in Isfahan attend a mass funeral on Feb. 16, 2019 for those killed in suicide
car bombing earlier in the week. (AP)
Dargah Ala Hazrat Shares Grief of Pulwama Martyrs’ Families, Says Bloodshed of
Innocents is Against Islam
This Hindu-Muslim Wedding In Lucknow, India, Is Not 'Love Jihad'
Wants Masood Azhar on UN Blacklist, Saudi-Pak Joint Statement Is A Snub
Will ‘Immediately Intervene’ If Pakistan Doesn’t Eliminate Terrorists
Calls upon Pakistan to Let Masood Azhar Be Placed On UN Terror List
Young, It’s Better than Free Mixing of Sexes, Says PAS Man
World League Aims to Bridge Gap between Nations ‘Through Dialogue’
Adopts 'Moral' Stance on ISIS Children
e Islami Bangladesh re-branding as Freedom and Justice Party
Seeks Urgent UN Intervention to De-Escalate Fresh Tensions with India
Crown Prince Arrives Today, New Delhi, Riyadh to Set Up Strategic Partnership
Leadership Wiped Out in Less Than 100 Hours of Pulwama Terror Attack, Says Army
Arabia’s position on Jammu and Kashmir, terror has evolved: India
due process, Pakistan should free Kulbhushan Jadhav, India tells World Court
leader Mohammad Abass Ansari wants security cover withdrawn
wing wants ‘hurdles’ for Chinese firms in country
Forces Attack Worshipers, Reseal Al-Aqsa Mosque Gate
army kills 20 Houthi militants, injures several others in Dhale governate
government, Houthis to start first phase of Hodeidah pullout
arrests three ‘terrorists’ for suicide bomb attack
Saudi Arabia has supported Yemen with more than $13 bln
slams deadly terrorist attack on army checkpoint in Egypt's Sinai
buys $1.8 billion US arms amid Yemen war
freeze of Palestinians' money amounts to piracy: PLO official
illegitimate presence in Syria contributes to instability: Lavrov
Army says still backing Saudi-led war on Yemen
Are Still Mired In Religious Controversies despite Knowing That It Will Not
as usual in Semenyih for PAS and Umno
Takes ISIL's Gold Treasure Out of Eastern Syria after Agreement with Terrorists
Arabia Calls Iran World’s Chief Sponsor of Terrorism
official fires back after Iran blames attack on Riyadh
Arabia, Pakistan affirm Palestinians’ right to establish own state
police officers killed after terror suspect blows himself up near Al-Azhar
Mosque in Cairo
bombing kills 24 in Syria’s Idlib
force won’t release extremists, but warns they could escape
US cannot back forces who align with Syria’s Assad
report reveals Saudi minister Jubeir’s links with Mossad
minister: ISIS bride must answer for time in Syria
Smuggler: Sleeper Cells and ‘Undead’ Suicide Bombers Have Infiltrated Europe
denies claims of ‘commitments’ to UK on Yemen
attempted to create new Mideast dividing lines at anti-Iran Warsaw forum:
militants killed, wounded in Zabul province in past one week: officials
militants killed, wounded in Ghazni province: 203 Thunder Corps
peace efforts not aimed at seeking ways for exit from Afghanistan: Khalilzad
militants killed while placing an IED in a graveyard in Kandahar
and U.S. envoy agree on new working method for peace process
offer full support for any investigation in Pulwama attack: Imran Khan
for $21bn Saudi investment finalised
police fails to arrest men behind Defence car blast
postpone meetings in Pakistan over travel curbs
Yet to Build Planned Rehab Centers for ex-Boko Haram Fighters
Haram: 35,000 flee Nigeria for Cameroon
Haram kills two soldiers in Borno
vendor killed after police fired tear gas at Khartoum rally
Haram kills 2 soldiers in NE Nigeria: Security sources
terrorists returned to Tunisia in 7 years'
by New Age Islam News Bureau
Delhi: Dargah Ala Hazrat in Uttar Pradesh’s Bareilly on Monday urged the
government to ‘end terrorism’ in wake of the Pulwama terror strike and
reiterated that bloodshed of innocents is against the teachings of Islam.
Dargah released a statement that read, “There is no place for terrorism in
Islam, and the Muslims do not give shelter to any terrorist”.
condemning the Pulwama terrorist attack in south Kashmir on Thursday, Sajjad
Nusheen Subhan Raja Khan said, “The incident of Pulwama embarrassed the
humanity. I appeal to the government to end the terrorism.”
condolences to the families of 40 CRPF martyrs, Dargah’s spokesperson Nasir
Qureshi added, “Our dargah supports the martyrs’ families in their grief. Those
are shedding the blood of innocents are the enemies of Islam and they are
defaming our religion across the world.”
Dargah’s directives read that the Muslim community should be united against
those perpetuating terrorism.
many as 40 CRPF personnel were blown to bits and five others injured on
February 14, Thursday, when an explosive-laden SUV rammed their bus in Pulwama.
Soon after the attack, Pakistan harboured terrorist outfit Jaish-e-Mohammad
(JeM) took responsibility for the terror
strike. The convoy of 78 buses, in which around 2,500 CRPF officers and jawans
were travelling from Jammu to Srinagar, came under attack around 3:15pm last
a time when marriages of Hindu-Muslim couples invite the anger of right-wing
organisations and lead to violence in India, a high-profile interfaith wedding
on Sunday evening in Lucknow has invited chuckles.
wedding at Taj Vivanta hotel in the capital of northern India’s Uttar Pradesh
state was attended by senior leaders of Bharatiya Janata Party, including the
state Governor Ram Naik, BJP general secretary Ram Lal, central minister
Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi and several ministers of the BJP government in UP.
Gupta weds Faizan Kareem,” read a sign at the hotel lobby directing guests to
the pool side wedding on Sunday evening.
of Hindu girls to Muslim boys or vice versa are not uncommon but in recent
years such weddings have created a political storm and led to violence. The BJP
and its affiliated outfits accuse Muslims youths of luring Hindu girls and
label such relationships as “love jihad”. The term love jihad is used to spread
fears that Muslim youths seduce Hindu girls in order to convert them to Islam,
a concern which officials in several states have dismissed as social media
rumours. In the last five years, the police have investigated such claims and
found no evidence of forced conversion of Hindu girls.
the last five years, love jihad has dominated political and social media
discourse and in one such case, it was investigated by National Investigative
Agency, India’s top counter-terror agency. The NIA investigated 11 interfaith
marriages in Kerala and the agency did not find found any evidence of forced
most prominent case of Hadiya (formerly Akhila Ashokan), a 24-year-old Hindu
woman, who converted to Islam and married Shafin Jahan, had dominated headlines
last year after the Kerala High Court annulled her marriage. Following the NIA
investigation in October last year, the Supreme Court upheld the marriage and
said Hadiya had the right to choose her partner.
love jihad continues to be a controversial term and the right wing outfits have
violently attacked interfaith couples in several states. In several cases
across the country, interfaith couples have approached police and courts,
seeking protection from rightwing elements.
to the high profile interfaith wedding in Lucknow, a journalist said: “Where is
love jihad brigade now, the RSS outfits had recently attacked a couple in
bride Shriya Gupta is a Lucknow girl and schooled in Loreto convent, a Catholic
institution. She is the niece of BJP leader Ram Lal, a powerful general
secretary of the BJP, a party that has spearheaded campaign against interfaith
marriages during elections. Shriya’s husband, Faizan Kareem is the son of Dr
Wijahat Kareem and Dr Surheeta Chatterji Kareem, who is a Congress leader in
wedding is a private matter and I can’t say much but one cannot overlook the
hypocrisy of the politicians,” he added. “I hope that people who get provoked
by this love jihad bogey are able to see through hypocrisy of the political
looks like what is good for the goose is not good for the gander. A Muslim
friend married a Hindu girl in Lucknow only to be hounded by the police and
rightwing elements for months on end. The cops would not just raid his house
every few days in the middle of the night, they would conduct similar
unauthorised searches in the homes of his friends and relatives,” recalled
Indian expat Mohsin, 45. “The couple lived in fear. The girl was 24 years old
at the time of her marriage but her parents lodged a police complaint saying she
was a minor. The police knew she wasn’t and would refuse to listen or reason
with us,” he said.
2017, Facebook drew sharp criticism after a user from Bangalore posted a list
of 100 interfaith couples, inviting Hindus to hunt them down. The controversial
post was taken down after widespread criticism.
day before Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman lands in Delhi for a
bilateral visit, Riyadh signed off on a joint statement with Pakistan Monday
where they said there was a need to avoid “politicisation of the UN listing
regime” — an apparent reference to India’s efforts to list Jaish-e-Mohammad
chief Maulana Masood Azhar as a “global terrorist”.
has claimed responsibility for the terrorist attack in Pulwama, the single
bloodiest attack in Kashmir in the last three decades of militancy. The issue
of Azhar’s listing and how China has been blocking Delhi’s efforts to designate
Azhar as a global terrorist — at Pakistan’s behest — is a key issue the Indian
Foreign Secretary has been highlighting in his meetings with envoys from G-20
countries, including Saudi Arabia.
was no official response from the Ministry of External Affairs but the
Saudi-Pakistan joint statement clearly belies India’s expectations.
puts a stamp of approval on Pakistan’s narrative that India is trying to
politicise the UN listing process.
before the joint statement, the Ministry of External Affairs Secretary
(economic relations) T S Tirumurti, who handles ties with the country, said
that the Kingdom has shown “greater understanding” of India’s terrorism-related
concerns and has agreed to work with India in countering this global menace.
Kingdom of Saudi Arabia has strongly condemned and denounced the terrorist
attack on Indian security forces in Pulwama on 14 February. We appreciate
Kingdom’s cooperation in security and counter terrorism areas over the years.
During the visit of PM Modi to Saudi Arabia in 2016, an MoU on cooperation in
exchange of intelligence related to money laundering and terrorism financing
was signed,” understanding of our terrorism-related concerns and also agreed to
work with India in countering this global menace,” Tirumurti said on Monday.
the joint statement did not reflect these sensitivities as it not only praised
Pakistan’s “achievements” in the war against terrorism but was also seen to be
backing Islamabad on the listing regime.
Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and the Islamic Republic of Pakistan reiterated their
commitment to continue combating extremism and terrorism and expressed their
deep appreciation for the achievements and sacrifices made by the two sides in
the war against terrorism.
also applauded the martyrs who sacrificed their lives in order to confront this
serious scourge and called on the international community to shoulder its responsibilities
to join all international efforts to combat global terrorism. They also
underlined the need for avoiding politicization of UN listing regime,” the
joint statement said.
Saudi Crown Prince “praised openness and efforts of Prime Minister Imran Khan
for dialogue with India and the opening of the Kartarpur crossing point for
Sikh pilgrims, the joint statement said.
also pointed out to the “efforts exerted by both sides, stressing that dialogue
is the only way to ensure peace and stability in the region to resolve
Will ‘immediately intervene’ if Pakistan doesn’t eliminate terrorists
of General Staff of Iranian Armed Forces, Major General Mohammad Bagheri,
warned on Monday that Tehran will intervene if terrorist presence in Pakistan
is not addressed and eliminated “immediately”.
Iranian news agency, IRNA, quoted Bagheri as saying that if training camps and
their activities in some areas of Pakistan continue “for any reason
whatsoever,” Iran will immediately intervene.
said that the country will exercise this option if “it needs to” as it is
Tehran’s “international and legitimate right” as per the United Nations
bears great responsibility in terms of defending its borders and purging
neighboring lands with Iran from terror groups,” he said.
said that terrorists set up secret bases in Tehran. He also accused Saudi
Arabia and the United Arab Emirates of training, equipping and organizing these
groups in order to destabilize Iran.
on last week’s suicide car bomb, that killed at least 27 members of the
Revolutionary Guard, Bagheri said that talks with Pakistani leaders have
said that a team of Pakistani officials visited Iran and discussions are taking
place with the Pakistani leadership.
asked the Pakistani authorities to either purge the territories where terrorist
groups are stationed or to allow Iranian forces to enter these (areas) and
confront them,” Bagheri said.
said that the Pakistani army started an operation in the Balochistan region on
Sunday but added that these efforts may not yield the desired results. As a
result, Iran and Pakistan continue to discuss ways to ensure security.
another meeting with the country’s armed forces personnel in Qom, Bagheri spoke
of Iran’s capability to tackle such threats.
said that all of Iran’s borders are secure and the country’s military and
defense units are ready to respond to any threat even if it is kilometers away
from its borders.
calls upon Pakistan to let Masood Azhar be placed on UN terror list
The United States is urging Pakistan not to oppose moves to put
Jaish-e-Mohammad and its leader Masood Azhar on a UN list of global terrorists,
diplomatic sources told Dawn.
message has been conveyed to Pakistani officials in Islamabad and to Pakistani
diplomats in Washington,” one of the sources said.
this week, India urged the international community to support its move to place
Jaish and its leader on a UN list of terrorists that would also require
Pakistan to take punitive action against both.
the Indian media reported on Monday that New Delhi “would only push” for this “if
China indicated its support”.
the past, China blocked several Indian moves to achieve this target.
once again sought international support for its move after this week’s
terrorist attack in Pulwama that killed more than 40 Indian soldiers.
a Chinese official indicated on Friday that while Beijing strongly condemned
the terrorist attack in Pulwama, it was not yet ready to support India’s UN
moves against Jaish and Masood Azhar.
China’s statement, India is unlikely to push the Azhar ban in the UNSC until
they get a green light from China,” The Times of India reported.
Washington, however, the Pulwama attack generated great sympathy for India.
stand with India as it confronts terrorism. Pakistan must not provide safe
haven for terrorists to threaten international security,” tweeted US Secretary
of State Michael Pompeo.
a separate statement, the State Department called on “all countries to uphold
their responsibilities pursuant to UN Security Council resolutions to deny safe
haven and support for terrorists”.
National Security Adviser John Bolton telephoned his Indian counterpart Ajit
Doval and then issued a statement, reminding all UN members, including
Pakistan, to “uphold UNSC responsibilities to deny safe haven and support for
his statement did not include two key points that an Indian statement on the
Doval-Bolton call attributed to him:
support for India’s “right to self defence” and offering “all assistance to
words attributed to Mr Bolton were interpreted in India as indicating US
support for any possible Indian military action against Pakistan.
the points that the Indian media built its narrative on were also missing from
US media reports on the Pulwama attack and its consequences.
the media pointed out that the attack had placed Washington “in an awkward
media noted that Washington wants Islamabad’s help to end the war in
Afghanistan and senior US officials have cautiously praised Pakistan’s help in
recent months toward the Afghan peace process.
Trump’s emphasis on a pullout from Afghanistan increases Pakistan’s importance
to US regional policy,” one such report claimed.
US government might continue to condemn Pakistan for providing terrorist groups
with a safe haven, but that would be the possible extent of its support for
India,” argued a Stanford scholar Asfandyar Mir in an article he wrote for The
important as the long-term India-US relationship may be in the eyes of US strategists,
the needs of the conflict in Afghanistan — and Pakistan’s role there — are
likely to take precedence in the short run,” he wrote.
young, it’s better than free mixing of sexes, says PAS man
JAYA: A Kelantan MP’s view on teen pregnancy and underage marriage reveals the
vast difference between some conservative Muslims and rights advocates in
addressing the problems.
Abdullah Mat Nawi, a PAS MP representing Tumpat, the northernmost constituency
in Kelantan which borders Thailand, blames teen pregnancies and baby-dumping on
the authorities’ failure to stop what he terms the free mixing of the opposite
see this a lot in Kuala Lumpur,” he told FMT.
go riding on motorbikes but I know they are not married. They go to islands and
beaches. They have babies, and then throw them away.”
disagrees with calls to raise the minimum legal age of marriage to 18, which
have gained momentum following a series of cases of young girls married off to
men twice or three times their age.
also said getting married at a young age should not be seen as an obstacle for
men and women to further their studies.
many people got married and still furthered their education? I got married when
I was 23 years old. I did my masters in accounting when I was 32. I had four
I don’t think marriage stops anyone from continuing their education,” said
Abdullah, who is now the father of 12 children.
Muslim women’s empowerment group Sisters In Islam criticised the Kelantan
government for not supporting Prime Minister Dr Mahathir Mohamad’s call to
raise the minimum legal age for marriage to 18 years.
are disappointed that Kelantan and Terengganu have opted to retain child
marriage in the states, with Kelantan citing last November that the practice is
regarded as a ‘necessity’ in the state,” it said.
marriages have been widely debated in the media since June last year when a
41-year-old Kelantan man took an 11-year-old girl as his bride.
following month, Deputy Prime Minister Dr Wan Azizah Wan Ismail said the
government would amend the laws to raise the marriageable age for girls from 16
also reportedly urged state governments during a meeting of menteris besar and
chief ministers in October to raise the minimum age for marriage to 18 years
for both Muslims and non-Muslims.
said the main problem was the free mixing of genders.
said unmarried couples caught for khalwat, or close proximity, should be
married off as they would become more responsible after that.
me, we should not stop kids from getting married yet allow them to mix around.
It is better for them to get married,” he said.
also dismissed concerns that young parents would be unable to support their
believe we give birth and God gives sustenance. I have 12 children. I never
worry about how I am going to feed the babies.
time I have a baby, it is fed,” he said.
World League aims to bridge gap between nations ‘through dialogue’
The Muslim World League (MWL) aims to foster cooperation between Muslims and
followers of other faiths and to clarify concepts of Islam to non-Muslims
through dialogue, said MWL Secretary-General Dr. Mohammed Al-Issa.
expressed these views during events hosted by the Washington Institute for Near
East Policy and the National Council on US-Arab Relations (NCUSAR) during a
visit to Washington, DC.
meetings were attended by the heads of both organizations, as well as a number
of religious, political and intellectual figures in the US, and covered a range
of topics ranging from history to current affairs.
also said the MWL wants to enable relief and development work in impoverished
or devastated parts of the world.
sought to allay confusion in the West about certain concepts at both meetings,
including distinctions between doctrinal strictness and intellectual extremism,
the concept of “jihad,” the “Ummah” (Muslim nation), the “Khilafah”
(Caliphate), the meaning of “kufr” (disbelief) in Islam, the relationship
between Muslims and other faiths, and whether Muslims hate Western culture. He
also answered questions on the differences between Al-Qaeda and Daesh, both of
which, he insisted, “remained dangerous” despite the former’s “dormancy” and
the latter’s territorial losses.
also addressed historical discrepancies going back to the medieval period,
pointing out that many Muslims in history referred to the Crusades as the
“Frankish Wars,” explaining that “the term emerged at the time because Muslims
were certain that true Christianity would not act as such. These campaigns had
also devastated Orthodox Christian villages.”
the historical and spiritual relationship between the East and the West,
Al-Issa said: “The religious and cultural gap has not been addressed in many
cases in the right way, producing a lack of understanding between the East and
also went some way toward addressing various interpretations in Islam,
including of jihad (which he said did not imply the imposition of Islam through
force, but instead championed fighting injustice, aggression and persecution
against fellow Muslims) and the application of the “jizyah” on non-Muslims.
was also asked to comment on the ascent of Muslim members of the US Congress,
particularly the first female members, Rep. Rashida Tlaib and Rep. Ilhan Omar
during the recent midterm elections. When asked if he had any advice for the
pair, Al-Issa said: “Like all other members of Congress, they must perform
their national duty and remain worthy of the trust of the American people.”
adopts 'moral' stance on ISIS children
Russian President Vladimir Putin is infamous for waging ruthless campaigns
against terror groups at home and abroad, his conciliatory approach to children
of ISIS has fallen under the spotlight in recent weeks.
part of an ongoing programme to repatriate Russian children from Iraq and
Syria, 27 children arrived in Moscow by plane from Iraq earlier this month.
question of how foreign governments should deal with citizens who joined ISIS
has become more pertinent in recent months as its members slowly trickled from
the group’s final stronghold in the Syrian desert following an assault by
US-backed Kurdish and Arab troops, known as the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF).
Kremlin’s approach to ISIS children, some observers say, may offer a solution
to Western governments who have so far been content to see their citizens tried
in Iraqi courts or held in Kurdish detentions centers.
is a rare example of Russia being ahead of Western democracies on a
humanitarian issue," says Ekaterina Sokirianskaia, director of the
Conflict Analysis and Prevention Centre. "Russia gets to say: 'we are
morally superior. We treat children as victims.'"
officials working on the repatriations from Iraq say the children do not pose
any security threat and that they have been encouraged to reintegrate into
normal life on their arrival home.
attend school and kindergarten. Volunteers work with them and talk to them
about what they have been through, explaining how they have been
indoctrinated," Kheda Saratova, an advisor to Chechnya leader Ramzan
Kadyrov, told Agence France-Presse.
group of children who arrived in February are among an estimated 200 to have
been returned since reports of the programme first appeared in state-run media
in late 2017. But according to Ms Saratova, some 1,400 are still stuck in Iraq
are being returned to predominantly Muslim republics in the North Caucasus
region of Russia. More than 3,000 Russian citizens, many from Chechnya and
Dagestan in southern Russia, are believed to have joined armed groups in Iraq
and Syria and remain there today.
Gazeta, a Russian investigative newspaper, reported earlier this month that as
many as 900 Russian speakers from the North Caucasus and Central Asia are holed
up in Idlib in northwestern Syria, the last stronghold of rebel opposition to
President Bashar Assad.
December last year, when 30 more children were returned, the program – which
originally included women as well as children – was put on hold for nearly a
year over what analysts said was a disagreement within the government over
Bortnikov, the head of Russia’s FSB intelligence service, noted last year that
many women with children exiting conflict zones have been used by militants as
suicide bombers or recruiters.
Putin, however, has argued that the children are not responsible and that the
Russian authorities have “no right” to leave them in Iraq and Syria.
late 2017, the Russian president described efforts to return children as “a
very honourable and correct deed”.
Ramzan Kadyrov, the strongman leader of the Chechen republic credited with
kick-starting the programme, saving women and children serves as a welcome
opportunity to rebrand his image as a ruthless authoritarian.
very good for the image of Kadyrov. He seems somebody who doesn't just use
violence against terrorists but who builds mosques and hands out humanitarian
aid,” Grigory Shvedov, who edits a Caucasus-focused news website Caucasian
Knot, told AFP.
bringing the children back to Russia gives the authorities – and Mr Kadyrov in
particular – greater control over what might otherwise be turned into a new
generation of militants, according to Ms Sokirianskaia.
Mr Kadyrov, "any Chechen out of his control is a potentially dangerous
Chechen," she says.
several key figures of Jamaat e Islami Bangladesh (JIB) have started the
process of giving the pro-militancy party a new shape by copying the tactics of
Muslim Brotherhood. This was mentioned by Barrister Abdur Razzaq, Assistant
Secretary General of JIB in an interview with vernacular daily the Prothom Alo.
Razzak has recently ‘resigned’ from JIB in protest of the party’s unwillingness
in seeking apology for its nefarious role during the war of independence of
Bangla-speaking in 1971. It may be further mentioned here that, prior to his
‘resignation’ from Jamaat e Islami, Razzaq was playing key-role in maintaining
communications with the Western policymakers on behalf of this pro-militancy
radical Islamic party. Although Razzaq’s so-called resignation and subsequent
expulsion of a couple of JIB leaders have generated enthusiasm within the
anti-JIB forces, particularly the ruling Awami League, the reason behind this
‘resignation’ and ‘expulsion’ are part of the masterplan of re-branding the
party and re-emergence of it under the banner of Freedom and Justice Party of
Bangladesh, copying Muslim Brotherhood. Majority of JIB leaders are convinced,
if they can rebrand the party by changing it from Jamaat e Islami to Freedom
and Justice Party, it can eventually come to power in a Muslim dominated
Bangladesh with a “landslide” victory in the general election, similarly as
Turkish Islamo-fascist, Reception Tayyip Erdogan’s Freedom and Justice Party
to a question by the Prothom Alo on the reason behind his earlier efforts in
bringing reform within Jamaat e Islami, Razzaq said, “If you want to lead a
country, you need to understand the realities of that country. You are doing
politics and for that, you need to adopt policies of expanding your reach
within the society to politically face other parties. Take the example of Muslim
Brotherhood in Egypt. By re-branding it as Freedom and Justice Party, they
succeeded in expanding its reach (in the society). Look into the history of AK
Party in Turkey. They also have gone through reforms. Shouldn’t they adopt such
reforms, they wouldn’t be able forming government through absolute majority in
the election. They didn’t come through power through any manipulation
(electoral). I wanted to say, there should be reform in my party (Jamaat e
Islami) as well”.
Abdur Razzaq also hinted about creating space for women in getting key
positions in a radical Islamic party like Jamaat for the sake of getting
positive vibe from the Western policymakers.
vernacular daily Prothom Alo reminded Barrister Razzaq about Jamaat e Islami’s
slogan saying ‘Allah’r Ain Chai’ (Want Allah’s Law) and it’s constitution
stating total determination towards enforcing ‘Allah’s sovereignty’, which is
“referred as it’s (Jamaat’s) critics as radical Islam”, Razzaq said, “Radical
stands for terrorism. Jamaat believes in the politics of moderate Islam [dear
readers, there is no such terminology called politics of moderate Islam in the
book of political science]. Other Muslim nations [he must be referring to
Egypt, Turkey, Iran Tunisia, Malaysia, Pakistan etc] have also adopted the same
policy. Jamaat of 1947, 1971 and 2019 aren’t same. Changes (in politics) have
been taking place in other countries in the world. When Congress (Indian
National Congress) was formed in 1880, it’s leader was a Scottish (national).
Later Subhash Chandra Bose, Jawaharlal Nehru and Indira Gandhi (became its
leaders). Muslim League was established in 1906 under the leadership of Sir
Salimullah. Salimullah’s Muslim League and Jinnah’s (founding father of
Pakistan) Muslim League wasn’t same. Taking realities into consideration,
reform is essential. That reform must be implemented (with Jamaat e Islami)”.
behind Razzaq’s abrupt resignation:
most of the political leaders from the two mainstream parties, such as Awami
League and Bangladesh Nationalist Party are in awe at the sudden resignation of
this prominent Jamaat e Islami leader, the reason behind it is completely
strategic as Razzaq’s resignation has started the process of r-ebranding of
pro-militancy Jamaat e Islami into Freedom and Justice Party of Bangladesh. The
reason behind this move is clear. Jamaat now wants to emerge as a mainstream
party carrying the ideology of Bangladeshi nationalism mixed with Islam. It’s
allies in the world have suggested Jamaat to copy Reception Tayyip Erdogan in
order to ultimately coming to power in the next general election.
with the resignation of Razzaq, the ball of reform in Jamaat e Islami has
started moving, it is strongly pursuing Western policymakers, especially the
United States in exerting pressure on the ruling party in Bangladesh in holding
another general election by the end of 2019. There already are clear
indications of such pressure coming from the Trump administration as well as
the United Nations within next few weeks. Meanwhile, a large number of
‘renegade’ leaders of Bangladesh Nationalist Party (BNP) are actively plotting
of expelling Tarique Rahman and his imprisoned mother Khaleda Zia from party’s
top most positions by applying the constitutional provisions of the party. Once
BNP is freed from Khaleda Zia and her son Tarique Rahman, it will disassociate
it’s alliance with Jamaat e Islami and join hands with Freedom and Justice
Party of Bangladesh – meaning, a larger nexus of nationalists and Islamists are
in the offing.
Awami League bloc, particularly BNP and Jamaat have become enthusiastic at the
recent Germany visit of Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina, where Chancellor Angela
Merkel didn’t meet her, though had been greatly expected by the Bangladesh
side. Second reason behind anti-Awami League bloc’s enthusiasm is following the
letters from the House Foreign Relations Committee to President Donald Trump,
United Nations as well Pentagon Commander’s dossier. They have started
believing, the ruling party in Bangladesh is gradually becoming isolated from
the international community following the “questioned” general election of
December 30, 2019.
seeks urgent UN intervention to de-escalate fresh tensions with India
Pakistan has sought the UN's urgent intervention to "defuse tensions"
with India, the foreign office said Tuesday, following one of the worst terror
attacks in Jammu and Kashmir in which over 40 Indian soldiers were killed.
February 14, at least 40 Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) personnel were
killed in Kashmir's Pulwama district in a suicide attack claimed by Pakistan-based
Jaish-e-Mohammad terror group.
attack has heightened bilateral tensions with both New Delhi and Islamabad
calling back their envoys.
foreign minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi sent a letter to UN Secretary-General
Antonio Guterres on Monday, seeking his help to reduce the tensions between the
two countries, Pakistan Foreign Office said.
is with a sense of urgency that I draw your attention to the deteriorating
security situation in our region resulting from the threat of use of force
against Pakistan by India," Qureshi wrote in the letter.
has rejected any third party intervention in the Kashmir issue and has
maintained that all outstanding matters in Indo-Pak ties should be resolved
in his letter, said the Pulwama attack on Indian CRPF soldiers was ostensibly
and even by Indian accounts carried out by a Kashmiri resident.
said attributing the attack to Pakistan even before investigations was absurd.
alleged that for domestic political reasons, India deliberately ratcheted up
its hostile rhetoric against Pakistan and created a tense environment.
wrote that India has also hinted that it may abandon the Indus Waters Treaty,
asserting that it would be a grievous error.
is imperative to take steps for de-escalation. The United Nations must step in
to defuse tensions," Qureshi said.
said India must be asked to conduct an open and credible investigation in the
may also consider asking India to refrain from further escalating the situation
and enter into dialogue with Pakistan and the Kashmiris to calm the situation
down," he wrote.
foreign minister requested that the letter should be circulated to members of
the Security Council and General Assembly.
has repeatedly asked the UN to intervene in Kashmir. Former Pakistan Prime
Minister Nawaz Sharif had also sought the US' intervention, saying America was
the "most relevant" party to get involved in Kashmir issue.
US, however, has time and again reiterated that it is for India and Pakistan to
discuss and decide on the pace and scope of their bilateral relationship.
crown prince arrives today, New Delhi, Riyadh to set up Strategic Partnership
SAUDI Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman arrives in India on a two-day visit on
Tuesday, New Delhi and Riyadh will set up a “Strategic Partnership Council” at
the ministerial level to deepen partnership in areas like political, security,
trade, investment and culture.
the bilateral meeting between Prime Minister Narendra Modi and the Crown Prince
on Wednesday, the two sides are also expected to sign pacts in areas of
investment, tourism, housing and information & broadcasting.
sides are also exploring the possibility of elevating the defence engagement
with joint production and joint exercises, particularly joint naval exercises.
the visit taking place in the backdrop of Pulwama terrorist attack last week
and the Crown Prince’s visit to Pakistan over last two days, the Ministry of
External Affair’s secretary (economic relations) T S Tirumurti, who handles the
ties with the country, said that the Kingdom has shown “greater understanding”
of India’s terrorism-related concerns and has also agreed to work with us in
countering this global menace.
Kingdom of Saudi Arabia has strongly condemned and denounced the terrorist
attack on Indian security forces in Pulwama on February 14. We appreciate
Saudi’s cooperation in security and counter terrorism areas over the years.
During PM Modi’s visit to Saudi Arabia in 2016, an MoU on cooperation in
exchange of intelligence related to money laundering and terrorism financing
was signed. Saudi has shown understanding of our terrorism-related concerns and
also agreed to work with India in countering this global menace,” Tirumurti
said on Monday.
has been identified as one of the eight strategic partners with whom Saudi
Arabia intends to deepen partnership in areas of political, security, trade,
investment and culture.
cooperation in defence will continue to be an important area of bilateral ties.
“MoU on Defence Cooperation was signed in 2014 during the visit of the then
Crown Prince Salman, the present King. Both sides are exploring the possibility
of elevating this engagement with Joint Production and Joint Exercises,
particularly Joint Naval exercises,” Tirumurti said.
Delhi: A day after three Jaish-e-Mohammed terrorists, including the two
masterminds of Pulwama terror attack, were gunned down in an encounter in south
Kashmir, the security forces on Tuesday said that the Pakistan-based terror
group’s leadership has been eliminated within 100 hours of the February 14
would like to inform that in less than 100 hours of Pulwama terrorist attack,
we eliminated have JeM leadership in the valley which was being handled by JeM
from Pakistan,” said Kanwal Jeet Singh Dhillon, Corps Commander of Chinar
Corps, Indian Army.
statement came at a joint press briefing by the Indian Army, CRPF and the Jammu
and Kashmir Police, giving details of the 16-hour-long encounter in Pulwama on
Monday and Thursday’s terror attack on the CRPF convoy.
type of car bomb attack that took place in Pulwama on 14th Feb, happened after
a long time in Kashmir. We will keep all options open to deal with these kinds
of attacks,” Dhillon added.
a stern message to the youth in Kashmir joining militancy, Dhillon said that
those who are picking guns will be eliminated. “Anyone who has picked up a gun
will be killed and eliminated,” he said.
a Kashmiri society, mother has great role to play. Through you, I would request
the mothers of Kashmir to please request their sons who’ve joined terrorism to
surrender and get back to mainstream. Anyone who has picked up gun will be
killed and eliminated, unless he surrenders,” Dhillon added.
further warned that the infiltrators trying to enter Indian soil from across
the border will be gunned down. “Our focus is clear on counter-terrorism
operations. We are very clear that anyone who enters Kashmir Valley will not go
back alive,” he said.
security forces also slammed Pakistan for providing safe havens to terror
groups and confirmed the role of Pakistan Army in the dastardly terror attack
that left 40 CRPF jawans dead.
a child of Pakistan Army, it is being controlled by ISI and Pak Army. So, there
is 100 per cent involvement of Pak Army in Pulwama terror attack,” said
Jammu and Kashmir lauded the families in the Valley for the fact that
recruitment in militancy has dropped significantly. “There is a significant dip
in recruitment, we have not seen any recruitment in the last three months. The
families are playing a huge role in this. We would like to urge the families
and the community in curtailing recruitment,” said SP Pani, IGP Kashmir.
JeM terrorists, including two top commanders believed to be behind the Pulwama
terror attack, were killed in a fierce 16-hour encounter, in which an Army
major and four security forces personnel lost their lives in south Kashmir on
of the slain terrorists were identified as Kamran and Abdul Rasheed alias
Ghazi, the so-called divisional commanders of Jaish-e-Mohammed for Pulwama,
Tral and Awantipora areas of South Kashmir. The third one was Hilal, a resident
of Pinglena in Pulwama, they said.
Jammu and Kashmir Police had been on the lookout for Ghazi and Kamran after a
suicide bomber belonging to the terror group drove his explosives-laden vehicle
and detonated himself near a bus carrying CRPF jawans in Lethpora in Pulwama
DELHI: Ahead of Saudi Arabia crown prince Mohammed bin Salman’s arrival in
India, the government said Monday that the Saudi position on not just terrorism
but also on J&K had evolved to India’s advantage. Salman, who is travelling
East for the first time since taking over as the crown prince, will arrive in
India Tuesday on a 2-day visit.
he will land here directly from Riyadh, Salman’s arrival in India will come
only a day after his visit to Pakistan, a country India is seeking to isolate
internationally for its ``complicity’’ in the Pulwama terror attack. Salman
didn’t just announce investments worth $20 billion in Pakistan + but also
declared in Islamabad that he was going to act as an ambassador of Pakistan in
what is unlikely to go down well with India, the Saudi-Pak joint statement even
underlined the need for "avoiding politicization of UN listing
regime". This seemed aimed at India's campaign to get JeM chief Masood
Azhar banned by the UN.
crown prince went on to praise "openness and efforts" of Pakistan PM
Imran Khan for dialogue with India and the opening of the Kartarpur crossing
point and the efforts exerted by both sides, stressing that "dialogue is
the only way to ensure peace and stability in the region to resolve outstanding
sources here said though that, if anything, it was Pakistan which needed to
worry about India’s growing ties with Riyadh which has seen the two countries
considering enhancing defence ties and considering joint naval exercises. The
government remained undeterred by reports that Salman had expressed solidarity with
Pakistan in their attempts to combat terrorism, saying that it hoped the crown
prince’s visit to India will help it drive home the message that Pakistan
needed to check cross-border terrorism.
government sources said India had developed a relationship with Saudi Arabia
independent of Riyadh’s relations with Pakistan. ``The crown prince is not
coming here to bail out Indian economy. India-Saudi ties have evolved and
Riyadh, unlike in the past, no longer accepts Pakistan’s narrative on terrorism
or even J&K," said a source here on condition of anonymity.
government expressed satisfaction over Saudi Arabia’s condemnation of the
Pulwama terror attack and said this was another sign that Riyadh now had a much
better understanding of India’s position on terrorism. The government is hoping
that the joint statement to be issued after Salman’s meeting here with PM
Narendra Modi will be embellished by strong references to cross-border
terrorism. It recalled the 2016 India-Saudi Arabia joint statement in which the
countries called on all states to reject the use of terrorism against other
countries and to cut off support to those perpetrating terrorism from their
territories against other states.
Kingdom of Saudi Arabia has strongly condemned and denounced the terrorist
attack on Indian security forces in Pulwama on 14 February. The Kingdom has
shown greater understanding of our terrorism-related concerns and also agreed
to work with India in countering this global menace," said MEA Secretary
(Economic Relations) TS Tirumurti.
said India had been identified as one of the eight strategic partners with whom
Saudi Arabia intended to deepen partnership in areas of political, security,
trade and investment and culture. As part of this engagement, he said, India
was finalizing the setting up of ‘Strategic Partnership Council’ between the
two countries at Ministerial level.
that a Pakistan military court’s trial and sentencing of Kulbhushan Jadhav
“hopelessly failed” to satisfy due process, India Monday urged the
International Court of Justice (ICJ) at The Hague to annul Jadhav’s death
sentence and order his immediate release.
four-day trial began Monday at the ICJ headquarters amidst heightened tensions
between India and Pakistan in the wake of the Pulwama terror attack in Jammu
and Kashmir, which killed 40 CRPF personnel.
advocate Harish Salve, the lawyer representing India and Jadhav in the case at
the ICJ, opened the hearing. The top UN court will hear Pakistan’s submissions
on Tuesday, followed by counters from both countries on Wednesday and Thursday.
demand to nullify the Pakistan military court’s decision indicated a marked
shift from its earlier plea, when it had sought consular access to Jadhav in
May 2017. Then, New Delhi had asked for “immediate suspension” of the death
sentence, ask Pakistan to annul the sentence and if that was not possible, then
the ICJ should declare the decision as “illegal” and release Jadhav.
on Monday, the Indian side forcefully asked the ICJ for “annulment” of Jadhav’s
conviction and his release forthwith putting the onus of annulment on the ICJ,
and not Pakistan. “India seeks the relief of annulment of Jadhav’s conviction
and a direction that he be released forthwith,” said Salve, adding that the
“Military Courts of Pakistan cannot command the confidence of this Court and
should not be sanctified by a direction to them to review and reconsider the
case”. This showed New Delhi’s complete distrust of Pakistan’s military courts.
also submitted that India has established that Pakistan’s conduct in not
allowing consular access to Jadhav from the time of his detention up to his
conviction and thereafter, is a gross violation of Article 36 of the Vienna
Convention. He said that the Indian side gave 13 reminders for consular access,
but Pakistan did not respond.
his three-hour submission, Salve argued that Jadhav’s trial by a Pakistani
military court “hopelessly failed” to satisfy even the minimum standards of due
process and requested the ICJ to declare it “unlawful”. Pakistan’s conduct does
not inspire the trust that Jadhav will get justice in its court, he said.
also said that the Pakistan Army court was amended to try civilians, staffed by
military officials and is influenced by top Army officers.
Army officers have “no judicial training” and the Pakistan side has not
produced a “judgment” by the court, and there is “no evidence” against Jadhav,
Salve said, adding that Jadhav’s confessions were “coerced”.
military courts are not independent and the proceedings before them fall far
short of national and international fair trial standards. Judges of military
courts are military officers who are a part of the executive branch of the
State and do not enjoy independence from the military hierarchy. They are not
required to have judicial or legal training or even a law degree, and do not
enjoy any security of tenure, which are prerequisites of Judicial competence
and Independence,” he told the ICJ.
is embarrassed to disclose charges against Jadhav,” Salve said adding that
“allegations of torture” are common in these secretly-held Army courts. He also
said that Jadhav’s “incommunicado detention” has made a “mockery of safeguards”
in the judicial system.
argued that “Pakistan has not provided any credible evidence,” and that
“inhuman detention is a violation of universal rights”. According to Salve,
Pakistan did not inform Jadhav of his rights.
said that Pakistan did not send any details of the probe conducted by the Joint
Investigation Team before informing the Indian side of the death sentence
handed to him. Jadhav had no lawyer during his trial either, he said.
to Salve, Pakistan offered to allow Jadhav’s family to visit him, the terms
were agreed and the meeting was held on 25 December, 2017. “India was dismayed
at the manner the meeting with Jadhav’s family was conducted and wrote a letter
on 27 December marking its protest,” he said, saying that it was a
“dehumanising attempt” by Pakistan.
a retired Navy officer, was arrested allegedly on March 3, 2016, and India was
informed of this on March 25, 2016, when the Pakistan Foreign Secretary raised
the matter with the Indian High Commissioner in Islamabad. On that day, India
sought consular access to Jadhav at the earliest. New Delhi then moved the ICJ
in May in 2017 against the “farcical trial” by the military court of Pakistan
against 48-year-old Jadhav. He was sentenced to death on charges of espionage
and terrorism in April 2017.
first approached the ICJ on May 8, 2017, for the “egregious violation” of the
provisions of the Vienna Convention on Consular Relations, 1963 by Pakistan by
repeatedly denying it consular access to Jadhav. A 10-member bench of the ICJ
had restrained Pakistan from executing Jadhav until adjudication of the case.
day after the government decided to withdraw the security cover of three
separatist leaders in the Valley, Hurriyat leader Mohammad Abass Ansari has
demanded that his security cover be taken away as well.
government had decided to withdraw the security cover of separatist leaders
Mirwaiz Umar Farooq, Bilal Gani Lone and Prof Abdul Gani Bhat.
who heads Ittehadul Muslimeen, a constituent of the Mirwaiz-led Hurriyat
Conference, has written to the J&K Police to withdraw his security cover.
out that Beijing continues to block New Delhi’s attempts to designate Masood
Azhar as a global terrorist, Swadeshi Jagran Manch (SJM), the economic wing of
RSS, on Monday urged Prime Minister Narendra Modi to ban Chinese companies in
the country to prevent “economic gain of any nation or individual that directly
or tacitly supports such terrorists”.
is the chief of Jaish-e-Mohammad, which carried out last week’s terror attack
SJM specifically called for banning Chinese telecom companies, 5G equipment,
and social media apps such as TikTok and Helo, as alleged child pornography and
“anti-national activities” are carried on on these platforms.
a letter to the Prime Minister, the SJM stated, “It is widely known that the
Chinese government continues to block our nation’s attempts to designate the
chief architect of these terror attacks as a ‘global terrorist’. At such a
time, we believe it is imperative that the government create similar hurdles
for Chinese companies using India for their economic gain.”
Mahajan, SJM’s national co-convener who wrote the letter, told The Indian
Express that SJM discussed Chinese technology products with Union minister S S
Ahluwalia about two months ago. He said Ahluwalia agreed with points he had
raised and said the government has begun work on this. “But nothing has
happened so far,” Mahajan said. “They (Chinese tech firms) create new apps
every day. The government has to frame new rules. We are hopeful that the
government will listen to our advice.”
letter mentioned that the past two years have seen a large growth of Chinese
social media and e-commerce companies in India, many of which have “various
spokesperson of Bytedance, the Chinese firm that owns short-video and social
media platforms TikTok and Helo, told The Indian Express “TikTok and Helo are
committed to respecting local laws and regulations as well as maintaining a
safe and positive in-app environment for our users in India. There is no basis
for the incorrect claims raised by certain groups recently. We treat safety and
security of our user data very seriously.”
its letter, the SJM used examples of a call by the Defence Ministry in 2017 to
armed forces to uninstall more than 40 Chinese applications and probe Chinese
UC Browser for sharing location of Indian users to Chinese servers and Chinese
propaganda content to Indian users during the Doklam crisis.
source from Bytedance said that the company’s products that are not operating
in China, such as Tik Tok and Helo, do not have any data stored in or routed
back to China. Instead, the company works with third-party service providers to
store data wherever the company has local offices, such as Singapore and the
US, the source said.
Bytedance spokesperson said, “We have robust measures to protect users against
misuse, including easy reporting mechanisms that enable users and law
forces attack worshipers, reseal al-Aqsa Mosque gate
regime forces have resealed one of the al-Aqsa Mosque's gates in the occupied
old city of East Jerusalem al-Quds after a group of Palestinian protesters
broke the lock and opened the gate for worshipers.
Ma'an News Agency reported on Monday that Israeli soldiers had sealed off
al-Rahma Gate (Gate of Mercy) with locks and iron chains a day earlier and
prevented the Palestinian worshipers from entering the al-Aqsa Mosque compound.
agency said the Israeli move sparked clashes between Palestinian youths and the
Tel Aviv regime forces, which resulted in the detention of five Palestinians,
including a woman.
al-Dibs, spokesperson of the Islamic Waqf (Endowment) organization, said
Israeli forces had installed the locks and chains at the gate in response to members
of the organization performing prayers at the gate last Thursday.
al-Rahma Gate is a big building that lays to the east of the al-Aqsa Mosque.
building was sealed by Israeli authorities in 2003 as it was the headquarters
of the Islamic Heritage Committee. Israel claimed at the time that the building
was being used for political activities.
2017, an Israeli court ordered that the building be closed until further
a separate development on Monday, dozens of Israeli settlers raided the al-Aqsa
Mosque compound through the Moroccans' Gate and performed acts deemed
provocative by Palestinians at the mosque’s courtyard.
is while Israeli settlers stormed the holy site under tight protection of
several groups of Israeli soldiers and special forces.
al-Aqsa Mosque compound sits just above the Western Wall plaza and houses both
the Dome of the Rock and the al-Aqsa mosque.
continue in the occupied Palestinian territories as part of the aftermath of US
President Donald Trump's recognition of Jerusalem al-Quds as Israel’s
"capital" and relocation of the US embassy to the occupied city.
December 21, 2017, the United Nations General Assembly overwhelmingly voted in
favor of a resolution that calls on the US to withdraw its controversial policy
the vote, the US went ahead with the embassy transfer on May 14, triggering
demonstrations in the occupied Palestinian territories, Iran, Turkey, Egypt,
Jordan, Tunisia, Algeria, Iraq, Morocco and other Muslim countries.
by Trump’s move, Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas boycotted his
administration, saying Washington is no longer qualified to serve as the sole
mediator in the decades-long conflict with Israel, and that an international
mechanism should be devised to replace the US in the so-called peace process.
The Yemeni army killed 20 Houthi militants, including a field commander, in
clashes in the southern Dhale governate on Sunday, Saudi state-agency SPA
forces advanced towards Al-Mashhad market in Ab governate as the Arab coalition
raided Houthi areas, killing several militants and injuring others east of
attacks targeted Houthi reinforcements on their way to Nahm front, according to
civilian reports on Yemeni Minister of Defense’s official website “September
Yemeni tribesmen from Hajjah’s Qeshar district destroyed Houthi militia
gathering areas in the Darb Al-Maru area.
YORK: Yemen’s government and the Houthi militias have agreed on the first stage
of a mutual pullout of forces from the port city of Hodeidah, a key entry point
for humanitarian aid, the United Nations said.
Iran-aligned Houthi movement and the government agreed in talks in December to
withdraw troops by Jan. 7 from Hodeidah under a truce accord aimed at averting
a full-scale assault on the port and paving the way for negotiations to end the
parties reached an agreement on Phase 1 of the mutual redeployment of forces,”
the UN spokesman’s office said in a statement without giving details on what
Phase 1, the Houthis would withdraw from the ports of Hodeidah, Saleef, used
for grains, and Ras Isa, used for oil. This would be met by a retreat of
Saudi-led coalition forces from the eastern outskirts of Hodeidah, where
battles raged before a cease-fire went into effect on Dec. 18.
Houthis occupy Hodeidah, the main entry point for the bulk of Yemen’s
commercial and aid imports, while Yemeni government forces loyal to President
Abed Rabbo Mansour Hadi are massed on the outskirts.
UN statement said the two sides also agreed “in principle” on Phase 2,
entailing full redeployment of both parties’ forces in Hodeidah province.
sources involved in the negotiations said both sides had yet to agree on a
withdrawal timeline or on a mechanism for local forces to take over security at
the ports and city.
UN is still discussing how to reduce the gap between the two sides on how to
choose the forces that will control the city,” one source told Reuters.
parties could decide within 7-10 days on where they would reposition forces,
said the other source, adding that Houthi fighters could pull back as far as 20
km from the port.
on withdrawal had delayed opening humanitarian corridors in Yemen.
the first phase, the two sides agreed to reopen main roads linking Hodeidah to
the Houthi-occupied capital Sanaa and in Yemen’s third city of Taiz, said a UN
also agreed to enable access to Red Sea Mills, which holds some 50,000 tons of
World Food Program grain, enough to feed 3.7 million people for a month, the
source said. Access to the site has been cut off since September due to
Hodeidah truce has largely been respected but there have been intermittent
skirmishes in flashpoints on the city’s edges.
elite Revolutionary Guards said Monday it has arrested three “terrorists”
involved in last week’s deadly suicide bomb attack on security forces in
houses in Saravan and Khash were identified and eliminated, and the terrorists
based in them were arrested,” the force said on its official Sepah news agency.
of the terrorists were arrested and 150 kilograms of explosives and 600
kilograms of explosive materials, as well as weapons and ammunition were
confiscated,” it said.
Guards said the three arrested had “produced, guided and supported” the vehicle
used in Wednesday’s suicide bombing.
bombing killed 27 members of Iran’s Revolutionary Guards travelling on a bus in
the volatile province of Sistan-Baluchistan, which straddles the border with
attack was claimed by extremist group Jaish al-Adl.
has provided Pakistani officials with “information on the terrorist groups’
hidden and semi-hidden training centers”, army chief-of-staff Mohammad Bagheri
told Tasnim news agency.
commander Major General Mohammad Ali Jafari has accused Pakistan’s army and
intelligence agency of sheltering the extremists.
Arabia has contributed more than $13 bln in support of Yemen since 2014,
spokesman of the Arab Coalition supporting the legitimate government of Yemen
Col. Turki al-Maliki said on Monday during a weekly press conference in Riyadh.
confirmed that the coalition is working with the United Nations and
international agencies to support the Yemenis, stressing that the coalition’s
efforts continue against both al-Qaeda and the Houthi rebels.
pointed out that the coalition continues to provide support for international
efforts to resolve the situation in Yemen, while the Houthis continue to fire
ballistic missiles and lay naval and landmines.
to al-Maliki, the Houthi rebels have violated the Sweden deal more than 1,400
times, while also deploying tanks and military mechanisms near schools and
attributes the rise of terrorist organizations in Yemen to the Houthi coup and
the absence of legitimate government.
spokesman also said that the qualitative military operations continue in
Hadhramaut and other areas of Yemen.
and videos of the Iranian-made weapons and drugs confiscated from the Houthi
rebels were also shown during the press conference, as well as confiscated
weapons that belonged to al-Qaeda.
videos and pictures show the coalition’s targeting of Houthi sites and machinery.
coalition is actively seeking to eliminate and reduce the Houthi rebel’s
capabilities, while the Houthis continue to use Yemeni civilians as human
shields, al-Maliki said.
also denied reports on the arrival of US weapons to the Houthis and al-Qaeda in
confirmed that the coalition monitored the locations of the Houthis before
attacking them with Apache helicopters. He showed a video documenting the
accuracy of targeting the sites without harming civilians.
has strongly condemned a terrorist attack on an army checkpoint in Egypt's
restive North Sinai region, urging collective cooperation among all countries
to fight the scourge.
is a common threat to regional countries and the fight against this ominous
phenomenon requires sincere determination and joint cooperation by all
countries," Iranian Foreign Ministry Spokesman Bahram Qassemi said on
also offered his condolences to the bereaved families of the victims.
security forces on Saturday “eliminated” at least seven suspected members of a
terror outfit affiliated to the Daesh Takfiri terrorist group in the North
Sinai region during a counterterrorism operation, which also left 15 government
forces either dead or wounded.
to Egypt’s military spokesperson Tamer el-Refai, the suspected militants were
killed in an “exchange of fire” after they “attacked one of the security
checkpoints in North Sinai.”
added that an officer was also killed in the clashes and “14 non-commissioned
soldiers” sustained injuries.
terrorist group later claimed responsibility for the attack on its news outlet
United Arab Emirates, Saudi Arabia’s main partner in a Riyadh-led coalition
invading Yemen, has bought around $1.8 billion worth of American arms at an Abu
Dhabi military exhibition.
marked the second day of the International Defense Exhibition and Conference
(Idex), which is to last through Thursday.
the day, the Emirates signed 5.73 billion dirham ($1.5 billion) worth of
contracts with US arms giant Raytheon to buy its Patriot missile systems, said
the exhibition’s spokesman General Mohammed Al Hassani, AFP reported.
day earlier, it had signed a 1.3-billion-dirhams ($353-million) contract with
the company for the systems.
the Emirati military awarded 5.87 and 4.97 billion dirhams worth of contracts to
international companies over the first two days of the show. Those include Eos
Defense of Australia, which specializes in making electro-optic systems.
value of deals during the five-day event is likely to exceed the 19.17 billion
dirhams reached in 2017,” Emirati daily The National reported, citing Idex
coalition launched the war in March 2015 to restore Yemen’s former Saudi-backed
World Health Organization says some 10,000 people have been killed since the
coalition launched the war, but rights groups put the death toll at five times
contributing most to the war among the many other Saudi allies that compose the
coalition, the Emirates also backs militants based in southern Yemen, who have
been campaigning to break away from the rest of the country.
US has been generously providing arms support for the kingdom and its allies
over the course of the war. It also lends the coalition logistical assistance,
including bombing coordinates. A US commando force is, meanwhile, deployed near
the Saudi-Yemeni border to seek and destroy the arms caches belonging to
Yemen’s popular Houthi Ansarullah movement, which defends the country against
senior official from the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) says a recent
approval of a controversial plan by Israel to freeze money transfers to the
Palestinian Authority (PA) is an all-out “piracy and an illegal economic
Aviv on Sunday invoked a law to deduce tax revenues relative to the amounts the
Ramallah-based PA pays to the Palestinians languishing in Israeli jails or the
families of those killed by the Israeli military. Hanan Ashrawi, a member of
the PLO Executive Committee, on Monday described the move as “unlawful stealing
of Palestinian tax revenues.”
is an unlawful decision that once again confirms Israel's habitual theft of
Palestinian land, resources and funds,” Ashrawi said, adding, “By giving itself
license to confiscate Palestinian revenues, Israel is committing yet another
act of illegality and economic aggression. Palestine will not submit to
political and financial extortion and will continue to seek accountability for
early July last year, Israel’s parliament (Knesset) passed a bill to withhold
hundreds of millions of dollars in funds from the Palestinians over welfare
payments given to prisoners and their families. The stipends benefit roughly
35,000 families of the Palestinians killed and wounded by Israel. The PA says
the payments are a form of welfare stipend to the families who have lost their
main breadwinner. The Israeli regime calls that “terrorist salaries.”
President Mahmoud Abbas has also defended such payments as an important
function of his administration.
a speech in June 2017, Abbas argued that “payments to support the families are
a social responsibility to look after innocent people affected by the
incarceration or killing of their loved ones.”
quite frankly racist rhetoric to call all our political prisoners terrorists,”
Abbas said, adding, “They are, in actuality, the victims of the occupation, not
the creators of the occupation.”
in her remarks, the PLO official accused the Israeli regime of taking
anti-Palestinian decisions to score political points in the upcoming
legislative elections scheduled for April 9.
including members of the Israeli Cabinet, are competing on who can exercise the
highest level of cruelty against Palestinians in a clear expression of the
racism and hatred that characterizes Israeli politics.”
concluded by saying the Tel Aviv regime continues to abuse Palestinians in
Israeli detention. “It has systematically demonized and dehumanized all
Palestinian political prisoners to justify its crime.”
Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov says the illegal presence of US military forces
in Syria is a source of instability in the conflict-plagued Arab country,
stressing that any solution to the Syria crisis must be in accordance with the
UN Security Council Resolution 2254.
share stance on Syria. The Security Council Resolution 2254 has no alternative.
It should be fully implemented, and in this context we have informed our
interlocutors about the efforts taken in this direction by the guarantor states
of the Astana peace process – Russia, Iran and Turkey, including the outcome of
the February 14 summit of the Astana format in Sochi,” Lavrov said during a
joint press conference with his Omani counterpart Yusuf bin Alawi bin Abdullah
in Moscow on Monday.
2254 endorses a road map for a peace process in Syria. It calls for a
nationwide ceasefire in the Arab country, the formation of a “credible,
inclusive and non-sectarian” government within six months and UN-supervised
“free and fair elections” within 18 months.
Tehran, and Ankara have been mediating peace negotiations between
representatives from the Damascus government and Syrian opposition groups in a
series of rounds held in the Kazakh capital city of Astana and other places
since January 2017.
has also hosted parallel talks in the resort city of Sochi aimed at solidifying
the three countries’ cooperation towards returning peace and stability to
in his remarks, Lavrov noted that the presence of American troops in Syria is
contributing to instability, and is impeding a political settlement of the
nearly eight-year conflict in the country.
top Russian diplomat went on to say that US forces are unlawfully deployed to
al-Tanf region in southern Syria, training terrorists, who carry out acts of
terror across Syria and prevent the return of displaced people in the Rukban
refugee camp to their hometowns.
along with the Syrian government, are calling for this to take place. But the United States and the extremists,
whom it sponsors and are in control of the camp, do not let people leave (the
camp),” Lavrov said.
senior Russian official also urged UN humanitarian envoys to “see that
everything is far from being in order” in Rukban and report back their findings
to the UN Security Council.
officials have accused the US and Washington-backed militants of holding people
in Rukban hostage.
call on the American command and leaders of illegal militant groups in the
al-Tanf region to out an end to the forcible keeping of women and children,
mostly affected by cold, illness and malnutrition in the camp. All of them will
be given necessary assistance,” Russian Defense Ministry spokesman Major
General Igor Konashenkov said on February 15 as a humanitarian convoy of the
United Nations and the Syrian Arab Red Crescent (SARC) delivered aid, including
medical supplies and basic commodities, to Rukban.
added that Russia and Syria would jointly establish a temporary housing area
for refugees from the camp.
UN says about 45,000 people, mostly women and children, are trapped inside the
Rukban refugee camp, where conditions are desperate.
in his remarks, Lavrov touched on Syria's suspension from the Arab League,
emphasizing that Syria’s return to the organization will contribute to a
political solution to the Syria crisis and normalization of relations between
Damascus and Arab countries.
Arab League suspended Syria's membership in November 2011, citing alleged
crackdown by Damascus on opposition protests. Syria denounced the move as
"illegal and a violation of the organization’s charter.”
for his part, underlined the need for a political settlement of the ongoing
crisis in Syria, lauding Russia’s efforts to work out a solution to the
conflict and secure the return of all displaced Syrians back to their homeland.
has been gripped by foreign-backed militancy since March 2011. The Syrian
government says the Israeli regime and its Western and regional allies are
aiding Takfiri terrorist groups wreaking havoc in the country.
the dire need for a ceasefire in Yemen, the United States Army says it is still
providing support for the war, which Saudi Arabia and its allies are waging
against the impoverished country.
US continues to "provide support to the coalition,” Major General David C.
Hill, deputy commander of US Army Central, told AFP on the sidelines of a
military exhibition in the Emirati capital Abu Dhabi on Sunday.
was referring to a Saudi-led coalition, gathering many of the kingdom’s allies,
which have been pounding Yemen since March 2015 to restore its former
general alleged that the US assistance was particularly meant "to help
them....be discriminative in targeting and to minimize the risk of civilian
November, Washington stopped providing aerial refueling for the coalition’s
warplanes. It only halted the support after the coalition grew independent of
remarks by Hill come at a time when the United Nations is pushing for the
implementation of a ceasefire in the western Yemeni province of Hudaydah, whose
capital serves as the main point of entry for most of Yemen’s imports.
world body would be expanding the truce to the rest of the country if the
high-stakes agreement holds. The Houthis, however, say the coalition has
repeatedly violated the truce agreement.
Are Still Mired In Religious Controversies Despite Knowing That It Will Not
are still mired in religious controversies despite knowing that it will not
augur well for the continued peace and co-existence in a multi-religious
country like ours.
is more appalling is that even those who proclaim themselves well-equipped with
religious knowledge fall into the trap of being swayed by emotionalism and
myopic understanding of religious norms and beliefs will only worsen the good
and cordial rapport within our multi-religious community.
cases of religious misgivings and intolerance in the country are a clarion call
for all, especially the political masters and religious leaders, to nip the
problem in the bud. Any efforts to sweep the issue under the carpet will only
have serious implications.
intolerance and its concomitant human carnage around the globe is a bitter
testimony to the catastrophic outcome of myopic religious perspectives.
major religions propagate and propose universally accepted values for the
benefit of mankind. So why are we still bent on asserting our ego in matters
relating to religion?
adherence to religious tenets and utter disregard for lofty universal spiritual
values could be among the main reasons for this myopic inclination.
World-renowned spiritualists and thinkers do not have any qualms seeing the
common thread running through all the major religious traditions.
magnanimous spiritual stalwarts realise that spiritually and intrinsically, all
men are brothers, and that love and compassion are the common threads that bind
human beings together.
them, it does not make any difference if one is a Hindu, Muslim, Christian or a
non-believer. They know that all are made from the same stuff and pulsate with
the same life force. They know they are here to make their earthly existence more
meaningful by co-existing peacefully with fellow human beings and other
all, we breathe the same air and enjoy the same water. Are not the five
elements of nature meant for our existence and co-existence? But we incessantly
and unnecessarily dabble in petty religious concerns and issues that divide and
destroy us. It is nothing but our ego that distracts us from seeing the common
thread that knits us all together.
there is a social need for us to hold on to our respective religions and
religious beliefs, let’s not forget the common spiritual link that helps bind
us as one.
must first believe, respect and trust one another. Religious diversity is
healthy as long as egos and myopic viewpoints are kept at bay.
is time that Malaysia, which is going through a major socio-political
transformation, sees the need to inculcate broadmindedness and maturity,
especially in religious thinking and reasoning.
can only happen with concerted efforts from all stakeholders: religious and
political leaders, NGOs, teachers and parents.
philosopher S Radhakrishnan aptly says, “If mankind is to save itself, it must
change the axis of its thought and life.” In the same vein, if Malaysians are
to save themselves from religious misunderstandings and intolerance, they must
change their short-sighted religious views and sectarian outlook.
Feb 19 — PAS and Umno are working hand in glove to target Malay voters for the
by-election here, leaving no stone unturned to ensure Barisan Nasional (BN)
wins big on March 2.
election directors of both parties meet each day to cover any eventualities or
missed areas, making daily adjustments to the contest that is different from
the recently-concluded Cameron Highlands parliamentary by-election in Pahang.
area allows for fast and frequent campaigning, unlike the rough terrain and
distance in Cameron Highlands that made this difficult.
PAS and Umno, this battle is different because the Pakatan Harapan candidate is
Malay-Muslim and the target voters are also Malay-Muslims. The two parties can
no longer campaign solely on race and religion.
have to use a different approach and inevitably touch on the ruling Pakatan
Harapan government, its weaknesses and, more importantly, the underlying and
unseen factor – DAP domination.
unfulfilled promises in the PH manifesto are the main factors as
bread-and-butter issues were the basis of the Pakatan manifesto.
right now they have a new issue: Parti Pribumi Bersatu Malaysia (Bersatu)
chairman Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad’s claims that the Islamist party has pledged
not to support Umno in this by-election.
issue has yet to take centre stage as speakers from both sides have yet to
really delve into it, and the media has been frenzied over another matter: the
purported plan to move a motion of no confidence against Prime Minister Dr
timing cannot be worse than in the middle of a by-election contested by Dr
Mahathir’s party – the first by-election for the party that just left infancy
and is learning to walk.
media and social media are focussing so much on this that it clouded the real
issues in the by-election here.
the voters, it is their daily issues that are more important than political
of both sides who are on the ground know this. They do not seem sidetracked by
political rumours. They are busy working to win the hearts and minds of the
target – the near 70 per cent Malay voters.
of last night, BN candidate Zakaria Hanafi seemed to still be the favourite.
Together with other local Umno and PAS leaders, they are holding low-profile
campaign meeting with small voter groups.
night’s campaign trail also saw PKR stalwart Datuk Seri Azmin Ali hitting hard
at former Umno president Datuk Seri Najib Razak, who is campaigning on his own
and is not listed in the BN or PAS campaign schedules.
campaign trail is picking up speed as both sides move nightly and campaign
house-to-house, a technique that has proven more effective than the nightly
Takes ISIL's Gold Treasure Out of Eastern Syria After Agreement with Terrorists
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 said.
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 heliborn 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.
a relevant development earlier this week, the London-based Syrian Observatory
of Human Rights (SOHR) said the Washington-backed militants were trying to find
and seize millions of dollars and at least 40 tons of gold left behind by the
ISIL terrorist group,
SOHR reported that the ISIL terrorists had stolen about 40 tons of gold and
millions of dollars from the population once under their control in Iraq and
Syria, which was later transferred to Eastern Euphrates in Eastern Deir Ezzur.
US-led coaltion forces and the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) deliberately do
not target the the areas under the control of the ISIL terrorists and
commanders in Eastern Euphrates in Deir Ezzur as they are trying to locate this
treasure by forcing the ISIL militants to speak about its location after
surrendering," it quoted informed sources as saying.
noted that part of the cash dollars and gold have been transferred from Turkey
to the areas under the ISIL control by Turkish brokers and intelligence service
who have close ties with the ISIL.
an SDF Commander, Adnan Afrin, said that the ISIL is now under the siege of the
SDF in an area no larger than one square kilometers in Eastern Euphrates.
a relevant development on Tuesday, a prominent Syrian military expert revealed
that Washington plans to transfer the remnants of the ISIL terrorists from
Eastern Euphrates to other regions through Turkey and Iraq.
Arabic-language website of Sputnik quoted Brigadier General Mohammad Issa as
saying that less than 600 ISIL militants are stationed in a 4-km/sq region in
Eastern Euphrates who will be soon evacuated from the region to foreign
added that the operations to transfer these militants will be conducted similar
to the operations earlier carried out to evacuate the ISIL terrorists from
Raqqa, saying that the US forces will transfer them via Iraq or Turkey to some
other Arab states for future operations.
questioned the US forces' claims of fighting against the terrorist groups along
with the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF), stressing that the Syrian army will
soon move to retake control over this region.
reports said last Sunday that the US army had agreed with the ISIL on the
latter's exit from areas under Washington's control in Eastern Euphrates.
US-led coalition troops and the SDF had reached an agreement with the ISIL
terrorists on the militants' retreat from areas under the control of the US and
its allied forces, the Arabic-language al-Mayadeen TV news channel reported.
pointed to the preparations by the ISIL to move its terrorists out of Eastern
Euphrates, and said that the ISIL terrorists might be transferred to al-Anbar
desert of Badiya al-Tanf in Western Iraq.
report comes as the SDF claimed that it had started the final battle for
uprooting the remaining elements of the ISIL from Eastern Euphrates.
the Arabic-language service of RT quoted media activists as saying on Saturday
that the US-led coalition forces have carried out heliborne operations in the
Eastern Badiyeh of Deir Ezzur.
added that two US Apache helicopters have landed in Falitah region of Eastern
Badiyeh of Deir Ezzur, taking away 7 big boxes whose contents were not known.
Arabia calls Iran world’s chief sponsor of terrorism
Saudi minister of state for foreign affairs Adel bin Ahmed Al-Jubeir lashed out
on Monday at Iran, calling it the “world’s chief sponsor of terrorism” and
accusing it of sponsoring terrorism for decades while blaming others for
terrorist activities on its soil.
minister, who was part of Saudi Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman’s visiting
delegation, delivered an angry diatribe against Iran, his country’s historical
religio-political rival state in the region, in Islamabad while addressing a
joint press conference with Pakistan foreign minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi.
is strange for the foreign minister of the world’s chief sponsor of terrorism
(a reference to Iran) to accuse others of engaging in terrorist activities,”
the Saudi minister said. He was responding to Iran’s recent allegations that
held Pakistan responsible for an attack that killed 27 members of Iran’s
Tehran of sponsoring terrorism since the Iranian Revolution of 1979, Al-Jubeir
said that Iran had established terrorist groups such as Hezbollah in Lebanon
and the Houthis in Yemen. “Iran had been implicated in terrorist attacks that
took place in other countries, including Saudi Arabia and the United States,”
minister claimed that Iran was providing arms to terrorist groups and
interfering in the affairs of other countries as well as “harbouring”
terrorists of Al Qaeda, including Osama bin Laden’s son.
Arabia has been a victim of terrorism. We have been vigilant and unmerciful in
going after the terrorists and those who support them and condone them,” he
minister added that Iran was going through several problems, including
criticism from its people. “The Iranian regime was deflecting blame because it
was facing pressure from its own people,” he remarked.
the strained relations between India and Pakistan, he said that Saudi Arabia’s
objective was to try to deescalate tensions between the neighbouring countries.
“I hope both countries would be able to resolve their dispute peacefully,” he said.
A senior Saudi diplomat on Monday fired back after Iran initially blamed the
kingdom for an attack last week that killed 27 members of Iran's elite
al-Jubeir, the minister of state for foreign affairs, called Iran a "chief
sponsor of terrorism," saying its allegations sought to divert the
attention of the Iranian people from the country's own troubles.
Arabia has been the victim of terrorism," he added, saying the kingdom
would continue to be "unmerciful" in going after terrorists and those
who finance and condone them.
comments came as Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman was concluding a
two-day visit to Pakistan. Al-Jubeir, the kingdom's former foreign minister, is
part of the prince's entourage.
officials had at first said that Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates were
behind Wednesday's bombing near the Pakistani border, but later said the attack
was planned from "inside Pakistan." The militant Sunni group Jaish
al-Adl, which claimed responsibility, is believed to operate from havens in
has close ties to Saudi Arabia, which views Iran as a regional threat, and
often balances between Riyadh and Tehran.
foreign minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi told his Iranian counterpart on Sunday that
Islamabad would fully cooperate in the investigation into the attack on the
Revolutionary Guard. Pakistan has also pledged to act if Tehran shares evidence
against those linked to the attack.
Monday, three Pakistani security officials said a search operation was underway
in remote southwestern regions bordering Iran in an effort to arrest suspects
linked to attacks in Pakistan and Iran. They said the security forces were
searching areas where Tehran believed insurgents responsible for last week's
attack might be hiding.
officials said the operation began Sunday and was expanded after militants
killed six Pakistani paramilitary troops in two attacks in the southwestern
towns of Turbat and Loralai.
officials, who spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized
to brief media, said Pakistani and Iranian officials have been in touch since
Mohammad Hossein Bagheri, the head of Iran's armed forces, said the Pakistani
army had launched an operation near the border. He urged Pakistan to confront
armed groups or "let Iranian forces enter the battlefield."
Sunday, Saudi Arabia signed agreements worth $20 billion to help Pakistan
overcome its financial crisis.
voiced support for the prince during the international outcry after the killing
of Washington Post columnist Jamal Khashoggi by Saudi agents in October. The
kingdom has long provided aid to Pakistan, and signed an agreement for a $6 billion
assistance package after Pakistan's Prime Minister Imran Khan attended an
investment conference that month that saw a wave of cancellations linked to the
President Arif Alvi on Monday conferred the country's highest civilian honor on
the Saudi crown prince, who left Pakistan amid tight security. Khan drove the
prince to the airport.
Mohammad is expected to travel onward to neighboring India, which has warned
Pakistan of a "crushing response" to the suicide bombing of a
paramilitary convoy in Indian-controlled Kashmir that killed 41 people on
a joint statement Monday, Pakistan and Saudi Arabia reiterated their commitment
to continue combating extremism and terrorism and promoting peace in
Arabia and Pakistan expressed their hope in achieving a comprehensive and
long-lasting peace in the Middle East in accordance with the Arab Peace
Initiative. Both sides also stressed the need for the Palestinians to establish
their own state based on the 1967 borders with Jerusalem as its capital.
a joint statement on Monday released after the conclusion of Saudi Crown Prince
Mohammed bin Salman’s state visit to Pakistan, both countries also agreed that
dialogue with India is the only way to ensure peace and stability in the region
to resolve outstanding issues.
the Saudi Crown Prince’s visit, Saudi Arabia and Pakistan signed seven
memorandums of understandings worth $20 bln across several sectors including
oil, mining and energy.
believe that Pakistan has huge opportunity. In 2030, Pakistan will be next to
really two huge economies. One, China will be the largest economy in 2030, and
two, India will be the third largest economy in 2030. So Pakistan will
definitely benefit from these neighbors if there is great leadership to put
Pakistan in the right position,” said the Crown Prince during a joint press
conference with Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan.
his part, Pakistan’s Khan said that the seven MoUs signed would signify the
start of “enhanced relationships” between Saudi Arabia and Pakistan.
also offered the Crown Prince a special thanks for an earlier announcement
confirming the release of 2,107 Pakistani prisoners in Saudi Arabia with
in the day, Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman received Pakistan’s highest
civilian honor, the Nishan-e-Pakistan, from President Arif Alvi.
two-day visit to Pakistan kicked off the Crown Prince’s Asian tour that will
include further visits to India and China. He is expected to land in India
visit to India
and energy security are expected to top the agenda for discussions during the
ambassador in New Delhi said that Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman’s
visit to India is a “historic opportunity” to expand collaboration in all
sectors, according to Indian media outlets.
and Saudi Arabia have historically enjoyed close and friendly relations
anchored in mutually beneficial partnership and extensive people to people
contacts. In recent years, there has been significant progress in bilateral
cooperation in key areas of mutual interest, including energy security, trade
and investment, infrastructure, defense and security,” a statement released by
India’s Ministry of External Affairs read.
bilateral trade was $27.48 bln during the last financial year 2017-18, making
Saudi Arabia our fourth largest trading partner. Saudi Arabia contributes
significantly to our energy security needs by supplying about 20% of crude
requirements to India,” the statement added.
Two police officers were killed when a terror suspect blew himself up after he
was surrounded by police near Al-Azhar Mosque in Cairo on Monday.
blast in the crowded Darb Al-Ahmar district also killed the bomber and injured
three other policemen, the interior ministry said.
security surrounded the man and was set to arrest and control him, an explosive
device in his possession went off,” the ministry said in a press statement.
explosion took place after police chased the suspect who they believe had planted
a bomb near a security staff close to a mosque in Giza on Friday, the statement
said. Security officers had been able to defuse that device.
explosion that took place near Al Azhar mosque at the heart of ancient Islamic
Cairo damaged several shops.
shop’s front and windows were destroyed,” said Kareem Sayed Awad, a barbershop
owner. “Not only that, but people have died. This is a tourist area and such
incidents affect it.”
tourism industry has been struggling to recover from attacks and domestic
instability that has hit the country in the years following a 2011 uprising
that toppled longtime ruler Hosni Mubarak.
December three Vietnamese tourists and their Egyptian guide died when a
homemade bomb exploded on their bus on the outskirts of Cairo, near the famed
pyramids in Giza.
have been seeking to lure tourists back by touting new archaeological
discoveries and bolstering security around archaeological sites and in
has slowly started picking up. The official statistics agency says tourist
arrivals in Egypt in 2017 reached 8.3 million, up from 5.3 million the year
that figure was still far short of the record influx in 2010 when over 14
million visitors flocked to the country.
has also for years been battling an Islamist insurgency, which deepened
following military’s ousting of Islamist president Muhammad Mursi in 2013.
attacks have been mainly concentrated in the restive northern Sinai Peninsula
but have also spread to the mainland.
February 2018, security forces launched a major anti-militant operation focused
on the Sinai Peninsula, aimed at wiping out a local affiliate of the Daesh
double bomb attack in Syria’s extremist-held city of Idlib on Monday killed 24
people, including four children, a war monitor said.
first blast was caused by a bomb planted under a car in the main city of the
Idlib region, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said.
ambulances arrived at the site, a motorcycle bomb then detonated, the
Britain-based monitoring group said.
was no immediate claim of responsibility for the attack, which the Observatory
said also wounded at least 51, updating an earlier casualty toll.
the last major part of Syria still outside the control of President Bashar
al-Assad’s regime, is held by an alliance led by Syria’s former al-Qaeda
affiliate, Hayat Tahrir al-Sham.
took administrative control of the whole of the region last month, after
overpowering smaller Turkey-backed factions.
ISIS extremist group also has sleeper cells in the area.
local office of the “Salvation Government”, an administrative body created by
HTS, is located on the street targeted by Monday’s attack.
has been protected from a massive regime offensive since September by a buffer
zone deal agreed by regime ally Russia and rebel backer Turkey.
it has been hit by sporadic government shelling.
force in north Syria said on Monday they would not free foreign ISIS detainees
but countries must take responsibility for them, after US President Donald
Trump said extremists would be freed unless Europe takes them back.
Omar, co-chair of foreign relations in the Kurdish-led region, said around 800
foreign fighters were being held in prisons, along with around 700 wives and
1,500 children in camps for the displaced. Dozens more detainees and relatives
were arriving by the day.
described the detainees as a “time bomb”, saying fighters could escape if the
Kurdish-led autonomous area were attacked.
United States will have to sever its military assistance to the Kurdish-led
Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) battling ISIS if the fighters partner with
Syrian President Bashar al-Assad or Russia, a senior US general said on Sunday.
remarks by Army Lieutenant General Paul LaCamera, who is the commander of the
US-led coalition battling ISIS in Iraq and Syria, underscore the tough
decisions facing the SDF as the United States prepares to withdraw its troops
Kurdish leaders have sought talks with Assad’s state, hoping to safeguard their
autonomous region after the withdrawal of US troops currently backing them.
fear an attack by neighboring Turkey, which has threatened to crush the Kurdish
YPG militia. Ankara sees the Syrian Kurdish fighters as indistinguishable from
the Kurdish PKK movement that has waged an insurgency inside Turkey.
LaCamera warned that US law prohibits cooperation with Russia as well as
will continue to train and arm them as long as they remain our partners,”
LaCamera said, praising their hard-won victories against ISIS militants.
asked if that support would continue if they aligned themselves with Assad,
LaCamera said: “No.”
that relationship is severed, because they go back to the regime, which we
don’t have a relationship with, (or) the Russians (...) when that happens then
we will no longer be partners with them,” LaCamera told a small group of reporters.
Donald Trump’s surprise December decision to withdraw all of the more than
2,000 US troops from Syria has triggered deep concern among US allies about the
risk of a resurgence of ISIS.
US-backing, the SDF has routed ISIS and is on the verge of recapturing the
final bits of its once sprawling territory. But ISIS still has thousands of
fighters, who, now dispersed, are expected to turn to guerrilla-style
Friday, the four-star US general overseeing US troops throughout the Middle
East, General Joseph Votel, told Reuters that he backed supporting the SDF as
needed, as long as it kept the pressure on ISIS militants.
LaCamera’s comments make clear that the SDF may have to choose between backing
from Assad, Russia or the United States.
forces and Damascus have mostly avoided combat during the war. Assad, who has
vowed to recover the entire country, has long opposed Kurdish ambitions for a
on Sunday, Assad warned the United States would not protect those depending on
it, in reference to the Kurdish fighters.
say to those groups who are betting on the Americans, the Americans will not
protect you,” he said without naming them. “The Americans will put you in their
pockets so you can be tools in the barter, and they have started with (it).”
has reported that Trump’s decision was in part driven by an offer by Turkey to
keep the pressure on ISIS once the United States withdrew.
current and former US officials warn Ankara would be unable to replicate the
SDF’s success across the areas of Syria that the militias captured with US
support including arms, airstrikes and advisers.
McGurk, who resigned in December as Trump’s special envoy to the US-led
coalition against ISIS, warned last month that the SDF could not be replaced as
the provider of stability in areas of Syria formerly held by the militant
group. He also cautioned that Turkey, a NATO ally, was not a reliable partner
in the fight in Syria.
prominent American website has revealed secret links between Saudi Minister of
State for Foreign Affairs Adel al-Jubeir and Israel's spy agency Mossad that
began in the nineties.
Buckley said in an article on The Odyssey Online that she had begun to collect
information about Jubeir’s relations with Mossad.
described it as “the most controversial intelligence news scoop of the past 10
years,” coming to light after former Israeli foreign minister Tzipi Livni
rebuked Mossad for Jubeir's dismissal.
said ex-CIA officer Philip Giraldi provided her with significant information
and “was especially helpful in revealing how Mossad made its first contact with
to Giraldi, the FBI first began monitoring Jubeir in 1990 when he became the
spokesperson for the Saudi embassy in the United States.
few years later, Mossad was suspected of attempts to recruit Jubeir, said
Giraldi, a senior FBI agent.
to the report, more inquiries found that while studying political science and
economics at University of North Texas, Jubeir was approached by Kay Ann
Mathews, a fellow student at the Faculty of Political Science and International
Relations, in 1981.
was introduced to Jewish businessmen and figures by Mathews, who had close ties
to famous Israeli diamond merchants in the US, the report said.
a friendly FBI questioning in August 1998, she revealed that the first meeting
between Adel al-Jubeir and a Mossad agent took place in October of 1995.”
cooperated with Mossad after being entangled in a web of affection for Kay and
heavy financial debts to a number of Jewish businessmen in the US, the report
by Mossad, Kay began to drift from her relationship with Jubeir. “Evidence
shows that his activities in the US Saudi embassy were fully controlled by the Mossad
agent,” the report said.
along with several prominent authors, is working on “an in-depth investigation
into al-Jubeir's life and secret relations to Mossad.”
this sort of information entails traveling back and forth between Saudi Arabia
and Tel Aviv; interviewing retired Mossad experts and gathering field data may
be dangerous, and I am starting to sense serious security threats,” she noted.
bride Shamima Begum is likely to stand trial if she successfully returns to
Britain from a displacement camp in northern Syria, the UK’s Middle East minister
has told The National.
Burt said that hundreds of Britons who travelled to Syria and Iraq to join the
ranks of ISIS would be allowed to return amid a growing debate over how the
19-year-old and her new-born baby should be treated.
UK government indicated at the weekend that Britain would be obliged to allow
Ms Begum to return, while her baby could be taken from her by authorities to
prevent a second generation of the family being indoctrinated to reject British
minister says British foreign fighters cannot be stopped from returning to the
bride Shamima Begum is likely to stand trial if she successfully returns to
Britain from a displacement camp in northern Syria, the UK’s Middle East
minister has told The National.
Burt said that Ms Begum could be assured of a fair trial despite a series of
interviews given by the young woman in which she failed to denounce ISIS and
told of how it did not “faze” her when she saw a decapitated head in a bin. She
labelled life under ISIS control as relatively normal.
she makes her way to a border and makes her way back to the UK ... then she
would be handled appropriately,” he told The National in an interview at the
British embassy in Abu Dhabi.
said her ability to return to the UK had been made more difficult by the
absence of any British consular services in Syria.
is no doubt that she will face a fair trial in the UK based on what she has
done and no citizen, whatever they have done, need fear that they do not,” he
Begum, who was 15 when she fled to Syria to join ISIS with two schoolmates, was
discovered in a displacement camp last week and gave birth to a boy on Sunday.
son has been called Jarrar, in memory of one of the two children Ms Begum lost
during her time with ISIS.
pleaded to be repatriated to the UK for the sake of her newborn child and asked
for sympathy. Her husband, Dutch convert turned fighter Yago Riedijk, is
currently being held separately by the UK’s allies in Syria.
governments are grappling with the difficulties of the returns of potentially
thousands of their citizens who travelled to Syria and Iraq to fight for ISIS.
members have indicated that they wanted fighters accused of the most serious
offences to be tried and sentenced in Syria and Iraq before being returned to
officials have warned that the countries, particularly Germany, France and the
UK, need to address the long-term demands to rehabilitate battle-hardened
fighters amid fears of a similar “blowback” seen after the war in Afghanistan
in the 1980s.
comments by Mr Burt follow a series of statements by British ministers
advocating a hardline approach towards British foreign fighters.
Minister Gavin Williamson said in December 2017 that they should be hunted down
and killed to ensure they never return to the UK. The Home Secretary Sajid
Javid said the government could strip “dangerous individuals” of their
2016, 14 people had their British citizenship withdrawn compared to 104 in
2017, in measures that were considered “conducive to the public good”,
according to a government report released in July last year.
the situation of restricting returns has been complicated by the estimated
1,500 European children taken to war-stricken areas or born there to
Burt said they would likely need long-term care to prevent the emergence of a
second generation of dangerous radicals bent on attacking their home country.
born abroad is a difficult category because the children will have been
entirely innocent of the events surrounding them.
may well have been badly damaged by what they have seen and efforts must be
made to ensure in the future they’ve not suffered from that, so at the very
least they don’t feel a sense of grievance and become involved in terror or
Begum's lawyer has said she was being treated worse than a Nazi standing trial
Akunjee said his client was traumatised and compared her current mental state
to soldiers “in shellshock” during the First World War.
Nazis had the Nuremberg trials. They were given due process. This girl was a
victim when she went out there at 15 years old. Our politicians are saying that
she should be denied protections and due process that would have been granted
to Nazis,” Mr Akunjee told The Times.
conceded that “what she’s saying isn’t helpful” but said she needed support and
“will obviously have to be de-radicalised”.
family are aware of how people feel. But it's their daughter and their
grandson, who came into existence yesterday.
a British citizen at the end of the day. There's an innocent child here, the
baby. Bringing that child back into safety is a moral duty any state would have,”
Begum was one of four girls from Bethnal Green in East London, who joined ISIS.
a British citizen, she will have to face the music when she comes back,” said
Dal Babu, a former senior officer in London’s police force. “But first we need
to acknowledge and scrutinise the decisions made by police, the local authority
and school that allowed them to go in the first place.”
fifth girl from Bethnal Green was stopped from travelling to Syria in 2014 but
has not been prosecuted despite holding a vast collection of ISIS propaganda.
was also alleged she was involved in a plot to attack a UK government building
– a charge the then 15-year-old, and now adult, denies.
Anne Speckhard, Ph.D
is bracing for a new wave of jihadist attacks by terrorists affiliated with the
so-called Islamic State, what “you might call ISIS 2.0,” as Interpol chief
Jürgen Stock recently told reporters. Some previously imprisoned jihadists are
being released from jail, others are returning to Europe—and to prison—while
still others, we have learned, have never been known to police and operate as
“sleeper cells” waiting to be mobilized.
is in the face of such concerns that U.S. intelligence chiefs have warned,
despite President Donald Trump’s assertions to the contrary, that ISIS is still
far from defeated.
week, the International Center for the Study of Violent Extremism (ICSVE)
interviewed 18 ISIS cadres held by the Kurdish People’s Protection Units (YPG)
closely allied with U.S. coalition forces in Syria. Two of the prisoners
interviewed were former members of the ISIS intelligence operation known as the
“emni,” sometimes also written as “amni.”
of them, a Tunisian named Abdel Kadr, was a 35-year-old athletic-looking and
obviously clever individual, who had illegally smuggled himself into Europe in
2008 and then managed to get legal residency, to live and work there, by
marrying a German. Abdel Kadr claimed to have “found religion” and also, like
many foreign fighters, to have been moved by the plight of Syrians assaulted by
Bashar al-Assad’s forces, which caused him to leave Germany for Syria in 2014,
driving an ambulance loaded with humanitarian supplies.
Kadr ultimately joined and served ISIS until he was captured by the YPG last
year. He appears to have had high-level access in ISIS and was open to
discussing what he knows while also seeking not to incriminate himself.
the ISIS emni, Abdel Kadr says there are both internal and external emni
networks in ISIS, the former enforcing security within the self-declared caliphate
and the latter sending operatives outside of it, to be sleeper cells organizing
attacks in Europe and globally. They are not police but intelligence
operatives, he said. “They live 24 hours per day with a mask. They are chosen
specially for this. They have their own houses, special families. They have
been chosen specially, and many were sent back to Europe.”
to joining ISIS, Abdel Kadr had been a human and goods smuggler based in
Germany, working between Turkey and Europe. He said he joined the Islamic State
alongside his friend Dominic, a white German convert to Islam. Dominic wanted
to return to Germany to work as an undercover operative for ISIS and, being
fair-skinned with no known criminal history, he believed he could do so
undetected. (He should not be confused with Dominic Musa Schmitz, a Salafi who
wrote a book in German in 2016 about his disillusionment with Salafi Islam.)
are a lot of those who were trained by ISIS to go into Europe,” said Abdel
Kadr. The emni member who trained and facilitated many of them was also a white
European, an Austrian who went by the kunya, or pseudonym, of Abu Musa
was in charge of Germany,” Abdel Kadr explained. “He spoke around seven
languages: German, Dutch, French, Arabic, and German with the accent of
Austria. He was an Austrian native with long hair and a red beard,” Abdel Kadr
said. “He was from a wealthy family in Austria and a convert from Christianity.
I met him in Syria, but he was moving everywhere.” He was traveling back and
forth via Turkey.
heard about this wave that they prepared for Europe,” Abdel Kadr told us. “They
asked me if I’d like to go back to Germany. They were saying to me if you want
to go back don’t worry about money, but they don’t know how I think.”
Kadr was content at that time inside ISIS doing business on the side and making
considerable profits. And he had a ready excuse for begging off from such a
mission. “I have seven pieces of shrapnel in my body,” he explained. “If I pass
through an airport they will catch me.” Also, he looks like the Arab he is, and
is liable to fall prey to profiling. “They were sending athletic guys who look
European back into Europe,” Abdel Kadr told us.
ISIS emni asked Abdel Kadr to return to his former human smuggling trade. “They
wanted me to make logistics and coordination because before I joined ISIS and
came, I was smuggling people between Turkey and Greece.” That was when Abdel
Kadr was living in Germany with his German wife, making thousands of dollars
smuggling Bengalis, Iranians, Pakistanis, Afghans who had already made their
way into Turkey on into Europe. The back trails across the border were
primitive and rough, he said, but he knew them. “Our bridge to cross the river
was a tree we cut for that purpose.”
intelligence “knew I was a people smuggler. All my German friends knew I was a
smuggler,” Abdel Kadr explained. “Abu Musa al-Almani, who was in charge of
Germany, came to me in Raqqa with Dominic and asked me about the smuggling. He said,
‘Dawlah [the State, ie. ISIS] needs you. The whole nation of Islam needs you.’”
emni asked Abdel Kadr to help them smuggle trained operatives back into Europe
following the routes from Turkey into Greece that he had previously exploited.
Abdel Kadr claims he refused. “I took my injuries as an excuse to escape from
this, I have a screw in my leg, shrapnel [from a bomb attack]. It took seven
kilometers walking to get across to Greece. My role was five kilometers up to
the tree [bridge]. Someone else took them inside, an Algerian guy.”
Kadr claims that he told ISIS he was no longer fit enough to do it. It may be
true that he refused, as he was at the time engaged in a smuggling and trade
operation inside ISIS, enriching himself there, or he may in fact have
re-engaged in his former trade but did not want to tell us.
to Abdel Kadr, when the emni was going to send a European back to attack they
would first falsely announce inside ISIS, and on their external media, that he
had been killed fighting or in a bomb attack. But later, it would be revealed
that he was actually alive and had successfully attacked in Paris or Brussels,
for instance, and had been “martyred” there.
the case of most suicide attacks in Europe, according to Abdel Kadr, the death
of the operative is announced by ISIS a few months earlier, when in fact, “they
took them to a camp to train them. Then after you get a communiqué about their
action in Europe. The communiqué on this date stated he died in France or Belgium,
but for ourselves, seven or eight months before [we had heard] they were
announcing his death.”
same was true of Dominic, according to Abdel Kadr. “ISIS said he was killed,
but it wasn’t true. He lived next to me and when I went to see his wife and
children inside the ISIS area [in Tabqa, near Raqqa], they told me, ‘He is not
killed, but we don’t know where he is.’” Abdel Kadr already knew Dominic’s
desire to return to Europe to serve ISIS.
alive somewhere,” Abdel Kadr told us. “Up to now, there is no communiqué [about
his actions in Europe].” Abdel Kadr, who is imprisoned by the YPG and says he
is now totally disillusioned with ISIS, claims to have tried to thwart any
possible attack by Dominic by alerting German and European intelligence about
his friend’s “disappearance” and fake death announcement inside of ISIS.
are 1,000 partisans in Europe,” Abdel Kadr claims. “They have a big plan to
introduce hundreds of refugees from all nationalities of the world,” he claims,
saying ISIS was able to insert them into the refugee streams flowing into
Europe. Many are sent to Europe with false passports. “They are processed by
surgery, training and language and they send them as sleeping cells. In Turkey
they give them hair transplants, surgically change their eyes, even the eye
color.” (Presumably that would be with contact lenses.)
least two of the attackers who struck Paris in November 2015 had entered Europe
among refugees and carried false papers.
2015, Harry Sarfo, a German whose family originally was from Ghana, and who’d
grown up in Britain, working as a postman there before he joined ISIS, was
pressured by the ISIS emni to train and return to attack in Germany. He told
the authorities, and later Der Spiegel and The New York Times, about his
training and knowledge of these ISIS emni activities.
was telling Europeans to book short vacations in resorts in the south of
Turkey, take many pictures, and then come to train for a short time with ISIS
to be sent back to join sleeper cells in Europe. Without overstaying their
Turkish visas and with the strong alibi of the resort booking and pictures to
confirm it, they passed suspicions if questioned by security about their
Kadr confirmed that this indeed was happening. “They are able to bring a youth
into ISIS and then back into his family without the knowledge of his parents.
They send him home to Europe after one year in training with ISIS,” he states.
“There are some people who came with European faces for a short time and went
back through Turkey,” he explains. “Like my friend, Dominic. I think he’s
living in Europe,” Abdel Kadr concludes.
asked about this case and others like it, a high-level YPG security official
explains that his organization is doing everything it can to stop such
operations. The YPG says it has caught and now holds in its prisons over 3,500
foreign fighters, many of them Europeans.
the Kurds feel frustrated knowing that these foreigners streamed in through
Turkey, some of them received medical help inside Turkey when injured, and most
of the logistical supplies and extra food supplies for ISIS were delivered
across the Turkish border.
the YPG has provided the core ground force working with the Americans to defeat
ISIS, President Trump’s decision to withdraw some 2,000 U.S. troops providing
logistical and other support leaves the organization in a vulnerable position.
The Turkish government insists that the YPG is a branch of the Kurdish Workers
Party or PKK, which Ankara and many other governments, including the U.S., deem
a terrorist organization.
has dismissed claims by British Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt that it has made
special commitments to comply with the West’s demands in order to end Saudi
Arabia’s ongoing war on Yemen.
has made no commitments to any party or country about Yemen,” Iranian Foreign
Ministry spokesman Bahram Qassemi said in a statement on Monday.
made the remarks a day after Hunt claimed in an interview with London-based
Saudi paper Asharq Al-Awsat that Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif
had made certain promises to help end the conflict when they met in Tehran back
said Zarif had only discussed the ongoing international efforts to end the war
and doubled down on Iran’s position that no country other than Yemen should
decide what is best for its people.
is an independent country and it is up to the Yemenis to make decisions and
Iran does in no way interfere with the country’s internal affairs,” Qassemi
this regard, Mr. Zarif has held numerous meetings and diplomatic conversations
with his foreign counterparts in order to find a solution… or solutions… that
could help ease the crisis and pave the way for the aggression to end and for a
lasting ceasefire to take its place,” he said.
noted that Iran has been regularly contacting European countries, including
France, Germany, Britain and Italy to facilitate peace talks and aid deliveries
to the people of Yemen.
Iranian diplomat said what Hunt meant by “commitment” was the same commitments
that Yemen’s warring sides agreed upon during the latest round of UN-brokered
peace talks in the Swedish capital Stockholm in December.
implied in his interview that Zarif had agreed to convince Houthi Ansarullah
fighters, who have been pushing back against Saudi aggressors, to evacuate
Yemen’s key port city of Hudaydah.
Arabia and its regional allies – including the United Arab Emirates – have long
been bombing the city, seeking to cut the impoverished country’s most important
Stockholm, both Houthis and Saudi-backed groups agreed to a ceasefire and an
ultimate retreat from the strategic city as the first major step to end the
deadly conflict, which has killed tens of thousands of Yemenis since its onset
in March 2015.
the Houthis’ commitment to the truce, however, the Riyadh regime and its
mercenaries have stepped up their attacks on Hudaydah in a bid to get the upper
hand in negotiations.
arms deals with Saudi, allies'
his interview, Hunt accused Iran of using Yemen “as a base to destabilize
Yemen’s neighbors,” a claim that the Saudis and the West have repeatedly used
to justify the war.
advised Hunt and other Western leaders to “come to their senses” and start
taking real steps towards peace by stopping their extensive arms deals with
Saudi Arabia and the rest of the “aggressors.”
UK has licensed over £4.7 billion worth of arms exports, including missiles and
fighter jets, to Riyadh since the deadly conflict began in 2015. Prime Minsiter
Theresa May has so far faced down calls for a ban on the weapons sales despite
the growing humanitarian disaster.
has denounced a recent US-organized conference in Poland – which had a highly
hostile anti-Iran agenda -- as yet another America-style attempt to create new
“dividing lines” in the Middle East and impose its own “unilateral recipes” on
the conflict-ridden region.
Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova said on Monday that the Americans
used the meeting in Warsaw mainly to bring their allies closer together on the
“destructive agenda of total counteraction to Tehran,” which the US sought to
portray as the “main source of instability” in the Middle East.
it must be said that the conference in Warsaw was yet another illustration of
the course of the US administration to create new ‘dividing lines’ in a Middle
East already saturated with conflicts and contradictions,” she said.
also described a decision taken at the conference to create working groups on
the Middle East issues as a fresh American attempt at solving regional woes
conference was planned and held not for the sake of serious discussion of the
Middle East problems. Its main outcome is creation of several special working
groups to discuss a number of global challenges and threats.... What is that,
if not an attempt to launch a parallel process that will work on developing
unilateral decisions?” she asked.
recipes for Mideast’
Russian official further cited US President Donald Trump’s yet-to-be-unveiled
proposal on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict as an example of “unilateral
recipes” for Middle East issues.
is the signature style of Washington that has been staking since long on
imposing unilateral recipes, like the notorious ‘deal of the century’ [on the
Palestinian-Israeli settlement],” the diplomat said.
also condemned Washington’s “practice of building coalitions based on common
interests - like, for example, the designed ‘Middle East NATO’ on the
approaches, she added, “leads away from the goal of achieving long-term
stabilization in the region” and “complicates prospects for the settlement of
the conflict situations."
stressed that Moscow’s approach to resolving the Mideast is based on “truly
collective” decision-making “developed under the auspices of the UN and
complying with the norms and principles of international law, including those
respecting the sovereignty, independence and territorial integrity of all
Warsaw meeting was held on February 13-14. The US had initially said the Warsaw
forum would focus on the “important element of making sure that Iran is not a
as officials from various countries indicated their refusal to participate,
Washington claimed the meeting was “not a venue to demonize or attack Iran,” in
an apparent about-face.
event has, however, been widely viewed as a failure for the US as most global
leaders snubbed the meeting, making American Vice President Mike Pence sit and
interact with foreign officials well below his diplomatic stature.
the sidelines of the conference, which was supposed to discuss ways to promote
“peace” in the Middle East, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netnyahu startled
the international community and even his allies in the White House by openly
speaking of a “common” Israeli-Arab “interest” of “war with Iran.”
slammed the confab as a “circus” and said the low levels of participation in
the event and the attendees’ reluctance to support any decision against Iran
had turned the final statement of the event into “a useless document.”
US has stepped-up its pressure campaign on Iran under the Trump administration.
Military officials in South of Afghanistan are saying that 45 militants were
killed or wounded during the operations in Zabul province in past one week.
officials further added that over the last week the 205th Corps has
aggressively pursued the Taliban in Arghandab and Mizan districts of Zabul.
Clashes with the insurgents have been offensive operations towards the Taliban
backed by the use of Afghan artillery.
recent clashes have resulted in 33 insurgents killed and 12 wounded.
Additionally, during these operations against the Taliban, the 205th Corps
discovered 45 IEDs along the roads which were cleared by the Army engineers,”
the officials said.
to the military officials, these operations come on the heels of a large attack
from the Taliban last week against an ANA checkpoint in Arghandab District
which killed the soldiers manning that checkpoint.
205th Corps confirmed that over the last month, there were approximately 50
attacks against ANDSF, mostly check points. Of these attacks, less than 5
resulted in a loss of infrastructure and were reoccupied by friendly forces
within 24 hours. Additionally, there were 25 attacks against ANDSF that were
repulsed by the 205th Corps and mitigated by the use of offensive attacks
against the Taliban and were solely fought and won by Afghan Forces.
Iman Nazar, 205th Corps Commander said “Our brave Soldiers risk their lives
every day to protect our country. They have adapted to recent Taliban attacks
and offensively reacted to take the fight to the Taliban.”
Yarmal, Governor of Zabul said “The 205th Corps brigade in Zabul has seen
recent attacks, but continue to fight and see success, with the support of the
people, to make our province safe.”
nine militants were killed or wounded during the operations of the Afghan armed
forces in southeastern Ghazni province, the Afghan Military said Monday.
203rd Thunder Corps of the Afghan Military in a statement said at least 5
militants were killed and two others were wounded during the operations of the
armed force in KokDalil and Kota Sangi areas of Andar district.
statement further added that a clash also broke out between the armed forces
and militants in Nawda area of Moqor district which left one militant dead.
Afghan forces also discovered and defused 23 improvised explosive devices
during the same operations, the 203rd Thunder Corps said in its statement.
anti-government armed militants including Taliban have not commented in this
regard so far.
U.S. Special Representative for Afghanistan Reconciliation Ambassador Zalmay
Khalilzad has the objective of the United States is to ensure a lasting peace
in Afghanistan through diplomatic channels in a bid to ensure that the benefits
of two nations are secure.
Khalilzad also added that the United States seeks bilateral cooperation with
Afghanistan and efforts are underway to reduce the cost of the war.
made the remarks during a meeting with President Mohammad Ashraf Ghani, members
of the political parties, civil society organizations, youths, religious
clerics and other government officials during a gathering in the presidential
palace on Sunday evening.
also added that the United States is serious to a peace process considering the
central role of the Afghan government and Afghan people, insisting that the
United States wants a lasting peace in which the achievements are preserved and
that results in to the conclusion of 40 years of war.
Khalilzad further added that the objective of the U.S. peace efforts is not to
seek a way for exit but is focused on maintaining peace in Afghanistan and
strengthening of bilateral relations with Afghanistan would be discussed after
a peace deal is reached.
that no difference exists in the views of the Afghan government and the United
States in peace process, Ambassador Khalilzad said all steps and efforts are in
that the progress has been limited but hopeful, Ambassador Khalilzad said he is
hopeful to have more progress in this regard in coordination with the
government and people of Afghanistan.
went on to explain that the U.S. delegation had discussions on four issues
during the past meetings with the Taliban representatives, including
circumstances surrounding the relations of Taliban with Al-Qaeda network,
presence of U.S. forces, direct negotiations between Taliban and Afghan
government, and an overall ceasefire.
least two militants were killed as they were placing an Improvised Explosive
Device in a graveyard in southern Kandahar province, the security officials
Police Chief Gen. Tadin Khan said the incident took place late on Monday in the
vicinity of Arghandab district.
Tadin Khan further added that the militants were busy planting an Improvised
Explosive Device in a graveyard when the explosives went off prematurely,
leaving two militants dead.
anti-government armed militants including Taliban have not commented regarding
the incident so far.
anti-government armed militants including Taliban often use Improvised
Explosive Device as the weapon of their choice to target the security forces.
ongoing efforts to find a negotiated settlement to the ongoing conflict in
Afghanistan, the Afghan government leaders and U.S. envoy for Afghanistan
reconciliation have agreed on a new and clear working method regarding peace
Mohammad Ashraf Ghani informed regarding the agreement during a gathering which
was attended by Ambassador Khalilzad, representatives of the political parties,
civil society, women, youths, private sector, and other officials.
regards to the new agreement, President Ghani said information would be shared
and persistent negotiations would be made regarding specific agenda based on
which next steps would be taken.
also added that necessary attention would be paid regarding the internal,
regional, and international situation while dealing with peace process,
emphasizing that the situation of the Islamic countries should also be
considered and further negotiations should take place regarding the formation
of a new framework.
Ghani said the existing consensus should be further strengthened and in some
places where a consensus does not exist must also be considered.
full support for any investigation in Pulwama attack, Pakistan Prime Minister Imran
Khan today said that India has blamed Pakistan without any proof and if India
has any proof about any wrongdoing it should give it to Pakistan for action.
offer full support for any investigation in Pulwama. I guarantee action on
this," Imran said.
has blamed the Pakistan without any proof. Pakistan has nothing to gain from
this attack. Pakistan is moving towards peace and stability," Prime
Minister Imran Khan said in a address on Radio Pakistan.
would Pakistan gain from this? This is new Pakistan and new thinking that doesn't
support terrorism," he said.
also said that he didn't respond to the Pulwama attack because of important
visit of Saudi Arabia's crown price to Pakistan.
Pakistan had sought the UN's urgent intervention to "defuse tensions"
with India, the Foreign Office Pakistan has strongly rejected India's
allegations and said that the JeM remains a proscribed entity in Pakistan since
2002 and the country was implementing its obligations on sanctions
February 14, at least 41 Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) personnel were
killed in Kashmir's Pulwama district in a suicide attack claimed by
Pakistan-based Jaish-e-Mohammad terror group.
a tit-for-tat action, Pakistan Monday called back its High Commissioner from
India for "consultations" amid heightened bilateral tensions after
the Pulwama terror attack, days after New Delhi asked its envoy in Islamabad to
Pakistan is expecting $21 billion worth of seven memorandums of understanding
(MoUs) signed with Saudi Arabia to come to fruition in three phases over the
next six years.
two sides have set up two major follow-up forums to ensure timely completion of
feasibility studies and project implementation including the top level
Saudi-Pakistan Joint Supreme Coordination Council (SPJSCC) and a Joint Working
SPSCC will be led by Prime Minister Imran Khan and Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed
bin Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud while joint working group on energy would be
led by Saudi Minister for Energy and Industry Khalid Al Falih and Petroleum
Minister Ghulam Sarwar Khan.
involved in two-day bilateral engagements said three initiatives of $7bn are
expected to be completed in the first phase of 1-2 years (short-term). These
include about $4bn Saudi investment in two regasified-liquefied natural gas
(RLNG) based power plants in Punjab. The sale of two projects was, however,
expected to go through the open bidding process even though the previous
government had parked a major part of $1.5bn ‘Saudi gift’ in the Pakistan
Development Fund to finance the two power plants.
$2bn investment is expected from ACWA Power within two years, mostly in
renewable energy projects in the coastal areas of Balochistan and Chaghi wind
corridor, based on feasibility studies to be conducted in the near future,
Power is a Riyadh-based developer, investor, co-owner and operator of a
portfolio of power generation and desalinated water production plants in 10
countries including in the Middle East and North Africa, Southern Africa and
South East Asia regions.
addition, a $1bn investment from Saudi Fund for Pakistan is also expected in
first two years as participation in projects like Diamer-Bhasha and Mohmand
dams, Jamshoro and Jagran power projects.
mid-term investment up to $2bn is anticipated in 2-3 years. These include
smaller petrochemical projects and food and agriculture projects of $1bn each.
long term (4-6 year) Saudi investment worth $12bn is expected in two major
projects. These include $10bn oil refinery to be set up by Aramco and $2bn
investment in Mineral Development.
feasibility study for oil refinery and identification of mineral projects are
yet to be made, officials explained, adding that the formal agreements on all
these projects would be signed on a fast-track basis as soon as their
feasibility studies are completed.
two sides decided to set up the SPJSCC at the highest level to enhance
bilateral economic and business relations in various fields in an
institutionalized manner and resolve any hiccups at the very outset. The
meetings of the council will be held in the two countries on an alternative
two sides agreed to make use of all available channels to promote bilateral
trade, investment and promote communication between the two peoples and
businessmen. The Joint Commission on Commerce and Trade, which is now part of
the SPJSCC shall facilitate bilateral trade in specific sectors and products.
two sides agreed to further strengthen measures to promote trade, participate
in exhibitions and events, welcome business meetings from both countries, and
encourage the private sector to take the lead in building a strong economic
partnership between the two brotherly countries.
two sides expected the total investment opportunities worth $20bn would
increase the mutual investment and volume of bilateral trade.
joint statement quoted Saudi side as expressing its appreciation for the
initiatives taken to improve the conduct of business and facilitate foreign
direct investment, and hoped the potential of the China-Pakistan Economic
Corridor (CPEC) will contribute to the development and prosperity of the
follow-up to the signing of MoUs, both sides agreed to have expeditious
exchange of information to carry out feasibility studies and discussed other
areas of cooperation including supply of petroleum products and LNG on a
deferred payment basis.
Falih said his country would look into some other mutually beneficial
investment opportunities in energy sector of Pakistan.
a Pak-Saudi Investors Conference on the sidelines agreed to promote bilateral
trade to its true potential as its existing size of $3.7bn was fall below the
strength of brotherly relationship. Adviser to Prime Minister on Commerce,
Textile and Industry Abdul Razzak Dawood and Saudi Commerce Minister Majid Bin
Abdullah Al Qasabi co-chaired the conference.
said there were many untapped potential areas which should be explored for
mutual benefit and take advantage of trade and investment opportunities like in
agricultural, natural resources and human resource in Pakistan and logistic,
mining and religious tourism in Saudi Arabia. He assured the guests that
Pakistan would facilitate and provide a level playing field to Saudi investors.
said Pakistan’s economy was heading in the right direction but was facing
energy shortage, when China came forward and decided to initiate investment in
different energy generation projects under CPEC. He said the government was
working on renewable energy policy to improve energy mix with alternate energy
from existing 4pc to 30pc by 2025 to shift away from expensive oil and gas.
statement quoted Mr Dawood as saying that Saudi investors and businessmen
showed keen interest to invest in petroleum and energy generation sectors as
the huge scope of investment were existing with lucrative rate of returns.
Minister for Commerce Majid Bin Abdullah Al Qasabi said Pakistan was a nation
of passion and dedication, and the compass of bilateral relations was moving
towards new direction.
Counter Terrorism Department (CTD) of the Sindh police, on Monday, declared the
car explosion in Karachi’s Defence Housing Authority (DHA) an ‘A-Class’ case
and admitted its failure in arresting the men responsible.
its report submitted before an Anti-Terrorism Court (ATC), the CTD officials
said that the terrorists were planning a terrorist attack in the city by
planting a bomb device in the vehicle and had now gone into hiding.
CTD report said that the police had tried its best to arrest the culprits,
further adding that the case will be re-opened as and when an accused will be
to CTD officials, a car parked at an empty plot near Khadda Market, Defence
Phase-V, exploded in the early hours of December 3, last year. The department
registered a case against unknown persons with the state as complainant under
sections of the anti-terrorism and the explosive acts. An improvised explosive
device was used in the blase where the bomb was connected to six LPG cylinders
kept in the car. Two explosive bags, weighing two and six kilogrammes
respectively, were also found from the location, the report added. The car,
which had caught fire in the explosion, was stolen from Jamshed Road area a few
Taliban said on Sunday that meetings of their negotiation team with US special
envoy Zalmay Khalilzad and Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan on February 18 in
Islamabad had been postponed due to “travel curbs” on their leaders. Taliban
spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid said earlier that Taliban political envoys would
meet Khalilzad and Imran Khan in Islamabad on February 18
Islamic Emirate had planned participation of its members in talks with US
negotiating team in the Pakistani capital of Islamabad which has been postponed
due to inclusion of most of the members of our negotiation team in black list
maintained by the US and the UN,” a Taliban statement said. “It must be
mentioned that responsibility for postponement of this event does not devolve
upon the Islamic Emirate since we had made all arrangements,” it said.
statement rejected reports that the meetings were postponed by the Taliban or
there had been other reasons.
the Taliban had stated that they had received a formal invitation by the
government of Pakistan for a meeting between their negotiation teams and United
States in Islamabad.
Pakistani official also confirmed cancellation of the meetings in Islamabad.
Taliban spokesman had also stated that the next round of formal talks with the
US envoy would resume on February 25 in Doha, the capital of Qatar as per the
agreement reached during the previous meeting.
Taliban negotiators and Khalilzad last met in Qatar in January and the Taliban
political officials said both sides had agreed to discuss the issues of the
withdrawal of the foreign forces and to prevent Afghanistan from being used
against the US and other countries.
political spokesman Suhail Shaheen told the media this week that Afghan Taliban
and the United States had constituted two joint working groups to devise a
strategy about the withdrawal of the US-led foreign troops and to prevent
Afghanistan from being used against other countries.
said the joint groups would prepare reports for the next round of talks in
Doha. Taliban last week announced a 14-member new negotiating team that
includes six members from the Taliban powerful leadership council.
Taliban statement said the negotiation team to be led by Sher Abbas Stanekzai
also includes five senior members who were freed from the American prison at
Guantanamo Bay in 2014.
Taliban announced cancellation of the meetings in Pakistan a day after
beleaguered Afghan government complained to the UN about the Taliban
negotiation team’s visit to Pakistan, reports said. Reports said the Afghan
mission in the UN had handed over a letter to the UN Security Council’s
NORTHERN CAMEROON —
Cameroon, many Boko Haram fighters have surrendered in recent months. But
Cameroon lacks facilities to rehabilitate them.
of the Multi National Joint Task Force fighting the Boko Haram insurgency, sing
at their base in Mora on Cameroon's northern border with Nigeria as they train
for eventual operations against the terrorist group.
the same base, there are 87 Boko Haram fighters in custody. The fighters were
captured a year ago, when they decided to lay down their weapons and be
pardoned and rehabilitated as the government of Cameroon had promised.
Midjiyawa Bakari of Cameroon's Far North region said the former fighters will
remain at the base until a rehabilitation center is constructed for them.
said they have acquired a 13 hectare land that and are waiting for the central
government in Yaounde to provide funds so that they can develop it.
said Boko Haram fighters that are still reluctant to come out of the bushes or
fear that they may be arrested by the Cameroon military and detained should
have confidence in the government. He said anyone who comes back will be
socially and economically reintegrated and treated as Cameroonians who were
simply deceived but have realized that they were wrong and are returning to
develop their country.
December, Cameroon created a committee to disarm and reintegrate separatist
fighters in its English speaking regions and Boko Haram terrorists who put down
centers for the separatists have been created in the towns of Bamenda and Buea.
The centers for ex-Boko Haram fighters are yet to be built.
may be why some former Boko Haram fighters are bypassing the government program
Kawamza, a 37-year-old former Boko Haram fighter, waters his maize farm here in
Mora. He escaped from Nigeria in December 2017 and refused to go to the
official rehabilitation center, choosing instead to reunite with his family.
said he did not trust the government rehabilitation program. He said unlike
some of his peers who are being kept as prisoners in military camps, he has
rebuilt his life with the aid of a United Nations and government-backed program
that trained him and gave him fertilizers and maize to grow.
said he and his family will no longer be hungry this year as he has stocked
enough maize and groundnuts to keep them going. He said last year, he was
treated as an outcast until some white humanitarian workers came, trained them
and gave them maize to plant and take care of their families.
said it is his wish to use the knowledge he got from the U.N. program to
empower people who joined or were kidnapped by Boko Haram.
government has said it wants to help former fighters like Kawamza -- but first
wants to ensure they have definitively broken with Boko Haram before giving
them assistance and training to earn a living.
fewer than 35,000 Nigerians have fled to Cameroon to become refugees in recent
weeks following the escalation of the Boko Haram insurgency in the
North-East, Médecins Sans Frontières
called Doctors Without Borders,
in a statement said the latest migration followed an
increase in violence around Rann in
to the statement, many of the Nigerian refugees in the Cameroonian village of
Goura urgently need food, shelter and water.
MSF said it had launched an emergency
response to take care of the refugees.
statement quoted MSF’s deputy programme manager for emergencies Dr
Silas Moussa as saying, “They
(refugees) left on foot very early in
the morning — women, children and elderly people.
they fled, they had to leave elderly and sick relatives behind. They brought
along what possessions they could, but in Goura they have nothing to drink and
nowhere to sleep. They have been left to fend for themselves.”
statement added, “The refugees have been
staying in a large, informal camp in Goura since late January. Most are
sleeping in the open, even though it is sandstorm season and the temperature
drops sharply at night.
Nigerian soldiers were killed and six others injured when Boko Haram jihadists
attacked a military post near the Cameroon border, security sources told AFP
Monday, days before rescheduled presidential elections.
loyal to long-time factional leader Abubakar Shekau launched the attack on
Sunday evening some 15 kilometres (nearly 10 miles) from the town of Banki.
President Muhammadu Buhari came to power on a pledge to defeat the Islamist
militants but despite his repeated claims that they have been weakened to the
point of defeat, attacks persist.
failure to end the violence is again a polling issue as Buhari seeks
re-election this weekend.
lost two soldiers to Boko Haram terrorists who attacked Alpha Company
location…” a military officer in Banki said on condition of anonymity.
soldiers were also injured in the attack,” he said. The account was backed by a
civilian militia member in the town.
injured troops were evacuated to a hospital in Mora, across the border in
is 130 kilometres (80 miles) southeast of Maiduguri, the Borno state capital,
and houses some 45,000 people displaced by the conflict in a sprawling camp.
Haram has launched several attacks in and around Banki, targeting troops and
month two soldiers were killed and seven civilians injured in an ambush on a
convoy of traders under military escort in Chachile village.
Haram has in recent months stepped up attacks against military targets which
have been blamed on or claimed by IS-affiliated Islamic State West Africa
Saturday, four soldiers and five jihadist fighters were killed when ISWAP
fighters attacked a base in the town of Buni Yadi, in nearby Yobe state, the
civilians were killed and 11 injured in the crossfire.
conflict, which began in 2009, has killed more than 27,000 people and left 1.8
million homeless in northeast Nigeria.
vendor died Sunday after riot police fired tear gas at an anti-government rally
in the capital, medics said, as protesters pressed on with a campaign against
President Omar al-Bashir’s rule.
of protesters took to the streets in Khartoum’s northern suburb of Bahari
chanting anti-government slogans, but they were quickly confronted by riot
vendor selling fruit in Bahari died in the hospital after inhaling tear gas
fired by riot police to disperse the rally, a medic, relatives and a doctors’
committee linked to the protest campaign said.
was brought to hospital but doctors were unable to save him. He died from
inhaling tear gas,” the medic said, without revealing his own name for security
chanted “freedom, peace, justice,” as they rallied in Bahari, witnesses said.
will not give up. We will continue protesting,” said Afra, a demonstrator who
gave only her first name for security reasons. “When we keep on demonstrating,
more and more people will join us.”
darkness fell later, demonstrators rallied in the capital’s eastern district of
Burri, site of regular protests for nearly two months now.
chanted “freedom, freedom,” before riot police fired tear gas at them, a
clashes during protests have rocked the east African country since December 19
after a government decision to triple the price of bread.
demonstrations quickly escalated into nationwide rallies against Bashir’s
iron-fisted rule, with protesters calling for him to resign after three decades
say 31 people have died in protest-related violence so far, while Human Rights
Watch says at least 51 have been killed.
has remained defiant, insisting that the only way to change the government is
through the ballot box.
Nigerian soldiers have been killed and six others injured when Boko Haram
militants attacked a military post near the Cameroon border, security sources
say, days before rescheduled presidential elections.
loyal to long-time factional leader Abubakar Shekau launched the attack on
Sunday evening some 15 kilometers (nearly 10 miles) from the town of Banki.
President Muhammadu Buhari came to power on a pledge to defeat the extremist
militants but despite his repeated claims that they have been weakened to the
point of defeat, attacks persist.
lost two soldiers to Boko Haram terrorists who attacked Alpha Company
location," a military officer in Banki said on condition of anonymity.
soldiers were also injured in the attack," he said. The account was backed
by a civilian militia member in the town.
is 130 kilometers (80 miles) southeast of Maiduguri, the Borno state capital,
and houses some 45,000 people displaced by the conflict in a sprawling camp.
month, two soldiers were killed and seven civilians injured in an ambush on a
convoy of traders under military escort in Chachile village.
Haram has in recent months stepped up attacks against military targets.
militancy, which began in 2009, has killed more than 27,000 people and left 1.8
million homeless in northeast Nigeria.
Center for Global Security Studies said Monday that 1,000
"terrorists" had returned to the country from conflict zones from
2011 to October 2018.
Ben Nasr, head of the center’s executive committee, told reporters that
Tunisian authorities had prevented 17,000 people from leaving the country for
conflict zones such as Syria, Iraq and Libya.
said the total number of Tunisians in the conflict zones was 3,000, adding many
of them had died and some of them had fled to various regions to find safe
terrorists had returned to the country in secret ways, he noted.
stressed that the number of terrorists in the mountains of Tunisia had been
weeks ago, a terrorist group of four had returned to the country upon the
request of Tunisian authorities, Nasr said, adding members of the group are
currently going through the judicial process.
discussion was raised after U.S. President Donald Trump urged European states
late Saturday to "take back" hundreds of foreign Daesh terrorists
captured in Syria and prosecute them.
United States is asking Britain, France, Germany and other European allies to
take back over 800 ISIS fighters that we captured in Syria and put them on trial,"
Trump said on Twitter, using another name for Daesh.
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