Vladimir Putin’s special envoy for Afghanistan
Zamir Kabulov met Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi and emphasised on the
importance of Islamabad’s role in bringing peace in war-torn Afghanistan.
had appreciated Pakistan’s efforts towards working for a political solution in
the region and was assured by Qureshi that Pakistan would keep striving for
peace in neighbouring Afghanistan, as that is the only way to bring prosperity
to the region. Highlighting the role of neighbours and the regional countries
in the peace process, FM Qureshi had also lauded the important contributions
Russia had made including the “Moscow Format of Consultations”.
Kabulov had further stated that Russia and Pakistan were important stakeholders
in peace and stability in Afghanistan.
December, Islamabad and Moscow agreed to continue efforts through “Moscow
Format of Consultations for supporting what they called the Afghan-led and
Afghan-owned peace process.
entrance to the stadium accompanied by an "explosion of enthusiasm"
of the participants above all expectations, followed by a "simple but
beautiful" Mass; the meeting with the Muslim world, the signing of a
historic document resulting from a "serious willingness to take a step
forward in interreligious dialogue": These are the highlights of the
recent papal visit to the Gulf for Msgr. Paul Hinder.
Apostolic Vicar of Southern Arabia(United Arab Emirates, Oman and Yemen)
reflected on the importance of the visit with AsiaNews. "For our faithful,
mainly immigrants, the meeting with Francis was a source of great
atmosphere of joy and enthusiasm for the many events that characterized the
Pope's three days still lingers in the Emirates. From the first public Mass in
front of more than 120 thousand people, including Muslims, to the interreligious
meeting in Abu Dhabi.
and experts also underline the importance of the document signed by the pontiff
and by the great imam of Al-Azhar (Egypt), Ahmad Muhammad Al-Tayyib, of "prophetic and revolutionary"
a personal level - explains Msgr. Hinder - the climax of the visit was the last
day, spent in full with the Pope. From the morning, with breakfast together
followed by a meeting with some representatives of my presbytery. Then the
cathedral, greetings to the disabled, children, families and the elderly. The
meeting with the oldest priest of the vicariate, of 92 years, was particularly
touching. Finally, the journey together through the crowd in the pope
mobile,... until the entrance to the stadium and the explosion of joy that accompanied
him. Then Mass, simple and at the same time beautiful. The feeling is of having
shared an experience".
the journey from the episcopal house and the stadium "I spoke with the
Pope" recalls the prelate, and "we discussed the situation of the
vicariate. It was important for the Pope to observe the local reality at a
personal level first, going beyond the documents and the reports. A direct
knowledge of a Church made up mostly of migrants, with its problems and
peculiarities. A community of Filipinos, Indians, Africans that is at the same
time simple but rich in faith ".
a personal level - he says - the most important moment was the meeting with the
local community and the mass"; nevertheless, from a global point of view
"the interreligious conference and the signature of the document with the
imam, which represents an important step forward in the dialogue with Islam,
are of great value".
prelate observes that even from Muslim religious leaders and the leadership of
the Emirates "there was not only a formal reception as local culture
dictates, but honesty and authenticity in relationships. Whether this will turn
into a strengthening in the field of rights, first of all religious freedom,
this can only be seen with time ".
Hinder judges Pope Francis's appeal on freedom of religion in the land of
Arabia "courageous" and adds that "there have been no negative
comments, even until the last moment, there was a climate of great cordiality
the faithful "his words were a source of pride and an invitation to
continue living the faith", contributing to "building" with
Christians of other denominations and citizens of different religions,
especially Muslims, a "pluralistic society without losing their traditions
these days the 76-year-old prelate of Swiss origin also met "a small
delegation" from Yemen, who was able to leave the country despite the war.
"It was nice to be able to console them - he observes - in this situation
which is still difficult for them".
conclusion, he shares a personal reflection: "This visit so full of
dignity has been a source of great joy in what is the last phase of my mission
in a reality that has grown considerably in these 15 years. And, lastly, the
thought goes to my predecessor, Msgr. Bernardo Gremoli: today [yesterday, for
the reader] I wrote to his relatives, I am sure he accompanied us with his
American request for the extradition of a Turkish man wanted in the United
States on terrorism charges was rejected because there was no other option
under German law, authorities said Thursday, in a case that has raised the ire
of officials in Washington.
Yilmaz, who was indicted under seal in the US in 2015 on charges of
participating nearly 10 years earlier in attacks on US military forces along
the border between Afghanistan and Pakistan, was convicted of membership in a
terrorist organization in Germany in 2010.
extradite him to face trial in the US on terrorism charges would constitute
double jeopardy under German law, Frankfurt state court spokeswoman Gundula
Fehns-Boeer told The Associated Press.
extradition could have only occurred if the Americans said they would restrict
the charges to crimes not already punished,” she said.
the Frankfurt court’s decision on the American request last week, Hesse state
officials on Tuesday deported Yilmaz to his native Turkey, said state Interior
Ministry spokesman Marcus Gerngross.
said there was “nothing unusual” about deporting a foreign national who had
violated German laws, but the decision angered American officials.
officials filed additional assurances on Monday, attempting to address the
Frankfurt court’s decision, but the deportation was carried out before those
arguments could be considered.
learning of the deportation, Deputy US Secretary of State John Sullivan called
a meeting with German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas, who was in Washington to
take part in meetings of the coalition fighting against ISIS, to express
American displeasure. “We are gravely disappointed by Germany’s decision to
deport a dangerous terrorist — Adem Yilmaz — to Turkey, rather than to
extradite him to the United States to face justice for his complicity in the
murder of two American servicemen,” acting US Attorney General Matthew Whitaker
said in a statement later Wednesday after the two diplomats had met.
addition to the allegations of participating in attacks on the
Afghanistan-Pakistan border, Yilmaz was charged with giving advice and
instructions on military-type training to a man involved in a 2008 suicide
bombing in Afghanistan that killed two American soldiers and injured at least
Yilmaz is responsible for the deaths of US service members,” US Ambassador to
Germany Richard Grenell said in a tweet on Thursday. “This failure to extradite
him to the United States violates the terms and spirit of our Extradition
indictment against Yilmaz, brought in the Southern District of New York and
unsealed earlier this week, includes charges of providing material support to a
terrorism organization and aiding and abetting military-style training.
had been in prison in Germany until October 2018 after his conviction for
involvement in a foiled 2007 plot to attack American citizens and facilities in
the country, including the US Air Force’s Ramstein base.
in the name of the radical Islamic Jihad Union, he and three others had
stockpiled what they thought was highly concentrated hydrogen peroxide,
purchased from a chemical supplier, and planned to mix it with other substances
to make explosives equivalent to 550 kilograms (1,200 pounds) of dynamite.
German authorities, acting partly on US intelligence, had been watching them
and covertly replaced the hydrogen peroxide with a diluted substitute that
could not have been used to produce a bomb.
his release, Yilmaz had been kept in custody awaiting the resolution of the
American extradition request, which dated back to 2016, Fehns-Boeer said.
his arrival back in Turkey, he was detained by anti-terrorism authorities at
Istanbul’s Ataturk Airport, a Turkish security official said.
is not planning to move its diplomatic mission in Israel to Jerusalem al-Quds
despite US President Donald Trump’s recognition of the city as the new Israeli
Ambassador to Israel Anatoly Viktorov told the TASS news agency on Thursday
that Moscow would not breach international law and United Nations resolutions
on Jerusalem al-Quds.
issue of transferring the Russian embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem is outside
the agenda. Russia is committed to the international legal framework concerning
Jerusalem, including corresponding United Nations Security Council
resolutions," Viktorov said.
December 2017, when Trump recognized Jerusalem al-Quds as the “capital” of
Israel, only the US and the South American country of Guatemala have relocated their
embassies to the holy city.
became the third to move its embassy only to move it back to Tel Aviv after
countries like Austria, Brazil and the Czech Republic have expressed interest
in moving their embassies but have yet to take action.
announcement has sparked grassroots Palestinian resistance and triggered
numerous protests in Arab countries. Palestinians view the city as the future
capital of Palestine after its statehood.
to visit Israel next year'
also said that Moscow was considering possible plans by Russian President
Vladimir Putin to travel to Israel in 2020 after receiving an invitation from
Tel Aviv in late 2018.
Israeli partners hope that President Vladimir Putin's work schedule will allow
him to take part in the commemorative events to mark the 75th anniversary of
the liberation of Auschwitz by the Red Army scheduled for 2020," the
corresponding invitation handed over by Israel at the end of last year is being
considered by the Russian presidential administration with due attention,"
the envoy added.
between Moscow and Tel Aviv have taken a turn for the worse as a result of
Israel’s aggressive policies against Syria, where the Russian military forces
have been fighting a foreign-backed militancy upon a request from Damascus.
October last year, Moscow equipped Damascus with the advanced S-300
surface-to-air missiles, days after Israeli fighter jets attacking Syrian
targets used a Russian surveillance plane flying nearby as a shield and misled
the Syrian air defenses to shoot it down.
1,200-year-old Bible has been found by anti-smuggling officers in Turkey, local
authorities said on Thursday.
recovered the book after being told that three people were looking to sell the
authorities said six suspects in total were arrested, caught “red handed” by
leaf decorates the 34 paged leather-bound Bible, with a cross motif painted.
provided no other information about its origin.
operation took place in the southern district of Diyarbakir, close to the
often travel the other way, from war torn countries such as Syria and Iraq
where they are plundered and make their way into Western art markets.
has ramped up anti-smuggling operations as it has become an important route for
smugglers in recent years.
FBI recovered a mosaic depicting Hercules in California last year, thought to
have entered the US from Syria via Turkey.
to court documents published in 2018, the FBI had been investigating Mohamad
Yassin Alcharihi in California for three years. It is understood Mr Alcharihi
was not charged, and denied he imported the mosaic illegally.
documents from the US judiciary also reveal that the government retained the
help of an expert who suggested that there has been a rise in looted Syrian
artefacts since 2012 and routinely routed through Turkey.
March last year, Spanish police arrested Jaume Bagot Peix, an art dealer
accused of being part of a smuggling operation that trafficked looted
historical items from Libya to fund Islamic State (IS).
said both Mr Bagor Peix and his business partner Oriol Carreras Palomar were
part of a network based in Catalonia that sourced, restored and resold
archaeological works from sites controlled by extremists linked to IS.
Indonesia successfully campaigned for a seat on the 2019-2020 United Nations
Security Council last year, it marketed itself as “a true partner for world
peace” and “a bridge-builder”. In fact, the word “peace” appeared 13 times in
its campaign brochure. However, after a month in this seat, Indonesia has not
yet taken the lead in building the most difficult, and therefore most
necessary, bridge of all: Jewish-Muslim relations.
example, why hasn’t the world’s largest Muslim-majority country not yet
officially recognized the world’s oldest Abrahamic and fifth-largest religion,
Judaism? Jakarta often hails its constitution as protecting religious freedom
for all, but unfortunately, Judaism is not yet officially recognized.
A key leader of the Abu Sayyaf Group (ASG), believed to have been involved in
the Jan. 27 twin bombings of a Roman Catholic Cathedral in the Philippines, was
killed in a military offensive in southern Sulu island, authorities said on
Gen. Divino Rey Pabayo, commander of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP)
— Joint Task Force Sulu, said information had been received about Indang
the Anti-Kidnapping Group (AKG), the police force that tracks the ASG, could
not confirm the reports of Susukan’s death. “We’re still validating the
information,” an AKG official told Arab News.
belonged to one of the main ASG factions on the Sulu islands, commanded by
Hatib Hajjan Sawadjaan.
said Sawadjaan deployed the two alleged suicide bombers from Indonesia to carry
out the attack on Our Lady of Mount Carmel Cathedral, which killed 23 people
and wounded more than 100.
the bombings, Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte ordered government troops to
crush the ASG and other militant groups on the island of Mindanao.
Feb. 2, the military engaged approximately 100 ASG members in a fierce
gunbattle in the jungles of Patikul town in Sulu.
soldiers and three ASG gunmen were killed, while 18 were wounded from the
government side and 15 from the group, including Susukan. According to
intelligence reports, he succumbed to his wounds on Feb. 4.
said an announcement will be made when the information is confirmed, adding
that Susukan was linked to high-profile kidnapping cases.
spokesman Brig. Gen. Edgard Arevalo said Susukan was reported to have been
seriously wounded during last week’s clash, and reports from various sources on
the ground indicate that he eventually died due to the severity of his
these reports that tend to confirm each other, our troops in the area endeavor
to locate his remains for us to conclusively report through a DNA test that he
indeed is dead,” Arevalo said.
death, when conclusively established, deals a serious blow to the leadership of
this terrorist group,” he added.
“is one of the ASG’s notorious sub-leaders who perpetrated many kidnappings,
beheadings and other terrorist attacks, including the twin blast in Jolo
Cathedral,” Arevalo said.
Secretary Eduardo Ano said the cathedral bombing is considered solved with the
surrender of the five main suspects.
far as the government is concerned, the Jolo bombing case is already solved ...
As to the other conspirators, an intensive manhunt is now underway, and we will
continue to pursue them until all those involved are brought to the bar of
justice,” he added.
said the bombers are an Indonesian couple, but identification is a work in
progress that may take time.
command chief: '16 terror camps active in PoK
General Officer Commanding -in-Chief (GOC-in-C) of Northern Army Command Lt Gen
Ranbir Singh on Thursday said that 16 terror camps are active in Pakistan
occupied Kashmir (PoK) and Pakistan.
to reporters in a press conference at Northern Command’s investiture ceremony,
Gen Singh, said Pakistan continues to train and infiltrate terrorists into
Jammu and Kashmir across Line of Control.
350 to 400 terrorists are active in Kashmir but nearly 50 are active in South
of Pir Panchal and most of them are dormant, he said while responding to
we have multi-tier anti-infiltration system in place along the border and also
have very clear strategy to combat ceasefire violations,” he added.
Northern Command Army Chief said that Pakistani media has been using social
platforms to radicalise youth towards militancy in the state. "We are
concerned but we are working on this,” he added.
demands temple in Aligarh Muslim University campus, gives VC Tariq Mansoor 15
days to reply
Bharatiya Janata Yuva Morcha has written to Aligarh Muslim University
Vice-Chancellor Tariq Mansoor demanding the construction of a temple in AMU
premises. BJYM district president Mukesh Singh Lodhi has said they have given
AMU VC 15 days to reply and if their demand is not met then they will go with
thousands of party workers for “murti sthapana”.
the press conference Lodhi quoted Sir Syed Ahmad Khan who had once said that
Hindus and Muslims are the two eyes of the beautiful bride that is Hindostan
and added that the university established by him has a mosque but there is no
temple were Hindu students can offer prayers.
Lodhi further said that Hindu students are facing lots of problems due
to this and added that if the VC should fulfil the dream of Sir Syed and should
provide space for the construction of a temple in the varsity premises.
to this demand, AMU spokesperson Shafey Kidwai called it a “political matter”
and added that the university hasn’t received any communique from the
few days ago, student leader Ajay Singh, grandson of BJP MLA Thakur Dalveer
Singh from Barauli constituency in Aligarh, had demanded the construction of a
temple in university premises. Later, a “Tiranga Yatra” was organized in the
campus by him without any permission from the university administration for
which a show cause notice was issued to him and few students.
Adityanath raises Ayodhya Ram temple pitch in Bihar’s Muslim-dominated eastern
Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adiyanath told BJP workers in Bihar’s Muslim-dominated
eastern region on Thursday that the Ram temple would be built in Ayodhya and
that “there is no confusion in it,” prompting the Opposition RJD and Congress
to accuse BJP of using the temple issue for votes.
nearly 20,000 BJP workers who came from four districts – Kishanganj, Araria,
Purnea and Katihar – Adityanath urged them to ensure that the BJP-led NDA
registers a “100 per cent victory” in the state in the Lok Sabha polls.
Ram temple will be built in Ayodhya where Lord Ram is present. There is no
confusion in it,” said Adityanath at the BJP rally at Rangbhumi Maidan in
Purnea amid cheers from the audience.
extolled the steps taken by Prime Minister Narendra Modi to raise the
confidence of India’s armed forces. “Today neither Chinese nor Pakistani
soldiers dare enter Indian territory and kill Indian soldiers. If Pakistan
kills one Indian soldier, ten Pakistani soldiers will be killed in retaliation.
Such courage can be displayed only by Modi, not by those who talk about ripping
India into pieces,” he said.
on BJP workers from Bihar to visit Uttar Pradesh, he said: “I have also changed
the names of the places (in UP). Earlier people were going to Allahabad; now
they will go to Prayagraj. Earlier you were going to Faizabad Junction, but now
you will go to Ayodhya”. The audience applauded him by clapping.
must remember how Bihar faced a big crisis over its identity during Lalu’s
regime. But during Nitish Kumar’s rule, every Bihari has been proudly saying
that he is from Bihar,” he said, urging booth-level workers of BJP to ensure
the maximum possible voting for NDA candidates.
attacked Congress and its allies, saying they were not interested in the
country’s development and fulfilling the people’s aspirations. He, however,
made no reference to West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee. Purnea is just
a few kilometers off the Bihar-West Bengal border.
leaders said Adityanath’s pep talk to party workers in the eastern region would
help improve the party’s performance in the coming polls. BJP had lost all the
eight Lok Sabha constituencies in eastern Bihar in the 2014 polls.
Pakistan on Thursday said it will send a delegation to India next month to
discuss and finalise draft agreement for setting up a corridor to facilitate
visit of Sikh pilgrims to the Gurdwara Kartarpur Sahib Gurudwara.
and Pakistan agreed to open up a special border crossing linking Gurdwara
Darbar Sahib in Pakistan's Kartarpur - the final resting place of Sikh faith's
founder Guru Nanak Dev - to Dera Baba Nanak shrine in India's Gurdaspur
Sahib is located in Pakistan's Narowal district across the river Ravi, about
four kilometres from the Dera Baba Nanak shrine. Gurdwara Kartarpur Sahib, the
first Gurdwara, was established by Guru Nanak Dev in 1522, where he is said to
corridor will facilitate the visa-free travel of Indian Sikh pilgrims to
Gurdwara Darbar Sahib in Kartarpur.
Office spokesperson Mohammad Faisal announced on social media that Pakistan
also proposed a return visit by Indian delegation on March 28.
a spirit of constructive engagement, Pakistan has proposed to India that the
Pakistan delegation may visit India on March 13 followed by the return visit of
the Indian delegation to Pakistan on March 28 to finalise the draft agreement
for the Kartarpur corridor," he tweeted.
further said that "we look forward to positive reciprocity from
month, the two countries floated proposals to host talks in order to give the
final shape to the agreement.
has committed to open the corridor in November on the occasion of the 550th
birth anniversary of Guru Nanak Dev.
President M Venkaiah Naidu and Punjab Chief Minister Amarinder Singh on
November 26 last year laid the foundation stone for the Kartarpur corridor in
days later, Pakistan's Prime Minister Imran Khan laid the foundation stone for
the corridor at Narowal, 125 km from Lahore.
decision to build the corridor -- from Dera Baba Nanak in Gurdaspur district to
the International Border -- was taken by the Union Cabinet on November 22.
two governments have also launched the construction work to build corridor for
the Sikh pilgrims to help them visit the shrine through the shortest route.
Syed Qayam Ali
NSA was invoked against Nadeem, Shakeel and Azam, who were rounded up on Friday
under the MP Prohibition of Cow Slaughter Act, Khandwa Superintendent of Police
Siddharth Bahuguna said.
is the first time the new Congress government in Madhya Pradesh has invoked the
to Bahuguna, police in Moghat arrested Nadeem and Shakeel from Kathakali
village following a tip-off while Azam was nabbed on Monday after he fled
during the initial raids.
crown prince told aide he would use ‘a bullet’ on Khashoggi: report
conversation was intercepted by U.S. intelligence agencies, as part of routine
efforts by the National Security Agency and other agencies to capture and store
the communications of global leaders, including allied ones, The Times said
Arabia's crown prince told a senior aide he would go after Jamal Khashoggi
“with a bullet” a year before the dissident journalist was killed inside the
kingdom's Istanbul consulate, the New York Times reported Thursday quoting US
intelligence understood that Mohammed bin Salman, the country's 33-year-old de
facto ruler, was ready to kill the journalist, although he may not have
literally meant to shoot him, according to the newspaper.
initially denying any knowledge of Khashoggi's disappearance, the kingdom has
acknowledged that a team killed him inside the diplomatic mission but described
it as a rogue operation that did not involve the crown prince.
conversation was intercepted by U.S. intelligence agencies, as part of routine
efforts by the National Security Agency and other agencies to capture and store
the communications of global leaders, including allied ones, The Times said.
was only recently transcribed, however, because of mounting efforts by U.S.
intelligence to find more conclusive proof linking the prince to the killing.
conversation took place between Prince Mohammed and an aide, Turki Aldakhil, in
September 2017 -- around 13 months before the October 2 killing, the paper
prince said that if Khashoggi could not be enticed to return to Saudi Arabia,
then he should be brought back by force. If neither of those methods worked,
then he would go after Mr. Khashoggi “with a bullet,” he said.
came as officials in the kingdom were growing increasingly angry about
Khashoggi's criticisms -- and the same month he began writing opinion pieces
for The Washington Post.
Exhibition Illuminates The History Of Islamic Manuscripts
“Wahj: Adornment of the Page,” an exhibition of illustrated and miniature
Islamic manuscripts featuring some rare and ancient examples, has opened at the
King Faisal Center for Research and Islamic Studies (KFCIRS) in Riyadh.
center is rich with a number of priceless historical manuscripts that cannot be
found anywhere in the world except at the KFCIRS,” said Prince Abdullah bin
Khaled, the center’s director of research.
exhibition features decorative manuscripts, specifically. We welcome all
visitors to the exhibition, which will be open for six months.”
event — which was officially opened on Feb. 6 by Prince Turki Al-Faisal, the
center’s chairman, and Prince Bader bin Abdullah, the minister of culture —
showcases a variety of ornate Islamic manuscripts, including ancient and rare
examples, which provide insight into Islamic art and calligraphy.
60 exhibits include illustrated manuscripts embellished with gold and featuring
different forms of calligraphy from across the centuries and dynasties.
are just a small selection from the 60,000 precious and historical manuscripts
preserved by the center, a collection of international Islamic manuscripts and
rare heritage pieces that is considered the largest in the world.
art of decorating and gilding manuscripts flourished in the Islamic world in
the Middle Ages.
King Faisal Center is one of the most important organizations involved in preserving
and displaying rare and unique original Arabic and Islamic manuscripts.
study: Millennial jihadis educated, not outcasts
United Arab Emirates (AP) — A study by a Saudi research center is challenging
the notion that jihadi fighters are necessarily disenfranchised and lacking
opportunity, with its lead researcher saying Thursday that a new generation of
Saudi militants are relatively well-educated, not driven purely by religious
ideology and show little interested in suicide missions.
40-page study , published by the King Faisal Center for Research and Islamic
Studies in conjunction with the International Center for the Study of
Radicalisation at King's College in London, looked at 759 Saudi recruits who
joined the Islamic State group mostly between 2013 and 2014. That's roughly a
third of the overall number of Saudis who fought in Syria. The data was drawn
from leaked Islamic State group entry documents.
Saudi Interior Ministry previously said that 2,500 Saudis had gone to Syria in
the years before the kingdom criminalized fighting abroad in early 2014. Only
Tunisia sent more foreign fighters. Subsequently, the kingdom was the target of
numerous IS group attacks that killed dozens of people, as well as in Kuwait.
Abdullah bin Khaled Al-Saud said the fighters were neither loners nor social
outcasts but appear to have been motivated by the heightened sectarianism that
began to color the 2011 Syrian revolution as it slid into armed conflict.
turning point came when the Iranian-backed Shiite Hezbollah group decisively
committed to join the conflict in May 2013 to defend the Syrian government
against the mostly Sunni Muslim resistance.
actually was the point when the first wave of Saudis travelling to Syria
started to happen," Al-Saud told The Associated Press. "So, I think
instability, war and violence certainly plays a major role when it comes to the
specific Saudi context."
contrast, issues of disenfranchisement, poverty and criminal pasts factored
heavily in IS fighters hailing from European countries like France, Belgium and
the U.K., to name a few.
AP analysis of some 3,000 leaked IS documents had found that most of the recruits
hailing from a range of nationalities, or around 70 percent, came with only the
most basic knowledge of Islam — the lowest possible choice on the forms. This
created fertile ground for the indoctrination of recruits in line with the
group's extremist interpretation of Islam.
Saudi study released this week, however, found that among Saudi recruits a
little more than half said they had basic knowledge of Islam. Much of the rest
claimed to have intermediate and advanced religious knowledge.
was somewhat expected given that all Saudi students are given religious
education in schools, according to the study.
the Saudi contingent's religious fluency should not be exaggerated: 58 percent
of Saudi (fighters) acknowledged that they had only basic knowledge of the
religion of Islam, and only eight percent claimed to be 'knowledge
seekers,'" the report stated.
fighters from Europe, where many were high school dropouts or unemployed, the
Saudi recruits were relatively well educated. Close to 340 had a high
school-level education, around 60 had a diploma of some kind, close to 120 had
university degrees and five held postgraduate degrees.
data demonstrates that the Saudi contingent does not consist of educational
underachievers, which can lead to the argument that they were not lacking in
socio-economic opportunities," the study said.
report notes, though, that "education does not necessarily equate with job
opportunities, and a sense of relative deprivation may still be relevant"
with 15 percent of the Saudi contingent in this study stating they were
noteworthy, of those who held jobs, 50 had been in the Saudi military or police
and 36 were either members of the religious police, imams at mosques or
considered themselves to be religious preachers.
of the Saudi recruits in this sampling were 20-24 years old, and 22 percent
were 25-29 years old. Just 13 percent were over age 30, and 15 percent were
under 19 years old, with the youngest just 9 years old.
overwhelming majority, at 73 percent, were single. Just 18 percent were listed
as married, with the rest unknown.
the overwhelming majority of these recruits, or 625, volunteered to be
fighters. Just nine percent, or 71, signed up to be suicide bombers.
said this suggests the recruits wanted to contribute to this this
"exciting project of a Caliphate" that had promised a life more
rewarding than death.
in previous decades of Saudi jihadi recruitment, this latest wave saw the
highest ratio of Saudi fighters per the region's population from the
landlocked, ultraconservative province of Qassim, north of Riyadh.
Raymond J. de Souza
Francis returned on Tuesday from a historic visit to the United Arab Emirates —
the first-ever visit of a pope to the Arabian peninsula, where Islam was
founded in the seventh century. It is one of the worst places on the planet to
be a Christian.
U.A.E. trip was hopeful and welcome, but also highlighted how fraught the
situation of Christians in the Muslim world actually is.
Pope signed a joint declaration of “human fraternity” with Sheikh Ahmed
al-Tayeb, the Grand Imam of Al-Azhar in Cairo, the leading university in the
Sunni world. While Islam does not have a central authority like the pope,
Al-Azhar has sufficient history and prestige that its positions can be
considered a leading institutional voice.
declaration was the kind of windy document produced at international
gatherings, full of noble ideals and soaring rhetoric. But it also included a
specific condemnation of violence in the name of religion.
resolutely declare that religions must never incite war, hateful attitudes,
hostility and extremism, nor must they incite violence or the shedding of
blood,” the joint declaration reads.
declaration concluded an interfaith meeting on fraternity hosted in Abu Dhabi,
which brought together some 700 religious leaders — Christians, Muslims, Jews,
Hindus, Buddhists and others — to work toward greater tolerance and
Emirates played host because such a gathering would be illegal in neighbouring
Saudi Arabia, and impossible to hold safely in, for example, Pakistan. Yet
while good manners led Pope Francis to extol the U.A.E. as a land of
“tolerance” and “coexistence,” the very fact the U.A.E. is considered praiseworthy
indicates how bleak the situation for religious minorities is across the
year, the U.A.E. ranked 45th among the world’s top 50 nations regarding
religious freedom according to Open Doors, a Protestant watchdog group that tracks
anti-Christian persecution around the world. In the U.A.E., Christians are able
to worship — sometimes in churches built by the Emirati government itself for
its foreign worker population — but religious liberty does not exist in a
fulsome way. But the bar is set so low for Muslim countries that the U.A.E. is
hailed as a beacon of tolerance.
impressed journalists covering the papal trip breathlessly reported that to
honour the visit of Pope Francis and the Grand Imam, a new church and mosque
are to be built in Abu Dhabi. The mosque will be named after the Grand Imam
himself, the church after St. Francis, the Holy Father’s patron saint.
the church and mosque side-by-side can be presented as a model of co-operation,
more often the reality is one of harassment. Twenty years ago I spent Christmas
in the U.A.E., visiting the Catholic churches in both Dubai and Abu Dhabi. They
had been built with government patronage and goodwill, separated by some
distance from local mosques, so as to avoid provocation.
short order, local Muslims built mosques immediately next door, from which the
amplified call-to-prayer can be blasted at the churches to disrupt services.
Rather naive, I wondered how it was that the muezzin seemed not to follow the
usual schedule, but hit maximum volume just when the Catholic liturgy was
underway. Nobody there had to ask why.
in the U.A.E. it is not illegal to be a Christian, as it is next door in Saudi
Arabia. Christians are not violently expelled from their homes, as in Iraq and
Syria. Christians do not risk being massacred as they gather for Christmas, as
in Egypt. Christians are not arrested and sentenced to death for “blasphemy,”
as in Pakistan. The religious sisters of Mother Teresa, who care for the
poorest of the poor, are not murdered, as they were in Yemen in 1998 and 2016.
are not jihadist terror groups that bomb churches, killing people at prayer, as
happened last week in the Muslim part of the Philippines.
nearby Qatar, which permitted the first Catholic Church only in 2008, Catholics
have had churches in the U.A.E. since the 1960s. So if a pope was to come to
Arabia, it had to be the U.A.E., which is only praiseworthy in comparison to
greater outrages nearby.
good words of the joint declaration have been said before to no great effect,
but it does not hurt to say them again. The Emirati gave Pope Francis a
genuinely warm welcome, which is no small thing. In turn, the Holy Father
pretended not to notice the petroleum-fuelled obscene luxury which is the
raison d’être of the U.A.E.; there is no less friendly place for climate-change
measures or migrants than Arabia, to mention just two of the pope’s priorities.
Arabic-language al-Ma'aloumeh news website quoted a Hashd al-Shaabi statement
as saying on Thursday that the missile unit of Hashd al-Shaabi's Brigade 45 in
Western al-Anbar targeted the ISIL terrorists' bases in the town of Baqouz in
Southeastern Deir Ezzur in Eastern Syria with 50 missiles, inflicting heavy
losses on them.
added that the missile attacks were launched after the ISIL militants were
witnessed to be preparing to infiltrate into Iraq.
relevant remarks late last month, a senior commander of Hashd al-Shaabi
underlined his forces' full preparedness to enter the Syrian territories for
military operations against the ISIL to establish security at common borders.
news website quoted Hashd al-Shaabi's Commander in al-Anbar province Qassim
Muslih as saying that his forces were ready to be deployed in the depth of
Syria to liberate the regions bordering Western al-Anbar.
added that Hashd al-Shaabi is waiting for the Iraqi commander in chief to issue
the order to start attacking ISIL-occupied areas inside Syria near the border
Syrian army forces engaged in fierce clashes with the ISIL terrorists who had
attacked the military points near Station 3 in Eastern Badiyeh of Homs, leaving
several militants dead and wounded.
the artillery and missile units of the Syrian army pounded the ISIL moves near
Awiraz dam, Jabal al-Qarab region and near the common borders with Deir Ezzur
province in Eastern Badiyeh of Homs, destroying several targets and inflicting
heavy losses on them.
field sources in Eastern Deir Ezzur reported that a group of ISIL terrorists
attacked the Syrian army positions in Albu Kamal in Southeastern Deir Ezzur
from Baqouz Foqani region.
noted that the terrorists were attempting to reach the occupied territories in
Badiyeh region from the army points but were forced to withdraw after
sustaining heavy tolls from the army.
a relevant development on Saturday, the Syrian Army fended off an attack by an
ISIL group near Palmyra in Eastern Homs, and killed all invading militants.
Syrian army in an ambush operation engaged in heavy clashes with the ISIL
terrorists who had penetrated into Wadi al-Sahil region Southeast of al-Sukhna
near Palmyra in Eastern Homs.
activists in Raqqa reported on Wednesday that the civil workers have discovered
the bodies of 28 people, including women and children, from a mass-grave near
the village of Fakhikheh.
added that corpses of 4 other civilians, including one child, killed in the US
airstrikes, have been found from under the debris of a building in al-Haramiyeh
and al-Badou districts in Raqqa.
one year of occupation of Raqqa by the US and the Syrian Democratic Forces
(SDF), the corpses of ISIL and US victims are everyday pulled out of the
mass-graves and ruins.
a relevant development late last month, tens of dead bodies of the victims of
the US-led airstrikes and the ISIL's crimes were discovered from the debris of
ruined buildings and mass graves in Raqqa, media sources said.
activists said the corpses of four civilians were retrieved from the debris of
buildings ruined in US airstrikes last year in al-Sokna district of Raqqa city.
four dead bodies of civilians were recovered from the buildings destroyed in US
air assaults in al-Bayatareh in Raqqa city, the activists added.
also said that the corpses of about 50 people, including women and children,
were discovered from a mass grave in al-Fakhikheh South of Raqqa city.
Syrian field source reported on Thursday that the terrorists are strenuously
bolstering their positions in the demilitarized zone in Northern Hama and
Southern Idlib and sending new convoys to the contact lines with the Syrian
added that the army launched heavy artillery and missile attacks on a military
convoy of Horras al-Din militants in al-Tamane'ah in Southeastern Idlib,
destroying a large number of their military equipment and killing several
army forces also targeted a gathering of military vehicles and terrorists in
the town of Jorjanaz in Southern Idlib, inflicting heavy losses on them.
the army troops launched artillery attacks against the military vehicles of
Turkistani terrorists who were separating and stealing parts and equipment of
Zizon power plant in Southwestern Idlib, destroying their military
in Northern Hama, the Syrian army forces repelled an offensive by terrorists
from the town of Ma'arkabeh towards the military points in al-Zalaqiyat and
late last week, the Syrian army had heavily pounded the military positions and
movements of the terrorists in Northern Hama and Southern Idlib after warding
off their offensive.
Syrian Army attacks came in response to the Turkistani Islamic Party attacks on
their positions in Northern Hama and Southern Idlib on Sunday.
Syrian Army heavily pounded the terrorists' movements and military positions in
the villages of al-Sarmanieh, Havash, al-Hoveijeh to North and Northwest of
Hama, inflicting heavy losses on them.
Southern Idlib, the Syrian Army also fended off an attack by Tahrir al-Sham
al-Hay'at (the Levant Liberation Board or the Al-Nusra Front) on their
positions from al-Hobait and al-Kasik.
terrorists sustained heavy losses in the failed attacks on the Syrian Army
Syrian Army units also pounded the terrorists' military positions in the
village of Safouhen in Jabal al-Zawiyeh in Southern Idlib, destroying one of
their arms depot and military equipment.
gains by Kurdish-led forces in Syria have shrunk ISIS’ "caliphate" to
less than one percent of its original size, the US-led coalition said on
General Christopher Ghika, the coalition’s deputy commander, described the size
of the last patch of land held by the extremist group as "now less than
one percent of the original caliphate".
foreign ISIS fighters on a daily basis
forces in Syria said Wednesday they were detaining foreign ISIS fighters on a
“daily basis”, days after confirming the capture of German extremist Martin
reported Lemke’s capture last week after speaking to two of his wives who said
they had fled together from the extremist group’s final pocket of territory in
is clinging to a tiny sliver of its once sprawling “caliphate” and many
residents are fleeing and turning themselves in ahead of a final offensive.
spokesman for the Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Forces, Mustafa Bali, said ISIS
fighters were hiding among the fleeing civilians.
a daily basis, we are arresting foreign ISIS fighters,” he told AFP, declining to
provide further details on Lemke’s arrest.
SDF has captured at least 50 foreign ISIS fighters over the past three weeks,
Kurdish foreign affairs official Abdel Karim Omar told AFP on Wednesday.
SDF announced Lemke’s capture in a statement posted on their website on Monday.
said two other extremists had also been captured, identifying them as Egyptian
Hussein Fardid and Saudi Salem al-Shamrani.
three were detained following “two special operations” on January 25 and
February 1, it added.
New York-based corporate investigations and risk consulting firm, Kroll,
challenges some of the most frequently used “evidence” in the case of the
killing of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi, according to a confidential report
obtained by the Wall Street Journal.
Kroll report, which was commissioned by the public prosecutor of Saudi Arabia,
challenges a major element cited in the CIA assessment that suggests Saudi
Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman ordered the killing of Khashoggi at the Saudi
Consulate in Istanbul on October 2.
CIA reportedly produced evidence of 11 WhatsApp messages related to the killing
of Khashoggi that were exchanged between the Crown Prince and Saud al-Qahtani,
a former top Saudi advisor, on October 2.
Director Gina Haspel also briefed senators on the “evidence” in December 2018.
As a result, many senators, including Lindsey Graham and Richard Shelby issued
US lawmakers are considering measures such as imposing sanctions on Saudi
Arabia, pulling out its support from the war in Yemen, and stopping weapons
the CIA had said that they “lack direct reporting of the Crown Prince issuing a
kill order,” according to a previous report by the Wall Street Journal.
New York City investigations firm was commissioned by the Saudi public
prosecutor to prepare the report as part of the investigation into the murder
of Jamal Khashoggi.
report finds that none of the WhatsApp messages exchanged between Crown Prince
Mohammed bin Salman and al-Qahtani on October 2 concerned the journalist or his
of the messages “contained clear or identifiable references to Jamal
Khashoggi,” Kroll said in the report, which was reviewed by the Wall Street
did not identify indications of manipulation, deletion or alteration of the
analyzed data,” according to the report.
report claims that the 11 messages from the Crown Prince to al-Qahtani on that
day cover relatively mundane topics, including a phone call with Spanish Prime
Minister Pedro Sanchez, the translation of a speech, and a planned press
release about solar energy.
seems that the CIA has evidence that an exchange took place, but no information
on the content of the messages in that exchange,” a Saudi source familiar with
the matter said.
fact that the crown prince was in contact with one of his top aides on the day
of Jamal Khashoggi’s killing proves nothing,” the source added.
UN-led probe into Jamal Khashoggi's murder has concluded that the Saudi
dissident was the victim of a “brutal and premeditated killing” planned and
perpetrated by the kingdom's officials.
Callamard, UN special rapporteur for extrajudicial summary or arbitrary
executions, said in Geneva Thursday that Saudi officials had "seriously
undermined" and delayed Turkey's efforts to investigate the crime scene at
the kingdom's consulate in Istanbul in October last year.
noted that they had access only to a part of "chilling and gruesome audio
material" of the dissident journalist's death, obtained by the Turkish
in her remarks, Callamard voiced "major concerns" about the fairness
of proceedings for 11 Saudis facing trial in the kingdom over the case.
team led by Callamard arrived in Turkey earlier this week to probe Khashoggi’s
killing. She held talks with Turkish foreign and justice ministers and the
prosecutor in the case.
was barred from the Saudi consulate where she had requested to visit as part of
the investigation. Her findings and recommendations are expected to be reported
to the UN Human Rights Council at a June 2019 session.
adviser to Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan recently said the UN
investigative team believed Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman was
the prime suspect in the assassination.
UN team considers the crown prince of Saudi Arabia the main person responsible
for the killing of Khashoggi," Turkish presidential adviser Yasin Aktay
told the Turkish NTV broadcaster on Sunday.
team held a number of meetings in Turkey, including with Khashoggi’s fiancé,
and she (Callamard) also intends to listen to the audio recordings related to
which said it was in possession of audio evidence of Khashoggi’s murder soon
after he failed to exit the consulate, has indirectly suggested that bin Salman
ordered his killing.
Washington Post, for which Khashoggi was a columnist, reported in November last
year that the CIA had also concluded that bin Salman ordered the killing.
weeks of outright denial, the Riyadh regime eventually acknowledged the murder
but has attempted to shift the blame to bin Salman's underlings and away from
the crown prince himself.
was killed and his body was dismembered by a Saudi hit squad inside the
kingdom’s Istanbul consulate on October 2, 2018.
has demanded that Riyadh extradite suspects in the case to stand trial in
Turkey but Saudi Arabia has refused to do so. Riyadh has not yet produced
Khashoggi’s body either.
has recently said that US silence toward the killing is not acceptable and that
Ankara wants everything to be clarified about the case.
JEDDAH: The Daesh “caliphate” that was once the size
of Britain has been reduced to a tiny patch of land near a village in eastern
Syria, the anti-Daesh coalition said on Thursday.
by Kurdish-led forces in Syria have shrunk Daesh territory by “approximately
99.5 percent,” said coalition deputy commander Major General Christopher Ghika.
its height, the extremist proto-state proclaimed by Daesh in Syria and Iraq in
June 2014 was roughly the size of Britain. But it has since lost most of that
territory to various offensives.
militants are now clinging on to a small sliver of territory near the village
of Baghouz, and many are fleeing or surrendering before a final offensive.
Iraqi militias from the Popular Mobilization Forces launched 50 missiles on
Thursday at targets in Baghouz.
were “trying to escape through intermixing with the innocent women and children
attempting to flee the fighting,” Gen. Ghika told a coalition ministerial meeting
in Washington. “These tactics won’t succeed. Our Syrian partners are focused on
finding Daesh wherever they hide, and our Iraqi partners have secured their
during the meeting, Saudi Arabia’s Minister of State for Foreign Affairs, Adel
Al-Jubeir, said: The Kingdom “will continue its fight against terrorism and its
sponsoring countries, and pledge to support all international and regional
efforts to eliminate terrorist organizations, terrorism and the activities of
destabilizing states in the region.”
believe that our war against terrorism must include combating its funding and
rhetoric that justifies violence and terrorism. For this reason, my country has
established a center to combat terrorism, extremism, and its sources of funding,"
also emphasize the importance of continuing this coalition so that we can all
ensure an effective and lasting defeat of Daesh, and all terrorist
organizations, to prevent them from reappearing again in all parts of the
world," he added.
Arabia was among the founding members of The Global Coalition to Defeat Daesh
(also known as ISIS) back in 2014, and was one of the first countries that
participated actively in military operations against the terrorist
than 37,000 people, mostly wives and children of militants, have fled Daesh
territory since the coalition’s Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF)
intensified its offensive in December. The figure is thought to include more
than 3,000 Daesh fighters.
the “caliphate” collapses, detention centers and camps in northeast Syria are
filling up with fighters who have surrendered or been captured, along with
of thousands of foreigners are estimated to have joined Daesh since 2014, and
the SDF said they were detaining foreign fighters every day. They are also
holding hundreds of women, and children of Daesh fighters, in two camps in the
Kurdish administration in northeastern Syria has urged the foreigners’
countries of origin to take them back, but they are often reluctant.
has suggested it may take 50 adults and 80 children who are French citizens,
but rights groups are concerned about the process.
US Army said Wednesday it wants to purchase a pair of Iron Dome short-range air
defense systems, an interceptor technology developed by Israel with US support.
spokesman Colonel Patrick Seiber said the deal would meet a short-term need to
protect troops from “indirect fire” such as rockets and mortars. No decisions
have been made yet about where the two systems may be deployed.
Iron Dome will be assessed and experimented as a system that is currently
available to protect deployed US military service members against a wide
variety of indirect fire threats and aerial threats,” Seiber said in a
Dome systems have been in operation by the Israeli air force since 2011 and
have seen frequent use in thwarting rocket attacks from Gaza and elsewhere.
Seiber said the US Army will “assess a variety of options” for a system that
could be used in the long term.
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who also serves as defense minister, called
the deal further proof of Israel’s alliance with the US.
has an Iron Dome and an iron fist. Our systems know how to deal with any
threat, both in defense and in attack. I would not recommend our enemies to try
us,” he said in a defense ministry statement.
said the US Army proposes spending $1.6 billion through 2024 to field an
“enduring capability” that may include portions of the Iron Dome system.
Iron Dome system was developed by Israel’s Rafael Advanced Defense Systems with
the help of US funding. It is designed to intercept rockets and artillery
shells fired from a range of four to 70 kilometers.
battery comprises detection and tracking radar, state-of-the-art fire control
software and three launchers, each with 20 interceptor missiles.
United States military is expected to fully withdraw its forces from Syria by
the end of April following an order by President Donald Trump, unnamed
officials have confirmed to The Wall Street Journal.
and former Trump administration officials told the WSJ on Thursday that
American troops stationed in Syria would leave the country even though the
White House has yet to unveil its plans to protect allied Kurdish forces in the
announced in December that he was withdrawing more than 2,000 US forces from Syria
because the Daesh terrorist group had been defeated and was no longer
considered a threat.
decision was met with backlash at home and prompted then Defense Secretary
James Mattis to hand in his resignation.
Monday, the US Senate voted overwhelmingly in favor of a largely symbolic
amendment that opposed the decision.
by Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and heavily supported by Republican
lawmakers, the new amendment states that while there has been progress in the
fight against Daesh, the Trump administration had more to do in order to ensure
the terror outfit’s “enduring defeat.”
further warned that “a precipitous withdrawal” could cause instability in the
region and leave behind a vacuum that Iran and Russia would fill.
however, insists that he has made the right call.
an interview aired by CBS on Sunday, Trump made it clear that he would not halt
the withdrawal and retract one of his main campaign promises just because
Senate Republicans said it was being done “precipitously.”
We've been there for 19 years. I want to fight. I want to win, and we want to
bring our great troops back home,” Trump said.
ran against 17 Republicans. This was a big part of what I was saying, and I won
very easily. I think the people out in the world - I think people in our
country agree,” he said, referring to the 2016 presidential primaries, where he
defeated over a dozen Republican candidates to win party nomination.
doubled down on his decision during his much-anticipated State of the Union
speech on Tuesday too.
military officials have warned that leaving Syria would expose Kurdish groups
working with US troops in northern parts of the country to possible attacks
from Turkey, which has been running its own military campaign in Syria to
eliminate what it calls Kurdish terrorist groups.
president vows to take up US role in Syria
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said Thursday that Turkish military
forces were ready to continue the US military mission in Syria.
is ready to undertake responsibility for fighting against terrorists in those
Syrian regions where US troops will be withdrawn from," he said at a
US-Turkish Council meeting. "The most calm Syrian regions are those where
Turkey ensured security."
has long been supporting the so-called Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF), an
anti-Damascus coalition of Kurdish militants, as its most effective partner in
Palestinian government has lambasted an upcoming conference in Poland on the
Middle East as an “American conspiracy,” saying Washington seeks to lure
participants into adopting US views on the Palestinian cause.
international gathering will take place in the Polish capital Warsaw from
February 13 to 14, the US State Department announced last month, with American
Secretary of State Mike Pompeo claiming at the time that the gathering would
focus on “stability and peace, freedom and security” in the Middle East.
Thursday, the Palestinian foreign ministry branded the joint US-Polish
conference as “an American conspiracy intended to get the participants to adopt
the US views on issues of the region, particularly the Palestine issue.”
Palestinian Authority led by President Mahmoud Abbas was not invited to the
between the US and the Palestinian Authority took an unprecedented dip in late
2017, when Washington recognized Jerusalem al-Quds as Israel’s “capital”.
Palestinian Authority, in response, stopped recognizing any mediation role by
Washington in the decades-long conflict with the Israeli regime, and ever since
it has refused to talk to the Trump administration.
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, US President Donald Trump’s senior advisers
Jared Kushner and Jason Greenblatt and Pompeo, are among those who are expected
to attend the meeting.
Palestinian foreign ministry’s statement further stressed that the Palestinians
would ignore all conclusions of the conference, criticizing the American
president for hailing the US embassy move in his State of the Union address on
malicious intentions of this administration were reiterated by US President
Donald Trump in his State of the Union speech to Congress in which he stressed
continuing with the policy of absolute bias toward Israel,” the statement
further said, adding that the incumbent US government has “declared war” on the
Palestinian issue from day one.
view the eastern sector of Jerusalem al-Quds as the capital of their future
YORK: The US Supreme Court on Thursday voted 5-4 to allow the execution of an
Alabama inmate, who wanted his imam to witness his death.
for Dominique Ray, 42, had argued that Alabama’s execution policy favours
Christian inmates because a chaplain is allowed in the room, often kneeling
next to the death row prisoner, and praying with the inmate if asked.
had asked his imam to replace the chaplain in his death chamber.
11th US Circuit Court of Appeals agreed on Wednesday to stay Thursday’s planned
execution to weigh Ray’s arguments, but the state of Alabama quickly appealed
that decision to the Supreme Court, which overturned the Circuit Court.
was sentenced to death in 1999 for the killing of Tiffany Harville, 15, who
disappeared from her Selma, Alabama home in July 1995.
seals off border with Myanmar amid fresh influx of refugees
Bangladesh has sealed off its border with Myanmar to stop further influx of
refugees fleeing the troubled Rakhine state, Foreign Minister A K Abdul Momen
has said and claimed that the country's military is now targeting the majority
Buddhists and Hindus after cracking down on minority Rohingya Muslims.
700,000 Rohingya Muslims have taken refuge in Bangladesh after fleeing from
Rakhine state in neighbouring Myanmar to evade atrocities, which the UN called
"a textbook example of ethnic cleansing", following the action by the
military in August 2017.
said the earlier attacks were against Muslims, but now the Buddhists and other
ethnic groups are also being targeted.
is funny. Earlier, the attacks were against Muslims, but now the Buddhists and
other ethnic groups are also being targeted."
say violence between Rakhine Army and Myanmar Army [two insurgents groups] is
forcing people from different ethnic religious groups 'Buddhist and Hindu' to
try come to Bangladesh to save themselves," he said.
will not accept anybody. We have more or less sealed off the border," he
can't take any more of them (Myanmar refugees). The border with Myanmar is
almost sealed off," he told reporters before departing for New Delhi.
is visiting India on his maiden overseas tour since Prime Minster Sheikh Hasina
formed the government for the third consecutive terms after winning the December
30 general elections.
said that Bangladesh has opened its border and allowed enough of the influx of
refugees opening the border "now it is better if others (other countries)
open their frontiers for them (refugees)".
paramilitary Border Guard Bangladesh (BGB) said they sent a detachment to
enforce a vigil in its remote frontiers with Myanmar in bordering Bandndarban's
said about 150 Myanmar nationals, including 38 Buddhist families, crossed the
have sent a detachment to Ruma frontiers to enforce a stringent vigil against
fresh influx. The borders with Myanmar remained sealed off while only legal
movement is underway through the Ukhia and Teknaf frontiers," BGB's region
commander Brigadier General Ainul Morshed Khan said.
chief of the bordering Bandarban district Mohammad Kamruzzaman said 38, mostly
Buddhist, families sneaked into Bangladesh overnight in view of the
"internal conflict" in Myanmar's Rakhine state.
suggest fighting between the Myanmar military and the rebel Arakan Army forced
hundreds to flee their home to take refuge in Bangladesh and India.
the report, the foreign minister said, "We have heard that different
ethnic and religious groups including Buddhists and Hindus, this time apart
from (Rohingya) Muslims, are trying to enter Bangladesh amid fresh violence in
in the day, Momen met with special UN envoy on Myanmar Christine Schraner
Burgener and Hollywood superstar and a special UNHCR envoy Angelina Jolie who
two days in Bangladesh's southeastern Cox's Bazar where over a million Rohingya
Muslims have been taking refuge after fleeing a brutal military crackdown at
43-year-old Hollywood actor arrived here yesterday and visited a refugee camp
in Teknaf near the Myanmar border.
said he told the UN envoy that Bangladesh was upset seeing that instead of
mounting pressures, some big countries still kept "all kinds of bilateral
relations including trade with Myanmar".
least eight militants affiliated with the Taliban and ISIS Khurasan (ISIS-K)
were killed during the separate operations conducted by the Afghan and
to informed military sources, the militants were killed in Maidan Wardak,
Nangarhar, and Helmand provinces in the past 24 hours.
sources further added that the Afghan Special Forces conducted a raid in
Daymirdad district of Wardak province killing 2 Taliban fighters and destroying
bomb making materials.
coalition air strike killed 2 ISIS-K fighters in Khugyani district of Nangarhar
while 2 other ISIS-K militants were killed in Afghan Special Forces operations
in the same district, the sources added.
the meantime, the Afghan Special Forces conducted a raid in Nahr-e Saraj of
Helmand province killing 2 Taliban fighters and destroying a house-borne IED.
Afghan National Police (ANP) forces have arrested three suspects in connection
to the murder of two journalists in northeaster Takhar province of Afgahnistan.
Ministry of Interior in a statement confirmed that three suspsects have been
arrested in connection to the murder of two local journalists in Takhar.
statement further added that the suspects were arrested by the Afghan National
Police forces of Takhar province in connection to the murder of the two
journalists who were killed on Tuesday night.
murder of the two journalists sparked furor on national and international level
as several journalists have lost their lives due tothe growing violence in
reaction to the murder of the journalist, the Committee to Protect Journalists
had called on Afghan authorities to promptly investigate and bring to justice
those responsible for the killing of two journalists in Taloqan, the capital
city of Takhar.
Afghan intelligence operatives have arrested three militants affiliated with a
Taliban leader Najeebullah alias Saif Ul Jihad in Logar province.
Afghan Intelligence, National Directorate of Security (NDS) in a statement said
the militants were arrested during an operation of the Special Forces Unit of
statement further added that the operation was conducted in the vicinity of
Pul-e-Alam city, the provincial capital of Logar province.
militants arrested during the operation have been identified as Sediqullah son
of Syed Habib, Matiullah son of Abdul Hamid and Khushal son of Zabtu Khan, NDS
said, adding that the militants were deployed to Pul-e-Alam city on orders of
commander Najeeb to carry out targeted attacks and assassinate government and
to the National Directorate of Security, the intelligence forces also
confiscated a Ak-47 rifle, 5 ammunition magazines, and 150 rounds of munitions
along with a vehicle.
of tribal villagers in western Myanmar have crossed into Bangladesh in recent
days amid fierce fighting between the army and ethnic rebels in the restive
have entered Bangladesh through a remote border area in southeastern Bandarban
district over the past few days, Bangladesh border guards and an activist said
Zahirul Haque Khan, a senior official from the Border Guards Bangladesh (BGB),
confirmed that the group of 136 people was now living in shelters across the
of nearly 40 families said they had fled their homes fearing attack from
General Sazedur Rahman, a regional BGB commander, said Bangladesh had beefed up
security near the border to prevent more refugee arrivals.
Thein, a member of the non-governmental Bangladesh Human Rights Commission,
said he had visited the refugees in their remote jungle camp.
had crossed into Bangladesh on Sunday and Monday after fleeing two villages in
the Chin state's rugged Paletwa township after they heard gunfire and saw
villagers, who are members of the Khumi, Cho and Rakhine ethnic groups, said
they later witnessed Myanmar soldiers looting and setting fire to homes.
Thein said some of the refugee children were seriously ill and had no access to
medical care. "There are no blankets at all and it is very cold."
al-Khateeb, a spokesman for the United Nations refugee agency in Cox's Bazar,
was trying to gather more information about the new arrivals.
coordinate with the government so we will be able to help them as soon as
Arakan Army, a rebel group calling for greater autonomy for Rakhine, conducted
raids on police border posts on January 4, killing 13 people.
clashes have added a new, complex dimension to troubles in Rakhine.
has been the scene of communal violence since 2012. Many Muslims have been
killed and hundreds of thousands have been forced to flee as a result of
attacks by Buddhists. The refugees largely live in camps in dire conditions.
Myanmar’s Buddhist rebels are in a conflict with the army they backed to drive
out the Rohingya Muslims just 18 months ago.
has summoned Myanmar’s ambassador to protest against the new influx of
has already been struggling to cope with more than 700,000 Rohingya refugees
who have fled to Bangladesh since August 2017.
then, Myanmar’s armed forces, backed by Buddhist extremist mobs, intensified a
crackdown that had already been underway against the Muslim community in
Muslims, who have lived in Myanmar for generations, are denied citizenship and
branded illegal migrants from Bangladesh, which likewise denies them
former communities in Myanmar have been razed. Reports say Buddhists have been
shuttled and settled there in newly-built structures to repopulate the area.
President Ashraf Ghani has expressed his government’s serious concerns about
what he sees as “the violence perpetrated against peaceful protesters and civil
activists in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and Balochistan”.
between Afghanistan and Pakistan was rekindled after the arrests of a group of
ethnic Pashtun activists and the Afghan President choosing to have a say in the
matter. The protests were followed by the death of a regional leader Arman
Loni, who the protestors allege was singled out and murdered by the police.
Police maintain that the deceased died of a heart attack during clashes. This,
in return, has prompted a loud and stern response by the Afghan President, who
himself is a Pashtun. Current tensions have surfaced at a time when Pakistan
has been supporting efforts to open a peace process with the Taliban to end
more than 17 years of war in Afghanistan.
Afghan President has also tweeted: “We believe it is the moral responsibility
of every government to support civil activities that take a stand against the
terrorism and extremism that plagues and threatens our region and collective
security. Otherwise there could be long-standing negative consequences.”
about the arrests of protestors in Pakistan, Rights group Amnesty International
issued a statement saying authorities “must immediately and unconditionally
release protesters belonging to the peaceful Pashtun Tahafuz Movement.”
Secretary General Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah spoke Wednesday on the 40th
anniversary of the Islamic Revolution in Iran, praising the outstanding
achievements made in Iran in different fields after the victory of the 1979
following is highlights of Nasrallah’s televised speech broadcast live from the
Lebanese capital Beirut.
speak about Iran because it is the 9th country out of 13 influencing countries
in the world developments. It was ruled by an oppressive dictator who dubbed
himself ‘the King of Kings,’ excluded the country’s religious and Islamic
culture and submitted it to the US, which allowed the latter to steal its
(Iran’s) oil and have full control over it. [Some] 60,000 US counselors led
Iran under [Mohammad Reza] Pahlavi who was the policeman of the [Persian] Gulf
and had a strategic relation with Israel; he even gave it Iran’s oil for free,”
added, “Imam Khomeini, the great and significant cleric who had a courageous
character, a heart that did not know fear, and a determination that couldn’t be
undermined, emerged at the beginning of the 60s after having followed up the
events, planned a revolt, and stood in the face of the Shah who was preparing
to sign a deal with Israel which would’ve destroyed Iran economically. This is
the revolution we are celebrating its 40th anniversary today, it started with
one man who stood up for the sake of Allah and without having any selfish or
material benefits for himself.”
men who led the revolution suffered from torture, imprisonment, oppression
[and] expulsion but did not give up. Instead, Imam [Khomeini] spoke against
relations with the US and Israel and highlighted the importance of the
Palestinian cause. He also spoke about the agriculture that was destroyed by
the Shah, the corruption, hunger, deprivation, poverty [and] disease.”
the 11th of February 1979, the revolution triumphed and the US and Israeli
counselors were driven out of the country as the alliance was cut and real
independence was attained, and after 40 years it is still preserved, putting
Iran in the forefront of the region’s independent countries,” he explained.
went on, “They stood firm in the face of the eight-year global war that was
waged against them under the leadership of the US, the Soviet Union and [the
Persian] Gulf and Arab states. It triumphed and started rebuilding itself.”
also enumerated a list of achievements that Iran has made as well as major
developments throughout these 40 years.
After victory, Iran’s population was 30 million, today it is 80 million.
During the Shah rule, Iran did not have any position concerning scientific
production. Today, Iran is the first in the region and the 7th in the world for
its inventions and the 16th in the world for its education.
victory, Iran had 232 university and educational establishments, today it has
There are over 200,000 intellects and 80,000 university professors. As for
university students, there are now over four million.
Illiteracy among adults has been completely eradicated. In 2018, 107,000 books
were published, and there are 8,000 female authors.
the past, it imported 70 percent of medicines it needed; today Iran produces 97
percent of its medicines, ranks the 11th in the world in producing medical
drugs, and ranks the first in the Middle East in producing vaccines and serums.
Iran today produces over 95 percent of its weapons and exports five arms.
explained, “I’m not denying that poverty does exist in Iran for several reasons
on top of them the sanctions and internal divisions, but we have to be fair in
the data we present, especially that Iran lies in the eastern part of Asia in
the Arab and Muslim world which imports most of its needs, and all that is the
outcome of its great efforts, sacrifices, and persistence.”
revolution brought religion back to life, not just Islam, it brought back
people’s faith in themselves, in God … and in His power to bring victory,”
I mentioned are facts even though most international media try to distort the
image of Iran, while concealing the actual crimes of their own leaders. Some
claim that it is an Israeli-Iranian war or a Saudi-Israeli conflict, and this
is untrue … This is literally a US war on the Islamic Republic in Iran and
Saudi [Arabia] is only a tool in this war, so are several other [Persian] Gulf
states…” he added, asking, “Why does the US insist on its war on Iran? Firstly,
because Iran is an independent state and makes its own decisions on oil, gas,
metal and wealth and does not submit to the US, and the latter cannot tolerate
that. Secondly, [it] is [because of] Iran’s regional position and stance toward
the oppressed countries and al-Quds.”
the entire world abandoned Palestine, Iran would never abandon al-Quds and the
sacred places,” he stressed.
Hezbollah chief further reiterated that neither “Israel” nor the US is capable
of waging a war on Iran because the outcome will not be to their benefit.
Nasrallah assured that Iran is ready to help Lebanon in various fields, and it
could back Lebanon in the process of development, security and education
without asking for anything in return.
pointed out that the Islamic Republic is ready to help Lebanon solve its
biggest problem in the government today which is electricity. He said Iran even
offered Lebanon a deal to build highways that would solve its traffic issue for
conclusion, Nasrallah said “with Imam Khamenei and the victory of the Islamic
Revolution, we entered the era of victories … and this era will be completed by
further victories, God willing.”
Revolution’s achievements really amazing’
an exclusive interview with Press TV on Thursday, political analyst Kevin
Barrett reflected on Hezbollah chief’s remarks on the Islamic Revolution in
Iran, noting that what Iran has achieved following its revolution is really
[Nasrallah] is absolutely right that the Islamic Revolution in Iran has had
some amazing achievements, and here in the West with corporate-controlled
mainstream media we are not allowed to hear about the actual positive
achievements of the Islamic Revolution,” Barrett, an author, journalist and
radio host who holds a PhD in Islamic and Arabic Studies, said.
added, “We are endlessly told that there are terrible economic problems in Iran
and we are not told that in fact, since 1979, Iran has taken tremendous strides
[by] rising in the human development index, [while] poverty level has gone way
down, education has gone way up, and particularly women’s education has gone
[greatly up] from the state under the Shah of Iran prior to 1979 in which very
sizable percentage of Iranian women were not even literate, to the state today
where the majority of university students and even teachers at many levels are
can compare this to places like Saudi Arabia where as late as 10-20 years ago
when I was studying these things, it [had a population, which] was nearly 50
Parliament Speaker Nabih Berri has warned that Israel may deplete his country’s
potential offshore oil and gas reserves after the Tel Aviv regime awarded
energy exploration licenses near a disputed maritime boundary in Mediterranean
after a meeting with visiting Italian Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte in Beirut
on Thursday, Berri said Israel has “licensed two companies to start drilling by
April 2020 at most,” warning that the move threatened “to drain a whole
basin" and a large part of Lebanon's oil wealth before the country even
starts to drill.
senior Lebanese legislator went on to say that he had raised the issue with the
Italian prime minister earlier in the day, and the latter “had shown readiness
to back Lebanon up on all fronts.”
speaker said it was important to warn Italian energy company Eni of the Israeli
“violations” against Block 9.
further noted that he is going to raise the matter with French President
Emmanuel Macron that how Israel is seeking to steal Lebanon’s oil.
Wednesday, Lebanon's parliament speaker said the Israeli regime was violating
Lebanon's sovereignty in a “dangerous” manner by licensing a company to
"exploit an area" for oil and gas resources near a disputed sliver of
is) a dangerous matter. Israel has licensed and exploited an area adjacent to
the Lebanese southern maritime borders," Berri was quoted by lawmakers
from Amal party as saying on Wednesday after a meeting.
is an infringement on Lebanese sovereignty and targets our oil wealth and
waters," he added.
Bazzi, an Amal lawmaker, said Israel pressed on with the "violation"
despite the fact that the firms on the Lebanese side have stayed away from the
Lebanese government announced in February last year that it had signed gas
exploration and production contracts for two energy blocks, including the
disputed Block 9, with a consortium of France's Total, Italian Eni and Russia's
Novatek oil and gas companies.
in December 2017, the cabinet of Prime Minister Saad Hariri granted licenses to
a consortium of three international companies to carry out exploratory drilling
in Lebanon’s Block 4 and Block 9 and determine whether they contain oil and gas
officials, who claim sovereignty over Block 9, reacted angrily to the
they issue a tender on a gas field, including Block 9, which by any standard is
ours ... this is very, very challenging and provocative conduct here,” Israel’s
former minister of military affairs, Avigdor Lieberman, said at the time.
former Israeli minister noted that the international firms contracted by
Lebanon were making “a grave error” by accepting the offer.
relies heavily on gas and the Tel Aviv regime has long been developing a number
of offshore gas deposits in the Mediterranean Sea.
Tamar gas field, with proven reserves of 200 billion cubic meters, already
produces gas, while the larger Leviathan field is expected to go on stream in
the coming months.
one arrest in Istanbul signal a change in Turkish policy toward the Muslim
Brotherhood? Some analysts, in Washington and in the Arab world, are arguing
that the move marks a pivot away from Turkey’s longtime support of the
Brotherhood. If only that were true.
alleged assassin of Egypt’s attorney general, Mohammed Abdel Wahab,was nabbed
at Istanbul airport on January 16 and recently turned over the Egyptian
authorities, who had convicted him in absentia and sentenced him to death.
Turning over the high-ranking member of the Muslim Brotherhood to face the
death penalty in his homeland was once unthinkable. Yet it was done without
much public debate. This is the event that got analysts imaging an about-face
in Turkish foreign policy.
this really tells us is that behind-the-scenes pressure from Washington, as
well as from Cairo and Riyadh, were intense enough to push Ankara to act.
Turkey is still highly dependent on U.S. and Gulf Arab investment and needs
American support at the World Bank (soon to be led by a close ally of President
Donald Trump), the International Monetary Fund and other global institutions.
Finally, Turkey needs U.S.-made spare parts and training for its military.
the Turkish president faces voters in an upcoming election. His move against a
single Muslim Brotherhood member may be designed to aid his party’s reelection
efforts, not shift the balance of power in the region. The Brotherhood has
become markedly less popular with the Turkish public and Turkish politicians
always in Near East, reality has as many layers as baklava, the Turkish
between the Turkey’s ruling Justice and Development party (known by its Turkish
initials, AKP) and the Muslim Brotherhood are long and contradictory. When the
AKP, Turkey’s first openly Islamist party to win national elections, came to
power in 2002, it was wary of appearing in public with Brotherhood leaders and
hewed to a generally pro-American foreign-policy line. After it secured a much
bigger majority in the 2007 elections, it publicly embraced the Brotherhood and
saw it as a tool to secure a larger role in Middle Eastern affairs. With the
Brotherhood, it championed the Palestinian cause—alienating its longtime
trading partners in Israel—and favored the Brotherhood’s rise to power in “Arab
Spring” Egypt. Turkish leaders were ecstatic when the Brotherhood’s leader was
elected in Egypt in 2012 and negotiated twenty-four separate agreements on trade,
aid and other matters. Then, a 2013 Egyptian Military establishment uprising
toppled the Brotherhood and ultimately led to the landslide election of Gen.
Abdel Fattah el-Sisi the following year, supported by a large segment of the
displeasure at these developments was well known and it deepened when its
ambassador was expelled in 2014. Then, grudgingly, it became to make peace with
political realities. Turkey’s foreign minister announced that it would be happy
to work with whomever the Egyptian people propelled to power.
few thought the Turks had abandoned the Brotherhood. Indeed, the Turkish
premier later dismissively referred to the fairly elected president of Egypt as
a “coup leader” during a visit of European Union officials. So, things have not
even changed rhetorically.
like Teheran, had long supported the Brotherhood to counter the Saudi ideology
of Wahhabism, which is a common enemy to both Iran and Turkey. Another
important point to remember: The Muslim Brotherhood movement is transnational
and its ideology is consistent, or at least does not contradict, Turkish
ambitions. It makes a convenient ally.
el-Sissi’s election in Egypt, Turkey welcomed many exiled Muslim brothers,
offering them safe haven in Turkey. Egypt, and other Arab nations, viewed the
Turkish sanctuary policy with alarm. Yet Turkey persisted. So, are we facing a
radical change in Turkish policy or, simply, a moment of expediency?
Turkey were actually adopting a new policy at odds with the Brotherhood, it
would hunt down its members on its soil and deport them. After all, valid
arrest warrants from Turkey’s Arab neighbors exist for most, if not all, of
them. Yet the republic has yet to take any such meaningful action.
the Muslim Brotherhood has begun to distrust its former allies in Ankara. Some
now believe that it is active enemy, while others disagree.
foreign policy is best understood as “neo-Ottoman.” It intervenes, to varying
degrees, in all regional conflicts. In Syria, it seeks to prevent Kurdish
autonomy. In Yemen, it claims a role of political facilitator between Iran and
the Gulf Arab states, the two main combatants in that tragic civil war.
Turkey’s alliance with its neighbors, Iran and Russia, seeks to counterbalance
U.S. and Saudi influence in the Muslim world.
this magma, its relationship with the Muslim Brotherhood fits the AKP’s world
view that considers that the end of the Ottoman caliphate as the main cause of
the decline of the Muslim world. Whatever their country of origin, the Muslim
brotherhood (which has chapters in every Muslim land) goes beyond nationalism
and projects as leaders of all Muslims. Turkey’s military power, its history,
and its ruler’s speech are an attractive magnet for Brotherhood support.
these reasons, in many Arab countries, including Morocco, Muslim Brotherhood
intellectuals consider Turkey the a priori favorable. This is a weapon that
Erdogan will not let go, despite Western pressure, because it gives the Turkish
leader enormous grassroots power across North Africa and Near East.
nominally a NATO ally of the United States, Turkey has definitely turned its
back on membership of the European Union and American foreign-policy
objectives. It sees its future as being the regional power player. For this she
has to deal with the superpowers, but also with Iran and its Shiite crescent,
and the Gulf monarchies and Wahhabi Islam. In this configuration, the cultural
and ideological usefulness of the Brotherhood for Turkish goals is the decisive
factor. Without the Brotherhood to magnify its power, Turkey cannot be a
regional powerbroker. Therefore, it is very difficult to imagine that Ankara
abandons an influential movement in the region for seventy years. It would lose
much and gain nothing.
arrested alleged assassin does not change these geopolitical realities.
NATIONS: Yemen’s warring parties reached a preliminary compromise on a plan for
the redeployment of opposing forces from the key port of Hodeidah, the United
Nations said Thursday.
spokesman Stephane Dujarric said the preliminary agreement was reached by
representatives of Yemen’s government and Houthi rebels meeting on a UN vessel
in Hodeidah’s inner harbor during UN-mediated talks between Feb. 3-6.
said the head of the UN monitoring mission “tabled a proposal that proved
acceptable, in principle ... pending further consultations by the parties with
their respective leaders.”
said he couldn’t give details, but he said the UN monitoring team expects to
reconvene the warring parties “within the next week, with the aim of finalizing
details for redeployments.”
Dutch Maj. Gen. Patrick Cammaert, the outgoing head of the UN operation
monitoring the cease-fire and redeployment of forces from the Hodeidah area
that both sides agreed to in Sweden in December, chaired this week’s initial
meetings, Dujarric said.
replacement, Danish Lt. Gen. Michael Lollesgaard, attended the meetings and has
now taken over.
agreement in Sweden was seen as a key step in attempts to end the conflict in
Yemen, which began with the 2014 takeover of the capital Sanaa by the
fighting in the Arab world’s poorest country has taken a terrible toll on
civilians, with thousands killed and a catastrophic humanitarian crisis under
humanitarian chief Mark Lowcock said in a statement Thursday that the UN and
its humanitarian partners are scaling up to reach 12 million people with
emergency food, a 50-percent increase over 2018 targets.
said the Red Sea Mills in a government-controlled area of Hodeidah has enough
grain to feed 3.7 million people for a month, but the UN has been unable to
gain access since September while the grain possibly spoils in silos.
deplored that last month two silos were hit by mortar shells and the resulting
fire destroyed some grain — “probably enough to feed hundreds of thousands of
people for a month.”
said the Houthis have refused to authorize the United Nations to cross front
lines into government-controlled areas to access the Red Sea Mills, citing
CITY: A Palestinian woman has accused Israeli authorities of subjecting her
family to “real suffering” over restrictions on escorting their 13-year-old son
to hospital for cancer treatment.
Al-Shawaf’s son, Saddam, developed leukemia several years ago and receives
treatment in Palestinian hospitals in the West Bank or Jerusalem.
authorities have repeatedly refused to allow the boy’s father, Hussein, 67, to
escort him on the 30 km journey from Abasan in the southern Gaza Strip. The
refusals were made on “security grounds,” according to Al-Shawaf.
occupation manipulates us and the life of my child,” she said.
for Saddam’s illness has not been available in the Gaza Strip, which has been
under virtual siege since the Hamas takeover in mid-2007. Now Al-Shawaf is
looking to a new cancer-treatment center in Gaza to improve her son’s hopes of
Dr. Musa and Suhaila Nasir Department for Pediatric Cancer will open on Feb.
19. The center, the largest in the Palestinian Authority, is funded by the
Palestine Children’s Relief Foundation, a US-based nongovernmental organization
founded in 1991 that provides medical services to sick and wounded children in
the Middle East.
Al-Muthaffar, the foundation’s executive vice president for operations, told
Arab News that all children with cancer in Gaza are referred for treatment
abroad, but in most cases were unable to travel with their loved ones because
of Israeli restrictions on permits.
$3 million pediatric department will include two 16-room accommodation centers,
a 15-bed daily care room, kitchen, pharmacy and library. It will also offer
school instruction to help students continue their studies. Staff will consist
of a director, four doctors and 17 nurses.
Zeina Salman, a volunteer doctor with the foundation, said that the department
will provide chemotherapy treatment for about half of the cancer patients in
Gaza, while those who need radiation therapy will have to travel to other
the meantime, the Palestinian Authority’s Ministry of Health is forced to refer
cancer patients to Palestinian hospitals in the West Bank and Jerusalem, or to
Israeli hospitals, where they must pay for treatment.
said the journey Saddam must undertake for treatment — from Gaza and through
the Israeli-controlled Erez crossing — represents “real suffering.”
trip begins with an application for an Israeli permit for the patient and his
escort through the authority’s “treatment department.”
father, who is also suffering from cancer, accompanied his son on his first
we have been shocked by the authorities’ refusal to accept my husband as an
escort for Saddam, and to set impossible conditions for granting a permit,”
Al-Shawaf told Arab News.
said her husband’s requests to escort his son had been denied four times.
said Israeli authorities had also forced her to reapply for a permit after she
began accompanying Saddam.
Israeli treatment of cancer patients, especially children, leaves families in a
“whirlpool,” she said.
are burdened with daily anxiety about the treatment needed in Gaza and the
leave the Erez crossing,” she said.
to the ministry, 60 percent of patients’ requests for permits are rejected by
Israeli authorities, and 5 percent of patients were detained in 2018.
than 8,500 people, including 608 children, in the Gaza Strip needed treatment
for cancer, the ministry said.
a report issued on World Cancer Day on Feb. 4, the Al-Mezan Center for Human
Rights said that the psychological and physical suffering of cancer patients in
Gaza is compounded by a shortage of medical equipment and medicines.
group reacts to alleged plot by Buhari govt to islamize Nigeria’s judiciary
Muslim Rights Concern, MURIC, on Thursday, reacted to the claim by a former
Minister of Defence, T.Y. Danjuma, of alleged plot by the President Muhammadu
Buhari’s government to islamize the Nigerian judiciary.
urged Nigerians to ignore the allegation by the former Minister of Defence.
who recently warned Nigerians that Islamists must not rule Nigeria again,
accused the Buhari administration of islamization of the judiciary.
MURIC, in a press statement by its Director, Professor Ishaq Akintola, which
was sent to DAILY POST, urged Nigerians to ignore the retired general.
islamic rights organisation described the allegation of islamisation as
“baseless, unfounded and mischievous.”
statement reads: “Lt. Gen. Danjuma is trying to mislead Nigerians. He is
inciting them against Muslim leaders. He and those who joined him in this last
journey to nowhere seek to turn Christians and Muslims against each other. We
will not allow that. Such a move is self-serving and callous. It is the road to
self-destruction. A house divided against itself cannot stand. We urge
Nigerians to ignore them.
who are not victims of collective amnesia will recall that the cry of
‘Islamisation’ has always been on the lips of Islamophobics from time
immemorial. Yet nobody has been Islamised. They ranted over sukuk bonds until
they saw its fruits being used to build roads everywhere, including the South
East. Of the 36 ministers in the country, 18 are Christians while 18 are also
Muslims. In addition, Christians were given two juicy posts by this Muslim
president: the secretary to the Federal Government and the Chief of Staff.
Where lies Islamisation agenda? Islamisation or Fulanisation is a mirage, a
phantom. It exists only in the imagination of disgruntled elements.
should ask Danjuma and his ilks the following questions. Is it Islamisation to
construct the Second Niger Bridge? Is it Fulanisation to refurbish Lagos-Ibadan
expressway? How many of the 9.2 million school children who are being fed free
by this administration are Fulanis or Muslims? Is the new fast train in Abuja
part of the Islamisation? How many Muslims have taken the train without their
tickets and how many Christians have been turned back on the basis of their faith?
Buhari may be a Muslim but his new roads know no religion. His trains know no
can anyone interpret the suspension of a billionaire CJN who possesses 55
houses in Abuja alone as Islamisation? The next qualified person was picked for
the post and that is due process. What crime has he committed for being a
Muslim? How can that be interpreted as Islamisation? Very soon it will be
Islamisation for Nigerian Muslims to get employment. It will be Islamisation if
a Muslim eats. It will be Islamisation if the pilot of a plane or the driver of
a bus is a Muslim. It is mass profiling and indiscriminate stigmatization of
is the Acting CJN today. It can be any Muslim tomorrow. MURIC will continue to
defend Allah-given fundamental rights of Nigerian Muslims with every legitimate
means at its disposal. No amount of blackmail, intimidation and name-calling
can deter us. Both Muslims and Christians have the right to rule Nigeria
because this country is a multi-religious state. We will not stand akimbo and
allow some self-acclaimed elders to mislead Nigerians or to blackmail or scare
away Muslims who have leadership potentials.
people around the world are not using religion as a criterion for picking their
leaders. They look at industry, antecedence, integrity, competence and
morality. This should be the focus of Nigerians. We must free ourselves from
the bondage of articulated religiousity. Religion is not about hate, killing
and burning. Religion is love. We were human beings before we knew about any
religion. So religion is humanity.
charge Nigerians to be wary of peddlers of hate. It is not religion. Neither is
it ethnicity. We strongly suspect that TY Danjuma is calling for a personal
pound of flesh. The tap from which free money has been flowing for so long has
been closed by this administration. The Father Christmas mentality of past
regimes has given way to prudent management of government’s resources. Oil
licenses and blocks are not being renewed.
wonder, therefore, that a prominent member of the tiny cabal is venting his
spleen on the Buhari regime. The electioneering period has been chosen to drive
the point home. But Nigerians should not be deceived. It is neither about
religion nor ethnicity. Otherwise why are the candidates of the two leading
political parties Muslims and ‘Islamists’? How did this come about in spite of
all the noise in the churches that Christians should not vote for Muslim
candidates? Why are the candidates of the two major political parties of Fulani
extraction despite the outcry in churches that Christians should not vote for
any Fulani man?
truth is that the capitalist bourgeoisie political class to which the tiny
cabal belongs are fidgety. They see themselves as the owners of Nigeria and
they are deeply worried that power is gradually shifting to the masses. They
are just 1% of the population. But they are so powerful that they control 85%
of the total wealth of Nigeria. They control the media and they used to control
government until 2015. The 99% who are the masses continue to struggle over the
sharing of the remaining 15% of Nigeria’s resources. It cannot go round and
this explains why we always fight among ourselves. To make matters worse,
people like Danjuma and his NCEF inject the opium in religion and the heroin in
ethnicity into the system to add fuel to the conflagration.
should be noted that the NCEF has already been disowned by the officially
recognized body of Nigerian Christians. NCEF is no more than a concoction and
an unknown nomenclature, a pain in the neck even for Christendom and an
embarrassment for true and patriotic Christians.
advices Nigerians to disregard religious jobbers and spiritual busy bodies
looking for a platform to unleash acrobatic religiousity and gymnastic
spirituality. NCEF is fanning the embers of religious extremism among
Christians. It can only lead to mayhem. This is a group known for fomenting
trouble and for crying wolf where there is none. Its stock-in-trade has always
been hate speech and incitement.
Gen. Danjuma Must learn to live and let live. We remind him that the world is
watching. We appeal to the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN) to call NCEF
to order once again. We call the attention of foreign observers, leaders of the
Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS), the United States, the
United Kingdom and the European Union to the inciting statements of Lt. Gen.
Danjuma and his cohorts.”
Haftar accused of conducting ‘ethnic cleansing’ in south
internationally-recognized government has denounced as “ethnic cleansing” a
recent military offensive by Libyan strongman Khalifa Haftar in the country’s
south, which he has billed as an attempt to root out terrorists and foreign
fighters from the restive region.
offensive comes as the North African country has been the scene of increasing
violence since 2011, when former dictator Muammar Gaddafi was toppled from
power after a NATO military intervention. His ouster created a huge power
vacuum, leading to chaos and the emergence of numerous militant groups.
is now divided between two rival governments — one in the east and another in
the west — and each backed by an array of rival militia factions.
Tripoli-based unity Government of National Accord (GNA) is recognized by the
United Nations (UN) as the official government, and is administered by Fayez
al-Sarraj. The other government, known as the House of Representatives, is
based in the eastern city of Tobruk and is protected by Haftar’s self-styled
Libyan National Army (LNA).
power struggle between the two governments has turned the Libyan Desert — the
country’s vast desert in the south — into a lawless no-man’s land, and the
territory, which shares borders with Algeria, Niger, Chad and Sudan, is now
serving as a haven for armed groups, militants, and rebel fighters.
region is also the scene of a struggle between Arab tribal groups and Libya’s
Tubu ethnic minority, which has long railed against discrimination in the
predominantly Arab country.
LNA announced the start of a military offensive in mid-January and claimed it
sought to “purge the south of terrorists and criminal groups.”
the raid, Haftar’s forces conducted a series of airstrikes and later claimed to
have killed a number of members from the al-Qaeda terrorist group as well as
other militants operating in the region.
Libya’s Tubu, part of a larger cross-border ethnic group, said they had been
targeted in Haftar’s offensive.
strikes prompted one Tubu minister in the eastern administration to resign and
another Tubu lawmaker in the same body to suspend her activities.
to the offensive, the Tripoli-based government on Wednesday denounced the
“military escalation” in the south, saying in a statement that the region
“should not become grounds for political settlement or sedition between social
and cultural components.”
government in Tripoli also said Haftar’s push threatened to sabotage efforts to
resolve the political crisis in Libya, with UN-backed polls planned for this
say the LNA’s military push may also be linked to oil interests in the south,
where the Tubu ethnic group controls important fields.
(MNN) – Boko Haram attacks have significantly worsened in Northern Nigeria over
the last three weeks. The United Nations
said that over 30,000 people fled to Cameroon amid fears of renewed attacks by
militants, following last week’s assault.
of the Martyrs Canada spokesman Greg Musselman describes Monday’s attack. “You
had 60 people killed in that village of Rann up in Borno, which is in the
northeast part of Nigeria, predominantly the Muslim north. You’ve got situations where these guys are
coming in and they’re causing all havoc.”
it comes to inspiring panic, these jihadists have established a fearsome
reputation. This attack came two weeks after Boko Haram had overrun the same
town, starting with a military base.
military was actually there, and when Boko Haram came to attack, they
abandoned. This is supposedly a group (the Boko Haram) that has supposedly been
defeated, according to the Nigerian government. Of course, that is not true.”
extremists then set fire to the refugee camps nearby.
incident came a day after a similar attempt to take over a separate military
base not far from Borno’s capital, Maiduguri. It also calls into question the
government’s claims, says Musselman. “You’ve got an election year in Nigeria
and they are going to cause more trouble. The fact that they are supposedly
defeated, they are saying ‘no, we’re not and we’re going to continue to raise
more, Boko Haram is not only digging in, but they’re also expanding.
have a stronghold up in the North, but they’ve also been coming into the Middle
Belt—that’s some of the areas that I’ve been recently in, talking to the
Christians and the other s there that are feeling the attacks by the Boko
Haram, and also the Fulani herdsmen. But their desire is to continue to go
south and eventually, take the whole country.”
this armed extremist group succeed in making Nigeria an Islamic State? Musselman says they’ve already taken steps
toward that possibility.
their mind, maybe they think it can. They’re also linking with groups like Al
Qaeda and ISIS, so they’re very dangerous. One of the things that I think
people need to understand is that you cannot defeat an ideology. They may even
change their name and become something else.”
are also numerous splinter groups such as Islamic State West Africa Province
(ISWAP), a deadly group which broke away from Nigeria’s Boko Haram, vying for
power. ISIS has also forged links with other militant groups across North
Africa and the Arabian Peninsula.
the way, anyone who doesn’t agree with their purpose is at risk, he explains.
“Just the fact that they are followers of Christ, they’re not Islamic. They are targeted, as are their Muslim
neighbors if they would stand up for the Christians.”
the pressure intensifies, so too, does the search for hope.
Gospel continues to make advances in Northern Nigeria. Many people are coming to know Jesus in a
personal way, but this is a battle that is raging on. Sometimes, Christians are
directly targeted, churches are burned down, (and) Christian businesses are
Violence To Come
a brief lull in attacks, Musselman expects a storm for Nigeria’s believers in
the days ahead.
really is a spiritual battle. We have to remember to pray for our brothers and
sisters in Christ in situations like Nigeria, that God would just break in, in
a strong way, and that these people who are opposing the Gospel would turn
their hearts toward Jesus.”
that end, VOM-Canada offers this prayer and invites you to join them:
The Tunisian authorities on Thursday reached a deal with a powerful trade union
over wage hike demands to avert a further round of paralysing strikes.
Tunisian General Labour Union (UGTT) last month brought the North African
country to a standstill with a 24-hour strike by public sector workers to
secure wage hikes and economic reforms.
union said it had “concluded a deal with the government putting an end to the
crisis” that would see pay rises worth up to $55 per month (just under 50
euros) for civil servants.
group said it was now calling off another round of strikes scheduled for
February 20 and 21.
is seen as having had a relatively smooth democratic transition since the
January 14, 2011 toppling of president Zine El Abidine Ben Ali after 23 years
price hikes fueled by the fall of the Tunisian dinar, combined with tax
increases and stubborn unemployment, have spurred social discontent.
Global Citizens human rights groups, religious leaders, youth and women
organisations joined their voices and called for religious freedom at a meeting
in Windhoek this week.
rally, which opposed human rights abuse by religious institutions globally, was
held across Southern Africa between the 2nd and 5th of February 2019, in cities
including Cape Town, Harare and Windhoek. This was happening as the world
celebrated the beginning of the United Nations World Interfaith Harmony Week to
promote peace and tolerance among religions and religious institutions.
to religious leaders and youth, the rally's host and member of the Global
Citizens' Human Rights Coalition in Namibia, Himeezembi Hapera said,
"Religious institutions that are guilty of heinous acts like coercive
conversion programs must be brought to an end! The world must not be deceived!
They must make coercive conversion punishable by law! These institutions are a
disgrace to religion!"
South Africa, the Commission for the Promotion and Protection of the rights of
Cultural, Religions and Linguistic Communities, is increasing its activity to
mediate various infringements committed by religious institutions, including
the recent cases of local pastors, Shepherd Bushiri and the Mancoba brothers.
civil society organisations are calling for governments to intervene and close
down religious institutions abusing individuals' rights to practice their
religions of choice freely.
Global Citizens' Human Rights Coalition was established to expose the practice
of coercive conversion in the country and to call for the shutdown of the
Christian Council of Korea (CCK) after a 27-year old woman, Ji In Gu, was
murdered for refusing to abandon her faith.
2018 alone, according to our estimates, the number of coercive conversion
victims reached 147, with many others unaccounted for," Hapera said.
of these forced conversions approach the families of individuals belonging to
churches not associated with the organization and convince them to participate
in the process, intended to impose the CCK's doctrine on the person.
conversions often include violence and intimidation.
added, "The CCK is not a religious organization, but rather was formed with
a political motive, violating South Korea's laws which call for separation of
the state and government. Its leaders use government agencies to bully churches
not affiliated with it, buy, and sell positions of authority in the
organisation as well as pastorships.
of its pastor have been found guilty on about 12,000 counts of crime in the
last 10 years, including fraud, rape, sexual abuse, embezzlement and
member of The Association for Charismatic and Pentecostal Churches of Namibia
(ACPCN), Pastor Isak Kharob said that human beings cannot dominate each other,
because we all have freedom of religion.
Namibia has freedom of religion, we cannot confidently say that there is no
need to create awareness, as there could be forceful conversion happening in
discreet, therefore there is a need to create awareness in Namibia," he
shadowy U.S. air war against al Shabab militants in Somalia has set back the al
Qaeda-aligned terrorist group but will not alone defeat it, the American
general who heads U.S. Africa Command told Congress Thursday.
April 2017, the United States has conducted a methodical campaign of attrition,
picking off groups of al Shabab fighters with drone strikes whenever they
present a target of opportunity.
2018, U.S. Africa Command assessed that it killed 323 al Shabab members in
almost 50 airstrikes. Just five weeks into 2019, AFRICOM says 118 militants
have been killed in a dozen strikes.
testimony before the Senate Armed Services Committee, outgoing U.S. Africa
commander Marine Gen. Thomas Waldhauser said the goal of the strikes is to help
the fledgling government of Somalia gain control of its country.
the end of the day these strikes are not going to defeat al Shabab, but they
are going to provide the opportunity for the federal government and the Somali
National Army to grow and assume the security of that country,” said
United States has some 500 special operation forces in the country supporting
the Somali military and the U.N.-backed African Union Mission in Somalia, known
as AMISOM. Other countries including Great Britain, Turkey, and the European
Union are also aiding the AMISOM mission, but the United States is providing
the airpower that has kept al Shabab off balance.
know that [the airstrikes] are causing problems, we know that they are
deterring. It is an open question as to how much,” said Waldhauser. “But the
bottom line is the Somali National Army needs to grow, it needs to step up, and
it needs to take responsibility for their own security."
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