Must Stop the Name of Ram from Being Defiled: 49 Celebs Write To PM
Claims NIA Targeting Muslims, Arrested For Social Media Post
Khan Admits Pakistan's Role in Kashmir Terrorism
Liar, an Advocate of Terrorists': Pakistan Opposition Slams PM Imran Khan over
Islamic Scholars Back Agricultural Innovations as ‘Halal’
Lanka Police Say No Evidence For Direct IS Link to Easter Attacks
Terrorists in Mindanao Grooming Suicide Bombers
Media Companies Are Failing To Stop the Spread of Terrorism Online
World League, Patriarchate of Moscow Sign Cooperation Deal
We Will Raise the Banner Of Victory In The Heart Of Tripoli Soon
Premier's US Visit Resets Relations
Anjuman-I-Islam Students Get A Lesson In Menstrual Hygiene
Pattern In Incidents Of Mob Lynching, Says Govt
Accuses 10 From Group Allegedly Inspired By Dr Zakir Naik Of Plotting Poison
terrorists neutralised, 75 security forces personnel martyred till July this
terrorist carrying Rs 5 lakh reward arrested in J&K’s Doda
Navlakha, Naxalites were in contact with Hizbul, Kashmiri separatists: Pune
Khan Admits Pakistan's Role In Kashmir Terrorism
Khan comes clean on terrorism, blames previous Pak govts
to give thanks while opposition observes anniversary of 2018 elections as
extends Hafiz Saeed’s judicial remand for 14 days
Bajwa discusses Afghan peace with Pompeo, US military leadership
hint at Pakistan-brokered prisoners’ swap
remands alleged mastermind of Mumbai attacks for 14 days
‘will visit Pakistan if formally invited’
PM says Taliban may soon release 2 hostages
Prime Minister Khan says he will try to persuade Taliban to meet Afghan
least 5 killed as multiple blasts rock Kabul: official
Rohingya repatriation likely in September
airstrikes killed 8 Taliban militants, destroyed truck bomb in Ghazni: Thunder
attack targets ministry bus in Kabul leaving at least 15 dead, wounded
bombs kill at least 12, wound dozens in Afghan capital
Lanka expands visa-free scheme halted after bombings
Says Xinjiang ‘Inseparable’ Despite Attempts To Distort History
Launches Muslim-Friendly Hotel Recognition
Tough Tactics against Indonesian Muslim Hardliners Could Backfire on Jokowi
Couple Carried Out Philippines Cathedral Bombing, Police Say
Umno president can represent talks with other political parties, says Zahid
non-Muslim voters held ‘key role’ in Jokowi’s win
Supreme Court Upholds Sentence For Ukrainian Convicted Of 'Promoting Terrorism'
IS supporters jailed for Shiite mosque arson
Johnson names Raab as foreign minister, Javid as finance minister
ISIS supporters jailed for Shiite mosque arson
operator of Stena Impero says all crew ‘okay,’ cooperating with Iranians
Athens envoy: EU disqualified itself on Cyprus
arrests 6,000 unregistered migrants in Istanbul crackdown
Neighbor Fears Chaos Will Deepen West Africa Instability
Where Will Boko Haram Go Next After Ten Years of Moving Around?
Al-Shabaab Clash with Somali and AU Troops in Central Somalia
Agent Arrested in Uganda
says 38 migrants taken to bombed detention center
killed in blast at Mogadishu Mayor’s office
attack kills 2 in Somali capital
Middle East Envoy Faces Resistance At UN Security Council Over Palestine And
Wray Says Most Domestic Terrorism Arrests This Year Involve White Supremacy
‘may have brought down’ second Iranian drone in Strait of Hormuz
Warns Brazil over Stranded Ship Barred From Refueling
vetoes trio of congressional bills prohibiting Saudi arms sales
does not want to sanction Turkey: reports
State TV Reports Israeli Attack in Southern Syria
forces clear farmland near Baghdad of ISIS militants
court sentences two men to death for joining Islamic State
security arrest 7 Islamic State members in Mosul
Qatari involvement in Somalia bombing
We Can Curb Terrorism, Defeat Hotbeds of Terrorism
Sources: Tahrir Al-Sham Behind Attack on Idlib Market
accuses Israel of threatening civilian infrastructure
revokes citizenship of 334 activists since January: Rights group
Passes Bill That Calls to Sanction Palestinian Terror Groups
Shows Houthi Militia Beating Corpse, Chanting ‘Death to America’
Iran smuggling dual-use items for Hezbollah arms by sea into Beirut port
Operative Killed In Southern Syria Was Part Of Golan File
MASAM Clears 77,000 Houthi Landmines in Yemen
Mideast Envoy under Fire at UNSC for Attacking Intl. Law on Palestine Issue
warns against international naval coalition in the Gulf
government condemns Houthi killing of tribal leader
Blasts Trump's Remarks on Afghanistan as Threat to Int'l Peace
Turkey committed to accelerated progress on roadmap for Syria’s Manbij
open to possible tanker swap, nuclear talks, hints Rouhani
Council chairman: Recent events show Iran’s enemies are ‘weak’
by New Age Islam News Bureau
must stop the name of Ram from being defiled: 49 celebs write to PM
artists, intellectual and civil society members have written an open letter to
Prime Minister Narendra Modi demanding immediate action against perpetrators of
hate crimes and human rights violations.
signatories to the letter include Adoor Gopalakrishnan, Aparna Sen, Anurag
Kashyap, Ashis Nandy, Binayak Sen, Ketan Mehta, Konkona Sen Sharma, Mani
Ratnam, Revathy Asha, Ramchandra Guha, Ratnaboli Ray, Soumitra Chatterjee,
Shyam Benegal, and many others.
letter states statistics that show that Muslims, Dalits and various minorities
have borne a disproportionate brunt of hate crimes, particularly lynchings and
says, “The lynchings of Muslims, Dalits and other minorities must be stopped
immediately.” It goes on to ask, “You have criticized such lynchings in
Parliament Mr Prime Minister, but that is not enough! What action has actually
been taken against the perpetrators?”
letter takes the rise of religious polarization head on and says, “Regrettably
‘Jai Shree Ram’ has become a provocative ‘war-cry’ today that leads to law and
order problems, and many lynchings take place in its name.” It goes on to
state, “The name of Ram is sacred to many in the majority community of India.
As the highest executive of this country, you must put a stop to the name of
Ram being defiled in this manner.”
claims NIA targeting Muslims, arrested for social media post
39-year-old man was arrested on Wednesday after he allegedly criticised recent
raids by the National Investigation Agency (NIA) which had led to the arrest of
police arrested Thajudheen, 39, from Thiruvarur district in Tamil Nadu for
posting a message on social media in which he claimed that Muslim youth were
being targeted by the NIA.
the same post, he also wondered if the Centre was behind the arrests and raids.
police booked Thajudheen under Sections 153 and 153(A) (promoting enmity
between different groups) of the Indian Penal Code.
ARRESTED BY NIA
the NIA took custody 16 people -- two from Tamil Nadu and 14 from UAE - for
allegedly attempting to set up a terror outfit, "Ansarullah", and
collecting funds to carry out attacks in the country.
are even alleged to be connected with the serial bombings in Sri Lanka.
a plea for their 10-day custody, the special pubic prosecutor (SPP) for the NIA
had said the agency needed to take the accused to various places to verify the
evidence collected against them during the probe.
interrogation of the accused is required to unearth the source of funds, their
transmission and utilisation... the larger conspiracy," the NIA had
submitted before Judge P Chenthoorpandi.
counsels for the accused strongly opposed the NIA plea and said all the
respondents, except two, Hasan Ali Yunus Maraicar and Harish Mohamed, were
working in a foreign country and were suddenly deported to India and arrested
thereafter. The probe officer had not mentioned any good grounds for seeking
custody, they said.
is no necessity for custodial interrogation of the respondents. If police
custody is granted they will be physically and mentally tortured by the NIA and
there is a possibility of creating false evidence against the
respondents," they contended.
SPP said seven of the 16 accused were lodged in a prison in the UAE. They were
deported to India on July 12 and arrested the next day.
is a case of serious nature, involving the safety and security of our country
and this is a case which has not been investigated earlier by any police
agency. Hence, taking the respondents into custody is inevitable for a proper
probe," he had said. https://www.indiatoday.in/india/story/nia-target-muslims-arrest-social-media-post-tamil-nadu-1572920-2019-07-24
Khan admits Pakistan's role in Kashmir terrorism
In a rare acknowledgement, Prime Minister Imran Khan on Tuesday admitted that
Pakistan has been actively involved in cross-border terrorism in the Kashmir
region of India. He blamed his predecessors for it.
an event in the US Institute of Peace in Washington, Khan said Pakistan still
has around 30,000 to 40,000 militants who fought and were trained in Afghanistan
2014, he said, a unanimous decision was taken by the country’s civilian and
military leadership to eliminate all armed groups after an attack on a school
by Pakistan Taliban in the northwestern city of Peshawar that had left about
150 kids dead. “There was reaction in Pakistan after the attack on Army Public
School (APS) in Peshawar. Then all the political parties signed a paper called
the National Action Plan (NAP). We all decided that we will not allow any
militant group to operate inside Pakistan,” the PM said.
we came to power, the governments did not have the political will. When you
talk about militant groups, they still have about 30,000-40,000 armed people
who have been trained and fought in some part of Afghanistan or maybe Kashmir,”
Khan said, adding his government was the first that started disarming all the
militant groups. “This is the first time it is happening. It is the first time
we’ve decided there would be no armed militias in our country. We’ve taken over
their institutes, their seminaries. We have administrators there,” Khan said.
disclosure about militant groups is his second major revelation in Washington.
Earlier he claimed that Pakistan’s spy agency Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI)
had provided information to the US that helped them to capture and kill Osama
bin Laden in the garrison town of Abbottabad.
Liar, An Advocate of Terrorists': Pakistan Opposition Slams PM Imran Khan over
Prime Minister Imran Khan is a "compulsive liar" and an advocate of
terrorists, Pakistan's opposition parties said on Wednesday, asserting that he
tried his best to mislead the international community during his visit to the
to Khan's address to US think tanks, the Pakistan People’s Party (PPP)
secretary general Nafisa Shah said in a statement that Khan was regarded as
"Taliban Khan without beard" by the victims of terror activities.
PM Imran Khan is not only corrupt but also an advocate of terrorists," she
said. "Imran Khan should be awarded Goebbels Award for the lies he told
with confidence. Lying with confidence comes with practice and Imran Khan has
been doing this for decades."
also said Khan tried to mislead the international community whereas the truth
is that he has been a pawn in the conspiracies against democracy for the last
over 20 years.
Khan has never been a democrat as he attacked Parliament from outside when he
was in the opposition and now from inside when he is in government. Imran Khan
lacks tolerance like Taliban. He cannot face any voice of dissent just like
Taliban. In an effort to hide his incapacity he is victimising the
Opposition," Shah said.
main Opposition party, the Pakistan Muslim League Nawaz (PML-N) president and
opposition leader in National Assembly Shehbaz Sharif said Khan had exposed his
"dictatorial mindset" by saying the media needed to be controlled in
the US, Imran exposed his dictatorial thinking by saying the media needs to be
controlled. He is lying saying the media is free under his government while
media is suffering from worst kind of censorship," Shehbaz said.
said Khan had wasted an important opportunity to send a message of unity in his
speeches in America.
is unable to grow out of his obsession with Nawaz Sharif. He should have talked
about Pakistan and challenges that lie ahead but instead he chose to make petty
and personal attacks on Nawaz Sharif," he said.
said Khan had again proved that he was the "most unfit person" to
hold the office of the prime minister as he was focusing more on gimmicks like
riding on buses.
who is on a three-day official visit to the US, met President Donald Trump -
the first face-to-face interaction between the two leaders - on Monday in the
White House. He described the meeting as very successful, which has reset the
Islamic Scholars Back Agricultural Innovations As ‘Halal’
scholars discussed the importance of accessing agricultural innovation for
sustainable food security, and agreed that this innovation keeps in line with
Islamic Shariah, and beliefs
agricultural innovations, which are approved by the Islamic Shariah as “Halal”,
are directed at bringing good to humanity to ensure food security of the
country, Islamic scholars have said.
scholars discussed the importance of accessing agricultural innovation for
sustainable food security, and agreed that this innovation keeps in line with
Islamic Shariah, and beliefs.
event titled “Agricultural Innovation and Agri-Biotechnology in Islamic
Shariah” was organised by Farming Future Bangladesh (FFB), at Krishibid
Institute Bangladesh in Dhaka on Tuesday.
Ahmadullah, chairman of As-Sunnah Foundation, said: “Islamic Shariah approves
all worldly acts aimed at human good, therefore agricultural innovations are
further, Islamic researcher Maulana Hedayetullah said: “The Islamic clerics
have great support for the idea, and process of biotechnology, because it has a
great impact for the wellbeing of mankind.”
and religion are not conflicting, and agricultural innovation should be
emphasized to ensure more food for Bangladesh,” said Mufti Saiful, Khatib of
also discussed the need to share fact-based scientific information to improve
social awareness, and acceptance of modern agricultural innovation and
agri-biotechnology, including GMOs.
Mawlana Ali Hassan Toiyob presented the keynote paper. Muslim scholars, present
at the program, learned about the success of modern innovation, and the
potential of agri-biotechnology to overcome challenges.
Lanka police say no evidence for direct IS link to Easter attacks
Sri Lankan police have not found enough evidence to prove that Islamic State
(IS) militants were directly involved with the Easter Sunday bombings, the
chief investigator said on Wednesday, even though the group had claimed
attacks on churches and hotels in Colombo and in the east killed more than 250
people, the worst suicide bombings since the civil war against Tamil separatist
fighters ended in 2009.
the investigations conducted so far there is not enough evidence to say that
there is a direct ISIS link to the Easter Sunday attacks," Ravi
Seneviratne, the head of police criminal investigation department, told a
parliament select committee probing the April 21 attacks.
have said members of two little-known local Islamist groups, the National
Thawheedh Jamaath (NTJ) and Jamathei Millathu Ibrahim, carried out the
members of these groups may have had training from Islamic State in Syria,
police have previously said.
terrorists in Mindanao grooming suicide bombers
security officials yesterday confirmed that at least seven foreign terrorists
were training local militants for suicide attacks in the country's restive
south, and there could be dozens more.
are doing the usual. They are training bombers, grooming suicide bombers, as
manifested by the recent incident. They are also training (Filipinos) on other
terrorist actions," Lieutenant-General Cirilito Sobejana, head of the
military's Western Mindanao Command, told reporters.
said these foreign extremists were behind the first suicide attack carried out
by a Filipino. On June 28, Norman Lasuca, 23, set off one of two bombs that
exploded inside a temporary camp of a special army counter-terrorism unit in
Indanan town, Sulu province. Three soldiers manning the camp's gate were
killed, along with three civilians.
Sobejana said the seven foreign terrorists were scattered across war-torn
Mindanao Island, which is the size of South Korea.
were with the small but brutal Abu Sayyaf group in the island provinces of Sulu
and Basilan, 1,000km south of Manila, or the Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom
Fighters in central Mindanao. Both groups have pledged allegiance to the
Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS) terrorist group.
Sobejana declined to reveal the terrorists' nationalities. But investigators
have tagged two Indonesians to a suicide attack on a Roman Catholic cathedral
in Sulu in January this year that killed 23 people and wounded at least 100.
police yesterday identified the couple as Rullie Rian Zeke and Ulfah Handayani
police said they were members of Jamaah Ansharut Daulah, founded by jailed
cleric Aman Abdurrahman who is on death row. The couple left Indonesia to join
ISIS in March 2016 with their three children. But before they could reach Syria
and Iraq, they were arrested in Turkey in January 2017 and deported to
Indonesia, they went through a short rehabilitation programme and were then
released. They apparently later decided to pursue their cause in Mindanao
instead and took their children with them.
said their children are now with a faction of the Abu Sayyaf led by Hatib Hajan
Sawadjaan which helped plot the attack on the Sulu cathedral.
July last year, a Moroccan identified as Abu Kathir Al-Maghribi detonated bombs
hidden inside a van that he drove to an army checkpoint on Basilan Island, near
Jolo. The blast instantly killed a soldier, five paramilitaries, four civilians
and the bomber.
Rommel Banlaoi, head of the Philippine Institute for Peace, Violence and
Terrorism Research, had earlier said an Egyptian couple, veterans of the
fighting in Syria and Afghanistan, were also in Sulu to train a younger group
of militants on suicide bombing.
said: "They are here to carry out the instruction of (ISIS) to conduct
intermittent bombing operations in the Philippines and to encourage the locals
to conduct suicide bombings as their most effective weapons for (holy war)."
June 30, security forces arrested a Kenyan, believed to be part of Al-Qaeda's
East Africa wing Al Shabaab, in Zambales province, north of Manila.
Sobejana said 42 other foreigners were on a watch list for possible links to
can't confirm that yet. We still have many criteria to validate before we can
consider them terrorists," he said.
media companies are failing to stop the spread of terrorism online
Christchurch terrorist exploited the extraordinary power of social media to
broadcast his message of violence and hate across the world. As he brutally
murdered 51 people and wounded 49 more in two mosques in New Zealand, his
livestream on Facebook ran uninterrupted—and before it was ultimately pulled
down from Facebook, it was quickly posted and shared millions of times across
Twitter, Facebook, YouTube and other platforms.
is the new age of terrorism, defined by the rise of extremist communities
online and terrorists who carry out real-life violence inspired by virtual
content. And every time a successful terrorist attack is broadcasted online, it
risks inspiring copycats attempting to unleash similar terror in their own
as a nation need to adapt to this new reality. Which is why it is incumbent
upon social media and tech companies to step up to the plate and take these
threats seriously. Gone are the days of unicorns and The Next Big Thing—tech
companies of today have become critical institutions in our society in the same
way that banks, telecom and utilities matured in the last century.
this year, as chairman of the House Homeland Security’s Subcommittee on
Counterterrorism, I questioned Facebook, Google, Twitter, and Microsoft (which
owns LinkedIn) about the resources they’re devoting to counterterrorism—because
budgets reflect values, and if they’re spending more on lobbyists and catering
than on combating terrorism, there should be hell to pay.
the companies did not fully or promptly share this critical information. The
little they did provide months later proved the companies are not doing enough.
When Facebook, Google, and Twitter testified before Congress last month, I told
them that their anemic response to the issue of online terror content is
insulting. They oversell the capabilities of artificial intelligence, they
undersell the nature of the challenge, and they obscure the amount of resources
they’re devoting to fighting online terror content.
also point to a group that they created in 2017 to pool certain basic
counterterrorism data that can be shared, called the Global Internet Forum to
Counter Terrorism (GIFCT). The viral spread of the Christchurch video exposed
the real limitations of GIFCT’s skeletal consortium—a shoestring operation with
no permanent staff, no shared location, and minimal technological and policy
collaboration between the companies.
initial effort, unsurprisingly, has not lived up to its promise. It’s time to
start thinking about a newer model for more robust self-regulation and
industry-wide cooperation to deal with the metastasizing threat of terrorist
week, the big tech companies will be meeting in Silicon Valley to discuss the
future of GIFCT. Ahead of that much-needed conversation, and after what I have
seen in my oversight role in Congress this year, I am urging that GIFCT be
GIFCT must have permanent staff who serve as dedicated points of contact for
the companies and law enforcement. Further, moving its operations into a shared
physical location, as is done in the military and intelligence community, could
help companies stay ahead of online terrorist activity. These are the wealthiest
companies in the world. There’s no reason they can’t make serious investments
in hiring more counterterrorism staff and build out an infrastructure for
timely information sharing among the companies.
GIFCT must develop industry standards on terrorist content removal. How long is
too long for terrorist content to remain live online? What error rates are
acceptable from machine learning tools targeted at taking down terrorist
content? How quickly are users’ reports of terrorist content handled? Having
clear standards will not only help social media companies advance the ball
together, but also enable lawmakers and the public understand how well the
companies are handling terrorist content.
GIFCT must explore opportunities for cooperation beyond simply maintaining a
collective database of digital fingerprints that help the companies identify
terrorist images and videos after they’ve already gone live. In order to build
a truly robust operation, the companies must consider sharing terrorism-related
artificial intelligence training data and other technologies between themselves
and with smaller, less-resourced social media companies that must have a seat
at the table as well.
GIFCT must foster a culture of transparency. Academics and other experts need
appropriate access to removed terrorist content to study trends and better
understand terrorist behavior. Outside experts must also have access to this
information to audit the companies’ claims of success against their own
standards. And the public deserves transparency into the process of content
moderation—particularly when issues of public safety and national security are
so deeply implicated.
leaders of GIFCT need to think big to face the uniquely 21st century challenge
of preventing terrorist content from being spread online. The largest
technology companies have the resources and brainpower to implement these very
necessary changes. It is time for the social media companies to transform GIFCT
into an organization positioned to address this pressing national security
challenge. Lives are on the line.
World League, Patriarchate of Moscow sign cooperation deal
The Muslim World League (MWL) and the Patriarchate of Moscow and All Russia
signed on Wednesday an agreement to promote interreligious and intercultural
dialogue, as well as a culture of peace and constructive coexistence.
agreement, which also rejects all forms of extremism and hatred, was co-signed
in Moscow by the MWL’s undersecretary of relations and communication, and the
head of the Department for External Church Relations.
was signed in the presence of MWL Secretary-General Dr. Mohammed bin Abdul
Karim Al-Issa and Patriarch Kirill I.
agreement reflects the two sides’ belief in the importance of interreligious
dialogue and the role of religious institutions in resolving international
conflicts, as well as the desire of Muslims and Christians to promote peaceful
and constructive coexistence.
and Kirill I held a historic summit on Wednesday at the Russian Orthodox Church
is considered the largest independent Eastern Orthodox Church, with more than
250 million followers.
summit, attended by senior religious leaders, included fruitful discussions on
issues of mutual interest.
I said he was “very happy” with Al-Issa’s visit to Russia, noting the
significant and enlightened role of the MWL.
helping many needy people in Asia and Africa, and this is the subject of our
deep concern and appreciation,” the patriarch added.
to your personal contribution to the MWL’s activities, the league has become
well-known in the Christian world, which appreciates these remarkable
activities,” he said.
Orthodox Church has a great network of relations with Islamic societies and
communities, and there’s communication with Muslims in our country. The history
of Russia has never seen wars or conflicts with Muslims,” Kirill I added.
Orthodox Christians and Muslims belong to the Eastern civilization, we share
many commonalities. My job … has made this fact very clear to me.”
I underscored the Russian people’s unity regardless of religion, sect or
ethnicity. “Russia can serve as an example for countries and representatives of
faiths and sects,” he said.
said: “I’m happy to visit the Russian Orthodox Church and to meet with His
Holiness Patriarch Kirill I, who is known for his outstanding efforts in
promoting religious harmony and coexistence as well as love and tolerance.”
added. “We in the MWL, and on behalf of all Muslim people, appreciate the
humanitarian and moral efforts of the Orthodox Church, and value its fair feelings
said: “We appreciate your describing terrorism as having no religion and
stating that Islam … has nothing to do with terrorism.”
added: “I’ve met with a number of Muslims, especially Muslim scholars in
Russia, and they hold great esteem for the Orthodox Church for its efforts to
preserve religious harmony, which are appreciated historic efforts.”
said: “The commonalities we share are many, especially the convergence of
Eastern culture with its human and moral values.”
said: “There won’t be a cultural shock between us because we belong to one
Eastern culture and have several humanitarian goals.”
said: “With your wisdom, we can promote religious and ethnic cooperation. We,
in the Muslim world, believe in your great role and are sure of its importance
We will raise the banner of victory in the heart of Tripoli soon
National Army (LNA) commander Khalifa Haftar said on Wednesday that his forces
were close to “raising the banner of victory” over Tripoli, where clashes have
been ongoing for nearly four months.
banner of victory will soon rise in our capital ... We assure you that the
victory date is approaching its target for which the Libyans offered convoys of
both martyrs and wounded,” said Haftar in a video speech broadcast on
are faced with an unprecedented brutal enemy in the land of tyranny, but you
managed to cut his back and get close to the Nile after a long wait,” he added.
stressed that his forces “stand in the face of the terrorists,” adding that the
aim of the advance in Tripoli is “to complete the liberation of Libya from the
east to the west and from the south to the north.”
April 4, Haftar’s forces have been attacking the Libyan been involved in fierce
clashes in Tripoli against the UN-recognized Government of National Accord.
premier's US visit resets relations
Prime Minister Imran Khan's maiden visit to the U.S. has turned a new page in
otherwise fraught relations between the two allies with a "greater
understanding" on reconciliation in war-infested Afghanistan and President
Donald Trump's offer to mediate in the lingering Kashmir dispute, say local
warn, however, that the implementation of the understanding between the two
leaders will be no walk in the park.
by Pakistan’s powerful army chief and other senior military leadership, Khan
had a face-to-face meeting with Trump at the White House during his three-day
visit, apart from meeting U.S. lawmakers and investors.
to Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi, who was also part of Khan's
entourage, Trump accepted an invitation extended by the premier to visit
cricketer-turned-politician also drew thousands of Pakistani-Americans to
Washington's Capital One Arena, where his speech focused on criticizing his
jailed political rivals, mainly three-time Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif.
visits do not turn out to be game-changers. And in case of Pakistan-U.S.
relations, which are over 70 years old with ups and downs, we must not look for
that," Shamshad Ahmad Khan, a former foreign secretary, told Anadolu
still, I view this visit as a great success as relations between the two sides
were tense until a few months back," said Khan, who served as the foreign
secretary from 1997 to 2000, citing Trump's repeated accusations against
Pakistan for allegedly playing a "double game" in Afghanistan, and
suspension of $300 million in military aid in September last year.
gave credit to Trump, "who took the driving seat" and set the tone
despite reluctance from the U.S. establishment.
U.S. establishment was not very keen or in a hurry for a change in Washington's
attitude. But Trump knows that he has to go to the elections and to do
something cogent vis-a-vis his manifesto in which he had promised to pull the
U.S. out of wars," Khan said.
Sarwar Naqvi, a former ambassador, agreed with Khan, saying the visit has gone
(visit) marks a positive turn in the Pak-U.S. relationship after a long period
of strain," Naqvi told Anadolu Agency, referring to a lingering clash of
interests between Washington and Islamabad in Afghanistan.
mediation offer made headlines across the globe, particularly in Pakistani and
Indian media, which highlighted the U.S. president’s assertion that Indian
Prime Minister Narendra Modi himself had asked him to mediate on Kashmir. New
Delhi, however, rejected Trump’s claim.
who was the architect of a composite dialogue between Pakistan and India in the
late 1990s, did not view Trump's mediation offer as something new.
U.S. has offered to mediate between Islamabad and New Delhi several times in
the past decades but it could not be materialized due to the continuous refusal
of India," he said, recalling former U.S. President Barrack Obama, who in
his election manifesto had also promised to work to resolve the Kashmir
with Khan, Naqvi, who served as Pakistan’s ambassador to Jordan, Belgium and
Austria from 1970 to 2006, traced the U.S. mediation offer on Kashmir back to
the era of slain President John F. Kennedy.
Naqvi and Khan, however, acknowledged that a mere mediation offer would not
feared that any untoward incidents like the 2008 deadly terrorist attacks in
Mumbai, India in which more than 150 people were killed might erase the word
‘Kashmir’ from Trump’s dictionary for a long period as had happened during
it’s Clinton or Obama, whenever they offered mediation, something deadly and
engineered occurred, whether it’s the Mumbai attacks or killings of Sikhs in
occupied Kashmir (before Clinton’s visit to Pakistan in February 2000),"
said: “This is true that Washington cannot twist New Delhi’s arm to accept the
mediation offer. Therefore, it’s valid to question the practicality of Trump’s
one thing is for sure: that the emphasis on Kashmir during the Trump-Khan
meeting has brought the issue under the international spotlight," he maintained.
Khalique Ali, a Karachi-based political analyst, said the two sides had
narrowed their differences on the Afghanistan issue, mainly regarding India’s
role in the reconciliation process and the future setup.
is no longer a major clash of interests between the two sides in
Afghanistan," Ali said. “Both countries have not only agreed on a
non-military solution to the conflict, but Washington in a practical manner has
accepted Islamabad’s demand for no Indian role in Afghanistan except for a
said Pakistan had already done a lot for the U.S. by persuading the Taliban to
enter direct talks with Washington, a move that has helped mend the icy
relations between the two allies in the so-called war against terrorism.
we should not overestimate the development as the U.S. is still looking at us
[Pakistan] through the prism of Afghanistan. Washington desperately needs
Islamabad to help in giving a safe exit from Afghanistan."
the former foreign secretary, shared a similar view.
is a much better understanding between the two sides on the Afghanistan crisis.
I see the will from both sides to resolve this longstanding conflict."
rounds of direct talks with the Taliban, he said, had become possible just
because of Pakistan.
other country could have done that."
said: “America has come around to Pakistan’s stance vis-à-vis a solution to the
Afghan conflict, which is non-military.”
brushed aside a popular notion with regard to a Washington-backed Indian role
in the war-stricken country, contending that former U.S. Defense Secretary
James Mattis personally told him that his country wanted a developmental role
from India in Afghanistan rather than a political one.
Anjuman-I-Islam students get a lesson in menstrual hygiene
of the Anjuman-I-Islam School in Bandra participated in a menstrual health
awareness project conducted by the NGO, Indian Development Foundation (IDF), on
a part of the project, practising doctors from AMSA India, a medical students’
organisation, and Care and Ease, a health awareness programme, spoke to the
students about menstrual hygiene, the menstrual cycle, and nutritional
information required during menstruation.
Korgaonkar, project manager at IDF, said, “Through this project, we are
attempting to spread awareness of menstrual hygiene, especially to those who
might not have easy access to it. Most girls are uncomfortable with any
conversation on this issue, so this project is targeted to cater to their
needs. Before the sessions began, we had distributed questionnaires to assess
their level of awareness.”
session was followed by distribution of ‘dignity kits’, which contained
sanitary napkins, soap, towels and undergarments. “These dignity kits were
distributed to girls to ensure that they follow the hygiene tips they learnt
today,” Ms. Korgaonkar said.
Parveen, supervisor of the school, termed the initiative very useful. She said,
“Girls tend to be shy when it comes to menstruation but today, they were quite
active and interacted with IDF.”
IDF project comprises a series of sessions organised at various places and
targeted at menstruating women of all ages, Ms. Korgaonkar said. “We have a
target of reaching 8,500 girls, and have, after this session, reached 5,000.
This is the 25th school we have organised this session in,” Ms. Korgaonkar
pattern in incidents of mob lynching, says govt
DELHI: The government on Wednesday rejected opposition's charge that incidents
of mob lynching were targeted at Muslims and Dalits, and asserted that
government's "zero tolerance" approach towards communal violence have
led to decline in incidents of communal violence.
data shows that there is no common pattern in mob lynching incidents. Such
incidents have happened in different states ruled by different political
parties. They have also taken place in West Bengal, Tripura and Kerala",
junior home minister G Kishan Reddy told Rajya Sabha.
minister's assertion sparked protests in the Upper House with opposition
members alleging that an attempt was afoot to sharpen communal divide and
government was seeking to hide facts.
of the opposition Ghulam Nabi Azad (Congress) said that incidents of lynching
and violence against minorities and Dalits have become quite common over the
last five years. WhatsApp messages circulating around the country show
minorities and Dalits were being thrashed and forced to chant slogans by members
associated with a particular political party, he said.
accuses 10 from group allegedly inspired by Dr Zakir Naik of plotting poison
SOO WERN JUN
LUMPUR, July 25 ― Indian authorities have charged 10 men from a group with
suspected ties to the Islamic State and inspired by Muslim preacher Dr Zakir
Naik over an alleged plot to poison a temple offering that could have killed
to the charge sheet as reported by the Times of India, the Maharashta
Anti-Terrorism Squad (ATS) alleged that the group influenced by Dr Zakir whom
Indian authorities are attempting to extradite from Malaysia to face charges of
money laundering there.
Times of India further reported that the 10 men were arrested by the ATS after
it discovered their alleged plans to poison the mahaprasad (a rice offering) at
the 400-year-old Shree Mumbreshwar Temple in Mumbra.
of the accused, Talha Potrik, allegedly planned the attempted poisoning of the
mahaprasad during a festival at the temple in December last year when around
40,000 devotees had consumed the offering.
ATS also identified one of the accused, Abu Hamza, as a leader of the group and
stated in the charge sheet that he had conducted explosive trials in the hills
near the Mumbra bypass.
charge sheet also said several videos featuring Dr Zakir and his images were
recovered from the social media profiles of the accused.
lawyer TW Pathan who is acting for the group has rejected the claims against
his clients as baseless.
police have made the allegations without any evidence to back them,” he was
Malaysian permanent resident, Dr Zakir is believed to be sheltering here and
refusing to return to India to stand trial without a formal guarantee that he
will not be detained without a conviction.
has formally applied to extradite him from Malaysia but Putrajaya previously
said it would not send the preacher, now a Saudi citizen, back to his country
DELHI: As many as 126 terrorists were neutralised in Jammu and Kashmir until
July 14 this year, even though 75 security forces personnel were martyred in
engagement with terrorists over the same period.
of state for home G Kishan Reddy in reply to a written question in the Rajya
Sabha said the security situation in J&K had witnessed an improvement in
the first half of this year over the corresponding period of 2018. Net
infiltration has reduced by 43% and local recruitment declined by 40%, he said.
Terrorist initiated incidents fell by 28%, while actions initiated by the
security forces witnessed an increase of 59% and resulted in 22% increase in
neutralization of terrorists.
reply to another question, Reddy informed the Elders 745 terrorists had been
neutralised in J&K since 2016 and till June this year. Terrorist attacks
and actions initiated by security forces against terrorists in the Valley state
rose to 614 in 2018 from 342 in 2017 and 322 in 2016. Number of civilians
killed were 39 in 2018, as compared to 40 in 2017 and 15 in 2016. Number of
security forces martyred in 2018 was 91, up from 80 in 2017 and 82 in 2016.
A Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT) terrorist was arrested during an anti-insurgency
operation in Thathri area of J&K’s Doda district on Tuesday. A native of
Kishtwar district, Jamal Din Gujjar was carrying a reward of Rs 5 lakh, police
said on Wednesday.
on intelligence inputs about the presence of terrorists in Thathri’s Phagsoo
forest area, a joint team of Doda district police and Army’s 26RR launched a
cordon-and-search operation in the region.
the search, LeT terrorist Jamal Din Gujjar — who had been operating in Kishtwar
since last year — was arrested,” said a police spokesperson. Security forces
also recovered one AK rifle, one AK magazine, a pouch and other eatables from
Activist Gautam Navlakha and the Naxalite groups he was associated with were in
touch with Hizbul Mujahideen and Kashmiri separatist leaders, Pune Police
claimed before the Bombay high court on Wednesday.
division bench of justices Ranjit More and Bharati Dangre, meanwhile, extended
protection from arrested granted to Navlakha till further orders.
along with a few other activists, is facing a case for alleged links with
Naxalites. He moved the court seeking quashing of the FIR against him.
Pai, the counsel for Pune police, said some of the documents recovered from the
laptops of co-accused Rona Wilson and Surendra Gadling showed that Navlakha and
various Naxalite groups he was associated with had conducted "bilateral
talks" with Hizbul leaders.
(Navlakha) has been liaising with banned terrorist organisations including
Hizbul Mujahideen since 2011," she claimed.
further alleged that between 2011 and 2014, Navlakha was in touch with Kashmiri
separatist leaders Syed Ali Shah Geelani and Shakil Bakshi.
was booked under the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act and other offences.
On July 5, the high court had granted him interim protection from arrest till
July 23. On Wednesday, it was extended till further orders.
Navlakha's lawyer Yug Chaudhary denied all the charges, Pai contended that
protection from arrest was coming in the way of investigation.
In a damning indictment of Pakistan, the country’s Prime Minister Imran Khan
came clean on its nurturing of terrorists, telling audiences in Washington DC
that there were still 30,000-40,000 terrorists in the country and Islamabad had
long deceived the United States on the issue. He blamed previous Pakistan
government for lacking control.
we came into power, the governments did not have the political will, because
when you talk about militant groups, we still have about 30,000-40,000 armed
people who have been trained and fought in some part of Afghanistan or
Kashmir," said at a United States Institute of Peace event, blaming his
predecessors for what has long been seen as a national policy crafted by the
country military intelligence establishment.
People’s Party of Pakistan (PPP), the country principal opposition and formerly
a ruling dispensation, immediately challenged Imran Khan, calling him a
“compulsive liar” and saying he himself was an “advocate of terrorists.”
Khan should be awarded Goebbels Award for the lies he told with confidence.
Lying with confidence comes with practice and Imran Khan has been doing this
for decades," PPP secretary general Nafisa Shah was quoted saying in the
Pakistan media, dubbing the country’s Prime Minister “Taliban Khan without a
beard” because of his past vocal support for the Taliban and other extremists.
in Washington, Khan presented himself as a moderate who was doing what previous
Pakistani governments were not and could not – rolling up the terror network
that was nurtured by the country’s military-intelligence establishment to fight
an irregular war with India using terrorists.
doing so, Khan also laid to rest another popular canard in Pakistan that India
was somehow responsible for the attack on the Army Public School that killed
scores of school children, and which according to him, "was a watershed in
2014, the Pakistani Taliban slaughtered 150 schoolchildren at Army Public
School. All the political parties signed the National Action Plan and we all
decided after that, that we will not allow any militant groups to operate
inside Pakistan," he said at the US Institute of Peace in a questionable
claim considering terror groups continued to operate in Pakistan right up to
the weeks in which he headed out to the U.S to reset ties with Washington.
about whether 26/11 mastermind Hafiz Saeed, who was taken into protective
custody only in his run-up to the U.S visit, Khan first dodged the question,
countering, "First we want an independent justice system and you want me
to predict what the justice system would do?”
he added,”it is in the interest of Pakistan that we don't allow any armed
militias in our country. We have suffered. The country has suffered sectarian
attacks. We have had the worst situation, it has affected our investment. It
has destabilised us.” The Trump administration has said it is open to restoring
normal ties and aid to Pakistan subject to the country establishing its
bonafides in forsaking terrorism and helping its drawdown in Afghanistan.
a separate event on Capitol Hill, Khan was alternately disarming and
dissembling as he analyzed the situation that led to Pakistan becoming a pariah
were fighting the US war on terror. Pakistan has nothing to do with 9/11.
Al-Qaeda was in Afghanistan. There were no militant Taliban in Pakistan. But we
joined the US war. Unfortunately, when things went wrong, where I blame my
government, we did not tell the US exactly the truth on the ground," he
of the era have written extensively on how Pakistan spawned the Taliban to
capture power in Afghanistan so it could establish as “strategic depth” against
India. The Pakistani proxies then sheltered Osama bin Laden and the perpetrators
of 9/11, some of whom prepared for the attack while in Afghanistan and
Khan blamed previous dispensations and their lack of control for the free run
terrorists had in Pakistan. "Part of the reason was, our governments were
not in control. There were 40 different militant groups operating within
Pakistan," he said.
Yasin | Syed Irfan Raza
While the PTI government celebrates the first anniversary of the 2018 general
election today (Thursday), the joint opposition will observe it as a ‘black
joint opposition will hold public meetings in all the provincial capitals —
Karachi, Lahore, Peshawar and Quetta — while a demonstration will be held in
a press release, PTI Central Secretary General Amir Mehmood Kiyani said that on
July 25, the nation entrusted Mr Khan with the responsibility to lead them and
after a year of public service, the PTI is looking forward to commemorating the
day as ‘Youm-i-Tashakkur’ (thanksgiving day).
said the day’s celebrations would begin with “the historic welcome” of the
prime minister upon his return from the United States.
leader Marriyum Aurangzeb told Dawn that the joint opposition will stage four
public meetings across the country.
public meeting will be presided over by PML-N President Shahbaz Sharif, while
PML-N leader Maryam Nawaz will address the meeting in Quetta. PPP Chairman
Bilawal Bhutto Zardari will lead the public meeting in Karachi alongside
PML-N’s Ayaz Sadiq and Jamiat Ulemia-i-Islam (JUI-F) chief Maulana Fazlur
Rehman will lead the public meeting in Peshawar along with PML-N’s Ahsan Iqbal.
Rehman had convened a multi-party conference of opposition parties just last
month and announced that July 25 would be observed as a black day.
said in a statement that his party’s main event will be held in Peshawar, where
a public meeting and a ‘million march’ will take place.
said the JUI-F would observe a black day throughout the country at the district
level, adding: “The man roaming in the US has come into power as a result of
a press conference, Mr Iqbal said the joint opposition would observe a black
day across the country to tell the world that the PTI government was not
‘elected’ but ‘selected’.
said the ‘selected’ prime minister’s main target was removing a television set
and a refrigerator from former prime minister Nawaz Sharif’s room in prison.
Iqbal added that Pakistanis living in America welcomed Mr Khan during his visit
to the US because the income they send to Pakistan has increased in value, as
the US dollar has appreciated against the Pakistani rupee from Rs115 to Rs160
to a dollar.
said the prime minister always spoke about reforms without realising that
reforms do not come through a political witch hunt but by taking all
stakeholders into confidence.
about Chief of Army Staff Gen Qamar Javed Bajwa’s remarks that the economy was
on the right track, Mr Iqbal said he believed Gen Bajwa was not aware of the
factual situation and should review his remarks.
also accused the government of “paralysing” the China Pakistan Economic
Corridor and said the railway track-II project known as ML-I has been stopped.
said the opposition would not allow the government to strangle the media’s
Khan, who locked down Islamabad for four months, is now imposing censorship on
PML-N’s political activities,” he said.
opposition plans in Rawalpindi
main opposition parties, PPP and PML-N, will not hold any protests in
Rawalpindi, but local leaders of both parties have been asked to attend the
main gathering in Lahore.
PML-N MNA Malik Shakil Awan told Dawn: “We will not hold any protest rally or
demonstration, as the party asked local leaders to reach Lahore where PML-N
President Shahbaz Sharif will lead the protest demonstration.”
said the party’s Islamabad chapter will protest outside the National Press
senior party leader who asked not to be named said that the PML-N lacked
coordination and did not tell union council chairmen to gather in Lahore or in
their respective areas to protest.
said union council chairmen and cantonment board members tried to contact the
local leadership for party guidelines, but the local leadership did not respond
because they too were not aware of the party’s policy.
said the party was divided into three groups in the city because of the
elevation of some local leaders to the provincial level
MNA Hanif Abbasi, vice president of the PML-N Punjab chapter, and former mayor
Sardar Naseem are not active in politics and other local leaders did not have
information on the party’s policy regarding the protest,” he said.
had no plans to stage a protest demonstration in Rawalpindi as the party
decided to participate in the PML-N rally in Lahore. Party workers were asked
to go to Lahore to make the demonstration bigger,” PPP Rawalpindi chapter
spokesperson Nasir Mir said.
An anti-terrorism court (ATC) on Wednesday extended the judicial remand of
incarcerated Jamaatud Dawa (JuD) chief Hafiz Saeed for 14 days.
ATC Judge Syed Ali Imran ordered the Counter-Terrorism Department (CTD) to
complete its investigation and present a formal challan in court on August 7.
court, then, ordered that Saeed should also be presented on Aug 7.
Saeed was arrested on July 17 in connection with a terrorism financing case
while he was on his way from Lahore to Gujranwala.
the arrest, he was sent to prison on judicial remand after he was presented
before a Gujranwala anti-terrorism court (ATC).
Chief of Army Staff (COAS) General Qamar Javed Bajwa visited the US State
Department and met with Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, said Inter-Services
Public Relations (ISPR) Director General Major General Asif Ghafoor.
to the chief military spokesperson, during the meeting, the two leaders
discussed regional security issues and the Afghan peace process.
another tweet, the ISPR DG quoted the army chief as saying: “Pakistan attaches
great importance to restoring a robust bilateral relationship based on mutual
respect, trust and shared values.”
COAS also met the top US military leadership during his visit to Pentagon. Upon
his arrival, the army chief was given a 21-gun salute.
his series of meetings, the COAS also met with Senator Lindsay Graham and
General (r) Jack Keane to talk about the security situation.
the meeting, Senator Graham recalled his visit to Pakistan, appreciating the
country’s role in improving the security dynamics, stated General Ghafoor.
army chief briefed about the improved security situation in the country,
resulting in opportunities for foreign businesses to invest in Pakistan.
Afghan Taliban on Wednesday said that they were involved in talks on a
prisoners’ swap deal and that they could release two professors, one American
and one Australian.
had kidnapped American Kevin King, 60, and Australian Timothy Weeks, 48,
teachers with the American University of Afghanistan in Kabul, near the campus
in August 2016.
will be giving you good news about the two hostages,” Prime Minister Khan told
US President Donald Trump in their meeting at the White House on Monday.
later told Fox News that Pakistan is playing its part in the possible release
of the hostages.
I think we’re very close. We hope to give some good news in the next 48 hours,”
have released two videos of the hostages since they were kidnapped as proof of
life of the abductees and to press for demands. The hostages had urged
President Trump to negotiate their release with the Taliban.
hostages had stated in a video released in June 2017 that Taliban demand
release of their “soldiers” being held at Bagram air base and Afghanistan’s
infamous Pul-e-Charkhi jail in return for freeing the two western professor.
Taliban official confirmed on Wednesday that negotiations are being held in
Qatar for the exchange of the prisoners.
Talks have held about the prisoners swap agreement with Pakistan’s mediation,”
he told Daily Times. He did not want to be identified by name as the
negotiations have entered in decisive phase.
asked as to when the deal could be announced, he said, “it is possible in
is unclear if Anas Haqqani, the brother of Taliban’s deputy Chief, Siraj
Haqqani, will be part in a possible prisoner exchange deal. However, Taliban
have been demanding his release in meetings with the Americans.
was captured by the American security officials after he visited Qatar in
October 2014. He was accompanied by another Taliban leader, Hafiz Rashid, who
had gone to Qatar to meet five Taliban leaders who had been freed from
two were arrested at Bahrain’s airport and were later handed over to
authorities in Afghanistan and were later handed over to the Afghan
special envoy, Zalmay Khalilzad, who is leading American negotiators in peace
talks with the Taliban in Qatar, has also called for the release of the two
professors during the negotiations, according to Taliban officials privy to the
discussions. In October 2017, Pakistani forces had rescued a US-Canadian couple
and their three children from the Afghan Taliban in after five years as
captives in Afghanistan. The army had stated in a statement that the family
members were rescued in Kurram tribal district, when the captors were shifting
them to another location.
court in Pakistan has remanded to custody a terror suspect accused of
masterminding a four-day attack on India’s financial capital, Mumbai, in 2008,
his lawyer says.
Fazal said on Wednesday that an anti-terrorism court in central Pakistan
remanded Hafiz Saeed to custody for 14 days while counter-terrorism officials
came after a hearing following his arrest last week on terrorism financing
charges. Saeed was taken into custody in Punjab province on July 17 while he
was traveling from eastern city of Lahore to the town of Gujranwala.
to the detention, Ujjwal Nikam, India’s special public prosecutor in the 26/11
Mumbai terror attack case, had called Saeed’s arrest “a drama.”
is fooling the world that they have arrested him, we have to see how they
produce evidence in courts and how efforts are made to convict him, otherwise
it is a drama,” he said.
Indian government official, who has close knowledge of diplomatic issues with
Pakistan, earlier told The Guardian newspaper that arresting Saeed was not
enough and that he should be put on trial and convicted.
want real action, not these kinds of steps that are reversible. One court
orders his arrest, another frees him,” said the official.
is the founder of Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT), the militant group blamed by India for
the Mumbai attacks, which killed more than 160 people and injured hundreds of
banned Saeed’s charities earlier this year and detained him, along with several
close aides. However, he has not been charged or put on trial so far.
2017, Saeed was put under house arrest by Pakistani authorities and
subsequently released after being cleared of charges against him, drawing
strong criticism from New Delhi.
is known for attacking Indian security forces and government targets.
however, has denied any involvement in the Mumbai attacks, saying he has no
ties to militant groups.
The Afghan Taliban will visit Pakistan in the “coming weeks” if a formal
invitation is extended, it said on Wednesday, after Pakistan’s Prime Minister
Imran Khan said he would meet Taliban leaders to persuade them to hold
negotiations with the government in Kabul.
an appearance at the US Institute of Peace on Tuesday, Khan said: “I will meet
the Taliban and I will try my best to get them to talk to the Afghan
US and the Taliban are getting closer to a deal expected to center on a US
pledge to withdraw troops in exchange for a Taliban promise not to use its
forces to interfere in US affairs. The group has refused so far to hold direct
talks with the administration of President Ashraf Ghani, which it considers a
this month, three Afghan government officials joined a delegation of over 50
people at an intra-Afghan conference in Doha, also attended by Taliban
political envoys to discuss the future of the war-ravaged country.
Taliban insisted that the officials were only present in a personal capacity,
and not as representatives of Ghani.
spokesman Suhail Shaheen said on Wednesday a visit to Pakistan could take place
in the coming weeks.
travel to other countries in the world and hold meetings,” he told Arab News
via telephone from Doha.
is a neighboring Muslim country. Members of the political office of the Islamic
Emirate will visit Pakistan if a formal invitation is extended to us. We will
discuss the issue of refugees and other related issues.”
are now reports that Khan has discussed his plan to receive Taliban leaders in
Pakistan with Afghan President Ashraf Ghani, who has given his go ahead,
despite requesting Islamabad not meet with the group several months ago.
and US representatives are scheduled to resume talks in the coming days to
remove differences on a timeframe for the withdrawal of foreign forces.
— Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan says militants may soon release two
Western hostages as negotiations on a peace deal for Afghanistan make progress
with his country’s help.
who was in the middle of a three-day U.S. visit Tuesday, has repeatedly said
the men, an American and Australian, could be freed from the Taliban-linked
militants who have held them for nearly three years.
will be giving you good news about the two hostages,” Khan told President
Donald Trump in their meeting Monday at the White House.
prime minister did not mention them by name at the White House but in a later
interview said he was referring to an American and an Australian kidnapped by the
is playing its part,” he told Fox News with Brett Baier. “And I think we’re
very close. We hope to give some good news in the next 48 hours.”
its ongoing negotiations with the Taliban, the U.S. has been pressing for the
release of American Kevin King, 62, and Australian Timothy John Weeks, 50, of
Sydney. It’s unknown where King grew up in the United States, but the FBI said
he speaks both English and Thai.
men, both English teachers at the American University of Kabul, were abducted
August 2016 as they returned to the campus in the Afghan capital.
following January, the Taliban released a video in which the two professors
asked Trump, who was then president-elect, to offer to exchange prisoners with
the militants for their release.
October 2017, Taliban spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid released a statement saying
King was suffering from heart and kidney problems, and often loses
consciousness. Mujahid said the Taliban would hold the U.S. government
responsible if anything happened to King.
is widely believed the two Westerners have been held by the Haqqani group,
which has close ties to Pakistan’s premier intelligence agency known as the
ISI. In exchange for the two professors, the Haqqani group has long demanded
the release of Anas Haqqani, a brother of Sirajuddin Haqqani, who was captured
by Afghan intelligence agents in 2014.
Haqqani network also held Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl, a U.S. soldier who was freed in
2014 in exchange for five Taliban prisoners who were held at the U.S. military
prison at Guantánamo Bay, Cuba.
told reporters before his meeting Monday with Khan that they would discuss
hostages. Also missing is American Paul Overby, an author in his 70s who had
traveled to the region several times but disappeared in eastern Afghanistan in
U.S. is seeking the release of Dr. Shakil Afridi, a doctor who ran a fake
vaccination campaign to help the U.S. confirm the whereabouts of Osama bin
Laden before the May 2011 U.S. raid on his compound. The doctor is being held
in a Pakistani prison.
told Fox that Pakistan might consider swapping Afridi for Pakistani
neuroscientist Aafia Siddiqui, who was sentenced in 2010 in U.S. federal court
in New York to 86 years in prison for assaulting and trying to kill Americans
serving in Afghanistan. She is being held at the Federal Medical Center
Carswell in Fort Worth, Texas.
we could negotiate some sort of swap,” Khan told Fox.
(Reuters) - Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan on Tuesday said he would try
meet with the Taliban in an effort to persuade the group to meet with the
Afghan government, as the United States seeks to end the nearly 18-year old
will meet the Taliban and I will try my best to get them to talk to the Afghan
government,” Khan said during an appearance at the U.S. Institute of Peace in
said a Taliban delegation had wanted to meet him a few months back but he did
not because of opposition from the Afghan government.
United States and the Taliban are getting closer to a deal that is expected to
be centered on a U.S. pledge to withdraw troops in exchange for a Taliban
promise not to let Afghanistan be used as a base for terrorism, officials say.
the Taliban have refused to negotiate with the government, denouncing it as a
U.S puppet, but in an effort to foster Afghan reconciliation, a 60-strong
delegation of citizens met the Taliban for two days of talks in Qatar from
role in the peace negotiations is a delicate one.
accuses Pakistan of supporting the Taliban, a charge Pakistan denies, saying it
has suffered heavily from the fighting.
United States has also pressed Islamabad to do more to curb militant groups
based in its territory.
as talks continue, the Taliban and the government have continued fighting.
least five people were killed on Thursday in a suicide bombing in Kabul, an
official said, adding that two other blasts had also hit the Afghan capital.
bombing comes amid an increase in violence in Kabul and around Afghanistan,
where the war is taking a continued toll even amid a US-led effort to make a
peace deal with the Taliban.
first blast came around 8:10am Kabul time when a suicide bomber riding a
motorcycle hit a bus in eastern Kabul, according to interior ministry spokesman
said the bus belonged to the ministry of mines and petroleum, and warned the
death toll could change. Rahimi said two other blasts had occurred, including a
car bomb, also in eastern Kabul.
details were immediately available on the other two blasts, and no group
immediately claimed responsibility.
US is negotiating for a deal that would see foreign forces pull out of the
country in return for various Taliban security guarantees, including a pledge
that Afghanistan will not become a safe haven for terror groups.
longstanding impasse in repatriating Rohingya Muslims to their homeland in
Myanmar may give way in September, according a senior Bangladeshi official said
Foreign Minister AK Abdul Momen on Wednesday announced a possible schedule for
the repatriation of Rohingya in Dhaka.
am expecting that repatriation will start from this September. After Prime
Minister Sheikh Hasina’s visit to China, things get moving faster," he
told reporters at his office, local daily The Financial Express reported.
have a gut feeling about it. We are getting positive feedback from all our
friendly countries who are engaged in this process," it added.
minister, who recently concluded his visit to the UN chief and U.S. lawmakers
this month, added that Myanmar would not expect global criticism over the issue
during the UN General Assembly to be held in September.
minister urged the international community to increase efforts in Rakhine
state, Myanmar so repatriation could be conducted in a safe and conducive
San Lwin, campaign coordinator for the rights group Free Rohingya Coalition,
expressed concern at the development.
world and the Bangladesh must make sure that the cycle of violence against
Rohingyas not repeat again. Rohingyas can live back in their homeland as human
beings," he told Anadolu Agency, underlining that the "genocide"
of the Muslim group must end before repatriation may begin.
added that More than a million Myanmar genocide survivors who took refuge in
Bangladesh will go back to their homeland if protection, full citizenship,
rights to return to their origin villages, rights to livelihood, access to
education and access to healthcare are guaranteed.
genocide hasn't ended yet. It is ongoing. Until now there is no guarantee for
anything," Lwin said.
A persecuted people
Rohingya, described by the UN as the world's most persecuted people, have faced
heightened fears of attack since dozens were killed in communal violence in
to Amnesty International, more than 750,000 Rohingya refugees, mostly women and
children, have fled Myanmar and crossed into Bangladesh after Myanmar forces
launched a crackdown on the minority Muslim community in August 2017, pushing
the number of persecuted people in Bangladesh above 1.2 million.
Aug. 25, 2017, nearly 24,000 Rohingya Muslims have been killed by Myanmar’s
state forces, according to a report by the Ontario International Development
than 34,000 Rohingya were also thrown into fires, while over 114,000 others
were beaten, said the OIDA report, titled "Forced Migration of Rohingya:
The Untold Experience."
203rd Thunder Corps of the Afghan Military said Wednesday that U.S. airstrikes
killed 8 Taliban militants and destroyed a truck bomb in Ghazni.
to a statement released by 203rd Thunder Corps, the U.S. forces conducted the
airstrikes in Ahad area of Geru and Bashi area of Andar district.
statement further added that the airstrikes also destroyed a Ford Ranger type
local officials on Tuesday said an airstrike destroyed a truck bomb in Geru
district of Ghazni.
Governor’s Office in Ghazni said in a statement that the security forces
conducted an airstrike at around 8:40 pm local time.
statement further added that the security forces conducted the airstrike in
Mazar area of Geru district.
suicide attack targeted a governmental bus in Kabul city earlier today killing
or wounding at least 15 civilians.
Rahimi, a spokesman for the Ministry of Interior confirmed that the explosion
took place in Millie Bus Square in 16th district of the city.
further added that the explosion targeted a vehicle carrying the staff of the
Ministry of Mines and Petroleum.
bombs rocked the Afghan capital of Kabul on Thursday, with one hitting a bus
carrying government employees, killing a total of at least 12 people, officials
employees of the ministry of mines and petroleum were killed and 10 wounded in
the bus attack, the officials said, adding that seven people were killed and
more than 20 wounded in the second explosion.
a magnetic bomb pasted to a minibus exploded, then a suicide bomber blew
himself near the bus attack site and the third blast happened when a car was
blown up by unknown militants,” said Nasrat Rahimi, a spokesman of the interior
ministry in Kabul. “The death toll could rise from all the three blasts,” he
militant group has claimed responsibility for the attacks that came as US
Marine General Joseph Dunford, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, was
meeting top US and NATO officials in Kabul.
United States is trying to negotiate a deal that would see foreign forces pull
out of Afghanistan in return for various security guarantees by Taliban
militants, including a pledge that the country will not become a safe haven for
Sri Lanka has re-introduced and expanded a visa-free entry scheme for visitors
in a bid to revive its flagging tourism sector after the deadly Easter
bombings, officials said Wednesday.
concession for tourists from 39 nations was suspended after militants bombed
three churches and three luxury hotels in Colombo on April 21 killing 258
people, including 45 foreigners.
the security situation has improved, the cabinet of ministers decided to revive
the visa-free scheme and also extended it to seven more countries,” the
government said in a statement.
tourism official said foreign governments have relaxed travel advisories for
Sri Lanka since the attacks.
has also been a lift in the number of arrivals, which nosedived soon after the
bombings blamed on a home-grown militant group, the official said.
new countries added to the expanded scheme — which already allows travelers
from the European Union, Australia and the United States to enter Sri Lanka
without a visa — include China and India.
still have to obtain a visa on arrival, but the government has waived the $35
fee from August 1.
Lanka initially projected a 30 percent dip in the number of foreign
holidaymakers after the attacks.
following month the number of tourists plunged to 37,800, down from 166,975 in
April, according to official figures.
they improved last month with some 63,000 visitors, although numbers are still
down from 146,828 in June 2018.
says Xinjiang ‘inseparable’ despite attempts to distort history
The far northwestern region of Xinjiang is an “inseparable” part of China
despite efforts by extremists to distort history and facts in a bid to split
the country, the Chinese government said in a document published late on
government said in a white paper published by the State council information
office it was wrong to suggest members of Xinjiang’s minority Uighur Muslim
community were descended from Turks, noting they had become the political tool
of pan-Turkic and pan-Islamic groups.
paper said “hostile forces in and outside China, especially separatists,
religious extremists and terrorists, have tried to split China and break it
apart by distorting history and facts”.
has been accused of persecuting Uighurs, with at least a million believed to be
detained in what China insists are vocational centres aimed at reducing the
spread of Islamist extremism.
secretary of state Mike Pompeo branded China’s treatment of its Uighur minority
as the “stain of the century” on Thursday.
government white paper said Xinjiang has been a part of China since the Han
dynasty in the third century and its people and ethnic cultures were formed by
a long process of migration and integration.
also said Islam was not the indigenous or sole belief system of the Uighurs but
was imposed by the expansion of the Arab Empire, and that “theocracy” and
“religious supremacism” were a betrayal that needed to be opposed.
foreign forces and separatist, religious extremist and terrorist forces that
have colluded to distort history … will be cast aside by history and the
people,” it said.
launches Muslim-friendly hotel recognition
Malaysia has introduced the "Muslim-Friendly Hotel Recognition"
initiative, a form of accreditation which recognises syariah compliant
accommodation for tourists.
Arts and Culture Minister Datuk Mohamaddin Ketapi said the accreditation,
implemented by the Islamic Tourist Centre (ITC) is the first of its kind in the
world issued by a government agency.
are the first country in the world to have a government-backed initiative. Such
standards or accreditation currently out in the market are all released by
implementation of the Muslim Friendly Hotel Recognition is an important
initiative to empower the tourism industry, especially the Islamic tourism
segment to begin developing the industry towards its next phase.
said Malaysia acknowledges the potential of the Islamic tourism sector as
travellers from Muslim countries, especially the Middle East, are the biggest
spenders in Malaysia’s tourism industry.
Islamic tourism sector is a high potential market segment. Malaysia has been at
the pole position for nine consecutive years in the Global Muslim Traveler
Index which studies the patterns and trends of Islamic Tourism globally.
2018, Malaysia recorded an estimated 5.2 million Muslim tourist arrivals. The
enormous potential of 1.8 billion Muslims worldwide should be seen as an
opportunity by all relevant tourism stakeholders.”
index also estimates that there will be 160 million Muslim travellers by 2020.
This figure is expected to increase by 230 million by 2026,” he said.
added that “non-Muslim countries” such as Japan, South Korea and Taiwan have
also begun tapping into the Muslim traveller market.
director-general Datuk Seri Abdul Khani Daud explained later at a press
conference that the accreditation is developed with Sirim Berhad, adding that
12 hotels have already received Muslim-Friendly Hotel Recognition
are three levels of accreditation; platinum, gold and silver, based on the
level of compliance to the standards that have been set.
he begins his second term, Indonesia’s president should be careful to not
implement policies that could repress free speech and worsen political and
religious divisions exposed by the April election and its aftermath, a
Jakarta-based think-tank says in a new report.
Joko “Jokowi” Widodo should refrain from using defamation laws to silence
critics while addressing social grievances voiced by hardline Muslim groups,
according to the report published by the Institute for Policy Analysis of
Conflict (IPAC) on Tuesday.
challenge for President Jokowi in his second term is to ensure that policies
aimed at undermining extremism do not exacerbate the political polarization
that the election revealed,” IPAC said.
analyst with the think-tank expanded on this.
Jokowi government’s decision to take a tougher line against extremism is
welcome, but he needs to ensure that tactics used do not feed a new narrative
of repression,” IPAC analyst Nava Nuraniyah said in the report.
can do that by ensuring there are clear criteria for curbing hate speech, that
defamation laws are not used to arrest individuals for casual criticism of
public officials and that there is a clear distinction made between criminal
incitement and legitimate dissent,” she said.
said Jokowi should ensure that all Muslims in the country benefit from
government policies, otherwise he could be seen as favoring only the moderate
and Java-centric Nahdlatul Ulama (NU), the country’s largest mass Muslim
organization that backed his electoral campaign.
won in Central and East Java, the stronghold for NU, as well as in provinces
where non-Muslims are the majority, such as mainly Hindu Bali and predominantly
Christian East Nusa Tenggara, while his challenger, Prabowo Subianto, dominated
in staunchly Muslim West Java and most of Sumatra island.
being careful not to appease the intolerant religious right, the president can
focus on ensuring that he is less vulnerable on the inequality charge by
ensuring that his economic programs are not concentrated on Java and in
NU-dominated areas but are spread evenly across different Islamic groups and
regions,” IPAC said.
the aftermath of the election, police arrested two of Prabowo’s prominent
campaigners, Eggy Sudjana and Lieus Sungkarisma in May on charges of treason
for allegedly threatening to mobilize masses over concerns the election was
rigged. They have since been released from detention while charges have not
rally by Prabowo’s supporters descended into chaos, beginning on May 21, when
officers clashed with protesters. Nine people died and scores were injured over
two nights of rioting.
protesters had demanded that the Election Supervisory Agency take action in
response to allegations by Prabowo’s camp that the election was stolen.
have insisted that the rioting was not spontaneous but incited by third parties
bent on creating chaos to destabilize the country.
addition, national police spokesman Dedi Prasetyo denied that security
personnel had acted repressively in dealing with pro-Prabowo supporters.
took action to prevent acts of terrorism which can endanger the nation,” he
don’t want Indonesia to become another Syria, Iraq or Yemen. Security is very
important for national development and our welfare as a nation,” he said.
May protests were much smaller than rallies organized by hardline Muslim groups
in late 2016 and early 2017 against then-Jakarta Gov. Basuki “Ahok” Tjahaja
Purnama over accusations that he had blasphemed Islam.
a Christian of Chinese descent who had served as deputy to Jokowi when the
latter served as Jakarta governor before running for president, was convicted
of blasphemy and sentenced in 2017 to two years in prison. He was released in
IPAC report said police had come to see ultra-conservative Muslim groups as one
of the biggest security threats facing Indonesia.
translated into a greater reliance on repressive tactics, including arrests and
intimidation, unusually tight enforcement of rally permits, stepped up scrutiny
of social media, and an effort to portray political Muslims as being one step
away from violent extremists, the report said.
presidential spokeswoman defended the government’s actions.
enforcement officers take action based on valid evidence and the due process,
and we have an impartial judicial system,” Jaleswari Pramodhawardhani told
countering attempts by certain groups to undermine Pancasila (the state
ideology), the government makes no compromises and has taken decisive steps
including dissolving radical mass organizations through courts,” she said. “In
addition, the government continues to promote religious moderation by involving
said courts had the final say in these cases.
Richard C. Paddock and Jason Gutierrez
— A deadly cathedral bombing in the
Philippines in January was a suicide attack carried out by an Indonesian couple
who once tried to reach Islamic State territory and were deported from Turkey,
the Indonesian police said on Tuesday.
married couple, identified as Rullie Rian Zeke and Ulfah Handayani Saleh, went
to Turkey in 2016 with hopes of crossing the border into Syria, the police
said. Instead, they were arrested in January 2017 and sent back to Indonesia.
bombing, consisting of two detonations, struck the Cathedral of Our Lady of
Mount Carmel on the southern island of Jolo, where the government has long
fought Muslim insurgents. At least 23 people were killed and more than 100
wounded in the assault, which took place just as worshipers gathered for Mass.
Through various online bulletins, the Islamic State claimed responsibility.
officials and independent experts have warned that Indonesia and other
Southeast Asian nations face a serious threat from hundreds of returnees who
traveled to Syria and Iraq to join the Islamic State. The attack in January showed
that they must also be wary of those who were deported from other countries
before they could reach their destination.
is the first suicide bombing we know of carried out by deportees,” said Sidney
Jones, director of the Institute for Policy Analysis of Conflict in Jakarta,
the Indonesian capital. “A few others have been involved in terrorist
activities, but nothing on this scale.”
has been a hotbed of Islamic insurgency and the home of a violent separatist
militia, Abu Sayyaf, that espouses an Islamist ideology. The Philippine
authorities initially blamed Abu Sayyaf for the bombing, and the attackers may
have had the group’s help.
Rullie and Ms. Ulfah were identified during the interrogation of two suspects
who were arrested in Malaysia in May, the Indonesian police said.
Indonesian couple’s role in the Philippine bombing demonstrates the regional
nature of Islamist militants affiliated with the Islamic State who operate
across borders as they pursue their goal of creating a Southeast Asia caliphate
that would include Indonesia, Malaysia and the Philippines.
shows the need for each police force in the region to understand extremist
networks in neighboring countries,” said Ms. Jones, a leading expert on
terrorism in the region.
a year, a couple led their four children on a suicide mission in Surabaya,
Indonesia’s second-largest city, with bombings at three churches on a Sunday
morning that killed all six family members and 12 other people. The Islamic
State claimed responsibility for the attacks.
2017, the authorities identified seven young Indonesian men who joined the
Islamic State, but went to the southern Philippines instead of Syria or Iraq.
They joined the battle against the Philippine government in the city of Marawi,
which was eventually destroyed by the fighting.
bombing of the Jolo cathedral will add to the debate over how countries should
deal with citizens who were arrested in Islamic State territory and are being
held in camps in Syria, Ms. Jones said.
Indonesians and Malaysians have expressed a desire to come home, but there is
no great enthusiasm for bringing them back and as of yet, no clear program for
doing so,” she said.
Rullie and Ms. Ulfah appear to have been stuck with their three children in
Turkey for nearly a year before they were caught and deported. They attended a
short rehabilitation program on their return to Indonesia and were allowed to
go home. The whereabouts of the children were unknown, Ms. Jones said.
IDA NADIRAH IBRAHIM
LUMPUR, July 24 — Umno members cannot represent the party in having talks with
other political parties as only its president has been given the mandate to do
so, says Datuk Seri Ahmad Zahid Hamidi.
the open invitations by other parties, particularly from Pakatan Harapan (PH),
for Umno to join forces to form Malay unity, Zahid said the party remains
adamant that it would not have any cooperation with any parties that are allies
will not accept any negotiations with any parties, especially the component
parties of PH, which have political ties with DAP.
the president is allowed to represent Umno to engage in discussions with other
parties, but no other party leader or members are given the mandate to do so,”
Zahid told a press conference after chairing the Umno Supreme Council meeting
at the party headquarters here today.
said if any parties aside from Umno, PAS or Barisan Nasional (BN) invites
either of the Malay-Muslim parties to discuss on any form of political
cooperation, the Umno Supreme Council had agreed that Umno would not accept any
negotiations, unless represented by the president.
it is only to discuss and hear the views [of others], we will listen. But we
object 100 per cent in forming cooperation with other parties [especially
linked with DAP].”
this month, Zahid had said that both Umno and BN would never accept the
invitation to join Parti Pribumi Bersatu Malaysia as long as the Pakatan
Harapan coalition party cooperates with DAP.
was following Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad’s invitation to all Malay parties
including Umno to join Bersatu in efforts to unite the Malays.
Bersatu chairman said that he found more and more Malay parties were being
formed, which reduced the potentials of the Malay parties to win the election.
on the political cooperation between Umno and PAS, Zahid said the
secretary-general of both parties will be announcing the date when the official
agreement will be signed.
today, The Star reported that Umno secretary-general Tan Sri Annuar Musa said
that the parties are finding suitable date and venue for the ceremony to launch
and sign the Umno-PAS charter.
country’s largest Muslim organization, Nahdlatul Ulama (NU), and non-Muslim
communities played a crucial role in helping President Joko “Jokowi” Widodo and
Vice President Ma’ruf Amin win the April 17 presidential election, analysts
have said.“One of the keys for Jokowi’s and Ma’ruf’s win was the non-Muslim
factor — 97 percent of non-Muslim citizens voted for Jokowi,” Indikator Politik
Indonesia researcher Burhanuddin Muhtadi said during a discussion on Friday,
quoting the results of an exit poll conducted by the pollster.However,
Burhanuddin said it was NU’s role in getting Muslims to vote that was crucial
in Jokowi’s reelection as, by appointing Ma’ruf, an NU leader, as his running
mate, Jokowi had essentially cemented a permanent pact with the
organization. “Of all the Muslim
constituents who voted for Jokowi and Ma’ruf, most of them ...
Supreme Court has upheld a six-year prison sentence given to 20-year-old
Ukrainian national Pavlo Hryb.
North Caucasus Regional Court on March 22 convicted Hryb of "promoting
terrorism," a charge he contends was fabricated by the Federal Security
lawyers appealed the verdict, but in a ruling on July 23 the Supreme Court said
it found no grounds to reverse the verdict.
father, Ihor Hryb, condemned the March verdict as a “death sentence for
Pavlo...who needs an urgent medical operation in order to live.”
denounced the verdict, calling it "unlawful," and Hryb announced a
hunger strike to protest the ruling as well as his treatment in jail.
said he had been "denied medical treatment" while in custody.
Ukrainian Foreign Ministry demanded the "immediate reversal of the
unlawful sentence" and called for Hryb's "release and unimpeded
return to Ukraine."
went missing in August 2017 after he traveled to Belarus to meet a woman he met
believe he walked into a trap set by the FSB, which later told Ukraine that
Hryb was being held in a detention center in Russia on suspicion of promoting
Hryb said that his son was detained when he was returning from Belarus to
he was already walking with a ticket in his pocket to the railway station in
order to leave [the Belarusian city of] Homel for Ukraine, he was seized by
special service officers,” Ihor Hryb told Current Time, the Russian-language
network led by RFE/RL in cooperation with VOA.
they were Belarusians, or it was the FSB. But in any case, it was done with the
assistance of the Belarusian special services," he added.
investigators accuse Hryb of using the Internet to try to convince a teenage
girl in the Russian city of Sochi to set off a bomb at a high-school graduation
Hryb has argued that Russia's case against his son was in retaliation for his
Internet posts that were openly critical of Moscow's interference in Ukraine.
his statement at the trial, Hryb also said that "nobody would have
thought" that Belarus might be "in fact, a dangerous country for
Ukrainians," where Russia's secret services could abduct them.
took control of Crimea from Ukraine in March 2014, after sending in troops and
staging a referendum dismissed as illegal by at least 100 countries.
backs separatists in a war against government forces that has killed some
13,000 people in eastern Ukraine since April 2014.
men who set fire to a Melbourne mosque in an Islamic State-inspired attack
intending to terrorise the Shiite Muslim community were jailed for 22 years on
third man, who was recruited following an earlier failed attempt to burn down
the same mosque, was sentenced to 16 years for the crime.
men -- Ahmed Mohamed, 26, Abdullah Chaarani, 28 and Hatim Moukhaiber, 31 --
torched the Imam Ali Islamic Centre in December 2016 in the middle of the night
before spray painting "The Islamic State" on one of the building's
were fund guilty of terror-related charges in May after the jury determined the
crimes to be based on an extremist version of Sunni Islam inspired by the
Islamic State group.
Andrew Tinney said Wednesday the men were motivated by "hatred" and
particular purposes were to advance what to most sensible people can only be
seen as being a perverse ideology, and more particularly, to strike a blow
against, and to intimidate and cause terror to, Shia Muslims," he said.
Prime Minister Boris Johnson on Wednesday named Brexit hardliner Dominic Raab
to be Britain’s foreign secretary, while he appointed former interior minister
Sajid Javid to take over from Philip Hammond as finance minister.
45, who was also named as Johnson’s effective deputy, resigned as Brexit
minister in Theresa May’s government last year saying the divorce deal she
struck with Brussels offered too many compromises.
a former banker from a modest background, was a contender for the premiership
but endorsed Johnson when he failed to get enough support from fellow
Conservative Party chose arch-Brexiteer Johnson as its leader and hence prime
minister, and the new tenant of Number 10 insists that Britain will leave the
EU on October 31 whether or not he has negotiated a new withdrawal agreement.
men who set fire to a Melbourne mosque in an ISIS-inspired attack intending to
terrorize the Shiite Muslim community were jailed for 22 years on Wednesday.
men - Ahmed Mohamed, 26, Abdullah Chaarani, 28 and Hatim Moukhaiber, 31 -
torched the Imam Ali Islamic Centre in December 2016 in the middle of the night
before spray painting “The Islamic State” on one of the building’s walls.
were found guilty of terror-related charges in May after the jury determined
the crimes to be based on an extremist version of Sunni Islam inspired by the
Andrew Tinney said Wednesday the men were motivated by “hatred” and
particular purposes were to advance what to most sensible people can only be
seen as being a perverse ideology, and more particularly, to strike a blow
against, and to intimidate and cause terror to, Shiite Muslims,” he said.
Bulk, the Swedish-based operator of a British-flagged tanker seized last week
by Iran, has been in contact by telephone with the 23 crew members of the
vessel, Stena Impero, a spokesman for the operator said on Wednesday.
had direct contact with the crew on board the vessel last night by telephone
and they’re all okay and in good health and they’re getting good cooperation
with the Iranians on board the vessel,” spokesman Pat Adamson said.
see this as a first step and progress towards a resolution,” he added.
its latest decision against Turkey, the European Union has disqualified itself
from playing a positive role in solving the Cyprus issue, according to Turkey’s
envoy in Athens.
to Anadolu Agency in an exclusive interview, Ambassador Burak Ozugergin
criticized the recent EU decisions against Turkey on the Eastern Mediterranean,
including the continental shelf and drilling activities.
a final declaration last week, the European Council said that in light of
Turkey’s "continued and new illegal drilling activities," it would
suspend civil aviation negotiations and "agree not to hold the Association
Council and further meetings of the EU-Turkey high-level dialogues for the time
called the decision a misstep.
EU, by losing its chance to play a positive role in solving the Cyprus problem,
in a sense has disqualified itself," he said.
said Turkey cannot be approached this way.
has consistently contested the Greek Cypriot administration’s unilateral
drilling in the Eastern Mediterranean, asserting that the Turkish Republic of
Northern Cyprus (TRNC) also has rights to the resources in the area.
this spring, Ankara has sent two drilling vessels -- the Fatih and the Yavuz --
to the Eastern Mediterranean, asserting the right of Turkey and the TRNC to the
resources of the region.
first seismic vessel, the Barbaros Hayrettin Pasa, bought from Norway in 2013,
has been conducting exploration in the Mediterranean since April 2017.
any new negotiations starting on Cyprus, Ozugergin said no one can sit at the
negotiating table before the demands of the Greek Cypriots become clear.
far there has been no positive signal,” he added.
1974, following a coup aiming at Cyprus’ annexation by Greece, Ankara had to
intervene as a guarantor power. In 1983, the TRNC was founded.
decades since have seen several attempts to resolve the Cyprus dispute, all
ending in failure. The latest one, held with the participation of the guarantor
countries -- Turkey, Greece, and the U.K. -- ended in 2017 in Switzerland.
crackdown on unregistered migrants in Istanbul has led to more than 6,000
arrests in the past two weeks, Turkey's interior minister said on Wednesday.
was concern in recent days about reports that hundreds of Syrian refugees –
forced to sign consent forms in Turkish that they did not understand – had been
sent back to their country.
Minister Suleyman Soylu denied the claims and said some Syrians were choosing
to go home "voluntarily" to areas where fighting has abated.
have been carrying out an operation since July 12... We have caught 6,122
people in Istanbul, including 2,600 Afghans," Mr Soylu told broadcaster
said Syrians were part of the detained group but did not give a breakdown of
we catch Syrians who are not registered, we send them to refugee camps,"
he said, citing one such camp in the Turkish border province of Hatay.
has more than 3.5 million Syrian refugees – the highest number in the world.
have "temporary protection" permits but these restrict them to the
province in which they were registered. The current crackdown is aimed at those
who live in Istanbul without a permit to stay in the city.
Monday, the authorities in Istanbul set a four-week deadline for Syrians there
to return to the provinces where they are registered or be forcibly removed.
crackdown followed two clashes in the city earlier this year when crowds
attacked Syrian properties. The arrests were orchestrated by the Istanbul
governor's office, which is controlled by the central government in Ankara.
Syrians live in southern Turkish provinces near the border but Istanbul has the
largest Syrian population of any region in the country.
arrests come after the recent defeat of President Recep Tayyip Erdogan's AKP
party in the Istanbul mayoral election. Some had argued that the presence of
refugees in the city hurt the ruling party's popularity.
governor's office says there are 547,000 Syrians registered in Istanbul.
chaos in Libya, where strongman Khalifa Haftar has vowed to capture the capital
from the internationally recognized government, is threatening to further
destabilize its West African neighbors, Niger’s interior minister said.
countries in the Sahel, a semi-arid region on the southern fringe of the Sahara
desert, are already struggling to cope with Islamist militant violence and a
surge in inter-communal conflict that’s being stoked by the jihadists’
presence. The conflict in Libya is “fuel on the fire,” Niger Interior Minister
Mohamed Bazoum said in an interview in the capital, Niamey.
August 2011 Boko Haram bombing outside the UN building in Nigeria's capital
Abuja killed at least 21 people. Credit: Gbemiga Olamikan.
years ago in July 2009, Nigeria's security forces cracked down on what was then
a relatively little-known Islamic group in the north east of the country. At
the time, that group's focus was preaching, although it believed al-Qaeda's
path would bring Nigerian Muslims out of their abyss. The military operation
led to the deaths of hundreds of its members, including the group's leader and
cleric Muhammed Yusuf.
this deadly attack, few expected Boko Haram to rebuild. Even fewer could have
predicted that a decade later, the group would have the capability to raid military
barracks not just in Nigeria but across the Lake Chad region. In the past year
alone, the Islamist militants have attacked bases in Baga, Nigeria, Darak,
Cameroon, and Dangdalla, Chad, while attacks in Niger continue to escalate. In
the ten years since the insurgency began, the death toll from the conflict is
at least 30,000 people, though observers suggest the real total could be closer
a decade since it was almost wiped out, Boko Haram has an estimated 6,000
fighters broken into two factions. The larger and more sophisticated group is
affiliated with so-called Islamic State and known as Islamic State in West
Africa Province (ISWAP). The smaller and cruder faction is led by the notorious
Abubakar Shekau and is called Jama'at Ahl al-Sunnah li-l-Dawah wa-l-Jihad
and JAS combined control less territory now than in 2014 when Shekau declared
an "Islamic state" in Nigeria. The factions also have less capacity
to launch attacks across a wide area than in 2012 when the militants regularly
targeted central and northern cities in Nigeria, including the capital Abuja
and the northern commercial hub Kano.
looks can be deceiving. ISWAP's territorial control around Lake Chad is more
consolidated and its attacks fiercer than ever before. The same can be said of
JAS in Borno state's Sambisa Forest.
the following explains, the insurgency's ten-year evolution and geographical
movements tell us a lot about the group's history and what could happen next.
out from a Yobe village: 2002-2009
the early days of 2002-3, the group then called the "Nigerian
Taliban" was made up of around 200 predominantly wealth and well-educated
individuals with a small base in a village in Yobe State. There are still
debates on whether group members intended to pursue a jihad in Nigeria but were
too under-resourced or whether they were generally non-violent but sought to
engage in hijra (migration to flee persecution) from the "impure"
cities where "full sharia" was not practiced.
group's main leader at the time, Muhammed Ali, was involved with al-Qaeda in
Sudan, if not elsewhere, in the 1990s and recruited at universities. Other
members were recruited from north-eastern Nigerian mosques, including the one
where Yusuf preached in Maiduguri. Hence, Ali and Yusuf are often considered to
be the group's first co-leaders.
of the group's austere Taliban-like interpretation of Islam and its killing of
a security officer who came to inspect their camp, the government eventually
took action. In December 2003, security forces destroyed the group's encampment
and killed around twenty group members including Ali.
the following years, the group rebounded under the sole leadership of Yusuf. He
shifted the group's locus to Maiduguri, the capital of Borno state, while also
establishing centres in Sokoto, Kano, and Bauchi states in Nigeria and Diffa
region in Niger. In these areas, Yusuf and his deputies, including Shekau,
preached their ideology calling for an Islamic state in Nigeria and opposing
Western influences. The name "Boko Haram", meaning "Western
education is blasphemous", emerged as a nickname used by outsiders to mock
Yusuf's prohibitions on Western schools.
July 2009, security forces once again attacked the group, seeing Yusuf's
growing influence as a political threat. Members claim that the military killed
around 200 of its members in the crackdown, including Yusuf.
and other major cities: 2009-2012
government thought Yusuf's followers would never re-emerge after the crackdown,
but under the leadership of Shekau, the group hit back. It conducted deadly
attacks and by 2011, its area of operations had expanded to cover virtually
everywhere Yusuf's preaching had reached. Most assaults, however, were still in
Maiduguri where Shekau established a hideout. They tended to be assassinations,
arsons, and small-scale bombings of government buildings.
mid-2011, suicide bombings became commonplace with more than 30 reported by the
end of 2012. These attacks and other bombings tended to be conducted further
afield in cities such as Kaduna, Jos, Abuja and Kano as well as elsewhere in
central Nigeria. This difference in attacks between Maiduguri and central
regions can be explained by the fact that dozens of members trained with
Al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM). These fighters tended to oppose
Shekau's attacks on Muslims and instead targeted mostly Christians, media
houses, and military barracks away from Shekau's main bases in Maiduguri.
to a rural force: 2013-2016
2013, Nigerian security forces managed to dismantle some of Boko Haram's lethal
cells that specialised in bomb-making in central Nigeria.
factor that aided this was that some AQIM-trained fighters left to form a
splinter group known as Ansaru. Shekau responded by ordering loyalists to
attack the new faction, beheading and assassinating its leaders and reportedly
even tipping off security forces with information about Ansaru members'
hideouts. This helped the military break up Ansaru's kidnapping cells in Kaduna,
Sokoto, and Kano. At the same time, any sympathy Shekau's fighters had from
locals withered after he ordered attacks causing hundreds of civilian
casualties starting in January 2012.
2013 therefore, the group became more deep-seated in rural Borno. It
reintegrated some Ansaru members, reportedly through a reconciliation brokered
in Mali, and conquered parts of the state. This led to more attacks including
the April 2014 kidnapping of more than 200 schoolgirls in Chibok. The group
removed its fighters from Maiduguri, where it faced pressure from
pro-government civilian vigilantes, and became almost completely rural-based.
March 2015, Shekau pledged allegiance to Islamic State leader Abubakar
al-Baghdadi and the group became ISWAP. Although Nigeria, its neighbours and
South African contractors had already pushed the group out of most of its
territories by this point, the new pledge may have further incentivised them to
destroy the group.
late-2015, however, ISWAP employed some effective strategies to reassert
itself. It launched numerous attacks, especially female suicide bombings, in
order to dissuade Nigeria's neighbours from intervening. In June 2016, it then
raided Bosso military barracks to pilfer weapons. Also significant in August
2016 was that Islamic State demoted Shekau and named Abu Musab al-Barnawi as
ISWAP's new leader. Al-Barnawi instituted a "hearts and minds"
approach to the civilian population and concentrated on denying the Nigerian
army access to rural areas in Yobe, Borno and around Lake Chad. Shekau left
ISWAP and reinforced his main base in Sambisa Forest, Borno. His faction
returned to its official name JAS.
and JAS were now rivals, but have generally avoided clashing since August 2016.
ISWAP has become a far superior force as seen in its increased barracks raids
and professional Islamic State-integrated media apparatus. There also are
reports of Islamic State sending delegations to Nigeria from Libya to train
fighters and of ISWAP establishing taxation systems for basic commodities to
raise money from local civilians. JAS, in contrast, remains fairly crude but
successes since August 2016 have garnered significant attention among scholars,
humanitarian organisations and governments. However, what is often forgotten
with the focus on current battles near Lake Chad and in rural Borno is how the
group was historically pervasive throughout northern Nigeria. In the past few
years, the military has also scored victories against ISWAP and has contained
JAS primarily in Sambisa. But if ISWAP is finally pushed out of its current
bases near Lake Chad, the question remains whether this will be enough to end
answer likely depends on whether ISWAP maintains the capability to operate
elsewhere. Looking back over the past decade reminds us that neither ISWAP nor
JAS has any grounding in its once main base of Maiduguri. At best they can only
attack its periphery. It has also been nearly four years since the last assault
anywhere outside of Nigeria's three north-eastern states. This suggests that
once the jihadists are kicked out of an area, a combination of military force
and resilient civilians can keep them out for good. If this trend continues,
then if ISWAP is kicked out of Lake Chad, it may not return.
the same time, however, ISWAP has also proven its ability to establish
strongholds in new areas. This makes the group's current expansion in Niger
particularly concerning. There are also reports of ISWAP and remnants of Ansaru
attempting to establish new hideouts in forests of north-western Nigeria near
it should also be recalled that in the Islamic State organisational structure,
ISWAP is now merged with Islamic State in Greater Sahara (ISGS), which operates
in the Niger-Burkina Faso-Mali border axis and whose possible penetration of
north-western Nigeria is cause for great concern in of itself. While there have
not been significant exchanges between the two groups, the alliance indicates
they would offer each other support in a worst case scenario.
Al-Shabaab Clash With Somali and AU Troops in Central Somalia
fighting reported between Somali troops backed by Djibouti peacekeepers and
Al-Shabaab in Hiran region of central Somalia on Tuesday, residents, and
battle erupted after the militants ambushed a military camp outside Bulo-Burde
airstrip which is protected by Djibouti soldiers serving under AU mission in
the Al-Qaeda-linked militant group has claimed responsibility for the military
base attack, saying it killed two government soldiers during the clash.
Mossad intelligence agency has contributed to the arrest of a Lebanese
Hezbollah agent in Uganda, Ugandan media reported this week.
Mahmood Yassine, an undercover agent working for the Iranian-backed group, was
arrested on July 7 by a Ugandan security team at Entebbe International Airport
before boarding a plane to Lebanon, the Kampala Post reported.
who had worked in Uganda since 2010, was held incommunicado, the Post reported,
according to Israeli media.
was reportedly tracked for months before his arrest.
to an intelligence source, Hezbollah instructed Yassine to identify potential
US and Israeli targets for attacks in Uganda and to recruit other Lebanese
nationals for the party.
source also revealed that Yassine had already identified at least 100 Lebanese
citizens living in the country for potential recruitment.
coast guard said on Wednesday it intercepted around three dozen Europe-bound
migrants off its Mediterranean coast and took them to a detention center that
was bombed earlier this month.
Ayoub Gassim said a rubber boat carrying 38 migrants, mostly Egyptians, was
stopped on Tuesday off the coast some 65 kilometers east of the capital,
Tripoli. He said the migrants were transferred to the Tajoura detention center.
United Nations expressed deep concern Wednesday that the new migrants were
taken to Tajoura, where the UN refugee agency says over 200 refugees and
migrants are thought to be detained. It is near the front lines of the latest
fighting near Tripoli between rival Libyan factions.
deputy spokesman Farhan Haq said the Tajoura detention center had been fully
evacuated as of July 10, following a July 2 airstrike that killed at least 53
refugees and migrants and injured at least 130 others.
humanitarian community calls on the Libyan authorities to fulfil their pledge
to close the Tajoura detention center immediately,” he said.
least 2,500 refugees and migrants are estimated to remain in detention centers
exposed to or at risk of armed conflict in and around Tripoli, out of at least
5,600 refugees and migrants held in detention centers in Libya,” Haq added.
self-styled Libyan National Army led by Khalifa Hifter launched an offensive
from eastern Libya on April 4 seeking to take Tripoli. Hifter’s forces are
battling militias loosely allied with a weak, UN-recognized government in the
UN said earlier this month that the battle for Tripoli has killed more than
war in Libya in 2011 toppled and later killed longtime dictator Muammar
Qaddafi, and the chaos that followed resulted in a divided country, with the
UN-aligned administration in Tripoli overseeing the country’s west and a rival
government in the east aligned with Hifter.
people were killed and the mayor of Mogadishu was among six wounded in a bomb
attack targeting the mayoral offices in the Somali capital, the government said
people, including two district commissioners and three directors, were killed
in the terrorist attack this afternoon, six others have been wounded among them
the mayor of Mogadishu and other district commissioners who are now being
treated by the medical team,” Information Minister Mohamed Abdi Hayir Mareye
Al-Qaeda linked Al-Shabaab militant group claimed responsibility for the
reports said that a heavy blast tore through the inside of Mogadishu government
offices on Wednesday, leaving casualties in the building where the city’s mayor
is based, a security official said.
blast occurred inside but we are not sure what exactly caused it, some reports
we are getting indicate it was caused by a suicide bomber... and there are
casualties,” said security official Mahdi Abdirahman.
blast was very heavy, and I saw people, fleeing some with shrapnel wounds
outside the Banadir administration headquarters,” said witness Mohamud Shariif,
referring to the regional government offices.
is regularly hit by attacks by the Al-Qaeda linked Al-Shabaab Islamist group,
which has fought for more than a decade to topple the Somali government.
female suicide bomber detonated herself in the office of the Mogadishu’s mayor,
killing two officials and badly wounding Mayor Abdirahman Omar Osman, local
media reported on Wednesday.
Abdullahi Mohamed, the commissioner of Abdulaziz district and her Waberi
district counterpart are confirmed to be among the dead," GaroweOnline, an
independent news website claimed.
Mayor Mohamed Abdullahi Tullah told state owned media that the mayor was
wounded in the blast and he is currently being treated at the Raccep Tayyip
of the commissioners of Mogadishu district have also been wounded," he
police officer, Mohamed Abdirahman, told Anadolu Agency over the phone that the
attack took place inside the office of the mayor.
cannot confirm casualties. But what I have been told is that a female suicide
bomber blew herself up inside the mayor’s office in the municipality
headquarters, in Mogadishu this Wednesday afternoon," he said.
investigation regarding the attack is currently underway, he added
attack came an hour after the mayor had received senior officials from the
Somalia-based UN office, including the UN envoy to Somalia in his office,
according to Mogadishu administration sources.
group has yet claimed responsibility for the attack.
officials have blamed al-Qaeda affiliated group al-Shabaab for conducting the
two days ago, at least 17 people were killed and over 30 others wounded in a
suicide car bomb blast in Somali capital Mogadishu. The insurgent group
al-Shabaab had claimed responsibility for the attack.
Middle East envoy faces resistance at UN Security Council over Palestine and
plan for peace between Palestinians and Israelis cannot rely on global
consensus, inconclusive international law and unclear resolutions, the US
Middle East envoy told the UN Security Council on Tuesday.
Greenblatt and senior Trump adviser Jared Kushner have spent two years
developing a plan, which they hope will lead to renewed talks between the
Palestinians and Israelis.
Greenblatt said Mr Trump hoped to decide soon whether to release the plan
before or after Israeli elections in September.
Security Council has long endorsed a two-state solution to the conflict, but Mr
Kushner has hinted that his peace plan would take a different direction.
Palestinians want a state in the West Bank, East Jerusalem and the Gaza Strip,
all territory captured by Israel in 1967.
that were achievable, I think we’d already have peace. It’s not achievable,” Mr
Greenblatt said after the session.
said the plan “does not contain a one-state solution".
Greenblatt told the 15-member Security Council that peace could not be achieved
“by fiat of international law or by these heavily wordsmithed, unclear
triggered strong rebuttals from members including Germany, Russia, the UK,
France and Indonesia.
us, international law is not menu à la carte,” Germany’s UN ambassador,
Christoph Heusgen, told the council.
are other instances where US representatives here insist on international law,
insist on the implementation of UN Security Council resolutions, for instance
on North Korea."
would support any peace effort “as long as this aligns with the approach that
we have set out together", French UN ambassador Nicolas de Riviere said.
"So long as this adheres to international law, specifically all
resolutions of the Security Council."
Russian ambassador, Vassily Nebenzia, said: “Security Council resolutions are
international law; they merely need to be complied with."
Greenblatt later said that he understood his remarks might have irritated some
there’s nothing that I said that in our view wasn’t truthful and I think that
everything I said is a necessary step to eventually airing the plan and, if
there’s traction, getting to results,” he said.
Greenblatt, Mr Kushner and US Iran envoy Brian Hook will travel to the Middle
East this month to promote a proposed $50 billion (Dh183.6bn) economic
development plan for the Palestinians, Jordan, Egypt and Lebanon.
are trying to view this holistically,” Mr Greenblatt said of Mr Hook taking
part in the delegation.
if I had a great peace plan, if we don’t figure out how to make sure that Iran
doesn’t spoil it, how much success are we really going to have?”
the Security Council, he called on the Palestinians “to put aside blanket
rejections of a plan they have not even seen” and show a willingness to engage
in talks with Israel.
Greenblatt also urged the Security Council to encourage the parties back to the
Nebenzia suggested a visit by the Security Council to the region was overdue
and could be helpful.
US has long objected to a council visit, which has to be agreed to by
consensus, diplomats said.
Wray says most domestic terrorism arrests this year involve white supremacy
Director Christopher Wray said Tuesday that the agency has made about 100
domestic terrorism-related arrests since October, and the majority were tied to
will say that a majority of the domestic terrorism cases that we’ve
investigated are motivated by some version of what you might call white
supremacist violence, but it does include other things as well,” Wray said at a
Senate Judiciary Committee hearing, referring to cases in fiscal 2019, which
began Oct. 1.
FBI is “aggressively” investigating domestic terrorism and hate crimes, Wray
said, noting that the bureau is focused on investigating the violence, not the
ideology motivating the attacks.
distinguished between what he termed homegrown violent extremism, wording he
said the FBI uses to refer to people in United States who are inspired by
global jihadists, and domestic extremism, which Wray described as broader to
include racially motivated extremists, anarchists and others.
number of domestic terrorism arrests are on par with the amount international
terrorism cases, according to Wray.
terms of number of arrests, we have through the third quarter of this fiscal
year had about give or take 100 arrests on the international terrorism side,
which includes the homegrown violent extremism,” Wray told Sen. Dick Durbin
(D-Ill.) at the hearing. “We’ve also had just about the same number — again, don’t
quote me to the exact digit — on the domestic terrorism side.”
used his time to zero in on the threat of white supremacist- and white
nationalist-motivated violence. Several high-profile domestic crimes in recent
years have been tied to white supremacists, including the death of a
counterprotester at a white nationalist rally in Charlottesville, Va., in 2017.
also raised concerns that the Trump administration is not prioritizing the
threat from white nationalists. President Trump has at times appeared to
downplay the threat, saying earlier this year that he did not believe white
nationalism was on the rise following two deadly attacks on mosques in New
is a concern that this is not being taken as seriously as it should be as one
of the real threats in our country,” Durbin said while raising questions about
the FBI's shift to using the new category of "racially-motivated violent
extremism" to describe race-related crimes.
take domestic terrorism or hate crime — regardless of ideology — extremely
seriously, I can assure you, and we are aggressively pursuing it using both
counterterrorism resources and criminal investigative resources and partnering
closely with our state and local partners," Wray said.
focus is on the violence," Wray added. "We the FBI don’t investigate
the ideology, no matter how repugnant. We investigate violence. And any
extremist ideology, when it turns to violence, we’re all over it.”
US military commander said a Navy ship may have downed a second Iranian drone
last week in the Strait of Hormuz.
always it was a complex tactical picture, we believe two drones. We believe two
drones were successfully — there may have been more that we are not aware of —
those are the two that we engaged successfully,” Marine Corps Gen. Kenneth
McKenzie told CBS News on Tuesday.
aboard the USS Boxer, the ship that targeted the drones, McKenzie said they are
“confident we brought down one drone, we may have brought down a second.”
said the incidents took place about an hour apart after the Navy believed the
two aircraft were flying too close to the ship.
USS Boxer was monitoring Iranian boats and helicopters in the region.
claimed the US brought down its own drone, a notion that President Trump
dismissed by saying during a White House event Monday that the US used “new
technology that’s actually quite amazing.”
development comes as Iran seized a British-flagged oil tanker in the Strait of
Hormuz last Saturday and after Trump called off a military strike against Iran
last month for shooting down an unmanned US surveillance drone.
Warns Brazil Over Stranded Ship Barred From Refueling
-- Iran has threatened to cut its imports from Brazil unless it allows the
refueling of at least two Iranian ships stranded off the Brazilian coast, a
sign of the global repercussions of U.S. sanctions on the Islamic republic.
ambassador in Brasilia, Seyed Ali Saghaeyan, told Brazilian officials on
Tuesday that his country could easily find new suppliers of corn, soybeans and
meat if the South American country refuses to permit the refueling of the
vessels. Brazil exports around $2 billion to Iran a year, mostly commodities
like corn, meat and sugar. Tehran buys one third of all Brazil’s corn exports.
corn shipments to Iran jumped over 30% last year compared to 2017, other
agricultural exports items fell, according to Brazil’s government data. Beef
shipments to Iran declined 38% and sugar tumbled 84% in the same period.
told the Brazilians that they should solve the issue, not the Iranians,”
Saghaeyan said in a rare interview at the Iranian Embassy in Brasilia. “If it’s
not solved, maybe the authorities in Tehran may want to take some decision
because this is a free market and other countries are available.”
oil company Petroleo Brasileiro SA refuses to supply the ships -- which have
been floating for over a month off the port of Paranagua, about 450 kilometers
(280 miles) south of Sao Paulo -- due to the risk of U.S. sanctions. Petrobras
has said it was a business decision and other companies could sell fuel to the
vessels. Without the fuel, the ships carrying Brazilian corn are unable to
return to Iran. While Brazil has a long history of good relations with Tehran,
President Jair Bolsonaro’s commitment to ripping up the country’s traditional
foreign policy has put those ties in doubt.
a strong supporter of U.S. President Donald Trump, Bolsonaro warned exporters
of the risk of trading with Iran, adding that Brazil sides with the U.S. on its
policy toward the Middle East country.
President Donald Trump has vetoed three congressional resolutions barring
billions of dollars in weapons sales to Saudi Arabia and the United Arab
Emirates, which have been committing war crimes in Yemen for over four years.
veto messages to Congress released by the White House on Wednesday, Trump
argued that the bills would “weaken America’s global competitiveness and damage
the important relationships we share with our allies and partners.”
in May, the Trump administration invoked an emergency provision of the law
governing arms sales to push for the sale of $8.1 billion worth of munitions in
22 pending transfers to Saudi Arabia and the UAE and Jordan without the typical
30-day congressional review period.
claimed that the export was crucial to protect the region against what it
called “the malign influence” of Iran.
the move infuriated American lawmakers, who slammed the Trump administration
for attempting to bypass Congress.
members of Congress have grown alarmed by the brutal Saudi-led military
aggression on Yemen, which has killed thousands of civilians since early 2015
and created the world’s worst humanitarian crisis in the impoverished country.
have also censured the Riyadh-sponsored killing of Saudi journalist Jamal
Khashoggi in the kingdom’s consulate in Istanbul, Turkey, last October, as well
as Trump’s inaction on the crime.
three resolutions had been approved by the House of Representatives last week.
They had previously passed the Senate in what was viewed as a bipartisan
pushback to Trump’s foreign policy.
his veto messages, Trump claimed that the resolutions were an “ill-conceived
and time-consuming” way to address concerns about the war on Yemen.
Eliot Engel, a Democrat from New York who is the chairman of the House
Committee on Foreign Affairs, denounced Trump’s decision to veto the bills.
President’s veto sends a grim message that America’s foreign policy is no
longer rooted in our core values — namely a respect for human rights — and that
he views Congress not as a coequal branch of government, but an irritant to be
avoided or ignored,” he said.
still, this veto is going to cost innocent lives. These weapons are going to
continue fueling a reckless and brutal campaign of violence and exacerbating
the world's worst humanitarian catastrophe," he added.
Arabia is the United States’ largest arms client, with over $129 billion in
gives green light to $800m in Saudi arms sales
a separate development, a new analysis from the Campaign Against the Arms Trade
(CAAT) revealed that the UK, which is — along the US — among the Riyadh
regime’s arms suppliers had approved over $800 million worth of arms license
exports to Saudi Arabia between in October 2018 and March 2019.
sales came despite a ruling by the Court of Appeal in June that states British
arms sales to the Riyadh regime are unlawful.
Smith, of the Campaign Against the Arms Trade (CAAT), said, “At the same time
as the Saudi regime was covering up his (Khashoggi’s) murder ministers were
approving hundreds of millions of pounds worth of arms.”
President Donald Trump informed Republican lawmakers during a closed-door White
House meeting he does not want to sanction NATO ally Turkey over its purchase
of the Russian S-400 anti-air system, according to multiple reports published
position voiced Tuesday is at odds with that of several of Trump's closest
Republican Senate allies who do not have "much appetite for that
position," CNN reported citing an anonymous Republican source.
insist the president must impose the penalties under the Countering America's
Adversaries Through Sanctions Act, which establishes penalties for entities
doing business with Russia's defense industry, and which Trump signed into law
meeting with 45 Republican senators, including Lindsey Graham, Ted Cruz, Mitch
McConnell, Rand Paul, Marco Rubio and Todd Young in the State Dining Room lasted
roughly 70 minutes.
has repeatedly voiced reluctance to penalize Turkey for the S-400 system, doing
so last week when announcing Ankara's suspension from the F-35 Joint Strike
Fighter program.The Trump administration has maintained that the S-400 could
expose the advanced fighter to possible Russian subterfuge, and is incompatible
with NATO systems.
however, maintains the S-400 would not be integrated into NATO systems and
would not pose a threat to the alliance.
expulsion is slated to be completed by the end of March 2020.
blames the Obama administration for the current row over its refusal to ink a
deal with Turkey to sell it Raytheon's Patriot Missile systems.
told CNN Trump has little room to avoid imposing sanctions under the 2017 law.
Republican aide told the broadcast news network that Trump could have some room
to maneuver given that the S-400 is slated to take months to be fully
Washington Post newspaper separately reported that Trump was proposing
negotiations with Turkey in lieu of the sanctions, a proposal at odds with the
position held by Senate Foreign Relations Committee Chairman James Risch.
disagreement marks a rare split between the two who are otherwise staunch
state TV reports Israeli attack in southern Syria
(Reuters) - Syrian state television said on Wednesday that Israel struck a
strategic area in southern Syria overlooking the Golan Heights where Western
intelligence sources previously said Iranian-backed militias are known to be
newsflash on state-owned Ikhbariyah did not give details, but said the strike
was directed on Tel Haraa, which had long been an outpost for Russian forces
but was later taken by Iranian-backed militias, according to Western
news agency SANA later said damages were only material and referred to the last
Israeli attacks at the end of last month when it said its air defences repelled
a major attack on some of its outposts on the outskirts of the capital and Homs
province. Diplomatic sources familiar with Syria said at the time these
overnight attacks outside Damascus on Iranian-backed forces, including bases of
Lebanon’s powerful Hezbollah group, were among the largest strikes attributed
to Israel in recent years.
came only days after the national security advisers of Israel, the United
States and Russia met in Israel, with Washington and Jerusalem demanding that
Moscow ensure the withdrawal of Iran’s forces from the region, according to
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu vowed after the trilateral meeting to
continue to act against Iranian entrenchment in Syria.
Haraa is a strategically located area in southern Deraa province overlooking
the Israeli-held Golan Heights. It was for many years a major Russian military
radar outpost until rebels took it over in 2014 before it was again recaptured
by the Syrian army last year.
zone has been a target of Israeli raids against Tehran-backed militias which
have become entrenched in southern Syria and the Golan Heights near the border
month the Syrian army said it had shot down a number of Israeli missiles
targeting the location.
recent years, Israel has carried out hundreds of strikes in Syria that it says
have targeted its regional archrival, Iran, as well as Lebanon’s Hezbollah,
which it calls the biggest threat to its borders.
Iraq — Iraqi security forces were sweeping villages and farmland north of
Baghdad on Tuesday as part of an operation aimed at clearing remnants of
Islamic State from around the capital.
military helicopter soared overhead as troops searched for weapon caches and bombs
in Tarmiyah and Iraqi river police combed the Tigris River. The area is about
30 miles north of Baghdad.
dragnet is part of the operation dubbed “Will to Victory,” which started two
weeks ago along the border with Syria and was extended last week to areas north
of Baghdad and in the Diyala, Salahuddin and Anbar provinces.
declared victory against ISIS in July 2017, but the extremists, who once
controlled much of northern and western Iraq, have continued to carry out
attacks, including ambushes and kidnappings.
Gen. Jalil al-Rubaie, commander of the Baghdad Operations Command, described it
as a “well planned operation” and urged residents of Tarmiyah to cooperate with
security forces. Much of the area is sparsely populated farmland, which militants
have used to launch attacks on security forces.
by Mohammed Ebraheem
(IraqiNews.com) – An Iraqi court has sentenced two men to death after finding
them guilty of joining the Islamic State group, a judicial council said.
of them was found implicated in terrorist attacks against security forces near
the Baiji oil refinery and the University of Tikrit in the Sunni-majority
province of Salahuddin, Baghdad Today website quoted the Supreme Judicial
Council as saying in a press statement on Thursday.
other convict confessed to running a workshop for booby-trapping Islamic State
vehicles in 2014, the statement read.
court rulings were issued pursuant to article no. ¼ of the anti-terrorism law,
anti-terrorism law empowers courts to convict people who are believed to have
helped jihadists even if they are not accused of carrying out attacks.
exact number of detained Islamic State militants is still unknown, however,
it’s estimated to be at thousands. It’s also unclear how many members are
likely to face death sentences.
by Mohamed Mostafa
(IraqiNews.com) Iraqi security forces arrested seven Islamic State members in
the group’s formerly-declared capital, as authorities continue to hunt for the
extremist group’s vestiges across its former havens.
Interior Ministry said in a statement that the seven were apprehended in three
neighborhoods of Mosul. It explained that some of those arrested worked for the
group’s Hisbah (religious vigilantes) division, while the others worked as
York : When a small car bomb exploded outside a courthouse in the bustling port
city of Bosaso in northern Somalia, local news reports chalked it up to
Islamist militants retaliating for US air strikes. At least eight people were
wounded, and a local affiliate of Daesh claimed responsibility. Now, in an
in-depth report, the New York Times has revealed that Qatar was behind the
an audio recording obtained by The New York Times of a cellphone call with the
Qatari ambassador to Somalia, a businessman close to the emir of Qatar said the
militants had carried out the bombing in Bosaso to advance Qatar’s interests by
trying to driving out UAE. DP World manages the port in Bosaso. “The bombings
and killings, we know who are behind them,” the businessman, Khalifa Kayed Al
Muhanadi, said in the call May 18, about a week after the bombing.
violence was “intended to make Dubai people run away from there,” he said. “Let
them kick out the Emiratis, so they don’t renew the contracts with them, and I
will bring the contract here to Doha.”
years ago, the UAE, Saudi Arabia, Egypt and other allied states cut off
commercial and diplomatic ties with Qatar for its support of militant groups in
by the New York Times about the cellphone conversation, neither Al Muhanadi nor
the government of Qatar disputed the authenticity of the recording, but both
said that he was speaking as a private citizen and was not a government
official. However in the recording of the phone call, the ambassador expressed
no protest or displeasure at the idea that Qataris had played a role in the
that’s why they are having attacks there, to make them run away,” the
ambassador, Hassan Bin Hamza Hashem, replied.
friends were behind the last bombings,” Al Muhanadi, the businessman, assured
Muhanadi is known to be close to the emir, Qatar’s ruler, Sheikh Tamim Bin
Hamad Al Thani. There are photographs of the two of them together and,
according to news reports and text messages provided by the intelligence
agency, Al Muhanadi frequently travels with the emir.
a brief telephone interview with The New York Times, the ambassador denied
knowing Al Muhanadi and quickly hung up.
a separate telephone interview, Al Muhanadi said that he was only a “school
friend” of the ambassador’s. “I am a retired man and a trader,” he said. “I do
not represent any government.”
why he had described the Bosaso attackers as “friends,” Al Muhanadi said: “All
Somalis are my friends.”
the Bosaso bombing was intended to drive away the UAE, it was not the first
attack there directed at them.
February, two assailants disguised as fishermen shot and killed the manager for
DP World involved in running the port. Three other employees were wounded.
Militant group Al Shabab claimed responsibility.
the cellphone recording, Al Muhanadi refers to the government’s contracts with
DP World, which was hired by the government to manage ports in Bosaso and a
city in breakaway Somaliland. He said a relative of the president “is with me”
and will transfer the DP World contracts to Qatar. DP World said in 2017 that
it had agreed to invest $336 million under a 30-year contract to expand and run
the port in Bosaso. The company pledged $440 million the previous year to
develop a port in Somaliland.
Shabab, an affiliate of Al Qaida, and Daesh in Somalia consider the Somali
government their main enemy. The UAE has carried out military operations
against both groups, but it is unclear why those groups would side with Qatar,
which has also supported the Somali government. But US President Donald Trump
has in the past accused Qatar of financing terrorist groups.
President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi said that the threat of terrorism was at the top
of challenges faced by his country during the past years.
was addressing military graduates on the anniversary of the revolution of July
threat of terrorism was at the forefront of the challenges we faced over the
past years, but thanks to the sacrifices of the great Egyptian army and its
valiant police, we were able to besiege it, destroy its infrastructure and
defeat extremists’ hotbeds,” he said.
has been witnessing since the ousting of former President Mohamed Morsi, in
2013, terrorist attacks targeting mainly the army and police forces, killing
hundreds of people. Most of these attacks are limited in the north of the Sinai
Peninsula, but some have extended to Cairo and other cities.
said that the graduation ceremony came in conjunction with the anniversary of
the July Revolution, “which represents the beginning of a new phase in the
defended the nation’s future… making a radical change in the history of modern
Egypt,” he stressed, referring to late President Gamal Abdel-Nasser’s
president also praised the Egyptian people for their steadfastness and
commitment to preserve their country throughout all difficult stages.
Arabic-language website of the Russian Sputnik news agency quoted local sources
as disclosing that the recent missile attack on a trade market in the city of
Ma'areh al-Numan was carried out by Tahrir al-Sham terrorists and by a missile
from a farm in the town of Kafar Rumeh near a base of Tahrir al-Sham close to
report said Tahrir al-Sham commanders had warned the White Helmets under their
control of the missile attack 20 minutes before the attack.
said Tahrir al-Sham meant to make use of the attack to accuse the Syrians and
Russians of attacking the civilians, and also take revenge from civilians in
Ma'areh al-Numan for blocking Tahrir al-Sham's entry into their city.
a relevant development in mid-July, Russian envoy to the Organization for
Prohibition of Chemical Weapons Alexander Shulgin said that a new chemical
weapons provocation was being planned by militants in Syria's Idlib province.
repeatedly have said that Syrians have hidden stocks of chemical weapons and
they access them when needed. But nobody seems to think about the military
significance of chemical weapons use. We have noted that talk about chemical
weapons begins whenever Syrian troops are successful. Why should they resort to
chemical weapons use if they are practically in control in Douma or in other
places already?" Shulgin told the media, Sputnik reported.
added that such statements are being made to "divert attention...and start
an international scandal".
Syrians here and in New York say they know that chemical munitions are being
delivered [to Syria], they know from which countries, the names of the people
responsible for preparing the provocations. For instance, a chemical
provocation is being prepared in Idlib as we speak. Well, a fact-finding team
will be sent there, but what will it find? They will say that the Syrians and
the Russians who 'shield' them are again to blame. They simply refuse to
consider alternative scenarios," Shulgin said.
accused Israel on Tuesday of threatening its civilian infrastructure after
Israel told the United Nations Security Council that Iran was exploiting the
Port of Beirut to smuggle weapons to the Hezbollah movement.
UN ambassador, Danny Danon, said that in 2018 and 2019, “Israel found that Iran
and the Quds Force have begun to advance the exploitation of the civilian
maritime channels, and specifically the Port of Beirut.”
Port of Beirut is now the Port of Hezbollah,” Danon told the 15-member Security
Council. Israel sees Hezbollah, against which it fought a month-long war in
2006, as the biggest threat on its borders.
UN Ambassador Amal Mudallali said the Lebanese saw such accusations a “direct
threats on their peace and civilian infrastructure.” Hezbollah is part of
it is using them to prepare the ground and the international community for an
attack on Lebanon’s civilian ports and airport and its infrastructure - as they
did in 2006 - this council should not stay silent,” she said.
independent human rights group has expressed serious concern over the ruling Al
Khalifah dynasty’s “ongoing and increasingly severe” clampdown on human rights
activists and pro-democracy campaigners in Bahrain, stating that Bahraini
officials have revoked the citizenship of hundreds of people since the
beginning of the current year.
Bahrain Center for Human Rights (BCHR) announced in a statement that the Manama
regime has stripped 334 people of their citizenship between early January and
May 10, the Arabic-language Lualua television network reported.
report added 261 Bahraini nationals were also arbitrarily detained during the
period, including 23 minors.
rights group further noted that it had recorded a further spike in instances of
intimidation and reprisals against civil society in Bahrain throughout the
first six months of this year.
of anti-regime protesters have held demonstrations in Bahrain on an almost
daily basis ever since a popular uprising began in the country in mid-February
are demanding that the Al Khalifah regime relinquish power and allow a just
system representing all Bahrainis to be established. Manama has gone to great
lengths to clamp down on any sign of dissent. On March 14, 2011, troops from
Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates were deployed to assist Bahrain in
March 5, 2017, Bahrain’s parliament approved the trial of civilians at military
tribunals in a measure blasted by human rights campaigners as being tantamount
to imposition of an undeclared martial law countrywide.
Passes Bill That Calls To Sanction Palestinian Terror Groups
– The House of Representatives approved a bill on Tuesday that calls for
sanctioning Hamas and other Palestinian terrorist groups.
Resolution 1850, the Palestinian International Terrorism Support Prevention
Act, is asking “to impose sanctions with respect to foreign support for
Palestinian terrorism, and for other purposes.”
by Rep. Brian Mast (R-Florida), the bill directs the president to submit an
annual report to Congress, identifying “each foreign person or agency or
instrumentality of a foreign state that... knowingly assists in, sponsors, or
provides significant financial or material support” for “Hamas, Palestinian
Islamic Jihad or any affiliate.”
legislation directs the president to impose at least two different financial
sanctions on the people or agencies that are identified as assisting these
bill also requires the president to report to Congress on each government that
provides support for acts of terrorism and provides material support to Hamas,
Palestinian Islamic Jihad, or any affiliate organization.
foreign government that supports the terrorist organizations could face foreign
aid being cut off. The president could waive the obligation for imposing
sanctions on a caseby-case basis.
who volunteered for the IDF after his US army service, said “radical Islamic
terrorists, like Hamas and the Palestinian Islamic Jihad, have made it clear
that they will stop at nothing to reign terror on innocent people around the
world. Hamas is single-handedly responsible for the deaths of numerous
Americans and Israelis. These sanctions send a strong message to anybody who
supports these radicals preaching the destruction of Israel and death to
everything we hold dear in the United States.”
shows Houthi militia beating corpse, chanting ‘death to America’
A video of purportedly recorded by Houthi militia was shared on social media
this week, showing a corpse being beaten while men chant “Death to America!
Death to Israel.”
footage showed a corpse being dragged on the ground by his left arm while the
armed men chant the Houthi slogan: “Death to America! Death to Israel! Curse
the Jews, and victory for Islam.”
video also showed the men kicking and stabbing the dead body.
man, identified as Mojahed Al-Ghuli, was from the Amran province in northwest
of Yemen and helped the militants in local battles. There were however people
in the video who were shouting that he was a traitor.
did not just kill him, they also mutilated his body and dragged it after they
bombed his house,” Yemen’s Media Minister Moammar Al-Aryani said.
to the graphic nature of the video, Arab News has opted to not show it.
aggressions and violations are proof that Houthi militants could not be trusted
as they did not follow moral rules and are bloodthirsty, he added.
Deputy Minister of Information, Abdulbaset Al-Qaidi, said that the video showed
that the Houthis are “more dangerous than Daesh.”
this is how they deal with those who support them, how will they be with the
rest of Yemeni people who are fed up with them,” Al-Qaidi said.
ambassador to the United Nations on Tuesday accused Iran of exploiting civilian
companies and maritime channels to smuggle weapons manufacturing equipment to
its Lebanese proxy group, Hezbollah.
the quarterly meeting on the Middle East, Ambassador Danny Danon told the
Security Council that Israeli intelligence has uncovered evidence showing
Iran’s Quds Force has been using the port of Beirut to ship items to the terror
group since last year.
the years 2018-2019, Israel found that dual-use items are smuggled into Lebanon
to advance Hezbollah’s rocket and missile capabilities,” he said.
and the Quds Force have begun to advance the exploitation of the civilian
maritime channels, and specifically the Port of Beirut,” Danon said. “The Port
of Beirut has become the Port of Hezbollah.”
a statement, the Israeli mission said “Syrian agents” purchased the dual use
items from foreign companies under false pretenses, and handed it over to the
terrorist group after picking up the shipments from the port.
presented the Security Council with a map of the Hezbollah transfer routes that
included major hubs at the Damascus airport, Beirut’s port and airport and the
official border crossings between Syria and Lebanon, such as the Masnaa
said the weapons transfers violated UN resolution 1701, which ended the 2006
Second Lebanon War between Hezbollah and Israel.
did not detail what items were obtained by the terror group through these means
or name the companies behind the shipments.
Friday, several Hezbollah commanders told the Daily Beast that the Iran-backed
group was deploying forces for a possible war with Israel, warning that the
growing pressure from US sanctions on Tehran could trigger such a conflict
sooner rather than later.
officers said Hezbollah forces were setting up for war on both Lebanon’s and
Syria’s border with Israel, and their fighters were better prepared to confront
Israel than in 2006, after sending thousands to fight alongside the troops of
President Bashar Assad in Syria.
the years since the 2006 summer war, Israel has repeatedly accused Hezbollah of
violating resolution 1701, which calls for all armed groups besides the
Lebanese military to remain above the country’s Litani River. Israel maintains
that Hezbollah is in constant violation of this, keeping a significant
percentage of its 100,000-strong arsenal of rockets and mortar shells in
southern Lebanon, as well as conducting patrols and other military activities
along the border.
late 2018 and early 2019, Israel uncovered at least six cross-border attack
tunnels dug by Hezbollah from southern Lebanon into Israel. According to the
army, Hezbollah had planned to use the tunnels to kidnap or kill civilians or
soldiers, and to seize a slice of Israeli territory in the event of any
hostilities. The peacekeeping force UNIFIL confirmed these to be a violation of
resolution 1701, but did not identify Hezbollah as the group responsible for
June, the head of the IDF Northern Command, Maj. Gen. Amir Baram, threatened
overt and covert action against Hezbollah and Lebanon, in response to its
efforts to build up terrorist infrastructure along the border.
Baram said, was “building infrastructure in the villages right here across [the
border] and trying to threaten us with attack forces.”
IDF Northern Command chief said that in a future war against the terror group
the country of Lebanon was likely to “pay a heavy price” for allowing Hezbollah
to take root there.
the Syrian civil war began in 2011, the Israel has acknowledged carrying out
hundreds of airstrikes in Syria on targets linked to Iran and Hezbollah.
has accused Iran of seeking to establish a military presence in Syria that
could threaten Israeli security and attempting to transfer advanced weaponry to
Hezbollah, which Jerusalem has vowed to prevent.
year, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu told the UN General Assembly that
Hezbollah was hiding precision missile production facilities underneath Beirut.
He revealed satellite photos purporting to show the secret facilities, located
within close proximity of Beirut’s international airport.
Hezbollah operative killed in Syria on Monday was part of the group’s
clandestine “Golan File,” which aims to establish and entrench a covert force
on the Syrian Golan Heights that is designed to act against Israel when given
Zidan, a resident of the Druze village of Khadr on the Syrian Golan Heights,
was killed after a bomb planted in his car exploded as he was driving near the
town of Sasa in southern Syria.
Syria’s official news agency SANA blamed his death on a bomb, Syrian opposition
reports stated that he was killed in an airstrike by an Israeli unmanned aerial
which does not comment on foreign reports, has remained mum on his death.
Hezbollah has also remained quiet and has not blamed Israel for the
to the Lebanese news site al-Modon, Zidan was believed to have been killed
fighting in Syria’s eastern Ghouta after he “mysteriously disappeared four
months earlier.” But according to the report, Zidan had been summoned to
Lebanon before he returned to Syria with a new identity.
“mysterious” disappearance came around the time Israel announced that it
uncovered Hezbollah’s Golan File network.
to a report in Haaretz, Zidan was responsible for recruiting volunteers from
villages near the border with Israel in order to gather intelligence about IDF
movements and hide explosive devices, light weapons, machine guns and anti-tank
missiles in their homes.
Golan File has its headquarters in Damascus and Beirut, and there are dozens of
operatives operating in the Syrian towns of Khadr, Quneitra and Erneh who
collect intelligence on Israel and military movement on the Israeli Golan
to the IDF, the Hezbollah terrorists involved in the clandestine network focus
on familiarizing themselves with the Syrian Golan Heights and on gathering
intelligence on Israel and the border area. They are also working to establish
intelligence-gathering capabilities against Israel, operating from civilian
observation posts and regime military positions near the border.
intelligence officers in the IDF’s Northern Command said that Hezbollah’s Golan
File began in the summer, following the reconquering of the Syrian Golan by
regime troops. Operatives involved in the file have weaponry available from the
civil war, and if needed, will receive additional weaponry from Lebanon or
existing arsenals kept by Hezbollah and Iran.
IDF believes that the next war on the northern border will not be limited to
one front, but will be fought along the entire northern border with both
Lebanon and Syria. The military also expects that during the next war,
Hezbollah will try to bring the fight to the home front by infiltrating Israeli
communities to inflict significant civilian and military casualties.
leader Hassan Nasrallah said in mid-July that the group had decreased the
number of its fighters supporting the regime of Bashar Assad in Syria, and had
redeployed the troops to southern Lebanon as well as the Syrian Golan Heights.
Salman Humanitarian Aid and Relief Center's (KSrelief) project for clearing
mines (MASAM) announced that it had removed 1,318 landmines planted by Houthi
militias in the third week of July.
Program Manager Osama al-Gosaibi said that “the engineering teams had removed
599 anti-tank and three antipersonnel mines. The teams also removed 714
unexploded ordnance and 42 explosive devices.”
pointed out that 3,014 mines and unexploded ordnance in total have been removed
since the beginning of July.
total number of mines, explosive devices and unexploded ordnance cleared since
the launch of the project until July 18 reached 77,129, he stressed.
scores of insurgents were killed and injured in clashes with the Yemeni
National Army and Arab Coalition airstrikes on the fronts of Saada, which is
the Houthi stronghold, and Maarib, east of Sanaa.
army announced Monday that more than 30 insurgents were killed and injured in
an ambush laid by the army at Sirwah, west of Maarib. On its September Net
website, the army revealed that its forces lured Houthi fighters in Sirwah and
attacked them, leaving more than 30 militia members dead and others fleeing.
General Raddad al-Hashemi, commander of Kataf Brigade, called on all fighters
to unite and focus on confronting Houthis that have destroyed Yemen and waged
war and riot since the coup.
the Human Rights Information and Training Center (HRITC), a civil community
organization headquartered in Taiz, demanded the United Nations to denounce
Houthi crimes committed against opponents and even former followers.
Mideast envoy under fire at UNSC for attacking intl. law on Palestine issue
President Donald Trump’s Middle East envoy faces strong criticism from members
of the UN Security Council, including Washington’s own allies, after he
downplayed the world body’s resolutions on the Middle East conflict and said
the Israeli-Palestinian issue cannot be resolved by relying on “fictions” of
a UNSC meeting in New York on Tuesday, Jason Greenblatt dismissed the notion
that international law and UN resolutions must serve as the foundation of any
solution to the decades-long Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
said the issue will not be settled by references to international law, which he
comprehensive and lasting peace will not be created by fiat of international
law or by these heavily wordsmithed, unclear resolutions,” he said. “The vision
for peace that we plan to present will not be ambiguous, unlike many
resolutions that have passed in this chamber,” referring to the so-called peace
plan Washington had been developing without Palestine’s consent to end the
also noted that the upcoming plan — which Trump himself calls the “deal of the
century” — would not be based on “fictions of international consensus” as it is
often “nothing more than a mask for inaction.”
let’s stop kidding ourselves. If a so-called international consensus had been
able to resolve the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, it would have done so decades
ago. It didn’t,” he added.
controversial comments against international law triggered strong rebuttals
from the UNSC’s four other permanent members, namely France, Britain, Germany
Council members, in response, underlined the need for respecting international
law and UN resolutions in efforts to resolve the Palestine issue.
UN Ambassador Christoph Heusgen stressed that UNSC resolutions are binding
under international law, saying, “For us, international law is not menu a la
us, international law is relevant; international law is not futile,” he said.
“We believe in the force of international law; we do not believe in the force
of the strongest.”
representative Karen Pierce also reminded all countries that they “have a
responsibility” to implement UNSC resolutions.
Russia’s UN envoy challenged Greenblatt’s assertions.
international consensus is international law, because Security Council
resolutions are international law — they merely need to be complied with,” Vassily
Nebenzia said. “The matter lies not with a lack of international consensus;
rather the matter has to do with the fact that there is utter disregard for
this internationally-acknowledged consensus by the United States at present.”
French UN Ambassador Nicolas de Riviere emphasized that Paris would support any
peace effort “so long as this aligns with the approach that we have set out
together, so long as this adheres to international law, specifically all
resolutions of the Security Council.”
has worked with Jared Kushner, Trump’s son-in-law and senior adviser, on the US
president’s highly-contentious “peace” deal, which the Palestinians have
already dismissed “the slap of the century.”
economic section of Trump’s proposal was released during a Washington-sponsored
conference in Manama, Bahrain, on June 25-26 despite a Palestinian boycott of
say Washington is offering financial rewards for Palestinians to accept the
Israeli occupation. Palestine, similarly, called that a “humiliating
US bullying UNSC
at Tuesday’s meeting, Iran’s Deputy Ambassador to the UN Es’haq Al-e Habib
predicted that the US’s initiative would definitively fail as it is based on
“ill-intents” and “unrealistic approaches.”
so-called deal of the century is based on wrong assumptions simply because it
is aimed at buying all causes and aspirations, honor and dignity, property and
territory, and inalienable rights of an entire nation,” he said.
Habib also noted that the main objective of the US’s plan is to consolidate the
Tel Aviv regime’s occupation of Palestine.
US, which has proposed the deal, is a country “well-known for its biased
policies rendering unconditional support for Israel as well as unjust practices
towards the Palestinians,” he added.
Iranian envoy further called on the Security Council to “end the vicious cycle
of being bullied by one of its permanent members who unlawfully and brazenly
continue rendering this body inactive and ineffective regarding Israel.”
also complained that Washington’s support for Israel has “emboldened the
Zionist regime to continue, with total impunity, to commit all international
Iranian officials have warned against any attempt to form an international
coalition to protect shipping in the Gulf, with the Islamic republic's first
vice president saying the move will only bring insecurity to the region.
response comes after Italy, Denmark, the Netherlands and France on Tuesday
backed the UK's proposal for a European naval force after Tehran seized a
British-flagged tanker in the Strait of Hormuz.
between the UK and Iran have been strained since British authorities detained
an Iranian tanker earlier this month off the coast of Gibraltar on suspicion it
was shipping oil to Syria in breach of EU sanctions.
has accused the UK of acting at the behest of the US and demanded the immediate
release of the ship.
Tuesday, Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif congratulated Boris
Johnson, who is set to take over as the next prime minister from Theresa May
amid the diplomatic standoff between the two countries.
does not seek confrontation. But we have 1,500 miles of Persian Gulf coastline.
These are our waters & we will protect them," he tweeted.
of 'state piracy'
Jazeera's Dorsa Jabbari, reporting from the Iranian capital, Tehran, said that
Zarif’s sentiments were shared by other high ranking officials.
have heard from Iran's first Vice President [Eshaq Jahangiri] who also said
that the suggestion that international coalition forces will patrol the waters
of Strait of Hormuz and guard the ships that pass through it is absolutely not
Iran is capable of providing security to the ships and it is up to Iran and the
regional countries to ensure the safety of their waters."
Araqchi, Zarif's deputy, on Tuesday said Tehran would secure the Strait of
Hormuz and not allow any disturbance in shipping in the key oil transport
waterway, as regional rivals, particularly Saudi Arabia, have sought a Western
military presence in the region.
week, the US deployed military personnel in Saudi Arabia to counter what they
perceive as an Iranian threat. Washington also sent warships and a Patriot
missile defence battery to the region.
Iranian capture of the ship in the global oil trade's most important waterway
was the latest escalation in three months of spiralling confrontation with the
West that began when new, tighter US sanctions took effect at the start of May.
maintains the seizure of the British-flagged Stena Impero tanker was due to
failure "to respect international maritime rules".
British foreign minister, Jeremy Hunt, has called it "an act of state
piracy", but his Iranian counterpart Zarif denied the ship's seizure was a
month Trump cancelled a plan to strike Iran at the last minute following the
downing of a US surveillance drone.
and the US have been at the loggerheads since May 2018 when Trump withdrew from
the 2015 nuclear deal that put a cap on Tehran's nuclear ambitions in exchange
for sanctions relief.
the European partners to the deal have struggled to help Iran in circumventing
the US sanctions that have choked exports of Iranian oils.
other signatories to the nuclear deal - China, Russia, the United Kingdom,
France, Germany and the EU representatives - will meet on Sunday in Austria's
capital, to discuss to what extent the agreement can be salvaged.
will "examine issues linked to the implementation of the [2015 nuclear
accord] in all its aspects", the EU statement said on Tuesday.
internationally recognised government condemned on Tuesday the killing of a
tribal leader by Iranian-backed Houthi rebels.
between two tribal groups loyal to the rebels resulted in the deaths of at
least 10 people in the northwestern Amran province on Sunday.
Mujahed Kashira, a tribal leader who once fought alongside the Houthis, was
killed after being accused of defecting.
video shared online showed gunmen attacking Kashira's lifeless body as they
dragged it through a street.
assassination of Sheikh Mujahed Kashira and the abuse of his dead body is
compared to ISIS and those extreme groups,” Yemen’s human rights minister,
Mohamed Askar, said.
can the government deal with individuals who support such brutality? In order
for peace efforts to develop, perpetrators must be held accountable, and until
that is achieved then violence will continue,” he continued.
joined the rebels in 2014 in capturing the capital, Sanaa, an act which
triggered the country’s brutal civil war.
are internal conflicts between the Houthis and their tribal allies, pushing the
rebels to get rid of some individuals, in order attract supporters, Baraa
Shiban, a Yemeni human rights activist, told The National.
tribal leaders were holding some influence over their followers which prompted
Houthi leaders to compete with them,” Mr Shiban said.
is believed that the rebels have killed dozens of tribal leaders since April.
I couldn’t share the horrific footage of the
Houthis mutilating & dragging the body of Mujahed Qushairah
they looted and burned his house in Amran province
was a tribal sheikh who assisted the Houthis during their takeover of Amran in
AM - Jul 23, 2019
Ads info and privacy
people are talking about this
is horrific and very new to Yemeni culture,” Mr Shiban said.
rebels said that four of their forces were killed while trying to arrest
his death, they reportedly arrested dozens of his supporters in the town of
clashes that followed have reportedly also wounded over 17 people, including
the civil war began, tens of thousands of people have been killed, according to
the World Health Organisation.
Ministry Spokesman Seyed Abbas Mousavi described Trump’s remarks as a threat to
international peace and security, saying that Iran will stand by resistant
people of Afghanistan, Afghan government and its scholars.
remarks came after Trump in a meeting with Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan
in Washington said that "we’re like policemen. We’re not fighting a war.
If we wanted to fight a war in Afghanistan and win it, I could win that war in
a week. But I don’t want to kill 10 million people. Afghanistan could be wiped
off the face of the Earth. I don’t want to go that route.”
US leader made several surprising statements Monday alongside Pakistan Prime
Minister Imran Khan at the White House, including that he had plans for a quick
end to the Afghan conflict, but which would wipe the country “off the face of
“would be gone. It would be over in literally, in 10 days,” Trump said, adding,
“I don’t want to go that route” and that he did not want to kill millions.
President Ashraf Ghani said Tuesday the US should clarify remarks Trump made
about Afghanistan, including a claim he could easily win the war but did not
“want to kill 10 million people”.
United States and Turkey are committed to accelerated and concrete progress on
the roadmap agreed upon for the northern Syrian city of Manbij, the US Embassy
in Ankara said on Wednesday.
Jeffrey, the US special envoy for Syria, held talks in Ankara this week on the
planned formation of a safe zone in northeast Syria and developments on the
roadmap for Manbij, further west.
Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu said Washington had failed to present
its NATO ally with satisfactory proposals during the talks.
Hassan Rouhani hinted on Wednesday that Iran is open to a possible tanker swap
with Britain and indirect talks with the United States over its nuclear
programme and sanctions.
don’t want tensions with some European countries,” Rouhani said in comments to
a cabinet meeting posted on the official website of his government.
a clear reference to the British, Rouhani said if they were to “cease the
incorrect acts that they have done, including that of Gibraltar, Iran’s
response would be appropriate to their actions.”
and the United Kingdom are in the midst of a tense standoff over British
authorities’ seizure of an Iranian tanker off Gibraltar in early July and
Iran’s detention of a UK-flagged ship in Gulf waters last week.
also said Iran would be open to talks should there be a “ceasefire” in US
economic sanctions against the Islamic republic.
between Iran and the United States have risen since last year when President
Donald Trump withdrew the US from the 2015 nuclear deal aimed at limiting
Tehran’s nuclear program and began re-imposing sanctions.
this regard some countries are intermediaries, though they themselves say they
are not mediators and are just expressing their own views,” said Rouhani.
has been correspondence from both sides on this issue and we are continuing
this,” he added.
Prime Minister Shinzo Abe visited Tehran in June for talks aimed at defusing
tensions between Iran and the United States.
this month French President Emmanuel Macron sent his top diplomatic adviser,
Emmanuel Bonne, to Iran “to piece together a de-escalation” strategy.
seizure of a British-flagged oil tanker last Saturday showed the weakness of
Iran’s “enemies,” said the chairman of Iran’s Guardian Council Ayatollah Ahmad
Jannati on Wednesday, the semi-official Tasnim news agency reported.
current state of the Islamic Republic of Iran, in terms of power and dignity,
is unheard of in West Asia, and recent events have shown how weak the enemies
are in front of Iran,” said Jannati.
was referring to the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps’ (IRGC) downing of a US
drone on June 20 and its seizure of the British-flagged oil tanker Stena Impero
on Friday in the Arabian Gulf.
for his anti-US views and remarks, the 92-year-old cleric is a prominent
personality in Iranian politics and is close to Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali
who was recently re-elected as the chairman of the powerful Guardian Council,
has held the post since 1992.
also claimed tht the IRGC's reputation has only improved since the US decision
to designate it as a foreign terrorist organisation in April this year.
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