PHOTO: Imam Ibrahim Abdelhalim of the Linwood Mosque holds hands with Father
Felimoun El-Baramoussy from the Dunedin Coptic Church, as they walk at the site
of Friday's shooting outside the Mosque in Christchurch, New Zealand March 18,
2019. REUTERS/Edgar Su/File Photo
Evolution of ISIS: From A Rogue State to A Tiny Sliver
Asks IAEA to Intervene Over 'Threat' Posed By UAE Nuclear Plant
Asks Pakistan to Act against Terrorists, Says another Attack on India Will Be
Says Relations 'Very Good' With Pakistan
Sanctuary: In Christchurch, an Imam Seeks To Rebuild
Labour Adopts Full Definition of Islamophobia to Fight the Rise of Far-Right
Student Stabs Professor to Death over 'Anti-Islam' Remarks
Shooting, 'Atmosphere Of Insecurity' Sparks Bangladeshi Safety Warning
Countries Urged To Press China End Crackdown of Uighurs
Forces Preparing to Declare End of ISIL in Eastern Euphrates
FM: We trust US role in putting together Middle East peace plan
Over Veto On Masood Azhar, US Says China Has A Responsibility
ISIS will be gone ‘by tonight’
Israel, Pompeo Resorts to Iranophobia to Boost Netanyahu’s Re-Election Bid
thanks Saudi Crown Prince for supporting UN Envoy to Yemen’s efforts
years into US invasion, Iraq carries war traces
lawmakers slam government on anniversary of Iraq war
confirms 400 US troops will remain in Syria
attack four UK mosques with a sledgehammer
Customs Union would benefit both EU, Turkey'
orders dissolution of four Hizbollah aligned organisations
Assembly Slams ‘Shameless, Un-Islamic’ Slogans at Aurat March
among top 20 gainers on World Happiness index
Khan felicitates communities celebrating Nauroz
becomes bond among victims of terrorist attacks
larger bench to ascertain what constitutes as terrorism
levies personnel killed in Ziarat terror attack
rescues four Iranian soldiers from militant group
explosions target Shia shrine in Kabul, says Afghan official
Post-Pulwama Differences Bilaterally, China-Led SCO Tells India, Pakistan
ambassador for counter-terrorism explores 'effective ways' in Bangladesh
border forces seize 40 rockets in Nangarhar province
to host Russian, Chinese, and EU envoys for talks on Afghanistan
forces repel impending Taliban attack in Nangarhar province
in Afghan capital kill 6 during New Year festival
Malaysia willing to assist CFCM for benefit of French Muslims
tight-lipped on next CJ, says it’s the King’s prerogative
Express Case Verdict: NIA Should Be Held Accountable, Says Former Probe Officer
Not To Build Structures Near Kartarpur Gurdwara, On A Request From Navjot Singh
killed in ceasefire violation by Pakistan in Jammu and Kashmir’s Rajouri
strike on Pakistan hurt some in India, says PM Modi
star envoys for Urdu need rapidex course in the language
Express blast case: Court acquits four accused
Main Election Rival Sidesteps Palestinian Statehood
heads for Lebanon to step up pressure on Iran, Hezbollah
gunfire kills Palestinian in West Bank
envoy blames stalled Yemen peace deal on Houthi ‘delays’
killed in West Bank by Israeli gunfire
President Wants to Amend Constitution To Dilute PM’s Power
to hold conference in Libya in April to discuss conflict solution
says US strikes in Somalia kill large numbers of civilians
hold rally to express support for Ibrahim Zakzaky
US behavior in Somalia can amount to war crimes
by New Age Islam News Bureau
that territory has been reduced to a sliver of land along the Euphrates River
in southeastern Syria. Thousands of fighters remain in the region, but they
have gone underground, carrying out quick strikes in the region and continuing
to promote their ideology worldwide.
are some of the major moments in the group’s evolution:
Kurdish fighters released footage of hundreds of men, women and children being
evacuated on Monday night from the last stronghold of the Islamic State group
Islamic State traces its roots to al-Qaida in Iraq, an offshoot of the
terrorist group that attacked the United States on Sept. 11, 2001. The Iraqi
affiliate started an insurgency that pushed Iraq to the brink of civil war in
2006 and 2007, before it suffered defeat at the hands of U.S. troops and local
2013, remnants of the Qaida affiliate had rebranded themselves the Islamic
State of Iraq and Syria, or ISIS, and had identified opportunities in Syria,
which was in the third year of its civil war. The Islamic State leader, Abu
Bakr al-Baghdadi, an Iraqi, was the architect of the group’s push to seize
territory and declare its own state.
Syria, the group exploited the power vacuum created when rebels wrested large
parts of the country’s north and east from the government of President Bashar
Assad. The Islamic State pushed out moderate rebels, easily seizing strategic
group pushed into the northeastern Syrian city of Raqqa that year and
consolidated control by January 2014, making the city its capital.
the spring and summer of 2014, the Islamic State rampaged across eastern Syria
and northwestern Iraq, seizing city after city, including Mosul, Iraq’s second
largest. The Islamic State officially declared its “caliphate” in June of that
year and urged foreign fighters to come to the region to take up arms.
later, al-Baghdadi, who had not been seen in public for years, delivered
remarks in the Great Mosque of Mosul, reaffirming himself as the leader, or
caliph, of the self-declared state.
the Islamic State grew, it lured recruits to the region for its jihad and
attracted supporters who carried out attacks worldwide. At the height of its
power, the Islamic State had an estimated 40,000 recruits from 100 countries.
group’s propaganda reach grew with its territorial ambitions. In 2014, it began
publishing a slick online magazine, Dabiq, to bolster support for its ideology
world watched in horror as the Islamic State released a stream of videos
showing the killings of international journalists and aid workers seized in
Syria. It began in August 2014 with footage of the beheading of James Foley, an
American journalist who had been held by the group for two years. The clips
appeared to be a response to the start of U.S. airstrikes against the group.
asks IAEA to intervene over 'threat' posed by UAE nuclear plant
has called on the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) to intervene in a
dispute over a $24 billion nuclear power plant which the United Arab Emirates
(UAE) is building.
between Qatar and its neighbour are already strained after the UAE, Saudi
Arabia, Egypt and Bahrain severed diplomatic, trade and transport ties with
Doha in June 2017 over allegations that it supports terrorism, a charge Qatar
a letter to the IAEA, which was seen by Reuters, Qatar says the Barakah plant
poses a serious threat to regional stability and the environment and calls for
a framework to ensure the safe operation of nuclear energy in the Gulf.
said that a radioactive plume from an accidental discharge could reach its
capital Doha in five to 13 hours and a radiation leak would have a devastating
effect on the region's water supply because of its reliance on desalination
believes that the lack of any international co-operation with neighbouring
states regarding disaster planning, health and safety and the protection of the
environment pose a serious treat to the stability of the region and its
environment,” the letter from Qatar's Foreign Affairs ministry to IAEA Director
General Yukiya Amano said.
also said that the technology is relatively untested as there is only one other
commercial reactor of this type in operation in South Korea The UAE said on
Wednesday that its nuclear energy programme conforms to IAEA standards and
international best practices.
United Arab Emirates ... adheres to its commitment to the highest standards of
nuclear safety, security and non-proliferation,” Hamad Al Kaabi, UAE Permanent
Representative to the IAEA, said in a statement to Reuters.
added that Barakah, the Arab world's first nuclear plant which was originally
set to come online in 2017, was now expected to begin operation by 2020.
IAEA, a Vienna-based organisation which is the world's top nuclear safety
authority, declined to comment on exchanges with its member states.
said regional concerns about nuclear safety will be amplified when the Saudi
Arabian civil nuclear programme comes on stream. The Kingdom has invited bids
from the world's top nuclear firms to build reactors.
UAE's Nawah Energy Company said in May 2018 that Barakah, the world's largest
nuclear plant under construction, should start operations between end 2019 and
is being built by Korea Electric Power Corporation (KEPCO), but problems with
training enough local staff have delayed the startup of its first reactor
several times and in November Nawah signed a deal with French utility EDF to
operate the plant. Since the 1986 Chernobyl accident, when a Russian-design
reactor in Ukraine spread radiation over large parts of Europe, the potential
cross-border impact of nuclear accidents has led to several disputes between
this month, the Barakah plant's owner Emirates Nuclear Energy Corporation
(ENEC) said voids had been discovered in the concrete of reactors 2 and 3,
although it said these posed no safety risk and would not delay the start-up.
repair works on the third reactor were due to be completed by the end of last
year, while the UAE's FANR regulator reviews plans to repair smaller voids in
asks Pakistan to act against terrorists, says another attack on India will be
United States has asked Pakistan to take sustained, verifiable and irreversible
action against the perpetrators of terrorism, while warning the country that
another terror attack on India will prove to be “extremely problematic”.
need to see Pakistan taking concrete and sustained action to reign in the
terrorist groups, mainly the Jaish-e-Mohammed and the Lashkar-e-Taiba in order
to ensure that we don’t have re-escalation (of tension) in the region,” a
senior administration official told reporters at the White House on Wednesday.
if there’s any additional terrorist attack without Pakistan having made a
sustained, sincere effort against these groups, it would be extremely problematic
for Pakistan and it would cause re-escalation of tensions, which is dangerous
for both countries,” the official said on the condition of anonymity.
about the steps being taken by Pakistan in the aftermath of the Balakot air
strike by Indian fighter jets, the official said the US and the international
community needed to see “irreversible and sustained” action against the terror
the recent days, the official said Pakistan has taken some “initial” actions.
They have frozen the assets of some terrorist groups and made some arrests.
They have taken administrative control of some of the JeM facilities, the
we clearly need to see more. We need to see irreversible action because in the
past, what we’ve seen is they made some arrests and then a few months later,
they released these individuals. The terrorist leaders are sometimes still
allowed to travel around the country, hold rallies,” the official said.
that the United States is looking for “irreversible action”, the official said
America is working with its international partners to increase pressure on
Pakistan. “Because it has been too long that these groups have been able to
that Pakistan has economic concerns as well, the official said the Financial
Action Tasks Force (FATF) is one area which demonstrates the need for them to
take these actions against terror groups. “Otherwise, they’re at risk within
the system and the FATF to be grey-listed,” the official said.
needs to decide if it wants to be viewed as a responsible international player
and have access to all the financial mechanisms that are available or is it
going to continue to fail to take the steps necessary against these terrorist
groups and see itself further isolated. “The choice is Pakistan’s,” the senior
administration official asserted.
the situation between the two South Asian neighbours have de-escalated, the two
armies are still on high alert and that concerns the US, the official said.
we realize that if there, God forbid, would be another terrorist attack that
you could quickly see the escalation in the situation once again. So that’s
why, we’re making clear that any additional military action by either side runs
an unacceptably high risk, for both countries and for the region,” the official
Trump Administration, the official said, has taken sort of a “zero tolerance
policy” on the issue of safe havens to terrorists.
terror terrorist attack on February 14th on India was a demonstration that
Pakistan’s continuing provision of sanctuary for any terrorist group is not
acceptable,” the official said.
the height of the crisis — February 26-28 — the United States was in continuous
contact with Indian and Pakistani officials, both on the ground in New Delhi
were working the phones continuously and were deeply engaged in seeking to
deescalate what was a very dangerous moment in India-Pakistan relations,” the
United States has also reached out to influential countries to have them help
deescalate the situation, the senior administration official said.
of these countries are China, Saudi Arabia, the UAE, Qatar, the United Kingdom,
the European Union, Japan and Australia.
says relations 'very good' with Pakistan
between the United States and Pakistan are "very good," President
Donald Trump said Wednesday.
brief remarks came as Trump prepared to depart the White House for Ohio, where
he is set to visit a tank factory and meet with supporters.
said his administration will soon be meeting with Pakistani officials.
relations had taken a turn for the worse in recent years, with the U.S.
announcing a $300 million cut in military aid to Pakistan in 2018.
attacked Pakistan on Twitter in November, saying it was not doing enough to
no longer pay Pakistan the $Billions because they would take our money and do
nothing for us, Bin Laden being a prime example, Afghanistan being another.
They were just one of many countries that take from the United States without
giving anything in return. That’s ENDING!" Trump fumed.
was referring to the 2011 U.S. raid on Osama bin Laden's compound in
Abbottabad, Pakistan that resulted in the death of the al-Qaeda leader. The
site where bin Laden was holed up was just miles away from Pakistan's premier
main sticking point between Washington and Islamabad has been the issue of the
Taliban’s presence in Afghanistan. The U.S. has been engaged in a more than
17-year war against the group and is currently engaged in talks with it to
hammer out a prospective peace deal to end the conflict.
of the two countries have met numerous times over the past two months. In
September, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo visited Pakistan and met with Pakistani
Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi and then-newly elected Prime Minister
sanctuary: In Christchurch, an imam seeks to rebuild
Ibrahim Abdelhalim was at his mosque last week in the Linwood neighbourhood of
Christchurch, New Zealand, delivering a prayer as he usually does on Friday
67-year-old grandfather had already spoken about “tasting the sweetness of
faith” as a Muslim obedient to God and willing to serve humanity.
heard a pop-pop-pop in the distance.
sounds got louder. Abdelhalim realised they were gunshots, but he continued.
Abruptly ending the holy words mid-sentence would show a lack of respect in the
face of God, he thought.
immigrated from Egypt to Christchurch in 1995. The small city in a far-away
island nation, some 16,000km from the poverty and corruption of Cairo, gave his
family a better life.
sits in a tableau of pristine mountains and rolling fields, a place where he
often forgot to lock his front door at night. Whatever was happening outside
would probably be okay.
there were more than 80 people in the room in front of him and so, he said, “I
tried to finish the prayer quickly.”
the bullets came crashing through the window of the mosque. They sprayed into
bodies. People screamed, diving atop each other in jumbled piles.
saw his son but could not make it to where he lay. Further back, at the
partition for women, Abdelhalim’s wife was also pinned down by gunfire, shot in
thudded into a friend next to her, killing the woman. In the land that had
become his sanctuary, Abdelhalim suddenly feared he was about to watch his
family be slaughtered.
later named Brenton Tarrant, a 28-year-old Australian, as the alleged shooter
in the massacre last Friday, which claimed 50 lives and left as many wounded.
posted online a screed espousing white supremacist ideology and hatred of
immigrants, authorities say.
far charged with one murder, Tarrant was remanded to custody without a plea
Saturday, and is due back in court next month, when police say he is likely to
face more charges.
country’s prime minister, Jacinda Ardern, described a very different New
Zealand in an address after the carnage. “We represent diversity, kindness,
compassion,” she said, her voice at times cracking with emotion. “A home for
those who share our values. Refuge for those who need it.”
victims in Christchurch had sought just that – leaving Somalia, Pakistan, Syria
or Afghanistan for a better life, often with little in their pockets.
Abdelhalim spoke of the city as a dream made real.
Cairo, Abdelhalim said, he’d worked as a judge specialising in inheritance and
lived in a well-heeled suburb, his parents a teacher and a government employee,
his brother an officer in the Egyptian military. But he did not see the future
he wanted for his three children in Egypt.
had witnessed a president being assassinated by Islamic militants in 1981, and
a string of bombs exploding in and around the city in 1993.
the family moved to Christchurch, and Abdelhalim took the only job he could
find, as a clerk at Work and Income, the government agency for employment
services and financial assistance. “I tried to study law, but found it was very
hard to begin again,” he said.
his children were going to good schools and his family moved into a small brick
home, where he still lives, with roses in the well-trimmed yard.
neighbour invited him over for tea, he said, “nearly every day.” The family got
to know the woman at the post office, a local shopkeeper and just about
from the chaos of Cairo, Christchurch is a place where men in straw hats and
vests take tourists down the placid waters of the Avon River. It is a city of
parks with birds chirping and a streetcar clanking past Cathedral Square.
life grew along with the city. He opened a restaurant, named for his old home,
Cairo. He became active in the Muslim community, working as the imam at a
mosque called Al Noor.
terrorists flew planes into the World Trade Centre in New York in Sept 2001,
Abdelhalim was the head of a local Islamic association.
the time, he said, there was a flare up of young people yelling at Muslims and
trying to grab women’s headscarves. Abdelhalim responded by organising
community events at the mosque.
2017, he took part in opening a multi-faith prayer space at the airport. “My
only weapon,” he said, “is my tongue.”
also helped start and agreed to be the imam, the religious leader, of the
Linwood mosque as its doors opened early last year, though it was across the
city from his house.
building, a former community centre, sits amid signs for the Salvation Army, a
pawnshop, the Super Liquor and the Value Mart. Its presence was a marker of
growth in the city’s still-small Muslim community.
was at another mosque, al-Noor, that the gunman first began shooting. He shot
at men, women and children as he emptied one clip of ammunition and then the
next, circling back to shoot once more just to be sure he’d killed as many
Muslims as possible.
took more than 40 lives there. The gunman then got into his car and drove to
Linwood, where Abdelhalim, a man with a carefully cut white beard, was
beginning to pray.
the back of the mosque, a 27-year-old man from Afghanistan named Ahmed Khan
peeked out a window. The plump-faced Khan and his family had arrived in Christchurch
12 years earlier, leaving behind a nation torn by war.
called ‘help!’ and when I looked out the window, somebody was laying down,
bleeding,” he said. Khan’s eyes flitted across the driveway and spotted a
strange figure – a man wearing a helmet, standing in broad daylight with a
rifle in his hands.
man squeezed the trigger, Khan said, and a bullet flew through the window. Khan
recalls calling out, “There’s someone with a gun!”
the prayer area, where Abdelhalim had stood reciting holy words just moments
before, people flung themselves on the ground in panic. Khan recalls cradling a
man in his arms one moment and then, the next, the gunman “shot him when I was
holding him, in the head. And he was dead.”
was another Afghan in the room who rushed toward the door. In the gunfire that
followed, seven people were killed. Khan said the toll almost certainly would
have been higher if this second Afghan – Abdul Aziz, a short, muscular man who
runs a furniture shop – hadn’t confronted the shooter.
grabbed a credit card machine and hurled it at the gunman, dodging bullets. He
later chased the gunman with an unloaded shotgun that the shooter dropped as he
went back for another weapon, then hurled it like a spear through his car
four of his children in the mosque, Aziz later said, he acted to protect his
own piece of adopted homeland. “I didn’t know where my own kids were – if they
are alive, if they are dead,” he said.
survived, with one of his sons laid over a younger brother, protecting the
smaller boy’s body with his own. Abdelhalim’s wife and son also made it out
in the aftermath of 50 dead in his city, Abdelhalim is trying to keep his
family and his people together. They are left to navigate an issue that has
confronted communities around the world after mass shootings: How, in the midst
of suffering and rage, does normalcy and the peace they once knew return, if at
Saturday afternoon, about 24 hours after the massacre, Abdelhalim walked out of
a crisis response centre in Christchurch. On the wall, there was a Wi-Fi login
and password written on a piece of white paper: youarewelcome.
group of motorcycle club members had parked their bikes on the grass in a show
of support. Burly men in black leather jackets milled about. A young man with
the club’s name tattooed across the side of his face – “Tribesmen” – chatted
with reporters. Police stood by with assault rifles.
made his way carefully through the crowd in a dark suit with light pinstripes.
Everyone was asking, he said, “can the peace of Christchurch come back?”
gunman’s manifesto, released shortly before the attacks, said he was motivated
to fight back against the “invasion” of immigration by non-whites. The actual
number of Muslims in New Zealand is small – about one percent of the populace.
the 2013 census, the most recent figures available, the government reported a
28 percent rise in Muslims since 2006, along with jumps in Hindu and Sikh
Sunday morning, Abdelhalim opened his front door at 9, wearing board shorts,
flip-flops and a worn collared shirt, instead of the suits he favors in public.
He was exhausted.
authorities released a list of the dead past midnight at the Christchurch
Hospital. Abdelhalim was there to speak with the bereaved. He’d gotten home
from the hospital at some time after 2 a.m. and had barely slept.
next day, standing on the other side of police tape from the mosque in Linwood,
Abdelhalim was asked by a reporter for details of the shooting. Abdelhalim said
he’d rather not say.
don’t need to repeat the story of what happened,” he said. “Because it breaks
Labour party has formally adopted the full working definition of Islamophobia,
arguing it is a vital step in fighting the rise of far-right extremism in the
national executive committee adopted the working definition Wednesday as
produced by the all-party parliamentary group on British Muslims last year in a
move “to help tackle Islamophobia, build a common understanding of its causes
and consequences, and express solidarity with Muslim communities.”
move by the U.K.’s main opposition party to adopt the definition follows the
publication of a public letter signed by more than a hundred Islamic institutions,
Muslim public figures, and MPs calling on all political parties to adopt the
could not be more urgent, while Islamophobia has been rising in our society and
across the world, and support for the far right and their extremist white
supremacist views is growing,” said Naz Shah, Labour MP and signatory to the
of challenging and campaigning against this hate-filled prejudice, many
politicians have actively fuelled it, from the Conservatives’ overtly
Islamophobic campaign against Sadiq Khan becoming mayor in 2016 to [former
Foreign Secretary] Boris Johnson’s vile comments about Muslim women,” she
year Johnson compared women who wear Islamic garb to “bank robbers and letter
boxes.” His comments received a national outcry but after an internal party
investigation, he was found to have done no wrongdoing.
Liberal Democrat party has also adopted the working definition. However, the
ruling Conservative party has refrained from adopting the definition, even
after being embroiled in a scandal that has seen many of its members and MPs
openly make Islamophobic statements.
Muslim Council of Britain, the U.K.’s largest Muslim body, has written many
times to the Conservative party urging the leadership to tackle the issue of
Islamophobia within the party and conduct investigations into those Tories
accused of Islamophobia.
party members and councillors have been found to have made Islamophobic
comments online, with some calling for the bombing of mosques and others making
racist comments about London Mayor Khan and Tory Home Secretary Sajid Javid.
last three years have seen a sharp rise in Islamophobia and anti-Muslim hate
crime in the UK, with a record number of attacks on Muslims 2017. In 2018 there
were over 1,200 reports of Islamophobic attacks, a 26 percent surge from the
incidents have risen significantly due to a number of factors such as Brexit
and the proliferation of far-right groups manipulating peoples’ misconceptions
on immigration and faith.
student stabs professor to death over 'anti-Islam' remarks
third-year student at Bahawalpur's Government Sadiq Egerton College on
Wednesday allegedly stabbed a professor to death over what he vaguely described
as the academic's "anti-Islam" remarks, police sources and persons
familiar with the incident said.
professor Khalid Hameed, the head of the English department, was seated inside
his office at the college when he was allegedly accosted and attacked with a
knife by the student.
to initial information noted by police at the scene of the crime, Khateeb
Hussain, a 5th-semester BS student enrolled in the English department, had
exchanged hot words with Prof Hameed at around 8:40am over the arranging of a
'welcome party' at the college.
event, which Hameed was overseeing, was to be held on March 21 to welcome new
students to the college, police said.
sources told DawnNewsTV that Hussain was averse to the event being organised
because he viewed the mingling of male and female pupils at the function as
an argument, Hussain stabbed the professor in the abdomen and head, police
said. Hameed was taken to the Bahawalpur Victoria Hospital, where he succumbed
to his injuries.
have arrested the suspect along with the murder weapon and registered an FIR
under Section 302 (intentional murder) of the Pakistan Penal Code and Section 7
of the Anti-Terrorism Act on a complaint of the deceased teacher's son.
the application submitted to police for the registration of a First Information
Report (FIR), Prof Hameed's son stated that the incident took place when he had
gone to drop his father off at the college along with two others. He said his
father proceeded to enter his office while he (the son) was still in the
parking; he said he saw the attacker hiding behind a pillar and then suddenly
charging at the teacher.
my father was about to step into his office, the guy attacked him with a knife,
hitting him on his head and stomach,” he told AFP.
father then fell down and I rushed to him; the student held his knife and
started shouting 'I have killed him, I had told him that a gender mix reception
is against Islam',” he said.
to the deceased's son, the attacker also said he had killed Prof Hameed because
he supported the scheduled function in which "obscenity is promoted".
took him to hospital but he had already died,” he said.
said the student dropped his knife and the guards arrested him.
video confession of the suspect, aged around 20, was obtained by DawnNewsTV.
the video, seen by Dawn.com, the suspect identifies himself as Khateeb Hussain
and says that he attacked the English professor because he allegedly
"spoke against Islam".
response to a question, he says he assaulted the teacher with a knife in the
office where he was sitting. Both of the suspect's hands are bandaged,
indicating he received knife injuries during the scuffle.
informed that the professor had died at the hospital, the suspect expresses
satisfaction with his actions.
is then questioned on why he did not use a lawful way of voicing his complaints
against the academic, to which he responds that the country's laws are
"freeing the blasphemers (gustaakhon) ".
asked if he regrets his actions, he expresses no remorse.
many more lives?'
to reporters in the evening at his residence, Hameed's son said his father's
murder was a result of "brainwashing". He said the function was a
matter of the college administration and his father was not directly involved
said the incident had put question marks on the government's efforts to curb
extremism in society.
was [an] employee of the Government of Pakistan, the event happened in the
premises of [a] government college ... but there has been no word from the
government on this regarding protection and implementation," the son said.
said the PTI government kept raising the issue of a South Punjab province,
"but this incident took place in south Punjab as well [and] the entire
city is sitting in fear".
want to ask you this; this has happened before and continues to happen but
until when? How many more lives?"
questioned whether the government will act on the National Action Plan
"only when there is pressure from India or the United States" and
whether there was "no value" of the lives of Pakistani residents.
Government of Punjab had tweeted in the afternoon that Chief Minister Usman
Buzdar sought a report from police and ordered an investigation of the
asked authorities to "ensure in every condition the provision of justice
to the heirs of the deceased professor".
a press release, the Punjab Professors and Lecturers Association strongly
condemned Hameed's murder.
demanded that the district administration bring the perpetrators of the crime
to book under anti-terrorism laws within 10 days. It also asked the district
and college administrations to take steps to ensure the safety of the teachers.
professor's murder sparked an outrage on social media, with people condemning
the act and calling for action.
chief minister Shahbaz Sharif tweeted that the teacher's murder at the hands of
a student because of a difference in opinion was "a moment of reflection
for the entire nation".
tragic how we've created hordes of young people who believe having a mild
amount of fun is reason enough to murder someone," wrote Ammar Rashid.
shooting, 'atmosphere of insecurity' sparks Bangladeshi safety warning
Australian politicians have allowed an atmosphere of vilification of Muslims
and immigrants to prevail, the Bangladeshi High Commission says.
has issued safety warnings to its citizens in New Zealand and Australia
following the Christchurch shooting that left at least 50 worshippers dead.
Bangladeshi Foreign Ministry said those living in Australia and those
travelling "are advised to be vigilant at all times, particularly in
the High Commission in Canberra went further, saying: "It is a fact that
in Australia, there have been some manifestations of Islamophobia and
Bangladeshis were among the 50 killed, with a further three injured in the two
mosques attacked in Christchurch on Friday.
of the Bangladeshi cricket team were also forced to flee the scene of the
shooting on foot, after they arrived for Friday prayers.
the wake of the attack, Queensland senator Fraser Anning called for a ban on
Bangladeshi High Commission said those sorts of statements provoked
"extreme views" and said "unchecked and unrestrained expression
of hatred can lead to any unfortunate situation, as has been exemplified in
a statement by a senator in Australia precipitated fears and … created an
atmosphere of insecurity among the immigrants, despite assurances by the
mainstream political leaders."
statement also suggested that such comments from politicians could enable
dangerous situations such as Friday's attack to take place.
advisory result of 'public pressure'
Bangladeshi High Commission in Canberra also justified the travel warnings
issued by Bangladesh, citing the Christchurch attack.
Bangladesh does not issue travel advisories for its nationals going abroad,
unless there are imperatives to do so," it said.
extraordinary development has compelled Bangladesh to issue travel advisory for
Australia and New Zealand."
high commissioner to Canberra Humayun Kabir believes the travel advisory was a
result of pressure on the Bangladeshi Government from the public regarding the
five Bangladeshi deaths and the danger the cricket team was exposed to.
light of that, the Government felt the public pressure, as a result of that
they have now given an advisory," he said.
said Australia was not unsafe at all and the advisory and response from the
High Commission should be regarded as a precaution, since it is not a
reflection on Australia or New Zealand.
of the Bangladesh Society Gold Coast (BGSC) Mohammad Hossain echoed those
feelings of safety.
feel that Australia is very safe and a good country and we're living
here," he said.
he said he felt Bangladeshis needed to be cautious despite feeling safe,
considering the recent attack.
at the same time, we need to look after ourselves. We should be cautious,"
Hossain said New Zealand was a safe place and if events such as the attack
could occur there, it could happen anywhere.
Hossain said the travel advisory issued against Australia by Bangladesh was
think the Bangladesh travel advisory is not bad, because we are safe, but we
should be careful about any terrorist activity against Islam or
ourselves," he said.
countries urged to press China end crackdown of Uighurs
Qatar - A group of visiting Uighur Muslim scholars originally from China's
Xinjiang province has urged Muslim-majority countries to press China to end its
"cultural war" against their ethnic compatriots.
to a United Nations panel, more than one million Uighurs and other Muslims are
held in what rights groups and activists call mass detention centres in the
remote western region - a charge denied by Beijing.
a visit to Qatar's capital, Doha, leaders from the Turkey-based Society of the
Muslim Scholars of East Turkistan (SMSET) accused Beijing of engaging in
systematic human rights violations of Uighurs in a bid to erase their cultural
and religious heritage.
Chinese government is waging a cultural war against our people by trying to
force us to abandon our Muslim faith and our heritage to become atheists and
communists like the majority Chinese society," the SMSET's Abdel Khaleq
Uighur said on Tuesday.
January, China passed a new law that sought to "Sinicise" Islam
within the next five years, the latest move by Beijing to rewrite how the
religion is practised. Sinification is a process of melting non-Chinese
communities into the majority Han Chinese culture.
major Muslim country has publicly condemned China for the alleged mass
incarceration of Uighurs and other ethnic Muslim minorities except Turkey,
which has called on China to shut the camps. Beijing calls the camps
Uighurs, whose homeland is in the heart of the ancient Silk Road, say Beijing
sees their presence as an obstacle to its economic development and westward
expansion through its flagship Belt and Road Initiative (BRI).
in 2013, the massive investment drive aims to finance and build infrastructure
in some 80 countries around the world, including in the Middle East and parts
high-speed rail and other upgraded land transport developments, China strives
to promote land and maritime trade simultaneously between China and the Middle
East," Wang Jian, a professor of history and international political
economy at Shanghai Academy of Social Sciences, said in a paper published in
Mahmoud, of the SMET, argued that China's promises of vast wealth and economic
development from its BRI projects have prevented Muslim-majority countries from
addressing the crackdown on Uighurs.
hope that Muslim countries can overcome their fears of China and address its
gross human rights abuses against our community," he said.
speak a Turkic language distinct from the country's overwhelming Han majority.
to a 2018 Amnesty report, open or even private displays of religious and
cultural affiliation, including growing a beard, wearing a veil or headscarf,
regular prayer, fasting or avoidance of alcohol, or possessing books or
articles about Islam or Uighur culture can be considered "extremist"
under the regulation.
week, the Chinese government published a lengthy policy paper outlining and
defending its policy against the Uighurs as "deradicalisation"
measures. The paper admitted the arrest of 13,000 Muslim Uighurs since 2014.
to government claims of "terrorism and radicalism" in the region,
Mahmoud said the Chinese government claims are not true.
people are not seeking separation and there is no terrorism or armed insurgency
in East Turkistan," he said.
only terrorism in the region comes from the Chinese government itself,"
Arabic-language Al-Watan news agency pointed to the exit of the ISIL terrorists
and their families under an agreement with the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF),
and said that the US-led coalition and the SDF plan to repeat the scenario that
they staged in Raqqa and claim victory over the ISIL in Eastern Euphrates,
"while in reality they have not defeated the terrorist group and have only
relocated them to western Iraq.
SDF has, meantime, claimed that it has taken control of several positions in
Baghouz Farms in Eastern Deir Ezzur in the battle with the terrorists.
Kurdish forces said that they have held as captive 157 terrorists and seized
their military equipment in the region.
London-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights (SOHR), meantime, reported
that 61,760 people, including 6,870 ISIL terrorists, have left the last areas
remaining under ISIL's control in Baghouz in Eastern Euphrates.
a relevant development on Friday, the US-led coalition forces and their allied
militant groups helped over 2,000 ISIL terrorists and their families to get out
of Eastern Deir Ezzur as Washington and the SDF are preparing to declare the
end of the ISIL in Eastern Euphrates.
SDF announced that over 1,300 ISIL terrorists and their families left the town
of Baqouz in Southeastern Deir Ezzur.
SOHR, meantime, announced that about 2,200 ISIL terrorists from different nationalities
have exited the last regions under their control in Baqouz town in Eastern Deir
Ezzur over the past 24 hours.
SOHR noted that a sum of 61,300 ISIL terrorists and their families have left
Eastern Euphrates since the early December 2018.
relevant development last week, the US Army and its allied militants helped a
large number of the ISIL terrorists to get out of Deir Ezzur province.
60,000 ISIL terrorists and their families have been helped out of Baghouz
region in Eastern Deir Ezzur by the US and the US-backed militants since the
beginning of last December," the Kurdish-language Bas news website quoted
an informed SDF source as saying.
noted that over half of the terrorists leaving Eastern Euphrates are Iraqi
nationals, and the rest come from a variety of nations.
comes as the US-led coalition and their allied militants are eyeing an
agreement with terrorists to exit the areas under their control in Eastern
Euphrates in a bid to declare the end of the ISIL in the region.
a relevant development in late February, the Syrian sources said that the US
Army transferred senior ISIL commanders to safe places in lieu of receiving
over 50 tons of gold treasure from the terrorists.
to the initial information obtained in Deir Ezzur, the US Army troops stationed
in Al-Jazeera region of Eastern Euphrates agreed with the ISIL commanders to
relocate them to safe places after receiving tens of tons of gold ingot that
the terrorists had stolen from different parts of Syria and Iraq, the state-run
SANA news agency reported.
local sources, meantime, reported that the US Army took control of ISIL's 50
tons of gold treasure in Baqouz region in Southeastern Deir Ezzur after it had
reached an agreement with the terrorists.
pointed to the recent intensified movements by the US choppers concurrent with
flights over several ISIL-controlled regions in Eastern Euphrates, and said
that the US has conducted important heliborne operations in key areas where the
ISIL commanders' hideouts are located and where the gold treasure was hidden.
a relevant development earlier last month, a source close to Kurdish forces
said that the US Army was taking ISIL's gold treasure that is estimated to
weigh around 50 tons from Eastern Syria to America.
News quoted a Kurdish source as saying that the Americans have transferred tens
of tons of the gold ingots they have seized from the ISIL terrorists in Baqouz
region in Southeastern Deir Ezzur to their own country and only kept a small
portion of the treasure to be given to the Kurdish fighters.
source who spoke on the condition of anonymity reiterated that about 50 tons of
ISIL's gold has been sent to the US from the US military base in Kobani in
report comes as the US has been using the airport in Southern Kobani for
transferring consignments and military equipment in recent years.
a relevant development earlier last month, the US Army troops took out a sum of
40 tons of gold ingots belonging to the ISIL in heliborne operations after
agreeing with the terrorist group and while Washington is preparing to announce
the end of ISIL in Eastern Euphrates.
US troops in concordance with the ISIL terrorist group relocated big boxes
packed with ISIL's gold treasure on several helicopters from al-Dashisheh
region in Southern Hasaka," the SANA news agency quoted local sources in
Eastern Deir Ezzur as saying.
sources pointed to boxes containing 40 tons of gold ingots that the ISIL had
hidden in the Eastern part of al-Shadadi city, and said that the ISIL had
stolen the treasure of gold from the Iraqi city of Mosul and different parts of
US troops reportedly took out a group of ISIL terrorist commanders from Eastern
Syria in two heliborne operations in Hajin region of Eastern Deir Ezzur and
al-Dashisheh in Southern Hasaka and they were directed to the place where the
gold treasure was hidden.
trusts the US’s role in putting together a Middle East peace plan, and finding
a peaceful solution to the Yemeni war, said Kuwait’s Foreign Minister Sheikh
Sabah Al Khalid Al Sabah during a press conference with US Secretary of State
Mike Pompeo on Wednesday.
hope the plan will take into account the situation in the region and all the
relevant parties," Sheikh Al Sabah said.
had arrived in Kuwait late Monday as part of a tour that is set to include
visits to Lebanon and Israel to reinforce “the value of our partnerships, as
well as the importance of security and economic cooperation in achieving
regional stability and countering the Iranian regime’s malign activities,” a
State Department statement read.
Sabah commended the US’s “tough stance in defending the security of the Gulf,”
adding that Kuwait is in agreement with Washington about the importance of
solving the Yemeni crisis peacefully.
is a longtime friend and vital partner that helps advance key US interests in
the region, including defense and counter-terrorism,” Pompeo had said prior to
his arrival to the country.
participated in a series of bilateral meetings with high-level officials,
including the Emir of Kuwait Sheikh Sabah Al-Ahmad Al-Jaber Al-Sabah, and
attended the third US-Kuwait Strategic Dialogue. In the past, the two countries
signed cooperation agreements and MoUs over security, counter-terrorism,
economy, trade, education, oil, custom and consular affairs.
the press conference, Pompeo said that they discussed the issues of defense,
counter-terrorism and trade.
over veto on Masood Azhar, US says China has a responsibility
has a responsibility not to shield Pakistan, a senior Trump administration
official has said, expressing deep disappointment over Beijing’s decision to
block a bid in the UN to designate Jaish-e-Mohammed chief Masood Azhar as a
terror group Jaish-e-Mohammed (JeM) led by Azhar claimed responsibility for the
February 14 terrorist attack in Kashmir’s Pulwama district which killed 40
Indian security personnel.
think China has a responsibility to also not shield Pakistan and join the
international community in calling on Pakistan to take action against
terrorists operating on its soil,” the senior Trump administration official
said on Wednesday.
the Pulwama attack, the US, France and Britain moved a resolution in the UN
Sanctions Committee of the Security Council to designate Azhar as a “global
move suffered a setback as China put a “technical hold” on the proposal for the
forth time, a move India termed as disappointing.
believe that China and the US share a mutual interest in achieving regional
stability and peace. And that any failure on the Security Council as part to
designate Masood Azhar as a terrorist would run counter to this mutual goal
that China and the United States have,” the official said.
don’t really understand this. China should not be shielding Pakistan’s support
for known terrorist organisations. So, we’re hoping that we can work together
on a mutual goal in terms of countering terrorism and upholding our security
council responsibility,” the official said.
Trump administration’s view on China’s decision on Azhar came as Germany
initiated a move at the European Union to list the JeM leader as a global
that it was not the first time the JeM attacked India, the official said this
was the reason the Trump administration thinks now is the time for Pakistan to
crackdown on the terror group.
has been made very clear to the leadership of Pakistan, said the official who
spoke on condition of anonymity.
same group was responsible for other attacks in India like the 2001 Parliament
attack, which resulted in a six-month India-Pakistan mobilisation, the official
US is also working at the United Nations, urging Pakistan to uphold its
responsibilities pursuant to its UN Security Council commitments to deny safe
haven and support to terrorists and to freeze the funds and financial assets of
entities on the UN Security Council 1267 sanctions list.
story has been published from a wire agency feed without modifications to the
text. Only the headline has been changed.)
President Donald Trump said on Wednesday that ISIS will be “gone by tonight,”
in an announcement he made on the White House South Lawn ahead of a visit to
held up two maps showing the difference between lands that belonged to ISIS in
2016’s election night versus the lands of the so-called “caliphate” today.
maps had areas that fell under the control of ISIS colored in red, on which
Trump commented saying: “When I took it over, it was a mess. Now there is no
red. In fact, there’s actually a tiny spot which will be gone by tonight.”
added that Washington will keep around 400 troops in the north east of Syria.
a trip to the occupied Palestinian territories ahead of Israeli general
elections, US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo has vowed to step up pressure
against Iran in an apparent bid to help Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu
retain his position.
and Netanyahu said during a joint press conference on Wednesday that they were
going to use all in their power to counter what they referred to as the Iranian
such threats a daily reality of Israeli life, we maintain our unparalleled
commitment to Israel's security and firmly support your right to defend yourself,"
said the top US diplomat.
claimed that the US-led anti-Iran conference in the Polish capital of Warsaw
last month, which was attended by Israel and some Arab nations, was focused
mainly on exploring possible options "to stop Iran's regional rampage."
meeting turned into an embarrassing failure for Washington as many countries
either refused to attend or decided to send low-level officials to show their
discontent with Trump's Iran policy.
and the US have been desperately looking for ways to end Iran’s influence in
the Middle East region, where it has helped the Iraqi and Syrian governments
purge foreign-backed terrorists from most of their territories.
US President Donald Trump has chosen to drop out of the 2015 Iran nuclear deal
and impose more economic sanctions on the Islamic Republic to force Tehran to
leave Syria and Iraq, Tel Aviv has chosen a more direct path by mounting
numerous attacks against Syrian government positions that it claims are being
used by Iranian military advisers.
Pompeo, Netanyahu reiterated his pledge to prevent Iranian advisers’ presence
in Syria and thanked the Trump administration for its support.
is no limitation to our freedom of action, and we appreciate very much the fact
that the United States backs up our actions as we do them," Netanyahu
regional tour is focused largely on Iran, but his meeting with Netanyahu has
been viewed as a move to help Netanyahu with his re-election fight, especially
since he has turned down requests to meet with the Israeli premier’s political
a stiff competition from a centrist alliance in April 9 polls while under
threat of indictment for corruption, Netanyahu is slated to arrive in
Washington next week, where he will meet Trump twice.
said before touching down in Tel Aviv that his trip to Israel was not related
to politics, arguing that the "relationship matters, no matter who the
NATO’ alliance against Iran
who planned to travel to Lebanon next, began his regional tour in Kuwait where
he met Emir Sheikh Sabah al-Ahmad Al-Sabah to discuss the Middle East Strategic
Alliance (MESA), a NATO-style bloc aimed at uniting Washington's Arab allies
in Mideast to corner Iran but Tehran not cowed
has called on Qatar and Saudi Arabia, both members of MESA, to end their
ongoing political dispute, where Riyadh and some of its regional allies –
including Bahrain and the United Arab Emirates (UAE)—have boycotted Doha since
2017 for funding terrorism and maintaining close ties to Iran.
denies the allegations and says the rival states aim to incite regime change in
Israeli parliamentary elections also start the countdown to the presentation of
an Israeli-Palestinian agreement that Trump has long been referring to as the
“deal of the century.”
product of a Whit House team led by Trump's son-in-law, Jared Kushner, the deal
is said to be strongly pro-Israeli.
had announced ahead of the trip that he will not meet with representatives of
the Palestinian Authority to discuss peace talks.
PA has cut all ties with Washington in the wake of several hostile moves by the
Trump administration, including cutting most of the US aid to the UN agency for
Palestinian refugees and the American president’s decision in December 2017 to
recognize Jerusalem al-Quds as the capital of Israel.
decision caused uproar among Palestinians, who say the eastern part of the city
will be the capital of a future Palestinian state.
would also make a stop at the new US embassy in al-Quds during the two-day
trip is also overshadowed by a controversial decision by the White House to
change the wording it uses to refer to Golan Heights, Syrian territories that
have fallen under Israeli control in 1967.
the UN refuses to recognize the area as Israeli territory, Washington has
announced that it will refer to the Golan Heights as
"Israeli-occupied" and calls the territory seized from Syria
"controlled" by Israel.
move has been viewed by observers as a prelude to full recognition of the
strategic plateau as Israeli land.
Secretary of State Mike Pompeo thanked Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman,
over a phone call, for supporting UN Special Envoy Martin Griffiths’ efforts to
advance the peace process in Yemen.
two established that it is important for Yemen’s warring parties to abide by
the Stockholm Agreement and also discussed human rights issues and broader
developments in the region, according to the US State Department.
Stockholm Agreement between Yemen’s Houthi militia and the Yemeni government in
Sweden last December was a move to reach a political solution in the war-torn
country. One of its key elements included the demilitarization of the Hodeidah
port to guarantee access of humanitarian aid to civilians.
the three-month-old truce, recent statements by Houthi Chairman Mohamed Ali
al-Houthi has been viewed by the Yemeni government as a declaration of war, and
an abandonment of the Stockholm Agreement.
withdrawal which includes redeployment in Hodeidah based on the mechanisms
offered in Stockholm is what we agree to. However, withdrawing based on what
has been highlighted by our enemies, this is impossible,” said the Houthi
Arabia and the UAE have previously announced the launching of a $500 million
initiative to address the humanitarian situation in Yemen.
16 years have passed since a coalition led by the U.S. and the U.K. invaded
Iraq on the pretext Saddam Hussein's had biological weapons, the traces of war
are still fresh in the war-ravished country.
Iraqi people, who were fed up with 13- year-long sanctions prior to the
invasion, were promised "democracy" and "stability", hence
the operation was titled "Operation Iraqi Freedom".
sectarian conflicts and acts of terrorism that emerged after the invasion led
to the death of tens of thousands of civilians, and the spending of billions of
dollars. It also triggered an environment in which the terror group Daesh
a view to getting the support of other countries to invade Iraq, Washington and
London claimed Saddam developed nuclear weapons that could be used as weapons
of mass destruction.
can be no doubt that Saddam Hussein has biological weapons and the capability
to rapidly produce more, many more," former U.S. State Secretary Colin
Powell said Feb. 5, 2003, at the UN Security Council (UNSC).
President George W. Bush, between 2001-2003, sought to justify the invasion by
preparing reports regarding Baghdad's possession of weapons of mass
to the allegations, UN investigators in Iraq did not find any traces of
biological weapons. Then, the U.K and the U.S. invaded without the approval of
the UNSC, violating the international laws.
March 17, 2003, Bush gave 48 hours to Saddam and his family to leave Iraq and
said he would take military action if they did not exit the county. On March
19, coalition forces announced the commencement of the operation.
forces in Iraq gained control Baghdad on April 9 and toppled the statue of
Saddam located in Firdos Square. Meanwhile, Saddam had reportedly escaped
Baghdad. On May 1, Bush stated the majority of the warfare in Iraq was
the operations were ongoing, the UNSC adopted a resolution recognizing the invasion
right of the U.S and the U.K on May 22. Hussein was captured Dec. 13, 2003,
while hiding underground in Tikrit, northwest of Baghdad. Meanwhile, many of
Hussein's family and high-profile members of the Baath regime fled to Jordan.
April 2004, prisoners tortured by the U.S. forces in Abu Ghraib prison in
Baghdad were covered by the global media, unveiling the truth about the damage
and chaos Iraqis suffered.
Jun. 28, 2004, the U.S. abolished the temporary administration and Paul Bremer,
who led the Coalition Provisional Authority (CPA), left Iraq.
first general elections were held Jan. 30, 2005, which was boycotted by the
Sunni Arabs of Iraq. Shia Arabs in the country captured the government and
Jalal Talabani became the first Kurdish president of Iraq.
2005, the federal structure was adopted in Iraq and Kurds were given
"Iraqi Kurdish Regional Government" (KRG).
which was triggered following the invasion, soon transformed into a civil war.
The turning point of the sectarian civil war began Jan. 22, 2006, when the
Al-Askari Shrine in Samarra -- one of the holiest sites for Shia sect -- was
Nouri al-Maliki, who is known for his sectarian policies, announced he formed
the government May 20, 2006.
being tried for some three years, Hussein was executed Dec. 30, 2006.
Jan 10, 2007, Washington announced it would send an additional 20,000 troops to
Iraq where the violence continued with momentum. On Feb. 27, 2009, President
Barrack Obama said U.S. troops would withdraw from Iraq by late 2011.
troops left Iraq May 22, 2011 and U.S. troops left Dec. 18 same year.
Maliki's eight-year term, the country turned into a bloodbath with terror
attacks and sectarian conflicts. Therefore, war-weary Iraqis fled to other
to "Iraqcountybody", an independent organization studying Iraqi
Health Ministry's data, more than 100,000 civilians were killed between
2003-2011 due to conflict-related reasons. The same organization said the
civilian death toll reached 200,000 in 2018.
driver Abdulwahed Ebrahim, 67, who was living in Baghdad when the sectarian
tension peaked, said: "Sectarianism and sectarian war occurred with the
arrival of the U.S. Haifa street [in Baghdad] was called 'death street' back
then. I lost my son Omar to the sectarian war."
said Iraqis could only enjoy relief after the U.S. troops left the country. But
he added, "there is no stability in the country."
of "invasion" and "liberation"
Mohammed Hashem, an Iraqi living in Baghdad, said: "March 20 is equal to
the date of destruction and invasion. I lost many people I knew to the
sectarian war. Our social and economic life was disrupted,” he said. “The
invasion brought nothing but war, sectarianism and damage."
political analysist Ali Suhayl said the U.S. claimed it would bring democracy
and freedom to Iraq following the toppling of Saddam Hussein regime.
that never happened. There is no such thing as freedom in Iraq now. The U.S.
brought a false democracy. Dominant parties of Iraq [referring to Shia] can
easily manipulate the election," he stated.
and collapsed system"
Zeya, 40, an interpreter living in Turkey, said: "I was in Iraq on April
14, 2003, a short while after the fall of Baghdad. There was literally no
system in the country, it was total chaos with no policemen or any state
officials around to provide security."
15th, when I entered Kirkuk, there was this nice April rain and lovely trees
around. But I could see some buildings burning as a result of plundering around
in the city."
Zeya, 36, Murad's wife, said the instability in the country peaked following
the U.S. invasion. "Men would wait on the streets and women would protect
their houses against any possible plundering, which was the result of the fall
of central administration."
terror and 5 million internally displaced Iraqis
May 2014, the second Shia administration assumed power. Haider al-Abadi, known
for his moderate views compared to Maliki, was elected prime minister.
occupation" and "financial crisis" were among the most
challenging troubles the fresh premier faced.
groups in Iraq thrived due to the chaos, corruption and sectarian policies in
the country. Daesh terror group quickly spread in the regions where Sunni
Muslims were the majority. Daesh seized Mosul, Iraq's second largest province,
without encountering any resistance Jun. 10, 2014.
gained dominance in one-third of Iraq, having a superior presence in Mosul,
Anbar, Saladin and some parts of Diyala and Kirkuk.
by the U.S.-led coalition, Iraqi forces recaptured Tikrit. In 2016, Iraqi
forces gained control in Anbar's Fallujah.
battle in Mosul was more challenging, it took nine months for the Iraqi
authorities to take it back from Daesh terrorists. However, Mosul turned into a
"ghost city" following intense clashes.
Dec. 18, 2017, Abadi announced Daesh presence in Iraq was eradicated. Some five
million Iraqis became internally displaced people. The cost of destruction in
Mosul, Anbar and Saladin amounted to some $80 billion. Furthermore, tens of
thousands of civilians lost their lives due to Daesh atrocities.
on the verge of division
Iraq was ravaged by terrorism, Masoud Barzani, the former president of Kurdish
Regional Government, sought to draw apart from the central administration via
"independence referendum" held Sept. 25, 2017.
government shifted military forces to Kirkuk and controversial territories,
then the peshmerga presence in Kirkuk ceased to exist after 14 years.
following the political developments, Barzani announced he was stepping down
from the presidency of KRG on Oct. 29.
US troops in Iraq
Obama’s withdrawal decision in late 2011, the U.S. army returned to Iraq in
2014 as Iraqi forces and peshmerga struggled to fight Daesh.
lawmakers criticized the government Wednesday for its decision to invade Iraq
16 years ago, questioning the conflict’s legitimacy.
called the invasion disastrous, saying it led to the country’s destruction and
affected America’s global standing.
years ago, the U.S. illegally invaded Iraq, leaving a trail of destruction and
lives lost," Congresswoman Ilhan Omar said on Twitter.
outlined the consequences of the invasion, saying 4,500 U.S. troops lost their
lives, more than 100,000 Iraqi civilians were killed and the decision had done
"incalculable damage” to America’s reputation in the world.
Bernie Sanders also slammed the invasion, saying he had opposed it when the
idea was proposed in Congress.
years ago, the United States invaded Iraq. I opposed it at the time, warning of
unintended consequences. We are still dealing with those disastrous
consequences today and will be for many years. We need a foreign policy that
focuses on diplomacy, not war," Sanders tweeted.
March 2003, the U.S. invaded Iraq. Then-President George W. Bush said the
country’s goals were to destroy the country's weapons of mass destruction
(WMDs) and depose the country's leader, Saddam Hussein.
year later, after U.S. forces defeated the Iraqi army and captured Hussein, the
U.S. administration acknowledged that its argument of Iraq having WMDs was
mistaken, with David Kay, a former U.S. weapons inspector, saying "we were
almost all wrong".
must hold accountable those who repeatedly lied in the run-up to war,"
Omar said, arguing that both Bush and his vice president, Dick Cheney, had lied
about WMDs in order to justify the invasion.
aftermath of the war scarred the image of the United States with the over
100,000-civilian death toll, and in April 2004, evidence of prisoner abuse
inside the U.S.-run Abu Ghraib prison became public, showing photographic
evidence of American soldiers torturing inmates. Eleven soldiers were convicted
by U.S. courts of crimes related to the prison abuse scandal.
this month, a coalition of Democratic lawmakers backed a veteran organization's
pledge to end the "forever wars" in Iraq and Afghanistan.
months after announcing his plans for full military withdrawal from Syria, US
President Donald Trump changed tack and confirmed on Wednesday that he would be
leaving a residual force of 400 US troops out of 2000 currently in Syrian
are going to leave 200 people there and 200 people in another place in Syria ̶ closer to Israel ̶ for a period of time,” Mr Trump told
reporters at the White House on Wednesday. “Closer to Israel” implies the Tanf
area in Syria where the US maintains a
base, and it’s considered a critical border location to geographically
interject Iranian access to Syria.
There have been reports of varying residual
troop #'s in Syria but Trump just said it's going to be 400: "We’re going
to leave 200 people there and 200 people in another place in Syria closer to
Israel, for a period of time." (presumably he means NE near Turkey and SE
PM - Mar 20, 2019
Ads info and privacy
Ali Rogin's other Tweets
King Abdullah of Jordan’s visit to Washington two weeks ago, US officials
discussed the residual force and Jordanian help in securing such presence in
Tanf near Jordan’s border.
Mr Tump also told reporters that ISIS will be defeated this evening. Displaying
a map of the areas left for ISIS, the president pointed to a “tiny spot which
will be gone by tonight.”
Democratic Forces are fighting the last territorial battle against ISIS in the
village of Baghouz. US military commanders have warned, however, that ISIS
territorial defeat is not equivalent to the group’s demise, and that the fight
“is far from over.” The Wall Street Journal reported on Sunday that the US
would leave up to 1000 troops in Syria, but US military commanders denied the
Lister, a senior fellow with the Middle East Institute told The National that
by agreeing to leave 400 troops in Syria, “the US President bowed to pressure
from those around him, but more importantly, he’s now backing a policy that’s
Lister, who specialises in Syrian conflict and extremism, said that “the idea that
keeping 200 troops spread throughout 33% of Syria on a ‘hold’ and ‘support’
mission is a joke”.
now, Trump acceded to the 400 number on the condition that US allies -
principally the UK and France …There is no appetite in Paris, London or elsewhere
to fulfil that demand.”
French minister of defence Florence Parly held talks in Washington this week,
but no agreement was reached on the troop levels in Syria.
counterterrorism police are investigating the breaking of windows at four
mosques in the city of Birmingham.
sledgehammer is believed to have been used to break all four mosques. The first
incident at a mosque on Birchfield Road reportedly took place in the early
hours of Thursday morning local time, before police appeared and were alerted
to another attack nearby.
the tragic events in Christchurch, New Zealand, officers and staff from West
Midlands Police have been working closely with our faith partners across the
region to offer reassurance and support at mosques, churches and places of
prayer,” said West Midlands Police Chief Constable Dave Thompson.
the moment we don't know the motive for last night's attacks”.
has been stepped up across Birmingham, the UK’s ‘second city’ with around 21
per cent of the city’s population identifying as Muslim.
British Home Secretary Sajid Javid has doubled funding for security in places
of worship to £1.6 million for next year following the Christchurch terror
leaders have backed calls for more security at UK mosques amid fears the New
Zealand shooting could spark copycat terror attacks in the UK.
2013, 82-year-old Mohammed Saleem was stabbed to death near his home after
attending prayers at Green Lane Mosque in Birmingham. White supremacist
terrorist Pavlo Lapshyn was jailed in what was described by prosecutors as a
racially motivated attack.
attack comes a day before the Muslim holy day of Friday, when congregational
prayers take place and follows almost a week after a massacre at two mosques in
Christchurch, New Zealand, where 50 people were killed.
Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern pledged to ban semi-automatic weapons 24
hours after the attack.
Brenton Tarrant, 28, a self-described white supremacist, has been charged with
shows that updating the Customs Union between Turkey and EU would benefit both
two sides, the head of the EU Delegation to Turkey said on Wednesday.
trade volume between Turkey and the EU recently reached €150 billion ($170
billion), Christian Berger told a seminar in Istanbul on the customs union.
underlined that Turkish companies should comply with standards under the
framework of possible full EU membership and the Customs Union.
issues have hampered progress between the EU and Turkey, he stressed, saying:
"The EU and Turkey agree on many, many issues, we are in the same boat
when it comes to globalization, we are in the same boat when it comes to
upholding the principles of multilateralism."
only political issues but also on trade issues, upholding principles of the
World Trade Organization," Turkey and the EU stand together, he added.
on global trade conflicts, Berger said Turkey and EU also face a similar
Avdagic, head of the Istanbul Commerce of Commerce, said the EU should give
Turkey the right to participate in the Customs Union's decision mechanism and
complete Turkey’s visa liberalization process to remove obstacles to trade.
a 2016 deal, Turkey took steps to stem a tide of refugees, and the EU had
pledged to take steps on visa liberalization and updating the Customs Union.
Turkey has complained the EU failed to meet its end of the deal.
a meeting with President Emmanuel Macron, Interior Minister Christophe Castaner
proposed a clampdown on Zahra Centre France, Anti-Zionist Party, Shia
Federation of France and France Marianne TV.
statement by the Interior Ministry said the groups sympathise with Hamas “via
the internet” and “the armed wing of Hezbollah, all listed on the list of
terrorist organizations of European Union”.
police seized weapons and detained 11 people in a raid on Zahra Centre France,
one of the largest Shia centres in Europe based near the northern town of
Dunkirk, last year.
Party, Shia Federation of France and France Marianne TV had bases in the same
office as the Zahra Centre France, according to French media.
to French media, the French government froze the assets of the Shia group in a
of Iran’s Ministry of Security and Intelligence, as well as of two Iranian men
thought to be members of the country’s intelligence service, were also frozen
as part of an anti-terror raid last year.
Zahra Centre France website claims that the association provides “scientific,
educational, religious and gnostic” knowledge, as well as making films “to the
general public” exploring “social, family and religious structure”.
Centre France was founded in 2009 by Yahia Gouasmi, and appears to have two
other leaders, Tahiri Jamel and Khalid Adelkri, as its leaders according to its
media report that Mr Gouasmi supports Lebanese Islamist group Hezbollah and the
Iranian Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei. He is also the founder of the
raids were carried out according to the provisions of the tough anti-terror law
passed by the French parliament in October 2017.
official statement accused the centre's leaders of "its leaders'
pronounced support for several terrorist organisations and in favour of
movements advocating ideas contrary to the values of the republic”.
isn’t the only country to crackdown on extreme groups.
has made it a criminal offence for anyone in the UK to support Hezbollah after
the group was added to the “terrorist” organisations list in February.
Assembly slams ‘shameless, un-Islamic’ slogans at Aurat March
Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Assembly on Wednesday unanimously passed a resolution
against what they termed were “shameless and un-Islamic” slogans and placards
raised at Women’s Day march in major cities of the country.
resolution, jointly tabled by members of both the government and opposition
members of the assembly, also called for unearthing “the hidden elements
involved in a conspiracy to damage of our family system and societal
resolution was presented by Rehana Ismail from the Muttahida Majlis e Amal, and
carried the signatures of Pakistan People’s Party’s Nighat Orakzai, Awami
National Party’s Samar Bilour and Shahida, Ayesha Bano and Ayesha Naeem of the
lawmaker Ayesha Bano said that she condemns the ‘wrong aspects’ of the march,
and will stand against the un-Islamic points if raised by the people affiliated
with the NGOs.
Akram Durrani condemned the march saying that such issues are being highlighted
which have no links with our traditions or religion.
affiliated with NGOs are now planning cycle race in Peshawar. I suspect we
won’t be living with honour even at our residence,” he said. “In an Islamic
republic, my body my rules are being discussed.”
Muslim League-Nawaz lawmaker Sardar Yousuf said that the campaign being run in
the name of human rights is intolerable.
all can have freedom under the ambit of religion. We don’t want such change.”
is among the top 20 gainers on the World Happiness index this year, ranked at
67th place, a jump of eight spots from last year's ranking at 75.
United Nations Sustainable Development Solutions Network's annual World
Happiness Report ranked 156 countries based on six indicators: income per
capita, life expectancy, social support, freedom, generosity and corruption.
was once again ranked as the happiest country in the world. Denmark, Norway and
Iceland clinched the second, third and fourth positions, respectively. South
Sudan took the last spot in the ranking.
ranks highest among all of its neighbours again this year. India ranks at 140 —
seven spots lower than last year, while China is at 93, Iran at 117, Iraq at
126 and Afghanistan at 154 — just two spots above the last place. Bangladesh is
is among the top 20 gainers on the index, joined by the Philippines, and
countries from Europe, Africa and Latin America. Among the 20 largest losers
are countries from the Middle East, Africa, Western Europe, India, Malaysia,
Venezuela and Ukraine.
report also highlights the percentage of respondents in different countries
that report donating to charity or doing volunteer work over the past month. In
Pakistan, around 32.8 per cent of respondents reported donating to a charity,
while 14.2pc reported volunteering within the 30-day period.
on happiness and community
seventh World Happiness Report report focuses on happiness and community. The
central questions being asked in this year's report revolve around how
happiness has been changing over the past decade, and how information
technology, governance and social norms have influenced communities.
Minister Imran Khan on Thursday felicitated the communities that are observing
the Nauroz festival.
Happy Nauroze to all those celebrating it," he said on Twitter.
spring festival of Nauroz marks the first day of the Persian year and is
celebrated by the Parsi, Ismaili and Shia communities. It is observed in Iran,
Afghanistan, Central Asian states and parts of Pakistan, according to Radio
Gilgit-Baltistan, the government announced a two-day official holiday on
Wednesday and the traditional Tukhmrezi festival kicked off in Yasin valley in
Special prayers were offered and a vigil was held at All Saints’ Church in
Kohati here for the victims of the attack on two mosques in Christchurch, New
Zealand last Friday.
worshippers of All Saints’ Church in Kohati, Peshawar City and families of the
victims of two mosques of Christchurch have something in common -- the pain and
loss of their loved ones in a terrorist attack at a place of worship and
peace,” the religious leader leading the prayers said.
said that they felt and understood their pain and loss. “We have also been
through it. We are one in pain. Our religions are different but our pain and
loss are the same because we are human beings,” said Reverend Shahazad Murad,
who led the special prayers for the victims of the attack in Christchurch.
vigil was also held at All Saints’ Church on Wednesday evening for the victims
of the attack in New Zealand that claimed 50 lives. Many worshippers present at
the vigil recalled their own loss of the loved ones when All Saints’ Church was
attacked on September 22, 2013 and some 98 worshippers busy in Sunday services
were killed and around 150 injured.
pray for justice for those innocents, who were killed in such attacks,” said
reverend Murad, hoping the vigil would send out a message to the families of
the victims of the Christchurch that they were not alone in that hard time.
Samar, a teacher, who lost his six-year-old daughter Maira, was there to pray
for the victims of the mosque attack in Christchurch.
I heard about the attack, I was reminded of how we picked up our loved ones,
who got killed and injured in the All Saints’ Church. I was teary-eyed and I am
sad to see such attacks,” he said.
Chief Justice of Pakistan (CJP) Asif Saeed Khosa on Wednesday formed a
seven-member larger bench to ascertain the definition of “terrorism”.
larger bench, to be headed by the chief justice himself, will ascertain what
constitutes an act of terrorism and what does not.
1997 it has not been established which cases fall under the terrorism,” Justice
Khosa remarked before constituting the bench.
definition of terrorism came under discussion while the court was hearing
reviews petitions in “Sibtain versus the State” and “Fazal Bashir versus the
State” cases. The accused in the both the cases were charged under Section 7 of
the Anti-Terrorism Act (ATA), which deals with punishment for acts of
ZIARAT: At least six levies personnel were killed in
a terrorist attack on a checkpost in Ziarat on Wednesday.
to Ziarat Deputy Commissioner Qadir Bux Parkani, unidentified terrorists
attacked the checkpost situated in Sanjawi town’s area of Lal Katai. As a
result, six levies personnel were martyred.
said that the terrorists fled the scene after the attack. The security forces
cordon off the area and started further investigation.
bodies were shifted to a nearby hospital for medico-legal formalities.
statistics showing a considerable drop in overall terrorism in Pakistan in the
recent past, Balochistan has continued to experience violence, with
considerable target attacks on police and law enforcement agencies.
has rescued four Iranian soldiers being held captive by a militant group in the
country’s restive southwest, the military said in a statement Thursday.
rescue took place in Chaghi district of Balochistan province, near the Afghan
border, the statement said.
of a proscribed organisation were reported to have entered Pakistan from
Afghanistan side along with abducted Iranian soldiers,” it said.
exchange of fire, four Iranian soldiers (were) recovered,” it continued.
statement said the soldiers were being handed over to Iranian authorities,
though it did not say when. It also did not say what date the rescue took
place, or name the group holding the soldiers.
incident comes months after the extremist group Jaish al-Adl abducted 12
Iranian security personnel in October last year near the border.
of them were later released and handed back to Iran by Islamabad.
between Pakistan and Iran recently suffered another blow after Tehran said a
Pakistani suicide bomber was behind a February 13 attack that killed 27
Revolutionary Guards in its volatile southeastern province of
explosions have struck near a Shia shrine and cemetery in western Kabul as
people gathered there to mark the holiday of Nauroz, the Persian New Year, an
Afghan official said on Thursday.
were no immediate reports of casualties.
Ministry spokesman Nasrat Rahimi said Shia worshippers had come to the Karti
Sakhi shrine in the Afghan capital when the blasts took place on Thursday
morning in the Shia neighbourhood. The tradition at the shrine is to hoist
green flags and honour the dead at the cemetery by placing food at the
unclear what caused the explosions and no group immediately claimed
responsibility for the attack.
militant Islamic State group's affiliate in Afghanistan has in the past
targeted the country's Shia population. The Sunni militant group considers Shia
post-Pulwama differences bilaterally, China-led SCO tells India, Pakistan
China-led regional security bloc, Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO) has
said India and Pakistan should resolve their differences in the aftermath of
the Pulwama terror attack bilaterally, cautioning them against any spillover of
the animosity in the group.
and Pakistan also have to remain committed to fighting terrorism, the newly
appointed SCO secretary-general, Vladimir Norov said.
it would be impossible for the two States to participate in the SCO,” he added.
said the SCO members were “sincerely glad” that the “calls for restraint and a
political and diplomatic solution to bilateral conflicts from all SCO member
states were heard by the parties”.
whole world has heard clear signals from the parties not to escalate relations
and their readiness to fully understand and follow the principles established
within the organisation,” he said.
however, didn’t comment on the wide differences between India and Pakistan –
and also China – on terrorism and specific terror suspects.
and Pakistan were admitted to the six-member group in 2017 after several years
history of hostility and more recently the military engagement following the
Pulwama terror attack have put question marks on whether New Delhi and
Islamabad will be able to set aside their differences when sitting at the same
Jaish-e-Mohammed (JeM) claimed responsibility for the Pulwama attack, in which 40
CRPF soldiers were killed. But its leader Azhar Masood was saved from being
listed as a global terrorist at the United Nations – for the fourth time – by
Islamabad’s snug ally, China.
said it was disappointed by China’s decision to block Masood’s listing.
a written question, HT had asked how and whether SCO will be able to iron out
these differences on a crucial issue like terrorism among India, China, and
didn’t answer the question directly but said India and Pakistan will have to
work together in the SCO.
was addressing his first press conference held at the SCO headquarters in
Beijing on Wednesday; the other SCO members are Russia, Uzbekistan, Tajikistan,
Kazakhstan and Kyrgyzstan.
you know, before joining the SCO as full members, India and Pakistan committed
themselves to strictly implement all the provisions of the legal framework that
has been developed by the member states of the organisation,” Norov added.
of such fundamental obligations is not to bring bilateral contradictions and
disagreements to the SCO family, as the SCO is not engaged in the settlement of
disputable bilateral issues, whether border, water or other topics in relations
between individual member states,” he said.
addition, the most important condition for participation in multi-disciplinary
cooperation within the SCO is the commitment to the unconditional and
consistent struggle against terrorism, separatism, and extremism,” he said.
SCO acquired a trans-regional character with the joining of India and Pakistan.
can say that with the accession of India and Pakistan, the SCO has acquired a
trans-regional character, and in terms of its aggregate potential - the total
population, territory, reserves of natural resources, GDP - it has become the
largest organisation not only in the region but also in the world. Based on
this, many experts note that the SCO should be among the main “supporting
structures” of the future world order,” Norov said.
said counter-terrorism and cooperation in the field of security were very
important issues for SCO members.
SCO Charter defines joint counteraction to terrorism, separatism, and extremism
in all their manifestations as one of the important tasks.
said that for almost two decades, the organisation has made a significant
contribution to security and development in a vast region is an indisputable
Ambassador for Counter-Terrorism Paul Foley is visiting Bangladesh to explore
“effective ways” of preventing and countering violent extremism, regardless of
Australian High Commission said the visit from Mar 19 to Mar 21 “underlines the
importance Australia places on its security engagement with Bangladesh,
including to tackle, together, the global scourge of terrorism and violent
Commissioner Julia Niblett has welcomed the visit.
visit follows the terrorist attack on two mosques in New Zealand in which five
Bangladeshis have been killed.
issued a travel advice cautioning citizens on both New Zealand and Australia.
Australian identified as Brenton Tarrant has been charged for killing total 50
people and injuring 48 others in the gun attack on worshippers in the mosques
in Christchurch on Mar 15. The Australian man charged over the twin mosque
attacks identified himself as a ‘white supremacist’.
perpetrating the attacks on worshippers, he declared himself a “racist” in his
73-page manifesto containing slogans, poems and diatribes against immigrants
after the mosque attacks, Australian Senator Fraser Anning issued a statement
blaming mosque massacre on Muslims and expressed growing fears within the
Australian community of the increasing Muslim presence in Australia and New
an extremist stand from an Australian lawmaker triggers fears of hatred and
racism in Australia, the Bangladesh foreign ministry had said when they issues
travel advice against Australia.
Australian high commission said Ambassador Foley’s visit is a “timely
opportunity to explore with senior Bangladesh government law enforcement and
public security officials effective ways of preventing and countering violent
extremism, regardless of its origins.”
extended his heartfelt condolences to the Bangladeshi victims of the shocking
terrorist attack in Christchurch, and their families.
highlighted the statements of the Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison
condemning this atrocity in the strongest possible terms.
the Prime Minister said, Australia shares the grief of Muslim communities the
world over, and will not tolerate the rightwing extremist ideology that fuelled
this terrorist attack.”
his visit, Foley emphasised that terrorism and violent extremism are challenges
shared by all countries, the High Commission said in a statement.
a longstanding development and security partner, Australia will continue to
support Bangladesh and its people to address these threats.”
will accompany the High Commissioner, the Executive Director of the Global
Community Engagement and Resilience Fund (GCERF) Khalid Koser, and the Chair of
the GCERF Governing Board Carol Bellamy to visit GCERF-supported activities and
engage with participants, including women and youth.
Afghan border forces have seized 40 rockets which were imported to eastern
Nangarhar province with an aim to use them in terrorist attacks, the military
officials said Wednesday.
Commander of the 1st Brigade of Border Forces in the East Gen. Mohammad Ayoub
Hussain Khel said the rockets were discovered from a pickup type vehicle in
Hussain Khel further added that the anti-government armed elements had recently
imported the rockets from the other side of Durand Line in a bid to use them in
also added that three people have been arrested in connection to transportation
of rockets and are in custody of border forces.
anti-government armed militants including Taliban have not commented regarding
the report so far.
U.S. Special Representative for Afghanistan Reconciliation Ambassador Zalmay
Khalilzad will host Russian, Chinese, and European Union envoys for talks on
Representative for Afghanistan Reconciliation Ambassador Zalmay Khalilzad will
host his counterparts Presidential Special Representative Ambassador Zamir
Kabulov of Russia, Special Envoy Ambassador Deng Xijun of China, and Special
Envoy Ambassador Roland Kobia of the European Union at the Department of State
for talks on March 21 and 22,” the Department of State said in a statement.
statement further added that “Discussion topics include: international support
for the Afghan peace process, the role each party can play in bringing an end
to the war, and progress to date in peace talks.”
Afghan National Defense and Security Forces have repelled an impending Taliban
attack in eastern Nangarhar province of Afghanistan, the military sources said
security forces repelled an impending Taliban attack against their checkpoint
in Nangarhar province killing 1 Taliban fighter,” the sources said.
the meantime, the Afghan Special Forces conducted a raid in La’lpur district of
Nangarhar province killing 2 Taliban fighters and destroying 80 pounds of
sources also added that the Afghan Special Forces conducted a raid in Omnah
district of Paktiak province killing 9 Taliban fighters.
least six people have been killed and 23 others wounded in multiple explosions
in Afghanistan’s capital of Kabul during celebrations to mark Nowruz, the start
of the Persian New Year.
blasts reportedly occurred near Kabul University and the Kart-e Sakhi shrine on
Health Ministry spokesman Wahidullah Mayar announced the casualty figures,
which were confirmed by the Afghan Interior Ministry as well.
official accounts of what caused the explosions, however, were conflicting.
in Kabul said the blasts were caused by a total of three remote-controlled
explosive devices. Police spokesman Basir Mujahid said a fourth device was
defused near the university, and searches were underway for any other potential
bombs. A spokesman for the Interior Ministry said mortar shells had been fired.
And the Defense Ministry said on Twitter that three rockets had been fired.
President Ashraf Ghani called the perpetrators the “coward enemy,” without
specifying who they were.
I have come to this beautiful city of #Mazar to wish everyone a happy #Nawruz.
When we come together in unison we proclaim to be a nation united under one
flag, free of differences, we embrace our strength in national unity,
solidarity and peace.
we celebrate this auspicious day to bind us together our fellow citizens
witnessed another devastating day in #Kabul. We lost peaceful citizens to a
coward enemy that knows no bounds. I send my heartfelt condolences to the
bereaving families & wish the wounded quick recovery.
PM - Mar 21, 2019
people are talking about this
Afghan Defense Ministry also said police had arrested one suspect and secured
there was no immediate claim of responsibility for the attacks, AFP said the
Taliban militant group had denied responsibly in a message to the news agency.
year on Nowruz, a bomb attack carried out by Daesh terrorists killed 33 people
celebrating near the shrine.
Malaysia is prepared to assist the French Council of the Muslim Faith (CFCM) in
several matters for the benefit of Muslims in France, including the imams and
other Muslim elders, said Deputy Prime Minister Datuk Seri Dr Wan Azizah Wan
gave the commitment in response to her meeting with CFCM vice-president Anouar
Kbibech on Wednesday, who had also requested Malaysia’s assistance to boost
France’s halal-tourism industry, which is handled by the French Muslim
matters were discussed (at the meeting with Anouar Kbibech) for our mutual
benefits, including how Malaysia can help the Muslims in France through CFCM,
where one of them is for Malaysia to assist in introducing procedures and
provide training for imams and other Muslim elders in France.
was informed that there are about 2,500 mosques in France and CFCM has
expressed its willingness to send imams and other Muslim elders to Malaysia for
the training,” she told Bernama and RTM here today.
is the official intermediary body of the French Muslim community with the
French government in the regulation of Muslim religious activities in the
Wan Azizah said CFCM also requested Malaysia’s assistance to resolve the issue
on halal certification which the council had been working on since the past few
have invited CFCM representatives to visit Malaysia to discuss with the Malaysian
Islamic Development Department (Jakim) on the procedures for the halal
certification,” she added.
Wan Azizah said she also gave Anouar the assurance that Malaysian Ambassador to
France Datuk Dr Afzar Mohamad Mustafar would handle the requests by CFCM with
the relevant bodies in Malaysia.
the meeting, Dr Wan Azizah said she also suggested to Anouar on the setting up
of an entity similar to that of Tabung Haji in Malaysia to plan and handle haj
pilgrimage for Muslims in France.
suggested the idea to CFCM and the council may probably think how to implement
it because in France, there is no entity to manage haj pilgrimage for Muslims
in the country,” she added.
the deputy prime minister said she also invited Anouar and CFCM leaders to the
2019 International Halal Conference to be held in Kuala Lumpur next month.
Wan Azizah ended her four-day working visit to France today where the main
agenda for the visit was to chair the Unesco Management of Social
Transformation (MOST) meeting and the 14th Session of the Intergovernmental
Council (IGC) for MOST.
is a science programme involving 35 Unesco members on social transformation to
encourage social science research to be used by policy makers at the global
level. — BERNAMA
LUMPUR, March 20 — Chief Justice Tan Sri Richard Malanjum today declined to
comment on either his impending retirement or his replacement, pointing out
that this was the Yang di-Pertuan Agong’s prerogative.
if the government is under pressure to appoint a Malay-Muslim as the next chief
justice given the current political climate, Malanjum said such judicial
appointments are by the country’s ruler.
is the prerogative of Tuanku, the King. Appointment of judges by the King... So
I don’t think I have the liberty to say anything,” he told reporters when met
at Universiti Malaya.
declined to comment when asked if his tenure would be extended or if a
successor has been identified.
turned 66 years of age last October 13, and is currently serving a six-month
extension allowed under the Federal Constitution until early next month.
asked if the upcoming retirement of the top four judges would affect the
judiciary, Malanjum said there are currently “more than enough” judges in the
superior courts and that new judges are being appointed.
of March 1, the Judicial Appointments Commission’s website states that there
are 121 judges (inclusive of judicial commissioners) at the High Court, Court
of Appeal and Federal Court, with 32 vacancies for judges.
was at UM for the launch of the university’s emeritus professor Datuk Shad
Saleem Faruqi’s latest book on the Federal Constitution named, Our
the same event, Malanjum said he hoped that judges will keep the Federal
biggest challenge for us judges is to keep in mind all the time that the basic
foundation of the Constitution is the rule of law, not rule by law,” he said.
think that’s very important for us to remember, and that’s how we keep
democracy alive in this country.”
also spoke of a “courtroom-to-classroom” initiative that the judiciary will
embark on soon, where students in primary schools and secondary schools will
learn about the country’s legal and justice system.
our students may grow up not knowing the basic rights they have under the law,”
when speaking about the book, Shad Saleem said he hoped that it would help to
improve constitutional literacy in the country.
is with sadness that we note that 61 years into independence, our Constitution
has not yet become the chart and compass, the sail and anchor of our nation’s
endeavour,” he said.
said there are other ongoing efforts to improve knowledge about the Federal
Constitution including regular public lectures, regular radio programmes and a
awareness efforts will also be expanded to the National Institute of Public
Administration (Intan) where civil servants are trained and to the Foreign
Ministry, with a module on constitutional law also expected to be introduced in
secondary schools, he said.
Saleem’s book covers issues such as the Federal Constitution’s main
characteristics, citizenship, the electoral process, the judiciary, pre-Merdeka
ethnic compromises and the future of the Constitution.
said the country’s forefathers had crafted a remarkable Constitution that is a
“masterpiece of accommodation, moderation, compassion and compromise” despite
all its flaws.
its ethnic provisions, there was a great deal of moderation and compromise. The
ethnic provisions were carefully crafted to avoid the kind of ideological zeal
and extremism that had left a heritage of bitterness in many divided
societies,” he said, lauding the country’s founding leaders as having created
conditions for peace.
Constitution has in many respects seemingly reconciled the irreconcilable
conflict of interest between ethnic and religious groups in a way that has few
parallels in Asia and Africa,” he said.
describing the book, Shad Saleem said that the book is actually a “simple,
sympathetic and admiring introduction to the Federal Constitution for students,
civil servants and members of the public”.
Express case verdict: NIA should be held accountable, says former probe officer
by Rahul Tripathi
the day a special court in Panchkula acquitted all four accused in the 2007
Samjhauta Express blasts, former IPS officer Vikash Narain Rai, who had cracked
the case, on Wednesday questioned the NIA’s “complicity” and said the
prosecuting agency should be “held accountable on how these acquittals took
a 1977-batch IPS whose team traced the bag used in the blasts to a market in
Indore, said the acquittals were “bound to happen, as the entire prosecution
was trying to bury the case”.
to The Indian Express over the phone, the former director-general of law and
order, Haryana Police, questioned NIA’s handling of probe into similar cases
such as the 2007 Ajmer shrine, Mecca Masjid, and Malegaon blasts. “All these
cases are interlinked, done by the same group of people,” he maintained.
said a public prosecutor in Malegaon case has given a statement, saying she was
being pressured by the NIA to go soft in these cases. He was referring to
senior public prosecutor Rohini Salian’s interview to The Indian Express in
2015, in which she said she was asked to “go soft” in the Malegaon case. Salian
was later dropped as prosecutor from the case. The NIA subsequently filed what
was seen as a watered-down chargesheet against the suspects and dropped charges
maintaining that he has not gone through the Samjhauta case order, Rai said,
“The agency (NIA) should be held accountable as how these acquittals (in Mecca
Masjid, Ajmer and Samjhauta) happened. Whatever evidence they (NIA) collected
and witnesses’ statements against the accused, clearly the evidence and
witnesses did not stand up in court and support their (NIA’s) story.” He also
said, “If you (NIA) had any different set of evidence at your disposal, you
should have brought it to the court’s notice. I don’t think that has been done.
It all shows the agency’s (NIA’s) complicity. They have clearly botched up
their investigations. If you are not going for appeal (against acquittals), it
means you are not sure about your own case. And if you are not sure about your
own case, then why are you (NIA) not filing a supplementary chargesheet?”
said, “It is the agency (NIA) which is responsible for prosecution. The case
has gone for years. There has been no change in the stand of the investigating
agency. They (NIA) still maintain that those (arrested and charged) are accused
and the NIA has not changed their line of investigations even after the
government changed and (the agency’s) director-general changed.
on a request from Indian politician Navjot Singh Sidhu, the Pakistan government
has decided not to construct any structures on land near Gurdwara Darbar Sahib
at Kartarpur that was used by Guru Nanak for farming.
information minister Fawad Chaudhry said this decision was taken at a meeting
chaired on Tuesday by Prime Minister Imran Khan to review progress in work on
the Kartarpur Corridor, which will be opened to Indian pilgrims in November.
development came amid differences between the two countries on several issues,
including a cap proposed by Islamabad on the number of pilgrims to be allowed
through the corridor and a paid permit system. The Pakistan government has
decided not to construct any building on 30 acres used by Guru Nanak for
farming. This was done out of respect for Sikhism’s founder, Chaudhry said.
Army jawan was killed on Thursday in ceasefire violation by Pakistani troops
along the Line of Control in Jammu and Kashmir’s Rajouri district.
soldier has been identified as 24-year-old rifleman Yash Paul. He was from
Udhampur in Jammu.
violated ceasefire by heavily shelling forward areas and posts with mortar
bombs along the Line of Control in Jammu and Kashmir’s Rajouri district
Thursday, PTI reported.
troops have violated the ceasefire over 110 times along the LoC since
January.On Monday night, Pakistan army initiated unprovoked ceasefire violation
by resorting to shelling with mortar bombs and firing of small arms along the
LoC in Akhnoor and Sunderbani sectors, a defence spokesman had said.
Army soldier was killed and four others were injured Monday when Pakistan Army
violated the ceasefire by resorting to heavy mortar shelling and firing along
the LoC in Rajouri district.
border skirmishes witnessed a spurt after India’s air strike on a
Jaish-e-Mohammed terror camp in Balakot, Pakistan, on February 26 in response
to the February 14 Pulwama attack that killed 40 CRPF personnel.
out at his political opponents over the Pulwama terror attack, Prime Minister
Narendra Modi questioned why Opposition leaders are “pained” even as the
valiant Indian armed forces have hit Pakistan badly.
with chowkidars (watchmen) and security guards across India over phone, Modi
lashed out at Opposition leaders who, he said, criticised India’s response to
Pakistan after the Pulwama terror strike that killed 40 troopers. The BJP said
he reached out to 2.5 million people.
should be proud of our security forces who are always ready to risk their lives
for acts of valour. On the other hand, our Opposition parties are raising
questions after the Pulwama attack. Everyone is wondering why these leaders
can’t digest the achievements of our forces and the way they went and bombed in
the heart of Pakistan. Pakistan has been bombed, it has been hurt but these
leaders in India are in pain and crying foul,” Modi said, replying to a
question posed by Santosh Kumar, a chowkidar from Odisha.
Pakistan pe ho aur bimaar Hindustan mein ho, this can’t be tolerated (it can’t
be that the attack is in Pakistan and the reaction, in India,” Modi said.
Opposition leaders criticized the government’s inability to prevent the attack
in Pulwama and accused the government of trying to reap political gains out of
the air strikes in Pakistan’s Balakot. According to the government, the air
strikes demolished terror camps and infrastructure and killed an unaccounted
number of terrorists.
BJP’s counter offensive on the chowkidar front came months after Congress
president Rahul Gandhi coined the phrase “chowkidar chor hai” to hit out at
Prime Minister Narendra Modi over allegations of wrongdoing in the Rafale deal.
during his election rallies in 2014, told people to see him as a chowkidar who
would ensure no corruption happened on his watch, and not a Prime Minister.
must have seen that everywhere people are talking about you. Many countries
have now understood the meaning of chowkidar,” Modi told the listeners and
asked them to continue to be chowkidars against terror, corruption and filth.
am seeking your forgiveness. Our Opposition leaders have raised questions about
every chowkidar. If they had abused me, you would have been spared. I
understand the use of such language is disturbing you. But they will not stop
because impatience is in their habit. Even if a kaamdaar becomes a PM, they
will still continue to abuse him,” Modi said, reiterating one of his oft-repeated
statements about being a kaamdar (worker) and not a naamdar (dynast). He asked
chowkidars to continue their work and said they must aspire to make their
children future engineers, doctors and “even Prime Minister of this country.”
aficionados are aghast for two reasons. One, the government plans to enlist
Bollywood stars to promote the language they cannot read or write. Two, those
being considered are all Muslims.
National Council for Promotion of Urdu Language (NCPUL) is an autonomous body
under the ministry of human resource development (HRD). The artistes it has
reportedly shortlisted to carry the banner of Urdu are: Shahrukh Khan, Salman
Khan and Katrina Kaif.
lack of familiarity with the language is well known in film circles,” an Urdu
scholar told this writer. Unwilling to go on record for “personal” reasons, he
regretted that the NCPUL considered Urdu the language of a religion. If star
value, and not the felicity of language, is the guiding impulse, then why
Katrina, why not Deepika Padukone?
are of regions, not religions,” argued a popular UP-based poet. Proof of that
were circumstances that led to the creation of Bangladesh, where Muslims
considered Bengali their language, not Urdu that was sought to be imposed on
them by the political elite of West Pakistan. The Bengali cultural nationalism
the language controversy stoked had its genesis in Mohammed Ali Jinnah’s March
1948 speech at Dhaka University, in which he declared Urdu as the official
language of Pakistan.
this backdrop, to associate Urdu with any religion or faith amounts to
forgetting history apart from ignoring the language’s syncretic origin: Persian
script, but the grammar of North India’s Khadi Boli dialect.
in our subcontinent, Urdu has been the chosen language of progressive thinkers,
the legion of its ambassadors including such famous names as Faiz Ahmed Faiz,
Ismat Chugtai, Kaifi Azmi, Kunwar Mohinder Singh Bedi, Sahir Ludhianvi,
Jagannath Azad, Sardar Jafri, Jan Nisar Akhtar, Krishan Chander and Raghupati Sahay
Firaq--- better known as Firaq Gorakhpuri.
fact, the “Fasana-e-Azad” by Ratan Nath Dhar Sarshar (1846-1903) is hailed as a
novel written in “most perfect” Urdu of the Lucknow school. Inspired by
Dickens’s Pickwick Papers and Cervantes’s Don Quixote, it was translated into
Hindi by Munshi Premchand.
and connoisseurs of Urdu, the language of poets, do not come from any one
community. That the language’s eclectic following has sustained generational
shifts is evident from the oeuvre of Javed Aktar—and that of Gulzar. The list
won’t be complete without a mention of the scholarly Gopichand Narang “who
brought the beauty of Urdu to India.”
no dearth of non-Muslims even among the upcoming Urdu writers: Vikas Sharma
RAAZ, Jayant Parmar, Swapnil Tiwari, Bakul Dev, Abhinandan Pandey and Ranjeet
Chauhan to name a few. Many among them have been heard and appreciated on
platforms afforded by Rekhta Foundation, a non-profit body devoted to the
preservation and promotion of Urdu language and literature.
special court in India has acquitted four men accused of bombing a train
linking India and Pakistan 12 years ago, in an attack that killed 68 people.
victims in the February 2007 blast at the Samjhauta Express train included 43
Pakistani citizens and 10 Indians. The identities of the remaining 15 could not
ruling on Wednesday cited the lack of evidence for the acquittal of Swami
Aseemanand, Kamal Chauhan, Rajinder Chaudhary and Lokesh Sharma who were
charged by the NIA.
has failed to prove the case so the court acquitted all of them," defence
lawyer Mukesh Garg told reporters outside the court in the northern state of
Haryana on Wednesday.
to India's National Investigation Agency (NIA), which probed the case, the
attack was carried out by a Hindu far-right group to avenge similar attacks
allegedly carried out by Muslim groups with the aim of threatening the
"unity and integrity" of India.
Aseemanand, alias Naba Kumar Das, a former member of the Hindu nationalist
group Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS), had been described as the alleged
mastermind in the conspiracy.
NIA's chargesheet said that the men met at different locations across India to
plot bombings targetting Muslims.
is the second major setback for the NIA in a "terror" case allegedly
involving Hindu groups. In April last year, the NIA court had acquitted all the
11 men charged by the investigating agency in the Mecca Masjid blast case where
six people were killed in the southern city of Hyderabad.
summoned India's ambassador to protest against the acquittal.
a statement, Pakistan called it a "travesty of justice" that
reflected an "Indian state policy of promoting and protecting Hindu
Samjhauta express, also called the Friendship Express, was started in 1994 as a
goodwill measure to help families separated by the 1947 India-Pakistan
of the 299 witnesses listed by the NIA in the case turned hostile during the
course of the protracted trial, which was presided over by eight judges.
Thirteen witnesses were Pakistani citizens who never responded to a summons to
appear before the trial court, citing security concerns.
Samjhauta Express bombing was part of a string of similar attacks in 2006 and
2007 where the targets were ostensibly Muslims and investigations by the NIA
pointed to the role of Hindu groups.
first was in September 2006 when a string of explosions was set off at a Muslim
cemetery in Malegaon, a town in Maharashtra state, which killed at least 40
May 2007, a blast in the 400-year-old Mecca Masjid in Hyderabad city killed six
people and five more died when the police opened fire on people who launched a
spontaneous agitation at the site.
least two people were killed when a bomb went off at the Ajmer Dargah in the
northern state of Rajasthan in 2007.
main election rival sidesteps Palestinian statehood
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s strongest election rival, former army
general Benny Gantz, said on Tuesday he would seek peace with the Palestinians
but stopped short of endorsing their goal for statehood.
a centrist candidate, said in an interview with Hadashot TV news that Israel
has a moral obligation to “strive for peace.” “I will talk to anyone I can in
order to advance a diplomatic solution,” Gantz said.
asked whether the ultimate goal would be that of a Palestinian state, Gantz did
not give a definitive answer although he did suggest that eventually Israel
should separate from the Palestinians.
the end of the road there is a Jewish, democratic, safe and strong state with a
solid Jewish majority and what happens on the other side would be an outcome of
what happens at negotiations.”
United States is widely expected to unveil a new peace proposal after the April
9 Israeli election. The Trump administration has wavered over whether it would
endorse a Palestinian state, saying the outcome will be up to the sides to
determine, but both sides will have to compromise.
Palestinians have boycotted the Trump administration since it announced it
recognized Jerusalem as Israel’s capital and opened a new US embassy there last
year. Washington has also cut hundreds of millions of dollars of aid to the
Blue and White party has slipped in opinion polls recently, although it still
has a slight lead over Netanyahu’s Likud in most surveys. However, Netanyahu
still appears likely to win the most support from allied parties, allowing him
to form a coalition of right-wing and religious factions similar to one he now
the attorney-general announced on Feb. 28 he plans to indict Netanyahu in three
corruption cases Gantz ruled out joining a Netanyahu government. But in leaked
recordings aired on Israeli Reshet News on Monday, Gantz said that things could
change if Trump’s peace plan is put forward.
Tuesday’s interview, he said he would not join a Netanyahu government if
charges are indeed filed against the prime minister. Netanyahu, who denies any
wrongdoing, will have the chance to persuade the attorney-general to scrap the
charges at a hearing expected after the election.
Secretary of State Mike Pompeo hopes to use his first visit to Lebanon this
week to step up pressure on Iran and its local ally, Hezbollah.
will meet Friday with President Michel Aoun and will also hold talks with
Lebanon’s parliament speaker and foreign minister - all three of whom are close
will also meet with Prime Minister Saad Hariri, a close Western ally who has
been reluctant to confront Hezbollah.
spend a lot of time talking with the Lebanese government about how we can help
them disconnect from the threat that Iran and Hezbollah present to them,”
Pompeo told reporters earlier this week.
Iran-backed group has an arsenal of tens of thousands of rockets and missiles.
Its battle-hardened cadres fought Israel to a stalemate in 2006, and have
fought alongside President Bashar Assad’s army since the early days of the
Syrian civil war.
and its allies today control a majority of seats in parliament and the Cabinet,
after it managed in 2016 to help Aoun, an allied Christian leader, be elected
group has three Cabinet seats, the largest number it has ever taken, including
the Health Ministry, which has one of the largest budgets.
has angered Washington, where US officials have called on Hariri’s national
unity government to ensure Hezbollah does not tap into public resources.
has long been a political battleground in the region-wide struggle between
Washington and Tehran. But tensions have risen since President Donald Trump
withdrew from Iran’s nuclear deal with world powers and re-imposed sanctions on
United States backs a coalition of groups opposed to Hezbollah led by Hariri’s
Sunni-led Future Movement and the right-wing Christian Lebanese Forces, but
Washington’s local allies are proceeding with caution. Memories are fresh of
the clashes that erupted in May 2008, when the Shiite Hezbollah rapidly
defeated a group of Sunni opponents on the streets of Beirut.
should be careful not to push Lebanon to the brink, as Hezbollah would
retaliate if its survival is at stake,” said Joe Macaron, a resident fellow at
the Arab Center in Washington. “In the current status quo, the most effective
way to restrain Hezbollah remains within the intricate parameters of the
Lebanese political system,” he said.
United States is a strong supporter of Lebanon’s national army, supplying it
with arms and more than $1.5 billion in aid over the past decade.
his visit to Lebanon, Pompeo is expected to reiterate Washington’s support to
the Lebanese army. In return, he is expected to demand that Lebanon’s Central
Bank act to prevent Iran from using the country’s banking sector to evade
is scheduled to visit Russia later this month for talks with President Vladimir
Putin. The two are expected to discuss a number of topics, including the return
of Syrian refugees and oil and gas exploration in the Mediterranean, which has
been a source of tension between Lebanon and Israel.
Palestinian was killed by Israeli gunfire in the occupied West Bank,
Palestinian medics said, and the military announced on Thursday that a soldier
had discharged his weapon and it was reviewing the incident.
Palestinian Red Crescent said one of its crews treated a man with two bullet
wounds at an Israeli military roadblock near the city of Bethlehem on Wednesday
and that Israeli forces had shot him.
gave no details about the circumstances of the night-time shooting. The
Palestinian Health Ministry identified the man as a 26-year-old from Bethlehem
and said another Palestinian had also been shot and critically wounded. Hours
later, the Israeli military issued a statement saying that a soldier stationed
at a post near Bethlehem had “identified rocks being thrown at Israeli vehicles
(and) in response, he fired his weapon.”
statement did not identify the soldier’s intended target and some Israeli media
reports said warning shots were fired in the air, suggesting the two
Palestinians may have been hit unintentionally. “A report was received
regarding injured Palestinians, details regarding the incident are being
reviewed and the incident will be examined,” the military said.
have been high in the West Bank since a Palestinian killed an Israeli soldier
and a rabbi in a stabbing and shooting attack in the territory on Sunday.
US ambassador to Yemen blamed the Iran-aligned Houthi movement on Thursday for
the stalling of a UN-led peace deal in the main port of Hodeidah and said the
group's weapons pose a threat to other countries in the region.
Yemeni government and the Houthis reached a ceasefire and troop withdrawal deal
for Hodeidah, which is under Houthi control, at talks in Sweden in December.
The agreement was the first major breakthrough in efforts to end more than four
years of war.
the truce has largely held, the troop withdrawal has yet to materialize with
both parties blaming each other for lack of progress in implementing the pact.
are greatly frustrated by what we see as delays and stalling on the part of the
Houthis in implementing what they agreed to in Sweden, but I have great
confidence in the UN envoy and what he is doing,” ambassador Matthew Tueller
told a televised news conference in the southern port of Aden, where the
internationally recognized government is based.
soldiers have attacked a civilian vehicle near the West Bank city of Bethlehem,
killing a Palestinian man.
Palestinian health ministry said Ahmed Manasara, 26, was shot dead on Wednesday
near a checkpoint close to Bethlehem, without providing further details.
Israeli military claimed that a soldier had "opened fire after identifying
rocks being thrown at Israeli vehicles."
incident will be examined," the army said in a statement early Thursday.
Palestinian news agency Wafa said Manasara was in the car when he was shot
dead, with another Palestinian in the car seriously wounded.
are high in the West Bank over ongoing Israeli aggression at the al-Aqsa Mosque
compound in the Old City of Jerusalem al-Quds.
Sunday, the Jerusalem al-Quds Magistrate's Court announced that it had accepted
a request by Israeli officials to temporarily close Bab al-Rahma (Gate of
Mercy) prayer area at the al-Aqsa Mosque compound.
prayer area of the al-Rahma Gate was closed on February 25 upon an order by
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, and reopened the following day.
had closed the gate that leads to the prayer space in al-Aqsa Mosque since 2003
in the face of the Second Intifada (uprising) against the regime’s occupation.
February 22, however, the Waqf Council, which oversees the holy sites at the
al-Aqsa Mosque compound, decided to re-open the prayer space at the Bab
al-Rahma Gate in defiance of Israel’s 16-year-old ban. Hundreds of worshipers,
led by the Grand Mufti of Jerusalem al-Quds, Sheikh Muhammad Hussein, entered
the area for the first time since 2003 for Friday prayers.
by the move, the Tel Aviv regime launched an arrest campaign against
Palestinians. The arrests drew criticisms from Palestinians and Jordan. The
Islamic Waqf organization and Palestinian institutions have insisted on keeping
the Bab al-Rahma prayer area open for Muslim worship.
president wants to amend constitution to dilute PM’s power
president called on Wednesday for changes to the new constitution to give the
presidency more power, in the latest escalation of a dispute between the two
highest offices in the country.
constitution, adopted in 2014 after the uprising of 2011 that ousted autocrat
Zine El Abidine Ben Ali, significantly erodes the previously extensive power of
the presidency and gives the prime minister and parliament a much bigger role.
President Beji Caid Essebsi and Prime Minister Youssef Chahed have been at
loggerheads since last year, culminating in the president’s son being suspended
from the ruling party in September.
has called on Chahed to resign but he defied him and formed a new governing
coalition last November with the moderate Islamist Ennahda party.
with a parliamentary election due in October and a presidential vote starting
in November, Essebsi is calling for an overhaul of the nation’s ruling charter.
parliamentary race is expected to be fought closely by Ennahda, the more
secular Tahya Tounes party of Chahed, and the Nidaa Tounes party now led by
Hafedh Caid Essebsi, the president’s son. No one has yet declared their
candidacy for the presidency.
president has no major functions and the executive power is in the hands of the
prime minister,” Essessbi said in a speech broadcast on state television at the
Palace of Carthage to mark Independence Day.
would be better to think about amending some chapters of the constitution,” he
said. The president controls defense and foreign policy - both in reality
relatively minor policy areas.
political wrangling over the past months has alarmed donors who have kept the
country afloat with loans granted in exchange for a promise of reforms such as
cutting a bloated public service.
president’s son has accused Chahed of failing to tackle high inflation,
unemployment and other problems.
inflation hit a record high of 7.5 percent in 2018 as the dinar currency
tanked, making food imports more expensive.
United Nations will hold a conference in the Libyan town of Ghadames between
April 14 and 16 to discuss solutions to the country’s conflict, the United
Nations’ Libya envoy said on Wednesday.
hope it will be a new opening for the country for stability,” Ghassan Salame
US military may be guilty of war crimes for killing large numbers of civilians
in a sharply stepped-up campaign of airstrikes in Somalia over the past two
years, Amnesty International said.
rights group said it had been able to document 14 civilians killed in
investigations of just five air strikes, a tiny fraction of at least 110
strikes as such that the US military says it has launched since June 2017.
US military rejected Amnesty’s report, saying it has killed 800 militants in
air strikes in Somalia over that period but has not wounded or killed a single
currently assess no civilian casualties have occurred as a result of any US
Africa Command air strikes,” the US military’s Africa command AFRICOM said in
an emailed response to Reuters.
Castner, Amnesty International’s Senior Crisis Advisor on Arms and Military
Operations, said the civilian death toll in the small number of air strikes the
rights group was able to investigate suggested that the “shroud of secrecy
surrounding the US role in Somalia’s war is actually a smokescreen for
of the US government forces who planned and carried out the air strikes may
have committed violations of international humanitarian law, including unlawful
killings, which could amount to war crimes,” Amnesty’s report said.
one of the poorest countries in the world, has been in a state of civil war and
profound insecurity since 1991. In recent years, the US military has been
supporting a UN-backed government in Mogadishu fighting against an insurgency
by the al-Shabaab militant group.
March 2017, President Donald Trump gave the military greater authority to carry
out strikes and raids in Somalia, including without waiting for militants to
attack US allies.
a statement, AFRICOM, said: “We have processes in place to ensure the safety
and protection of the local population remains a top priority. These
procedures, combined with precision strike capabilities, safeguard civilians
US air strike this week killed four people – an employee of mobile phone
company Hormuud Telecoms and three unidentified passengers – a relative of one
of the victims told Reuters on Tuesday.
said it had killed three militants in an air strike on Monday, adding it was
aware of reports alleging civilian casualties and would review the information
about the incident.
report investigated five air strikes in Lower Shabelle region. It concluded
that 14 civilians had died and eight were injured.
was pushed out of the capital Mogadishu in 2011 but retains a strong presence
in parts of southern and central Somalia. The militants said US attacks inflict
damage on local residents and encourage relatives of victims to join them.
of Nigerians held a rally in the capital Abuja on Wednesday to express support
for prominent Shia cleric Shiekh Ibrahim Zakzaky.
slogan-chanting protesters called on authorities to immediately release Sheikh
Zakzaky and his wife.
the leader of the Islamic Movement in Nigeria, has been held in detention since
December 2015 and was charged just in April 2018 with murder, culpable
homicide, unlawful assembly, disruption of public peace and other accusations.
He has pleaded not guilty.
2016, Nigeria’s federal high court ordered his unconditional release from jail
following a trial, but the government has so far refused to set him free.
top cleric, who is in his mid-sixties, lost his left eyesight in a raid which
was carried out by the Nigerian army on his residence in the northern town of
Zaria in December 2015.
Hidden US War in Somalia." That is what Amnesty International names its
recent report on the United States' military involvement in Somalia that has
witnessed a substantial rise in US airstrikes and "unlawful
killings," which could well amount to "war crimes."
April 2017, the US "has dramatically increased the number of airstrikes -
from manned aircraft and unmanned drones - it has launched in Somalia, tripling
the annual rate of attacks," according to the report published on
London-based rights group documented 14 civilians killed in just five
airstrikes, in Lower Shabelle region, which its researchers investigated in
Pentagon has stepped up airstrikes against alleged positions of al-Shabab
militants in the country in the wake of President Donald Trump’s approval in
2017 of expanded military operations there.
which has long sought to topple Somalia’s Western-backed government, was forced
out of Mogadishu with the help of African Union forces in 2011. Despite being
ousted from large parts of the south and central Somalia, the al-Qaeda-linked
militant outfit, continues deadly attacks across the country, which has been
ravaged by decades of war and poverty.
of the US government forces who planned and carried out the airstrikes may have
committed violations of international humanitarian law, including unlawful
killings, which could amount to war crimes," Amnesty said.
reaction, the US Africa Command (AFRICOM) has rejected Amnesty’s report. It
claims al-Shabab terrorists make up all the casualties.
June 2017, AFRICOM conducted 110 airstrikes in Somalia, eliminating more than
800 terrorists," AFRICOM said in a statement, adding that "our
assessments found that no AFRICOM airstrike resulted in any civilian casualty
military expert Brian Castner said “the civilian death toll we've uncovered in
just a handful of strikes suggests the shroud of secrecy surrounding the US
role in Somalia's war is actually a smokescreen for impunity."
findings directly contradict the US military's mantra of zero civilian casualties
in Somalia," Castner added.
Monday, the US conducted an airstrike claiming the lives of an employee of
mobile phone company Hormuud Telecoms and three unidentified passengers, a
relative of one of the victims told Reuters on Tuesday.
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