• Tipu Sultan History Lessons
Can’t Be Erased, Says Textbook Committee Chairman
• Kartarpur Pilgrims Won’t Need
Passports, Two-Day Waiver of $20 Fee, Says Pakistan PM Imran Khan
• Iran Suspends 'Aryan' Style
Marriage Ceremonies, Calling it 'Un-Islamic'
• Who Is Abu Ibrahim Al-Quraishi,
the New Head Of Islamic State
• ISIS Remains Potent, Deadly
despite Baghdadi’s Death, Top Spy Says
• Sweden Expels Imams and
Associates, Citing Radicalisation Concerns
• Nearly 400 Rohingya Voluntarily
Return from Bangladesh, Says Myanmar's Embassy in Dhaka
• Who Gave the Malaysian Government,
Or Any Government the Right to Define Islam: Mustafa Akyol, a Prominent
US-Based Turkish Academic
• China Firmly Opposed India’s
Formation of Jammu And Kashmir and Ladakh Union Territories as Illegal, Invalid
• Indonesia religious body
staffer falls foul of own laws
• Religious Affairs Minister
Opposes Wearing of Full-Face Veil
• ISIS fading in Mid East,
thriving in the Philippines
• After Anwar Moots Zakat
Reforms, Penang Mufti Says Muslims Must Get Priority
• Anwar: Policies should be based
on ethics and values, not race
• Kashmir never been on UN's
'Right of Peoples to Self-determination' agenda: India
• Give up plans to hoist national
flags of India, Pakistan on either side of Kartarpur corridor, says former
Punjab assembly speaker
• Parties with a Definite Muslim
Base in Uttar Pradesh Are Looking For Fresh Options to Revive Themselves
• Pak violated its obligations
under Vienna Convention in Jadhav’s case: ICJ President
• India, Saudi Arabia naval drill
• Pak invitees from India for
Kartarpur Corridor inauguration to require clearance: MEA
• Aramco to start work on
Maharashtra refinery after getting land: Saudi minister
• Pak denial of visas to Punjab
delegates to Nankana Sahib unfortunate: Amarinder
• Jamia Hamdard to confer
Honorary Doctorate to Dr. Frank F. Islam
• 70 dead after gas cylinder
explosion sparks fire on Pakistan train
• 1,100 Indian Sikhs arrive in
Pakistan for Guru Nanak's 550th birth anniversary
• IHC accepts Awan's
unconditional apology for scandalising judiciary; issues her another contempt
• ‘Azadi march’ betrays lack of
coordination among parties
• IHC issues notice to govt over
plea seeking Indian prisoners’ release
• JUI-F leader Mufti Kifayatullah
released on bail
• PML-N throws spanner in Fazl’s
• What Did Turkey Know about
• US, Gulf allies sanction Hezbollah-Iran
• US imposes sanctions on Iran’s
• Turkish court rules to free
ex-opposition lawmaker from jail
• Israel approves more than 2,300
settler homes: NGO
• Death toll in Saudi war on
Yemen hits 100,000: Report
• Israel re-arrests prominent
Palestinian legislator Khalida Jarrar
• After Baghdadi Death, Nobel
Laureate Nadia Murad Asks: What About The Rest?
• Another al-Baghdadi-style raid
on ISIS militants could soon become mission impossible
• Iraq Prime Minister Pressed to
Quit as Protests Clog Streets
• Hezbollah’s road to power in
Lebanon just got harder
• Kuwait lists 21 entities, 4
individuals as terrorist elements
• ‘Is Kuwait the old Saudi?’
Clerics issue fatwa against IPOs
• US withholding $105 mln in
security aid for Lebanon: Sources
• Syria’s Assad says he does not
want Turkey as an ‘enemy’
• Qassem Soleimani tells PMU,
officials to back Iraqi PM during Baghdad meeting
• Lebanon president says
ministers in new cabinet should be picked on skills
• Iraqi president says Iraq’s PM
will only resign if a replacement is found
• Gulf Ministers of Finance say
reforms are reshaping regional economies
• Car bomb blast kills 9, injures
dozens in Syria's Afrin
• Representatives of top Shiite
cleric Al-Sistani urge followers to join protests in Iraq
• ‘Change Always Wins,’ Mosque
Founder Tells Quebec Muslims In Face Of Rejections
• U.S., Gulf Nations Sanction
Iranian Financial Network in Joint Action
• Controversial Muslim voting
guide not sanctioned by feds
• Trump administration considers
adding more countries to travel ban list
• CIA-trained Afghan forces accused
• US congresswoman Omar
criticized for refusing to back Armenian Genocide bill
• Violations, Violence and
Repression Remain Rampant in Indian-Administered Kashmir: UN
• UN chief appeals to India,
Pakistan to deal with Kashmir issue through dialogue
• Hundreds to attend conference
at Wheaton College to advance evangelical-Muslim dialogue
• Syrian Constitutional Committee
concludes 2nd day
• Turkey in talks with Russia to
hand over 18 regime elements
• British Home Office mentions
Iraq in ‘copy and paste’ refusal letter to Jamaican man
• 31 Taliban militants, civilians
killed, wounded as explosives-laden vehicle goes off in Jawzjan
• Taliban Attacks Getting More
Effective, SIGAR Says
• Afghan air raids kill 6
insurgents in N. Afghanistan
• Blasts claim 14 lives; wound 22
in Afghanistan within 24 hours
• Bangladesh SC Upholds Death
Sentence Of Jamaat Leader
• Airstrike kill 13 Taliban
militants in provincial capital of Baghlan
• Special Forces kill, detain 4
ISIS and Taliban militants; destroy IED making material
• Special Forces kill, detain 38
Taliban militants in Daykundi and Wardak provinces
• Twelve Niger soldiers killed in
probable Boko Haram attack: ministry
• Two terror suspects killed as
al-Shabab raid Kenyan police camp
• 200 irregular migrants rescued
off Libyan coast
• Nigeria: 2 international aid
groups can resume work
by New Age Islam News Bureau
Gave the Malaysian Government, Or Any Government the Right to Define Islam: Mustafa
Akyol, a Prominent US-Based Turkish Academic
LUMPUR: The Pakatan Harapan (PH) government continues to draw flak from Muslim
experts abroad over its recent refusal to do away with restrictions on foreign
speakers on Islamic topics.
Akyol, a prominent US-based Turkish academic whose lecture in 2017 was forced
to be cancelled by Islamic authorities in Kuala Lumpur before he was detained
for speaking without “religious credentials”, said the excuse by the government
that it wants to contain “deviant” teachings showed that not much had changed
under the new Malaysian leadership.
Malaysian authorities still assume that they have a right to define ‘right
Islam’ versus ‘deviant Islam’.
then we must ask who gave the Malaysian government, or any government, the
authority to define Islam?” Akyol, a strong advocate of free speech in Muslim
countries who has frequently criticised both the Islamists and secularists in
his home country, told FMT.
Wednesday, minister in charge of Islamic affairs Mujahid Yusof Rawa defended
the home ministry’s move to vet all foreign missionaries including Muslim
speakers, saying the authorities wanted to make sure their belief systems were
“in line with the Malaysian context”.
Minister Muhyiddin Yassin earlier said that foreign Muslim and non-Muslim
speakers would be monitored to ensure they were “free from deviant teachings”.
comes here, regardless of the form of talks, will be monitored,” Muhyiddin had
statement drew strong response from US-based Muslim academic, Nader Hashemi,
who has frequently addressed Malaysian audiences on Islamic topics.
vetting of speakers who come to Malaysia to discuss issues of religion suggests
that authoritarianism is alive and well in Malaysia and that freedom and full
democracy remain an ongoing struggle and aspiration,” Hashemi, who heads the
Center for Middle East Studies at the University of Denver, told FMT.
whose book “Islam Without Extremes: A Muslim Case for Liberty” is banned in
Malaysia, said no government had the right to define what is “true Islam” as
this would mean reducing religion to the “interests and whims of political
that logic, Iran can ban Sunni Islam as ‘deviant’, as Saudis can similarly ban
Shia Islam and even non-Wahhabi Sunnism. Or India can ban all Islam saying that,
according to its Hindu beliefs, all Islam is ‘deviant’,” Akyol said.
said even at the height of the Muslim empire, political leaders had no
authority over religion.
caliphs did not have that authority. Islam, rather, was defined by diverse
communities of scholars, believers, and evolving traditions,” he said.
truth that we must accept is that Islam is not owned by any government because
it comes from an authority that is higher than all governments.
rightful duty of these governments is to know their limits, protect the rights
and freedoms of their citizens, and allow their societies to freely practise
their religious persuasions and have intellectual discussions about them,”
2017, Akyol’s Malaysian lecture tour organised by the Islamic Renaissance Front
drew protests from conservative Muslim groups and Islamic authorities.
was arrested at KLIA as he was preparing to board a flight to Rome, hours after
the Federal Territory Islamic Affairs Department forced his lecture on the
topic of apostasy to be called off.
Sultan History Lessons Can’t Be Erased, Says Textbook Committee Chairman
Barely 24 hours after chief minister BS Yediyurappa said the government will
remove lessons in school textbooks that glorify 18th century Mysuru ruler Tipu
Sultan, the textbook committee, which has been tasked with drawing up a report
on the proposal, categorically said the lessons cannot be erased.
am yet to see the letter Madikeri MLA Appachu Ranjan had sent to the government
and which was forwarded to the committee,” Baragur Ramachandrappa, head of the
textbook committee said. “But I can say in my personal capacity that Tipu
cannot be erased from history textbooks.”
Kannada littérateur, who was appointed chairperson of the textbook committee by
the Congress government in 2017, said the entire controversy surrounding Tipu
in textbooks is unwarranted.
provided to students between classes I to X are supposed to only be
informative. There may be a lot of opinions for and against Tipu. But this must
be reserved for students when they reach PUC level and above,” Ramachandrappa
who raked up the controversy, said he is not against Tipu in textbooks, but
only against lessons that glorify him as a freedom fighter. “Tipu ruled between
1750 and 1799,” Ranjan said. “History records show our first freedom struggle
in 1857 with the sepoy mutiny. How can Tipu be a freedom fighter?” Rajan asked.
legislator said if the lessons cannot be erased, then at least a couple of
lines about the negative side of the ruler should be incorporated in school
Ramachandrappa said nowhere is it mentioned in the textbook that Tipu was a
far as I recall, our history textbooks do not refer to Tipu Sultan as a freedom
fighter. Perhaps, it may have highlighted only his positive side and called him
a patriot but never a freedom fighter. Those who claim otherwise must read the
textbook carefully,” said Ramachandrappa.
and Kannada researcher, M Chidananda Murthy sided with Ranajn, saying if Tipu
is not highlighted as a tyrant in the textbooks then it was best to just keep
mum on him and not praise the former ruler.
do not want him to be erased completely from the annals of history,” Murthy
said. “But then, his tyrannical reign, which saw forcible conversions and
murders should be highlighted. These are substantiated by letters to his
chieftains where he orders the murder of Hindus. If we cannot portray his
negative ways, we should desist from highlighting his positive side.”
that Tipu cannot be erased from textbooks, BJP MLC Arun Shahpur said, “Tipu was
not a freedom fighter. He collaborated with the Portuguese and the French to
save his own Kingdom. He fought with the British not for the country, but to
save his empire. Had the British not become eventual colonizers of India, Tipu
would have been a vassal to the French or the Portuguese.”
pilgrims won’t need passports, two-day waiver of $20 fee, says Pakistan PM
Prime Minister Imran Khan on Friday announced several concessions for Indian
pilgrims going to Darbar Sahib gurdwara at Kartarpur in Pakistan’s Punjab where
Guru Nanak, the founder of Sikhism, spent the last years of his life.
Sikhs coming for pilgrimage to Kartarpur from India, I’ve waived off 2
requirements: they won’t need a passport-just a valid ID; ii)they no longer
have to register 10 days in advance. Also,no fee to be charged on day of
inauguration & on Guruji’s 550th birthday.” Khan tweeted.
has been seeking a complete waiver of pilgrims’ fee but Khan announced just
two-day relief -- on the opening of the Kartarpur Corridor on November 9 and on
Guru Nanak’s 550th birth anniversary on November 12.-- in the $20 charge that
has been a sticking point in the talks on operationalising the Kartarpur
corridor. The border corridor connects Darbar Sahib with Dera Baba Nanak shrine
in Gurdaspur district of Punjab.
year marks the 550th birth anniversary of Guru Nanak and on this occasion India
and Pakistan have signed an agreement to construct the Kartarpur corridor. It
is meant to facilitate visa-free movement of Indian pilgrims, who will only
have to obtain a permit to visit Kartarpur Sahib, which was established in 1522
by the founder of the Sikh faith.
countries have agreed that Pakistan would allow 5,000 Sikh visitors per day
into the country through the corridor, which will also be the first visa-free corridor
between the two neighbours since their independence in 1947. Pakistan is
building the corridor from the Indian border to the Gurdwara Darbar Sahib, the
final resting place of Guru Nanak, while the other part from Dera Baba Nanak up
to the border will be constructed by India.
is constructing a bridge at the zero point and has urged Pakistan to build a
similar bridge on its side that will provide safe and secure movement of
pilgrims and address concerns regarding flooding. The bridge is over a creek of
which the majority part falls in Pakistan.
corridor is set to be inaugurated on November 9 when a 575-member Jatha will
cross the corridor to to Gurudwara Kartarpur Sahib. Frmer Prime Minister
Manmohan Singh, Punjab CM Amarinder Singh, Union Ministers Hardeep Puri and
Harsimrat Kaur Badal are among the first batch of pilgrims.
Cricketer-turned-politician Navjot Singn Sidhu has also accepted the invitation
of the Pakistan prime minister and will be present on the occasion.
Suspends 'Aryan' Style Marriage Ceremonies, Calling It 'Un-Islamic'
official institutions and bureaus that register marriage contracts based on
ancient Aryan ceremonies and rites have been suspended, and sealed-off in Iran,
the head of the Islamic Republic's Union of Marriage and Divorce registration
bureaus announced on Wednesday.
suspended bureaus amount to 34, and mainly located in the provinces of Tehran
and Alborz, the state-run Young Journalists Club (YJC) cited marriage
registration official Ali Mozaffari, as saying.
couples in recent years in Iran have replaced Islamic marriage contracts and
ceremonies with the Aryan version.
Iranian people believe they are the descendants of an ancient Aryan population
group, with some of its members having moved to Europe thousands of years ago,
while the forefathers of Iranians migrated south to the Iranian plateau.
the term Aryan, as an ethnic label for Iraninas is also mentioned in the
pre-Islamic Avesta scriptures and many insist the word forms the etymological
source of the country's name, Iran.
the Aryan marriage ceremony, a verse from the Zoroastrian holy book is read to
the couple, "These words I speak to you, maidens and newlywed husbands,
and hope you will bear them in your minds carefully. Understand them deep
within your souls and always live full of love with a pure mind. Try to surpass
each other in truth and righteousness. Thus, each one of you shall, indeed,
reap the reward of joy and happiness."
the majority of Iranians marry based on the so-called Islamic tradition with
Arabic phrases that they do not understand a word of it.
to Mozaffari, Aryan marriage contracts and ceremonies related to it is
"against the law" of the land.
Mozaffari asserted the charge against 21 marriage bureaus that were sealed off
is using "fake titles."
of the Aryan marriage argue that no written law bans them to marry each other
in ancient Iranian style.
they also argue, as Zoroastrianism is recognized by the Islamic Republic's
Constitution, they should be free to marry on the basis of Aryan traditions.
the authorities are vehemently against whatever they find to be
"un-Islamic," and try to suppress it with full force.
temporary marriages based on Iran’s Shiite Muslim tradition, called Sigha, has boomed
in the past four decades after the downfall of Iran's pro-West monarch Shah
Mohammad Reza Pahlavi in 1979.
Iran today, couples can specify the length of their marriage, from a few
minutes to 99 years. It is a way for single men and women, divorced Iranians
and precocious teens to date, and have sex, in a way that is acceptable in
Shi'ite Islam. Under the Islamic penal code in Iran, unmarried couples who have
sex or even date and hold hands can be arrested, fined, or also flogged.
Moreover, a woman having sex outside marriage could be sentenced to death by
sociologists believe that many Iranian youth have turned to Aryan marriage as a
tool to preserve their national identity against the Islamic identity that the
establishment has been trying to force on them.
is Abu Ibrahim al-Quraishi, the new head of Islamic State
DELHI: The Islamic State jihadist group confirmed the death of its leader Abu
Bakr al-Baghdadi and named his replacement as Abu Ibrahim al-Hashimi
al-Quraishi, said a statement released Thursday.
new spokesman of the Islamic State, named Abu Hamza al-Qurayshi, urged
followers to pledge allegiance to the new "caliph" and addressed the
Americans, saying: "Don't rejoice."
not rejoice America," he warned, "the new chosen one will make you
forget the horror you have beholden... and make the achievements of the
Baghdadi days taste sweet".
Shura Council met immediately after confirming the martyrdom of Sheik Abu Bakr
al-Baghdadi. The leaders of the Mujahedeen agreed after consultation with their
brethren and acting according to the will (of al-Baghdadi) they pledged
allegiance to Abu Ibrahim al-Hashimi al-Qurayshi as the new leader of the
Believers," the spokesman added.
new IS leader is identified as a scholar, a well-known warrior and "emir
of war" who has battled American forces and knows "its wars."
is known about Hashimi, whose name was seldom mentioned as a possible successor
the multiple times that Baghdadi was reported killed in recent years.
don't know much about him except that he is the leading judge of IS and he
heads the Sharia (Islamic law) committee," said Hisham al-Hashemi, an
Iraqi expert on IS.
al-Tamimi, a researcher at Swansea University focusing on Islamic State, said
the name was unknown but could refer to a leading figure in Islamic State
called Hajj Abdullah, whom the US State Department had identified as a possible
former senior figure in the rival Islamist group al Qaeda in Iraq, he is also
known as Mohamed Said Abdelrahman al-Mawla.
have also named the Saudi Abu Abdullah al-Jizrawi and Abdullah Qaradash, an
Iraqi and one of Baghdadi’s right-hand men, as potential successors along with
the Tunisian Abu Othman al-Tunisi.
Hellyer, a senior associate fellow at the Carnegie Endowment for International
Peace, said the group, also known as ISIS or Daesh, would have picked the name
Quraishi for Baghdadi's successor to suggest descent from the Prophet
"caliph" name also ended in Quraishi.
is trying to show its followers it respects that tradition, but Muslims more
widely aren't likely to care very much, considering the wide violations of the
Islamic law that ISIS has clearly engaged with," Hellyer added.
Remains Potent, Deadly Despite Baghdadi’s Death, Top Spy Says
THE ISLAMIC State group's founder and leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi will have
little effect on preventing the terrorist network from conducting future
attacks, the top U.S. official for counterterror operations said Wednesday.
no question that the losses over the weekend were significant to ISIS,"
Russell Travers, acting director of the National Counterterrorism Center, told
a congressional panel, using an alternative name for the Islamic State group.
"At the same time, it's a deep bench."
a consistent U.S.-led campaign to defeat the Islamic State group in Iraq and
Syria that effectively dismantled its so-called caliphate, the number of
fighters in those countries aligned with the group has grown in the last five
years from a low point of roughly 1,000 fighters, Travers told the House
Homeland Security Committee. As many as 14,000 extremists remain there now,
with roughly 2,000 in Syria from foreign countries.
Islamic State group maintains a network of roughly 20 affiliates around the
globe, ranging in strength with some as few as hundreds of fighters. The
affiliate in Afghanistan and Pakistan, known as ISIS-Khorasan, has thousands,
insurgency has a lot of options," he added.
Donald Trump announced Sunday morning that a U.S. commando raid into northern
Syria the day before successfully tracked down and killed Baghdadi, along with
close advisers who were there with him. Army Gen. Mark Milley, the chairman of
the Joint Chiefs of Staff, said Monday that the raiders detained two other men
at the site but declined to offer further specifics about them. Trump revealed
on Tuesday that one of Baghdadi's potential successors, Abu Hasan al-Muhajir,
had also been killed by U.S. forces.
did not have a clear successor in place, according to U.S. officials.
on Wednesday said the coming days and weeks will be marked by publicly released
eulogies by other Islamic State group leaders. Top officials within al-Qaida
will also likely use the situation to make public pronouncements, despite the
two groups' formally separating themselves from one another over concerns of
the Islamic State group's heavy-handedness toward fellow Muslims and the timing
of its attempts to create a territorial caliphate.
eulogies will call for attacks against Western interests and for pledges of
allegiance to the Islamic State group, Travers said.
future of Islamic State group detainees in Iraq and Syria will also become
clearer in the coming weeks and will define the terror network's potency in the
sudden and reportedly impulsive decision earlier this month to withdraw U.S.
forces from supporting their Kurdish allies in northern Syria as they faced a
Turkish onslaught undermined these troops' ability to maintain Islamic State
group prisons. Trump claimed amid the heavy backlash he received – including
from some allies – that reports of Islamic State group fighters' escape as a
result of the U.S. withdrawal were actually due to the Kurdish troops, known as
the Syrian Democratic Forces, purposefully releasing them to build political
disputed the claim on Wednesday, saying the Kurdish forces have been "incredibly
professional" in maintaining the Islamic State group prisons.
amid the U.S. withdrawal from the region, the subsequent security arrangement
brokered by Turkey and Russia, which rushed to fill the vacuum, will determine
whether the fighters remain in detention at their current locations.
before his death, the National Counterterrorism Center tracked radio messages
from Baghdadi saying he wished to target the prisons and other camps for
internally displaced Syrians and Iraqis, where Islamic State group support
prisons are vulnerable," Travers told the committee.
expels imams and associates, citing radicalisation concerns
has decided to expel six detained Muslim extremists from the Scandinavian
country who “contribute to Islamist radicalisation and pose threats to the
security of the kingdom”.
six men, who are described by the government as central figures in the radical
Islamist environment, were taken into custody during the Security Police
offensive last spring.
include Gävle mosque’s imam Abo Raad and his 34-year-old son Raad Al-Duhan, as
well as four others with connection to the imam have been detained for six
months. Both are Iraqi and immigrated to Sweden 1997 and 1998 respectively.
also include an Iraqi Imam in the eastern city of Umeå, who immigrated to
Sweden in 1998 and a Russian resident of Gävle, who according to his own
information, was former imam in his home country before he immigrated to Sweden
the expelled included an Imam in Västerås city, who is stateless amd immigrated
to Sweden in 2001 and a school leader in Western Sweden, an Egyptian citizen
who immigrated to the country in 1998.
hope he can come back in his role as an imam,” says Nizam Hindi, Gävle mosque's
spokesperson, to Swedish radio show P4 Gävleborg.
the Swedish Security Service, will reportedly still keep six men under
surveillance. Säpo declined to comment more on the details of the case when
contacted by The National.
authority, supported by the Special Aliens Control Act, requested the men to be
expelled, but the decision had been appealed to the government.
government made its decision for five of the men on Thursday and the school
leader two weeks ago, according to Swedish media reports.
reviewing the Security Police's documentation and what the parties have stated,
the government has decided to expel six people who constitute qualified
security threats," Interior Minister Mikael Damberg said.
it is uncertain if any of the men will be able to be deported because they risk
persecution in their home country.
Migration Tribunal has found that there are currently obstacles to enforcing
the deportation decisions, the TT news agency reported. But the Swedish
government said it was actively working to remove the obstacles.
school leader has already been released and the other five are due to be
released too, the news agency said.
to Fredrik Åkerblom, lawyer for Raad Al-Duhan, said his client will be released
today, adding that he thought the decision to expel him was “completely wrong”.
the past few years, the extremist movements in Sweden have seen a significant
growth and the number of individuals affiliated with violence-promoting
extremism has risen from a few hundred to several thousand.
400 Rohingya Voluntarily Return from Bangladesh, Says Myanmar's Embassy in
Around 400 Rohingya refugees have voluntarily returned to Myanmar from Bangladesh,
Myanmar's embassy there said Thursday, but with previous repatriation attempts
having failed Dhaka was yet verify the claim.
is home to nearly a million Rohingya including 740,000 who fled a military
crackdown in Rakhine state in August 2017 that the UN has called ethnic
embassy posted photos on Facebook that purported to show "46 more
voluntary returnees" being "warmly received" in Myanmar, taking
the total number going back to 397 in an unspecified timeframe.
was no immediate comment on the embassy statement from the Bangladeshi refugee
commissioner and Foreign Minister AK Abdul Momen said Dhaka would verify the
in a statement on Wednesday, Bangladesh's foreign ministry said the return of a
"handful" of refugees did "not testify (to) any improvement of
the ground reality in Rakhine".
leaders have refused to return without guaranteed security and citizenship —
which they are currently denied in Myanmar — and previous attempts to
repatriate the Muslim minority fell flat when no-one turned up.
then however, Bangladesh has imposed an internet blackout on the vast, squalid
camps in the country's south-east that house the refugees, and has announced
plans to surround them with barbed-wire fences.
also want to move thousands of the refugees to an island in the Bay of Bengal
beginning next month despite concerns for their safety from rights groups.
Firmly Opposed India’s Formation of Jammu And Kashmir and Ladakh Union
Territories as Illegal, Invalid And Ineffective
China on Thursday deplored and firmly opposed India’s formation of Jammu and
Kashmir and Ladakh union territories as illegal, invalid and ineffective and
said this move would not change the facts.
unilaterally changed its domestic laws and administrative divisions challenging
China’s sovereignty. This is unlawful and void and this is not effective in any
way and will not change the fact that the area is under Chinese actual
control.” Chinese Foreign Ministry’s Spokesperson Geng Shuang said during his
regular media briefing.
said that the Indian government officially announced the establishment of
so-called Jammu and Kashmir and Ladakh union territories which included some of
China’s territory into its administrative jurisdiction. “China deplores and
firmly opposes that,” he added.
spokesperson urged India to earnestly respect the Chinese territorial
sovereignty, abide by bilateral treaties and uphold peace and tranquility in
the border areas and create favourable conditions for the proper settlement of
his government’s stance on Kashmir, he said, “China’s position on the Kashmir
issue is consistent and clear. This is a dispute left from history and it
should be properly and peacefully resolved based on the United Nations (UN)
charter, the relevant United Nations Security Council (UNSC) resolutions and
other bilateral treaties.
said that the relevant side should resolve the dispute through dialogue and
consultations and uphold regional peace and stability.
a question pertaining to China’s opposition to blacklisting Pakistan, he said
that the Financial Action Task Force (FATF) was an important platform for
anti-money laundering and fighting terrorist financing activities.
Shuang said that the aim of FATF is to better help all countries fight the illegal
activities of money laundering and terrorist financing or the abuse of
international financial system, adding that its aim is not to sanction or
punish any country.
he said, supported Pakistan improving its domestic anti-terrorist financing system,
adding that it will work with all parties of FATF to provide constructive
support and assistance to Pakistan.
commenting on President Xi Jinping’s recent visit to India, he said that
regarding President Xi and Indian Prime Minister Modi’s meeting in Chennai, the
two sides had released statements and press releases.
sides exchanged views on the global, regional, long term and strategy issues in
a friendly atmosphere and agreed to develop closer partnerships. They also
discussed cooperation in various areas in the next stage, he said, adding that
this includes cooperation in people-to-people exchanges.
said that cooperation between China and India grew fast in the past years and
both countries had a mechanism for people-to-people exchange.
the all-weather strategic cooperative partnership between Pakistan and China,
he said, “China and Pakistan are all weather strategic partners and our
cooperation is very close.”
religious body staffer falls foul of own laws
ACEH: An Indonesian man working for an organisation which helped draft strict
religious laws ordering adulterers to be flogged was himself publicly whipped
Thursday (Oct 31) after he was caught having an affair with a married woman.
is a common punishment for a range of offences in the deeply conservative Aceh
region on Sumatra island, including adultery, drinking alcohol, and having gay
or pre-marital sex.
is the only region in the world's biggest Muslim-majority nation that imposes
Islamic law, part of a 2005 autonomy deal with the central government that
ended a decades-long separatist insurgency.
Thursday, a masked religious officer rained down 28 lashes on the back of Aceh
Ulema Council (MPU) member Mukhlis after he was caught canoodling with a
married woman last month.
who like many Indonesians goes by one name, grimaced and flinched during the
punishment in the provincial capital Banda Aceh, before his married companion
was flogged with a rattan cane some 23 times.
organisation that Mukhlis works for advised the local government and
legislature on drafting and implementing Aceh's religious law, including public
was not immediately clear what he did for the agency.
council made headlines this summer when it hit out at plans to form a national
women's football league because Aceh did not have a special stadium where only
women players, match officials and spectators would be present.
June, it issued a fatwa, or religious edict, against online game
PlayerUnknown's Battlegrounds (PUBG), saying it insulted Islam and made
addicted players violent.
a council member underlined the commitment to enforcing Islamic law, said Aceh
Besar deputy regent Husaini Wahab.
matter who you are ... if you violate (Islamic) law you will be whipped,"
he told reporters after the punishment.
would likely be sacked under his employer's moral code, Wahab added.
Thursday, a female university student was flogged a dozen times after she was
caught spending the night in a boarding house with a man, who escaped
punishment because he was underage.
of onlookers watched the floggings, with some recording them on their mobile
was just curious to see how it was carried out," said spectator Robbi.
July, three people were flogged 100 times each for having premarital sex, while
last year two men caught having sex with underaged girls were also whipped 100
Affairs Minister Opposes Wearing of Full-Face Veil
Religious Affairs Minister Fachrul Razi said although it was not illegal to
wear the niqab, or full-face veil, in Indonesia, the world's most populous
Muslim nation, he would not accept it personally.
said the Koran also does not require Muslim women to wear the niqab, nor does
the Hadith, the guidance based on the Prophet Muhammad's daily practice.
full-face veil has no roots in the Koran or in the Hadith, in my view,"
Fachrul said after a meeting at the offices of the Coordinating Ministry of
Human Development and Culture in Central Jakarta on Thursday.
a full-face veil doesn't necessarily mean a greater degree of faith or a closer
relationship with God," he added.
Ministry of Religious Affairs would never ban Muslim women from wearing it, but
security procedures should be followed, Fachrul said, referring to rules that
oblige motorcyclists to remove their helmets and motorists to open their car
windows when entering public buildings.
if someone wants to meet me with a covered face, I would certainly decline,
'please leave,'" he said, adding that all ministry staff held a similar
shares a similar stance: There is no law on wearing the full-face veil, and
it's not a measure of someone's faith," he said.
retired Army general was given a special task when President Joko
"Jokowi" Widodo appointed him as religious affairs minister on Oct.
want the religious affairs ministry to take concrete action in dealing with
radicalism and intolerance," Jokowi said.
the controversy surrounding his military background, Fachrul is not the first
retired general to be appointed religious affairs minister.
fading in Mid East, thriving in the Philippines
S SARMIENTO, MARAWI
Islamic State’s (ISIS) fate hangs in the balance after the recent assassination
of its leader in Syria, the terrorist group is still alive and well in the
years after Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte declared the liberation of
Marawi City from ISIS-aligned militants, the group is now recruiting a new
generation of fighters from the ruined city’s dislocated and disenfranchised
security experts are concerned that recent convulsions in Syria are driving a
new wave of ISIS fighters into Southeast Asia, particularly into the southern
Philippines, where dozens of local extremist outfits have declared fealty to
during a previous exodus of ISIS fighters from the Middle East to Southeast
Asia, where militants crossed into the Philippines lightly patrolled southern
reaches on the island of Mindanao, analysts believe Marawi is reemerging as an
City has become a fertile ground for extremist recruitment,” said Rommel
Banlaoi, chairman of the Manila-based Philippine Institute for Peace, Violence
and Terrorism Research, a think tank.
Islamic State in the Philippines is continuously recruiting and is taking
advantage of the frustrations of affected (Marawi-based) families and
said ISIS is drawing on a large pool of potential recruits in Marawi, namely
the more than 100,000 residents still residing either in squalid temporary
shelters or with their relatives who have not been allowed to return to rebuild
or repair their homes and businesses.
recruitment is now in full swing over social media, school campuses and among
remote Muslim communities, with recruiters said to be offering cash, guns and
monthly allowances to lure mostly young men to their radical cause, according
to various sources.
claims Mindanao has become a well-known safe haven for ISIS fighters fleeing
the Middle East, with many recently being absorbed into local extremist groups
that continue to hit Philippine security forces in hit-and-run attacks.
five-month siege of the largely Catholic nation’s only Muslim majority city
displaced over 350,000 civilians, a third of whom have yet to return to Ground
Zero, or the former urban battleground encompassing 24 of the city’s 96
the residents of Marawi, known as Meranaos, Ground Zero is the heart and soul
of a religiously significant city that Duterte’s government first vowed in
October 2017 but has so far failed to sufficiently rebuild and rehabilitate.
have estimated the damage at 62 billion pesos, or US$1.2 billion at the current
exchange rate. Much of that destruction was caused by the government’s aerial
bombardment of rebel-held areas, assaults some saw as excessive in relation to
years after Duterte’s liberation and restoration rhetoric, millions of tons of
debris have not been cleared from the city’s center, while demolition and
search for unexploded ordinance is ongoing.
del Rosario, chairperson of the multi-government agency Task Force Bangon
Marawi which is tasked to rebuild the war-torn city, pointed to the unfinished
search for unexploded bombs and ongoing demolition works as the main reasons
why residents have not been allowed to return to Ground Zero.
claimed the task force is “on track with its work plan” that includes finding
all the unexploded bombs by October 31 and finishing debris clearing on
November 30 to pave the way for the start of reconstruction. The government has
claimed that rebuilding will be completed by June 2022, coinciding with the end
of Duterte’s term.
Marawi siege, staged by the combined Islamic State-aligned Maute and Abu Sayyaf
groups beginning on May 23, 2017, prompted Duterte to declare the
rights-curbing martial law that remains in effect until the end of this year,
with the potential for an extension on security grounds.
1,100 were killed, mostly ISIS-aligned militants, in the fierce urban warfare
that tested the mettle of Filipino troops long used to fighting insurgents in
jungles or not cities and also put the Philippines more firmly on the global
militants temporarily seized Marawi in a bid to establish a wilayah, or
self-governed province, in Southeast Asia. As ISIS is routed in the Middle
East, the group is believed to have set even stronger sights on establishing a
wilayah in the Philippines.
Hamidullah Atar, the Sultan of Marawi, has said that war victims are angry,
frustrated and miserable about the government’s sluggish and ineffective
rehabilitation and relocation efforts.
is no reason to celebrate the second anniversary of Marawi’s ‘liberation’
because there is no real liberation of Marawi,” the traditional leader said.
Lininding, chairperson of the Marawi-based Moro Consensus Group, a civil
society organization, blasted the Duterte administration’s Presidential
Communications Operation Office for recently organizing a “Marawi tour” for
media for the second anniversary celebrations for the liberation of the city
from Islamic militants.
is nothing to commemorate, only pains and our sufferings that continue till
today. We don’t feel liberated at all,” Lininding said.
part of the second anniversary commemoration, the government organized a “run
for peace” around the city’s depopulated Ground Zero, while a wreath-laying
ceremony for fallen troops was held at the city’s military camp.
analyst Banlaoi says the plight of Marawi’s war victims has the potential to
explode on the government if it does not take more concrete and fewer
years after Marawi’s liberation, ISIS Philippines is down but not defeated.
They are smaller in number but can still mount big attacks,” he told Asia Times
are currently several ISIS-aligned groups actively operating in Mindanao, and
there are violent indications they are concertedly ramping up attacks in
preparation for another Marawi-like big bang assault.
include the Abu Sayyaf Group, which operates in the island provinces of Sulu
and Basilan and was instrumental in the 2017 Marawi siege.
ISIS-aligned Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters (BIFF), a breakaway from the
ceasefire Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) based in mainland Maguindanao
province, is also a formidable force with a deep military arsenal and
January, a powerful explosion perpetrated by Abu Sayyaf killed about two dozen
people and injured more than 100 others at a Catholic church in Jolo, the
capital of Sulu province. An Indonesian jihadist couple orchestrated the
August 2018, a foreigner with links to the Abu Sayyaf detonated a van full of
explosives at a military checkpoint in Basilan that left 11 people dead,
including the suspect. ISIS claimed responsibility for both the lethal blasts.
Anwar moots zakat reforms, Penang mufti says Muslims must get priority
TOWN, Nov 1 ― Muslim recipients should be prioritised when distributing Islamic
tithes or zakat, said Penang Mufti Datuk Seri Wan Salim Mohd Noor amid calls
said said this was because the contributions come solely from Muslims who pay
the tithe as a religious obligation.
who are poverty stricken can obtain assistance from other governmental
resources such as the Welfare Department,” he said in response to Datuk Seri
Anwar Ibrahim’s suggestion that such funds also be extended to non-Muslim
Salim said distributions should only go to non-Muslims if collections exceed
what was needed for Muslim recipients.
said according to the al-Quran, zakat could be extended to non-Muslims with the
purpose of making them to favour Islam, to encourage them to help Muslims
against the latter’s enemies, or for them to sympathise with Muslims.
said zakat funds were meant to use the Muslim poor using the contributions of
fellow Muslims who were better off.
needs of Muslims should be considered first even though on principle, whether
zakat should be extended to non-Muslims or not is solely up to the government
to decide based on public needs,” he said.
a recent international conference on zakat, Port Dickson MP Anwar called for
reforms of the zakat institution.
also suggested the distribution of zakat to non-Muslims, citing an opinion by
prominent Muslim jurist Yusuf al-Qaradawi.
Policies should be based on ethics and values, not race
SOO WERN JUN
Oct 26 — The central issue in Malaysia remains the need to forge a new vision
for governance that is based on ethics and values, said PKR president Datuk
said that both were lacking in the country, which led to the current state of
ethics and values are important, they have become somewhat irrelevant to the
have been brought down because of endemic corruption and abuse of power, which
is due to a lack of ethical considerations.
can talk and harp about religion, or the Islam faith, or Malay civilisation,
but without ethics, we cannot succeed as a nation,” said Anwar during his
opening speech at the Nation Building seminar organised by Muslim groups Wadah,
Abim and PKIM here today.
pointed out that for Malaysia to evolve into a great country, it must have
must remain focused on our priorities — on the economy, on justice — to show
concern for problems faced by the poor, the gross inequality in our society,”
added there was a need to accept that the country was not making progress in
is) stagnation in real terms. Our economy in the last 10 to 15 years has
is an established fact. We need to do something. All Malaysians must focus on
economic fundamentals. Only then can we solve bread-and-butter issues,” he
met later by reporters, Anwar said ethics and values must be the focus to
academics are constantly talking about defending the Malays, but when it comes
to corruption, which has resulted in the Malays being in this state (losing out
in the economy and growing poverty) they are quiet.
need to uplift all races and stay away from racial lines,” he said.
asked about an alleged disrespect for the Federal Constitution, Anwar said
there must be clear discourse on language, special rights, Islam faith and
has to start with the Malay leadership itself. To master other languages is
important, but during official events, we must show that we are serious (about
using Bahasa Melayu as the formal language),” he said.
remarks today were in contrast to the demands made at the Malay Dignity
Congress, such as for key government positions to be held only by Malay
chief Datuk Zainal Kling reportedly opened the congress in Shah Alam by reminding
Malaysia’s ethnic minorities of a so-called “social contract” with the Malays
that enabled them to gain citizenship, claiming it could be taken back if the
agreement was breached.
never been on UN's 'Right of Peoples to Self-determination' agenda: India
NATIONS: Jammu and Kashmir has never been on the UN agenda of 'Right of Peoples
to Self-determination' and Pakistan has been making "frantic
attempts" to gain credibility for its "territorial greed", India
said in a strong response to Islamabad at a General Assembly committee after it
raked up the Kashmir issue.
outgoing UN envoy Maleeha Lodhi raked up the Kashmir issue at a General
Assembly committee, which deals with social, humanitarian affairs and human
rights issues, saying Kashmiris have been waiting for their inalienable right
to self-determination as promised by 11 Security Council resolutions.
agenda of the right of peoples to self-determination, however, has been sought
to be misused once again by one delegation, by conflating it with another
situation that does not pertain to the decolonisation or foreign domination
delegation has been making frantic attempts to gain credibility for its
territorial greed and has demonstrated no hesitation in sabotaging this
important agenda by callously referring to Jammu and Kashmir, which is an
integral part of India," first secretary in India's Permanent Mission to
the UN Paulomi Tripathi said Wednesday during the General Assembly's Third
Committee discussion on 'Right of peoples to self-determination.'
retorted, saying the "truth is that the issue of Jammu and Kashmir has
never been on the United Nations 'Right of peoples to self-determination'
cursory reading of the document contained in A/74/309 makes it clear that the
agenda for self-determination, as envisaged by the UN, does not include Jammu
and Kashmir," she said, making a reference to the Report of the
Secretary-General on the universal realisation of the right of peoples to
asserted that even the UN Security Council resolutions that "this delegation"
has a penchant for invoking have never framed Jammu and Kashmir as a
self-determination issue in the UN parlance.
Committee, therefore, has been cautious against such attempts of letting this
forum being misused for propaganda," she said.
her remarks, Tripathi also noted that India, as a former colony, has always
been in the forefront at the United Nations in supporting the right of peoples
to self-determination. "Self-determination in the UN context refers to the
rights of people that have been colonised or continue to be under foreign
domination. It clearly refers to the peoples of non self-governing territories
or trust territories," she said.
she said the UN has established that the principle of self-determination is a
vehicle for decolonisation, not a justification for secession or undermining
territorial integrity of any Member State. While substantial progress has been
achieved in implementing this agenda, some situations continue to be
this context, India strongly supports to the right of self-determination of
Palestinian people," she said.
voiced concern that in an interconnected world, social media has emerged a
platform for amplifying racial hatred and discriminatory ideas what were
otherwise fringe opinions.
trend, if unchecked, can challenge social cohesion. States must intensify
efforts to prevent and combat racial hatred and discrimination, taking into
consideration the balance between safeguarding freedom of expression and
advocacy of hatred leading to racial discrimination and violence," she
said, adding that partnerships with private sector and civil society are
critical in this context.
up plans to hoist national flags of India, Pakistan on either side of Kartarpur
corridor, says former Punjab assembly speaker
Punjab Assembly speaker Bir Devinder Singh has written to Prime Minister
Narendra Modi and Pakistan PM Imran Khan to give up the plans to install
hundreds of feet tall flagposts and hoisting the national flags of the
respective countries on either side of the Kartarpur Sahib Corridor stating
that these would hardly fit into a paradigm of religiosity, spirituality and
universal brotherhood that the Sikh Gurus sought to imbue this land with.
has urged both the PMs that the step (to give up the plans of having flag
posts) would be in keeping with the grandeur of Guru Nanak’s philosophy and
both the PMs for their bold initiative and expressing gratitude to them for
their initiative despite bitterness between the two countries, while releasing
his letters to the two PM to the media here on Thursday, Bir Devinder Singh,
who also writes on issues of Sikh history quite often, urged them to “develop
the Kartarpur Sahib Corridor, a mere 4.7 km long stretch, as an ‘equatorial
line of interfaith understanding’ in South Asia, an essential frontier exemplifying
the humankind’s capacity to dream big to achieve mutual love and peace”.
has urged PM Modi to take the initiative and abandon the idea of raising
flagposts and hoisting a giant tricolor at Sri Kartarpur Sahib. “Burdened with
the onerous responsibility of leading the people in observing the 550th Birth
anniversary of Guru Nanak Dev Ji, you would no doubt be keen that nothing
should happen, not even inadvertently, that is fundamentally contrary to the
spirit of the teachings of Guru Nanak. It is in this context that I must point
out that the plans to install hundreds of feet tall flagposts and hoist the
Tricolor on the Indian side of the Kartarpur Sahib Corridor hardly fit into a
paradigm of religiosity, spirituality and universal brotherhood that the Sikh
Gurus sought to imbue this land with,” the letter argues.
the same time in his letter to PM Khan Bir Devinder has argued, “The two of you
can sit together and convince each other that Sri Kartarpur Sahib needs no
national flags. It is a place to spread the message of Guru Nanak, of peace and
love and of universal brotherhood of humankind”. “Please convince my prime
minister and allow him to convince you that both India and Pakistan will do
well not to start hoisting national flags and instead let the Sri Kartarpur
Sahib Corridor emerge as an ‘Equatorial Line of Interfaith Understanding’ in
South Asia,” the letter to PM Khan pleads.
also pointed out in his letter to Modi that a large number of Indians tread the
difficult terrain to pay obeisance as part of the Kailash Mansarovar Yatra, and
pilgrims actually enter the Chinese territory as part of the yatra. “But never
has any Indian leader proposed raising a huge hundreds of feet tall Tricolor on
the border — and rightly so, since such a pilgrimage is hardly an occasion to
stress territorial sovereignty,” he has argued while also making a similar
argument to PM Khan on this that both nidia and China avoided any competitive
display of nationalism on the route.
with a Definite Muslim Base in Uttar Pradesh Are Looking For Fresh Options to
Nov 1 (IANS) Parties with a definite Muslim base in Uttar Pradesh are looking
for fresh options to revive themselves before the next Assembly elections, due
Pradesh has a Muslim population of over 19 per cent. The urban areas have 32
per cent Muslim population, while the rural areas have only 16 per cent.
the years, a number of political parties - claiming to cater to Muslim
interests - have emerged and vanished without making any impact.
the 1992 Babri mosque demolition, Muslims supported the Samajwadi Party (SP) in
a big way. However when the Samajwadi Party joined hands with former chief
minister Kalyan Singh, ahead of the 2009 Lok Sabha elections, Muslims shifted
loyalty to the Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP).
between, parties like the Peace Party, Ulema Council, Qaumi Ekta Dal emerged on
the political horizon but after one of the two elections, these parties drifted
victory of All India Majlis-e-Ittehad-ul-Muslimeen (AIMIM) in Bihar
by-elections has ignited a new hope among Muslim voters, who have been looking
for a party that can fight for their cause and won''t just use them as a tool
to gain political power.
AIMIM got 14 per cent votes and its victory has caused considerable discomfort
in the SP and the BSP because the AIMIM is now preparing to ''invade'' Uttar
League state president Mateen Khan said Uttar Pradesh had been in the grip of
casteism and governments had promoted their own caste groups.
has been no choice for Muslims and they are forced by circumstances to support
either the SP or the BSP. Muslim leadership has also not emerged in these
years. The SP and the BSP, as a rule, try to break up smaller parties so that they
do not threaten them. But one day, very soon, Muslims will have their own
leadership, their own party and will fight for their own community," he
violated its obligations under Vienna Convention in Jadhav’s case: ICJ
International Court of Justice (ICJ) concluded that a bilateral consular access
agreement between India and Pakistan did not exclude the applicability of the
Vienna Convention in the case of Kulbhushan Jadhav, ICJ president Abdulqawi
Ahmed Yusuf has said.
the UN General Assembly on Wednesday while presenting ICJ’s annual report for
2018-19, Yusuf described the matter of Jadhav – currently on death row in
Pakistan after being convicted of alleged involvement in espionage – as one of
five contentious cases heard by the court during the period.
ruled in July that Pakistan had violated Jadhav’s rights under the Vienna Convention
on Consular Relations and upheld its earlier decision that his death sentence
should be held in abeyance till his trial and conviction by a military court
was reviewed. Pakistan granted India consular access to the former Indian Navy
officer in August.
Court had to address several issues regarding the interpretation and
application of the Vienna Convention in the specific circumstances of the case.
One of the issues that the Court had to examine was the question of whether the
rights relating to consular access, set out in Article 36 of the Vienna
Convention, were in any manner to be excluded in a situation where the
individual concerned was suspected of carrying out acts of espionage,” Yusuf
noted there is no provision in the Vienna Convention containing a reference to
cases of espionage, and it didn’t exclude from its scope certain categories of
persons, such as those suspected of espionage.
interesting legal question that the Court had to address was whether a
bilateral agreement on consular access concluded between the two Parties in
2008 could be read as excluding the applicability of the Vienna Convention. The
Court considered that this was not the case,” he added.
examined the 2008 agreement, ICJ came to the conclusion that it could not be
read as denying consular access in the case of an arrest or sentence made on
political or security grounds, and that it did not displace obligations under
the Vienna Convention.
Saudi Arabia naval drill in 2020
first bilateral naval exercise in 2020 and collaboration in research and
acquisition of military hardware will help broaden defence cooperation between
India and Saudi Arabia, people familiar with developments said on Thursday.
two sides held a meeting in Riyadh this month and are expected to hold another
in India in December to decide the contours of the naval drill that will be
held in the first half of March next year. The scale of the exercise is yet to
be decided though both sides are expected to field several warships for it.
exercise is expected to strengthen the position of the Indian Navy, whose
stated position is that its area of interest spans from the Strait of Hormuz to
the Strait of Malacca.
joint statement issued after Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s visit to Riyadh on
Tuesday said the two sides had agreed on the “importance of bilateral
engagement to promote ways to ensure the security and safety of waterways in
the Indian Ocean region and the Gulf region from the threat and dangers that
may affect the interests of the two countries”.
Indian Navy has been conducting anti-piracy operations in the Gulf of Aden
since 2008 and briefly deployed warships in the Persian Gulf to escort Indian
merchant vessels when tensions soared between Iran and the US earlier this
the location for the drill is yet to be finalised, a drill off the Saudi coast
will bolster the Indian Navy’s efforts aimed at force projection and building
interoperability with the navies of countries in West Asia, experts said.
people cited above said the move to step up research and acquisition of
military equipment as a new area of cooperation that had been suggested by the
Saudi side. Work done over the past six months had led to the signing of a
memorandum of understanding (MoU) between Saudi Arabia’s General Authority of
Military Industries (GAMI) and the department of defence production under
India’s defence ministry during Modi’s visit.
MoU covers collaboration in military acquisition, industries, research,
development and technology. In August, a delegation from GAMI travelled to
India and visited companies engaged in making military equipment, including
Ashok Leyland, Bharat Forge and Larsen & Toubro.
is traction between what Indian defence industries are making and what the
Saudis need,” said a person who declined to be identified so that he could
speak freely on the issue.
area in which the Saudi side had shown interest is military vehicles. “In the
first stage, they are looking at procurement and, later, there could be things
like joint production,” the person cited above said.
an interview with Arab News ahead of his visit, Modi described security and
defence cooperation as “robust and deep” and said the two sides had identified
a number of areas of mutual interest and cooperation in this field.
invitees from India for Kartarpur Corridor inauguration to require clearance:
ministry of external affairs said on Thursday that those invited by Pakistan to
the inaugural ceremony of the Kartarpur Corridor will have to get a “political
clearance”. The ministry was responding to questions on whether Congress leader
Navjot Singh Sindhu, who has been invited by Pakistan Prime Minister Imran
Khan, will be allowed.
think the political personalities or invitees who think they need to get a
political clearance, and those not included in the list will know about it.
There won’t be surprises,” the Ministry of External Affairs spokesperson
Raveesh Kumar told mediapersons.
understanding is that the normal rules for seeking political clearance for such
visits will apply,” he added.
jatha, whose list the country has shared with Pakistan, includes personalities
from different sides of the political spectrum, including Union ministers and
those from the Punjab government,” he said.
is not included in the Congress delegation, which will be visiting the
gurudwara on November 9.
delegation includes former prime minister Manmohan Singh, Punjab chief minister
Captain Amarinder Singh, Jyoraditya Scindia, RPN Singh, Asha Kumari, party’s
chief spokesperson Randeep Singh Surjewala, Deepender Singh Hooda, and Jitin
per the normal procedure, a political visit needs clearance from the
in the day, Pakistan media reported that the country has invited Sidhu to
attend the inaugural ceremony of the Kartarpur Corridor.
to start work on Maharashtra refinery after getting land: Saudi minister
Arabia’s state-run Aramco will begin work on a $60-billion oil refinery in
Maharashtra once the Indian government allocates land for the project, Saudi
commerce minister Majid bin Abdullah Al Qasabi said on Thursday.
issue of the refinery, to be built by Saudi Aramco, Adnoc of the United Arab
Emirates (UAE), Indian Oil Corporation, Hindustan Petroleum Corporation and
Bharat Petroleum Corporation, figured in talks between Prime Minister Narendra
Modi and the top Saudi leadership on Tuesday.
project was originally to be located at Ratnagiri in Maharashtra but was held
up because of opposition from the region’s mango farmers, who refused to part
with their land. Subsequently, Raigarh was chosen as the new site for the
project, which will be the world’s largest greenfield refinery.
has taken a decision to build a refinery and that’s a huge investment. The
commitment is there, it is announced,” Al Qasabi said.
waiting for the government of India to choose the land…and the Prime Minister
(Narendra Modi) said the new regional government (of Maharashtra) has been
chosen, and so we expect that in a very short time, the land will be decided.
So the ball is now in their (India’s) court,” Qasabi added.
investment in the project will be $35 billion, he said.
the new Strategic Partnership Council agreement signed with India, Saudi Arabia
is looking to cooperation in several areas, including technology, agriculture,
pharmaceuticals, tourism and education.
said the two sides had talked about establishing an Indian academy of
technology in Saudi Arabia.
is also the largest source of manpower for the kingdom, providing 22% of the
value the Indian people, we appreciate the efforts that they have been making
all through the last 60 years. Indian friends and brothers have been a forklift
to the Saudi economy,” Al Qasabi said.
percent of the Saudi population is below 40…and hi-tech savvy. We can leverage
the advantage India has in innovation, technology and financial technology,
entrepreneurship and small and medium enterprises,” he added.
Qasabi said there are a lot of synergies, similarities and alignment between
the two countries but investments are “always a reaction based on
opportunities, feasibilities, return on the investment and stability”.
denial of visas to Punjab delegates to Nankana Sahib unfortunate: Amarinder
Anju Agnihotri Chaba
Chief Minister Captain Amarinder Singh Thursday termed as “extremely
unfortunate” the denial of visa to a delegation of Punjab ministers, MPs and
MLAs to visit Sri Nankana Sahib in Pakistan. He also denied the Centre’s role
in it as alleged by his Cabinet minister Charanjit Singh Channi. He said that
Centre had sent the names to Pakistan, but the neighbouring country did not
grant them visas. “Not granting visas (to the Punjab delegation) was a petty
thing on part of the Pakistan government,” he said.
on Wednesday had said a majority of names in the state government delegation,
which was proposed to visit Nankana Sahib, were not approved by the Centre.
Channi too was part of the delegation.
Congress Rajya Sabha member Pratap Singh Bajwa’s statement that he would not be
part of the inaugural jatha if it was led by Amarinder, the Punjab CM said, “He
can go with the Akalis then”.
also said that Punjab government did not have any confirmation about the visits
of President or Vice President visiting Sultanpur Lodhi.
also accused the Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) and Union Minister Harsimrat Kaur
Badal of politicising the auspicious 550th Prakash Purb by obstructing joint
celebration of the historic event.
occasion was one of pride which my government wanted to celebrate collectively,
rising above petty political considerations. However, the SAD scuttled all
attempts of the state government to ensure joint celebrations…it is sheer
pettiness on the part of the Akalis, particularly Union Minister Harsimrat Kaur
Badal,” Amarinder said.
out that his government had spent Rs 550 crore to ensure a befitting
celebration of the historic event, Amarinder said the entire occasion had been
transformed into a political drama by the Akalis, backed by their allies, the
should have been kept aside on this religious occasion, he added, while
reiterating his protest against Islamabad’s refusal to withdraw the USD 20 fee
on pilgrims visiting Kartarpur Gurdwara via the corridor. He urged the Imran
Khan-led government to be large-hearted, keeping in view Sikh sentiment and
if the state government was ready to pay the said amount on behalf of the
pilgrims, Singh said he was, in principle, against giving anything to Pakistan
on this count.
Pakistan’s invitation to Navjot Singh Sidhu to attend the Kartarpur Corridor
inauguration, the chief minister asked media persons to ask his former cabinet
colleague about it.
response to a question, Singh rejected the SAD’s claims on the central
government funding the majority of the development projects to commemorate the
550th Prakash Purb.
Centre gave money for only two projects, and one of them was only partially
funded by them, he said, adding that the state government had already spent Rs
550 crore and would be spending more on infrastructure development and various
chief minister, who reviewed the progress of work of the Kartarpur Corridor,
which will be opening for devotees on November 9, 2019 at Zero Line
(India-Pakistan International Border, Dera Baba Nanak), said all work
undertaken by the state government was complete.
Hamdard to confer Honorary Doctorate to Dr. Frank F. Islam
Hamdard, an institute of higher education announced that it will confer
Honorary Doctorate to Dr. Frank F. Islam. Islam will be formally conferred
Doctor of Science (Honoris Causa) by Jamia Hamdard University in a Special
Convocation on October 15, 2019, the registrar of the institute, S S Akhtar
said in a statement.
Frank F. Islam is an information technology entrepreneur, investor,
philanthropist, civic leader, and writer who heads the FI Investment Group.
was the founder and CEO of the QSS Group and has served on numerous boards and
advisory councils including the Board of Trustees of the John F. Kennedy Center
for the Performing Arts, Board of Directors, Strathmore Center for the Arts,
Ford's Theater Society Board of Trustees and Kennedy Center International
Committee on the Arts.
serves on various boards and councils at more than half-dozen universities
including Johns Hopkins, University, American University, and George Mason
legendary figures honoured by Jamia Hamdard
joins the list of other distinguished recipients who have been honoured by Jamia
Hamdard which includes:
Narayana Murthy (Co-Founder of Infosys)
Ratna CNR Rao
Dikshit (Former Delhi CM).
Hamdard gaining importance
dead after gas cylinder explosion sparks fire on Pakistan train
Julia Hollingsworth and Adeel Raja
least 70 people were killed and 30 more injured in a fire that engulfed a train
in Pakistan on Thursday morning, after a gas canister that passengers were
using to prepare breakfast exploded.
train was passing through the town of Rahim Yar Khan, in the south of Punjab
province, when a stove blew up, causing a fire which spread through the train,
according to local police officer Amir Taimoor.
Zia, the medical supervisor of District Headquarters Hospital in Liaquatpur, a
city in Rahim Yar Khan district, confirmed the death toll.
broadcast on CNN affiliate Geo TV showed a blaze ripping through the carriages,
with flames licking out of the windows and sending black smoke billowing into
gathered around the dramatic scene, as firefighters, paramedics, and soldiers
army helicopter was flown to the site from the city Multan to evacuate those
who were critically injured, according to the ISPR, a media wing of the
Pakistan Armed Forces.
Prime Minister Imran Khan and President Arif Alvi have both shared their
condolences for the victims' families on social media.
said that he had ordered the launch of an immediate inquiry to be
"completed on an urgent basis."
Alvi "expressed profound grief on the loss of precious lives in the tragic
blast caused by gas cylinder," in a statement released on his official
is a terrible accident and we mourn those who have died," said Sheikh
Rasheed, the country's railways minister, adding that the families of the dead
and injured would receive compensation from the ministry.
gas cylinders are banned on trains, passengers were using gas-powered cookers
to prepare breakfast inside the train carriage when the explosion occurred,
added that many of the people on board the train were heading to a protest in
the Pakistani capital of Islamabad, about 800 kilometers (500 miles) from Rahim
train was running on the Tezgam line, a daily service that goes from the
coastal city of Karachi to the northern city of Rawalpindi.
Indian Sikhs arrive in Pakistan for Guru Nanak's 550th birth anniversary
The first batch of 1,100 Sikhs from India arrived here in Pakistan on Thursday
for the 550th birth anniversary celebrations of Guru Nanak.
visiting Sikhs will also be the part of the historic opening of the Kartarpur
Corridor on November 9, Evacuee Trust Property Board (ETPB) spokesperson Amir
Hashmi told PTI.
first batch of 1,100 Sikhs crossed over here from Wagah Border to attend
celebrations of 550 birth anniversary of Baba Guru Nanak in Nankana
Sahib," he said.
said the visiting Sikhs brought "Golden Palki" along with them.
'Nagar Kirtan' (procession) was received here by Punjab governor Chaudhry
Sarwar, ETPB chairman Aamer Ahmed and Pakistan Gurdwara Sikh Parbhandik
Committee president Satwant Singh at Wagah Border.
ETPB said a special exemption of tax has been sought from the Federal Board of
Revenue (FBR) for the 'Golden Palki'.
said special arrangements have been made for the pilgrims including catering,
medical camp and transportation.
their arrival the Sikhs left for Nankana Sahib. During their stay they will
visit other gurdwaras as well in Punjab and take part in the inauguration of
the Kartarpur Corridor on November 9," it said, adding that the 'Golden
Palki' will be installed at the Gurdwara Darbar Sahib Kartapur.
Prime Minister Imran Khan will open the Kartarpur Corridor ahead of the 550th
birth anniversary of Guru Nanak on November 12.
and Pakistan last week signed the agreement on the Kartarpur Corridor that will
allow Indian pilgrims to undertake visa-free visit to Gurdwara Darbar Sahib,
the shrine of the Sikh religion's founder Guru Nanak Dev in Pakistan,
notwithstanding a chill in bilateral ties over Kashmir.
agreement will allow 5,000 Indian pilgrims daily to visit Gurdwara Darbar Sahib
where Guru Nanak spent last 18 years of his life.
corridor will connect the Dera Baba Nanak shrine in India's Punjab with Darbar
Sahib at Kartarpur, just 4 kilometres from the International Border, located at
Narowal district of Pakistan's Punjab province.
accepts Awan's unconditional apology for scandalising judiciary; issues her
another contempt notice
Asad | Tahir Naseer
Islamabad High Court (IHC) on Friday accepted the apology of Dr Firdous Ashiq
Awan, special assistant to the prime minister on information and broadcasting,
for scandalising the judiciary and issued her a fresh contempt of court notice
for making a statement regarding a pending criminal proceeding.
the hearing of the contempt of court notice, presided over by IHC Chief Justice
Justice Athar Minallah earlier today, the premier's special assistant had
tendered an unconditional apology for "scandalising the judiciary",
which the high court later accepted.
Minallah told Awan that she had committed contempt of court on two counts — one
for ridiculing the court for entertaining the case as a "special
dispensation" and one for trying to influence a pending proceeding of the
court related to the bail petition for Nawaz.
assured the court that she would be extremely careful in the future and placed
herself at the mercy of the court.
IHC chief justice remarked that Prime Minister Imran Khan had fought for the
rule of law, adding that he was sure that the premier had never instructed her
to use such language against the court.
accepting her apology for scandalising the judiciary, the court issued Awan a
fresh contempt notice and directed her to satisfy the court that her press
conference was not intended to influence a pending court proceeding.
cannot overlook matters when the principles of a fair trial are opposed,"
remarked Justice Minallah.
IHC sought her reply by Monday. Additionally, the court directed her to appear
before the court on November 5. Awan requested that the proceedings be
adjourned till after Tuesday due to a cabinet meeting; however, the court
rejected the request and said that as it is a criminal proceeding, her
appearance is mandatory.
the proceedings, Awan arrived at and inspected a district court, as per the
of court notice
Wednesday, a show-cause notice was issued to Awan under Section 3 of the
Contempt of Court Ordinance 2003. It said that Awan had maligned the IHC while
saying that the hearing of a petition on the release of former prime minister
Nawaz Sharif was "a special dispensation".
court had directed Awan to appear in person on today to explain as to why she
should not be proceeded against under contempt laws.
October 26, PML-N president Shehbaz Sharif had filed a petition in IHC,
requesting the court to hear the bail plea for Nawaz sooner than October 29
owing to the former premier's "extremely critical condition". After
the hearing, which went into the evening, the court had granted Nawaz bail on
medical grounds until Oct 29 in the Al-Azizia reference.
while holding a presser following the bail, had said the government would want
to see such speedy trials for all under-trial prisoners and in all cases. “We
hope this new trend will be applicable to all cases,” she had said.
special assistant had also remarked that there was no precedent in the past
that the executive was asked to take responsibility for the health of a
prisoner, referring to the judges' questions during Saturday's hearing.
"We are not responsible for his old ailments, including blood pressure and
cardiac issues," Awan had said.
march’ betrays lack of coordination among parties
Opposition parties’ Azad march spearheaded by the Jamiat Ulema-i-Islam-Fazl
finally entered Islamabad on Thursday, but not before exposing lack of
coordination among them.
decision of JUI-F to keep its actual plan secret till the last moment not only
kept the government and local administration of the capital perplexed, but also
came under criticism from key political allies.
main opposition Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) added to the confusion by
unilaterally announcing “postponement” of the public meeting at the planned
venue in Islamabad till Friday due to the train tragedy.
announcement made by PML-N secretary general Ahsan Iqbal at a time when
marchers were about to begin their journey from Gujar Khan was criticised by
JUI-F chief Maulana Fazlur Rehman, who immediately issued a statement, saying
that they would reach the Azadi March venue on Thursday night at all cost to
address the public meeting.
later the JUI-F officially announced that the public meeting would now be held
on Friday after Friday prayers.
spokesman for the JUI-F claimed that the decision to hold the public meeting
had been made after “consultation” with the opposition’s Rehbar Committee.
said the march was going ahead as planned and cautioned the people against
falling victim to rumour mills.
the other hand, Awami National Party (ANP) president Asfandyar Wali Khan, who
arrived in Islamabad from Charsadda leading a party’s rally on Thursday,
complained about the lack of coordination and even questioned where had the
Rehbar Committee gone.
towards senior party leader and a member of the Rehbar Committee, Mian Iftikhar
Hussain, the ANP chief said that his nominee in the committee was sitting
beside him and he had not been contacted by the committee’s convener Akram
Durrani or other members.
Khan said he had reached Islamabad as per plan as they had been told that the
public meeting would be held on Oct 31.
a spokesman for Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) Chairman Bilawal Bhutto Zardari,
Senator Mustafa Nawaz Khokhar said there was total confusion as they did not
know about the actual plan of JUI-F leaders.
Khokhar said the PPP chairman had cancelled all his activities for the day as
he was scheduled to address the public meeting after the arrival of the
participants of the Azadi march.
to Dawn, he said that the PPP chairman was scheduled to address a public
meeting at Rahim Yar Khan on Friday and now it had become extremely difficult
for him to address the Azadi march since the JUI-F had now announced that it
would be held after Friday prayers.
said the announcement was “ambiguous” as no exact time had been announced.
However, he said, the PPP chairman would make every effort to address the Azadi
march participants before his departure to south Punjab, where he would be
staying till Nov 9.
the PML-N’s thin participation in the JUI-F Azadi march in Lahore on Wednesday
night was noticed by everyone. Even the PPP workers outnumbered the PML-N’s in
the JUI-F’s show and its (PPP) Punjab president Qamar Zaman Kaira shared the
stage with Maulana Fazlur Rehman.
JUI-F supporters at Minar-i-Pakistan complained that the PML-N workers did not
join the march despite tall claims of their leaders.
president Shahbaz Sharif was present in Lahore but his meeting with Maulana
Fazl could not be arranged.
Fazl also couldn’t meet former prime minister Nawaz Sharif at the Services
Hospital after doctors told him that Mr Sharif could not see visitors.
the PML-N had claimed that the party would “fully” participate in the march on
the direction of Nawaz Sharif. The consensus emerged after initial
dilly-dallying amid reports that Mr Shahbaz was not in favour of joining the
its last meeting a few days ago in Model Town regarding preparations for the
march, the PML-N said it had mobilised its workers who would join the JUI-F
march and give Maulana Fazl a rousing welcome here.
PML-N, however, has already announced that Mr Shahbaz Sharif would address the
public meeting in Islamabad.
experts and some opposition leaders believe that JUI-F leadership’s decision to
have a stopover at Gujar Khan, which is merely 50 kilometres away from the
capital, was not a good move. They believe that the decision had badly affected
the momentum of the rally which started from Karachi on October 27.
issues notice to govt over plea seeking Indian prisoners’ release
Taking action on a petition filed by the Indian High Commission for the release
of four Indian nationals, the Islamabad High Court on Thursday issued notices
to the federal government for a reply.
four were convicted by military courts for spying and the Indian High
Commission moved the court after they have completed their sentences.
Mohsin Akhtar Kayani heard the petition.
prisoners were identified as Jaspal alias Yashpal, who is imprisoned in
Gujranwala jail; Shamsuddin alias Alam and Mohammad Ismail alias Sama, who are
kept in Malir jail; and Anil Chimaar alias Anil Kumar, who is detained in
to the petition, the spies were arrested by the military authorities and were
charged under Section 59 of the Pakistan Army Act and Official Secrets Act.
petition said that the convicts had served out their respective sentences
awarded by the Field General Court Martial.
petition said that Jaspal completed his term on Aug 4, 2016, Shamsuddin on Oct
14, 2017, Ismail on Oct 31, 2016, and Chimaar on Feb 8, 2017.
petition further said that all the prisoners had completed their respective
sentences and the Constitution of Pakistan mandated in unequivocal terms that
no person shall be deprived of life or liberty same in accordance with the law.
petition argued that after the completion of the sentence, keeping condemned
prisoners in jails was illegal, and requested the court to direct the federal
government to release them for making arrangements of their travel to their
leader Mufti Kifayatullah released on bail
The Peshawar High Court (PHC) on Thursday ordered the release of Mufti
Kifayatullah, a central leader of Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam-Fazl (JUI-F), on bail.
was arrested by the Islamabad police on Sunday on charges of inciting people
for participation in the October 31 anti-government ‘Azadi March’ and
collection of donation for the protest.
two-member bench of the high court based in Abbottabad comprising Justice Ijaz
Anwar and Justice Shakeel Ahmad heard the bail petition which had been filed by
will be released once the court orders reach Haripur Central Jail, where he is
imprisoned. Once free, he will join the caravan heading to Islamabad to partake
in the JUI-F protest.
throws spanner in Fazl’s ‘Azadi’ plans
The Azadi March led by the Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam-Fazl (JUI-F) entered Islamabad
on Thursday, where it will be likely to culminate in a sit-in at H-9 venue that
would be attended by the opposition parties, including the Pakistan Muslim
League-Nawaz (PML-N), Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) and Awami National Party.
opposition, however, is divided on the date of the sit-in, especially after a
‘unilateral’ announcement made by the PML-N, wherein it announced a one-day
delay in the jalsa owing to a train accident in Rahim Yar Khan which claimed 73
a statement to the media, PML-N Spokesperson Marriyum Aurangzeb said the rally
will now take place after prayers on Friday.
statement initially opposed by Maulana Fazl was later agreed upon when the
JUI-F chief’s spokesperson and Rehbar Committee head Akram Khan Durrani
confirmed the postponement of the rally till Friday.
said that Faz agreed to the PML-N’s suggestion for delaying the jalsa after
PML-N supreme leader Nawaz Sharif spoke to him on the telephone.
to reports, PML-N President Shehbaz Sharif will address the Azadi March
participants on Friday.
JUI-F leader, on the condition of anonymity, told Pakistan Today that the
“party leadership felt being backstabbed due to what he called a last-minute
betrayal by the PML-N and PPP”.
the agreement to the PML-N’s ‘demand’ seemingly bridged the difference between
the two parties, Fazl’s Azadi March found itself mired in yet another problem
after the PPP and ANP refused to budge from the ‘scheduled’ Thursday sit-in.
chief Bilawal Bhutto-Zardari, whose participation in the sit-in was confirmed
by spokesperson Mustafa Nawaz Khokhar earlier in the day, has refused to attend
the rally on Friday due to his prior engagements.
return from Rahim Yar Khan tomorrow, Bilawal will try to join the opposition’s
jalsa but nothing is confirmed yet,” said Khokhar, adding that his party was
‘concerned’ about the “prevailing confusion” regarding the sit-in. “Bilawal
would skip Friday’s rally if the confusion persisted,” he added.
midnight, PPP chief Bilawal reached the venue at midnight.
the address, he slammed the ruling PTI for its inability to solve problems
faced by masses and blamed the “incompetent” Prime Minister Imran Khan for
pushing Pakistan towards economic disaster.
said he was there to represent his party and paid tribute to the Azadi
marchers, saying the protest was a “clear message to the government to go
said the people of the country were against the ‘puppet’ government, as they
favoured democracy and freedom of expression rather than living under a
‘selected’ regime. He said the incumbent government was an attack on the
said slain prime minister Benazir Bhutto gave her life rather than giving to a
dictator and the PPP was carrying on her tradition of resistance.
ANP President Asfandyar Wali said that his party’s caravan had arrived at the
venue per agreed plan and they would also leave the rally the same night after
addressing the participants.
To See that #ANP is fighting back !
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- 31 Oct 2019
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people are talking about this
have arrived here at H-9. We will address the rally participants and leave
tonight irrespective of the fact who arrives or not,” he said while addressing
the media persons.
a question pertaining to an apparent rift between the opposition parties, Wali
said: “There is no rift among the opposition parties about attending the march.
Today was the date for the rally… even if anyone reaches here or not, the ANP
is here. We will address here and leave.”
any jalsa, someone comes first and others later. But it doesn’t make any
difference,” he added.
an interview with senior journalist Asma Sherazi, JUI-F chief Fazlur Rehman
said there would be “chaos” in the country if Prime Minister Imran Khan failed
have to finally get the resignation from them (the government). And we will
fight for it,” he said, refusing to back down.
JUI-F wants to give the government a time period of 2-3 days while sitting in
Islamabad,” said Fazl, adding the next strategy for the sit-in would be decided
by the people.
- 31 Oct 2019
people are talking about this
chance of JUI-F giving time to the PTI-led government has ended, said Fazl,
doubling down on his anti-government rhetoric.
JUI-F, which kicked-off its much-trumpeted anti-government rally on Sunday from
Karachi’s Sohrab Goth area, reached Lahore on Wednesday morning where it
gathered a large crowd at the Greater Iqbal Park, the same venue where, in
2011, the incumbent premier had held one of the biggest political rallies in
the history of Pakistan.
a charged crowd of his supporters he had brought along, Fazl had said,
“Pakistanis, from Karachi to Islamabad, are in agreement that Prime Minister
Imran Khan should resign.”
Did Turkey Know About Baghdadi’s Hideout?
death of Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi last weekend set spy services to public bragging:
CIA officials told The New York Times that the discovery of the ISIS leader’s
location came after the arrest and interrogation of one of his wives and a
courier this summer. Kurdish leaders, who said back in April that Baghdadi was
in Idlib, told The Washington Post they had provided intelligence for the
operation. Iraq’s national intelligence service also boasted of giving
Baghdadi’s location to the Americans after “constant monitoring and the
formation of a specialised task force over an entire year.”
the Turkish National Intelligence Office (MIT)—the country’s closest equivalent
to the CIA—isn’t among those taking credit for tracking down Baghdadi, who was
killed Saturday in a U.S. Special Forces raid in northern Syria. This, despite
the fact that Baghdadi was living just three and a half miles from the Turkish
border, in an area controlled by the Turkish-backed Free Syrian Army.
Baghdadi’s death thus exposes an enduring and under-appreciated reality of
geopolitics in the Middle East: The Islamic State has always had a
peculiar—which is to say, not exclusively hostile—relationship with Turkey.
MIT was not always so reticent: In the aftermath of the murder of journalist
Jamal Khashoggi in Saudi Arabia’s Istanbul embassy last year, MIT chief Hakan
Fidan shared audio intelligence of the killing with Turkish press and foreign
intelligence services. But after Baghdadi’s death, Turkish President Recep
Tayyip Erdogan instead drew the same moral equivalence he’s been offering for years,
equating ISIS with the Kurdish forces who had partnered with the U.S. against
ISIS until Trump’s sudden pullout. On Turkey’s role in the Baghdadi operation,
Erdogan’s spokesman would only say that “the night when the operation was
conducted ... there was intense diplomacy between our military authorities” and
the incoming American forces. Turkey’s Defense Ministry gave the U.S. operation
faint praise, calling it “within the spirit of alliance and strategic
partnership” in the fight against terror.
spirit of that alliance is mutual suspicion: The U.S. military, fearful that
info on its move against Baghdadi would leak, only told Turkish officials that
an operation was planned in Turkish-held territory, but did not identify the
target, one American official told Foreign Policy. “Turkey did not provide any
assistance in this operation, and he was located right next to their border,”
the official said. “That shows you how little they do on countering ISIS.”
location “surprised his American pursuers,” the Times reported, “because it was
deep inside a part of northwestern Syria controlled by archrival Qaeda groups.”
Like Osama bin Laden, who took refuge in Abbottabad, Pakistan, in the
mid-2000s, Baghdadi was living under the nose of his ostensible enemies. Just
as reporting once connected bin Laden’s hideout and the ISI, the Pakistani
intelligence service, suspicions are running strong that Baghdadi enjoyed some
tacit Turkish protection.
year ago, the Turkish justice minister reported that the government was holding
1,150 suspected ISIS fighters. But that was a small figure compared with the
9,731 people jailed for alleged links to the PKK, the Kurdish Workers Party,
which Turkey regards as a terrorist organization—or the 31,442 people in prison
for allegedly following the dissident movement of U.S.-based Muslim scholar
experts say those numbers reflect Erdogan’s priorities. Last year, intelligence
authorities in the Netherlands issued a public report stating that the Islamic
State uses Turkey as “a strategic base” to reorganize, threatening the security
of Europe. “From here, ISIS can recover, reorganize and further shape the
underground struggle in the region,” the report said. Turkey has taken some
action against ISIS and Al Qaeda, the report stated, but Erdogan’s primary
focus on fighting Kurdish groups has afforded the Islamist groups “sufficient
breathing space and freedom of movement.” “The fact that Turkish interests do
not always correspond with European priorities in the field of combating
terrorism is problematic,” the report concluded.
intelligence assessment and Baghdadi’s ultimate location raise questions about
whether Ankara tolerates, or coordinates, with elements of ISIS—and “if
Turkey’s MIT and ISIS did have a relationship in the past, do they continue to
collaborate,” David Phillips, director of the Program on Peace-building and
Rights at Columbia University’s Institute for the Study of Human Rights, told
me in an interview. Turkey “has some explaining to do,” Brett McGurk, the
former U.S. envoy for the global anti-ISIS coalition, wrote in a Washington
Post column Sunday. “It is telling that the U.S. military reportedly chose to
launch this operation from hundreds of miles away in Iraq, as opposed to facilities
in Turkey, a NATO ally, just across the border.”
2013, when Ankara officials declared ISIS a terrorist organization, Islamic
State attacks have killed 315 people and injured hundreds more in Turkey,
according to the country’s largest English-language newspaper. Yet Ahmet
Yayala, a former Turkish counterterrorism police officer, said in an interview
that Erdogan and the MIT have “consistently helped ISIS, directly or
ISIS gained global prominence in summer 2014, Yayala says, Turkey supported the
group in a bid to destabilize Syria and hasten the overthrow of its president,
Bashar al-Assad. That October, Vice President Joe Biden told a Harvard
University audience in 2014 that Turkey’s president had claimed a share of
responsibility for the ISIS’s growth. “Erdogan told me—he’s an old friend—said,
‘You were right. We let too many people [including foreign fighters] through,’”
Biden said. “Now they are trying to seal their border.” (Erdogan denied saying
it, and Biden subsequently apologized “for any implication that Turkey or other
Allies and partners in the region had intentionally supplied or facilitated the
growth of ISIL.”)
says he saw the MIT-ISIS relationship up close. During his time with Turkish
National Police, Yayala worked closely with MIT officers on the Syrian border.
In 2014, he learned that Fidan, the MIT chief, had created a special unit just
to deal with ISIS supporters, unbeknownst to the police. “I would ask the MIT
guys, ‘What are you doing with these guys?’ They would say, ‘Nothing,’” Yayala
told me. “But we had all the investigative tools, and we followed them to
meetings. We saw the terrorists meeting with our own service. It was extremely
there are thousands of ISIS supporters hiding in Turkey among the Syria
refugees,” Yayala said. “They are not a priority for Erdogan.”
death of Baghdadi was undoubtedly a blow to ISIS, but probably not a fatal one.
The group is resilient, not least because of its ability to operate within
Turkey, enabled by Erdogan, the MIT, and—no doubt inadvertently—Trump. With or
without Baghdadi, Turkey and ISIS remain the prime beneficiaries of the
president’s chaotic U.S. withdrawal. Turkey is now freely doing what it could
not with American troops on the ground: driving the Kurds out of their
stronghold in northern Syria. That, in turn, gives ISIS sympathizers relief
from the most effective fighting forces in the area. Erdogan’s forces are in
rapid motion, but not against the terrorists that have held the U.S. and Europe
in thrall for half a decade. Said Yayala: “I do not foresee any Turkish
movement against ISIS.”
Gulf allies sanction Hezbollah-Iran network
United States and six Gulf allies announced sanctions Wednesday on 25 entities
associated with Iran's Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps and Lebanon's
Hezbollah, in a move to tighten controls on both group's finances.
sanctions were set by Riyadh-based Terrorist Financing Targeting Center, a
two-year-old group that includes Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar and
the United Arab Emirates in addition to the United States.
targeted companies supporting the Basij Resistance Force, a subordinate group
of the Revolutionary Guard, that the Treasury said are used "to oppress
domestic opposition with brutal displays of violence" and supply fighters
to regional conflicts.
the 25 was Iranian Bank Mellat and mining, manufacturing and investment firms that
allegedly support the Basij.
of those listed were individuals running Hezbollah's operations in Iraq, the
25 have previously been named in US Treasury sanctions announced in 2018.
TFTC's coordinated disruption of the financial networks used by the Iranian
regime to fund terrorism is a powerful demonstration of Gulf unity," said
US Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin in a statement.
imposes sanctions on Iran’s construction sector
United States said on Thursday it had imposed sanctions on the Iranian
construction sector and trade in four materials used in its military or nuclear
programs, even as it waived sanctions to let foreign firms continue
non-proliferation work in Iran.
decisions announced by the US State Department reflect an effort to increase
economic pressure on Iran by putting wider swathes of its economy under
sanctions, while also leaving a door open to diplomacy by allowing work to
proceed at Iranian nuclear facilities that make it harder for Iran to develop a
of State Mike Pompeo had determined Iran’s construction sector was controlled
directly or indirectly by Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC),
which the United States has branded a foreign terrorist organization.
a second determination, he identified four “strategic materials” as being used
in connection with nuclear, military, or ballistic missile programs, making
trade in them subject to sanctions.
court rules to free ex-opposition lawmaker from jail
official news agency says a former opposition lawmaker and newspaper editor
convicted of aiding a terror group will be freed from prison.
news agency said Thursday an appeals court ruled for the release of Republican
People’s Party ex-legislator Eren Erdem.
was sentenced to more than four years in prison in March, accused of supporting
US-based Muslim cleric Fethullah Gulen. The Turkish government says Gulen
orchestrated a failed July 2016 coup, which he denies.
was accused of aiding Gulen’s movement while editor of Karsi newspaper, which
published recordings in 2013 that suggested government corruption - allegations
the government rejects. Erdem denies the accusations.
approves more than 2,300 settler homes: NGO
has approved the construction of 2,342 settler homes in the occupied West Bank,
settlement watchdog Peace Now said on Thursday.
said the decision was taken on October 10 and that 59 percent of the new homes
will be erected in “settlements that Israel likely may evacuate under a peace
agreement” with the Palestinians.
to Peace Now, which closely monitors Israeli settlement building, plans for
8,337 housing units in the settlements have been approved since the beginning
of the year.
said this represented an increase of close to 50 percent compared with 2018
when plans for 5,618 housing units were approved.
settlements are considered illegal under international law and are built on
land that the Palestinians see as part of their future state, but Israel
distinguishes between those it has approved and those it has not.
Now said that settlement construction has increased under Israeli Prime
Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who is fighting for his political survival after
failing to form a coalition government following September elections.
in the 2,342 new housing units are 182 that are due to be built in Mevoot
Yericho, a former outpost near Jericho which the Netanyahu government legalized
before the September polls, Peace Now said.
up the construction of settlement homes “is yet another dangerous step for both
Israel and the Palestinians, led by a transitional prime minister whom the
public did not trust in his policies.
next government must put a freeze on the development of settlements and to
strive for immediate resumption of negotiations with the Palestinians without
preconditions and to end the bloody conflict based on the principle of two
states for two peoples,” Peace Now added.
President Reuven Rivlin has tasked ex-military chief Benny Gantz to form a
government after Netanyahu failed to set up a coalition for the second time
toll in Saudi war on Yemen hits 100,000: Report
Saudi-led war on Yemen has killed more than 100,000 people since 2015, a
US-based database project that tracks violence has said.
Armed Conflict Location and Event Data Project (ACLED) made the announcement in
a report published on Thursday, saying that the figure included 12,000 civilian
deaths in directly targeted attacks.
report said 20,000 people had been killed this year, making it the second
deadliest year of the war behind 2018.
non-governmental organization also said April was the most lethal month so far
this year, with over 2,500 reported killed, compared to approximately 1,700 in
third quarter of 2019 had the lowest number of reported fatalities since the
end of 2017, but the number of civilian casualties rose from the previous
quarter,” ACLED said.
most violent provinces were Ta'izz, Hudaydah and Jawf, with more than 10,000
people reported killed in each of the regions since 2015.
said direct targeting by the Saudi-led coalition and its allies had been
responsible for more than 8,000 civilian deaths over the past four and a half
data covers everything from airstrikes, shelling and ground battles between
various forces to bombings and violence at protests. However, their numbers do
not include those who have died in the humanitarian disasters caused by the
war, particularly starvation.
Arabia and a number of its regional allies launched a devastating campaign
against Yemen in March 2015, with the goal of bringing the government of former
president Abd Rabbuh Mansur Hadi back to power and crushing the Ansarullah
the relentless campaign, Saudi-led airstrikes have hit schools, hospitals and
wedding parties and killed thousands of Yemeni civilians.
war has also taken a heavy toll on the country’s infrastructure, destroying
hospitals, schools, and factories. The UN says over 24 million Yemenis are in
dire need of humanitarian aid, including 10 million suffering from extreme
levels of hunger.
re-arrests prominent Palestinian legislator Khalida Jarrar
forces have re-arrested a prominent Palestinian legislator and senior member of
the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP) in an overnight raid
into her home.
Jarrar, a 56-year-old member of the Palestinian Legislative Council, was
arrested at 3 am local time (00:00 GMT) at her home in the central occupied
West Bank city of Ramallah, located 10 kilometers north of Jerusalem al-Quds,
and taken to an unknown area, local media reported on Thursday.
daughter Yara Jarrar said in a post on Twitter that the house was surrounded by
more than 70 Israeli soldiers who arrived in 12 military vehicles.
and sister were asleep when they approached," Yara said.
Palestinian lawmaker has been jailed multiple times. She was released last
February after spending 20 months in "administrative detention" -- an
illegal practice under which an individual is held without a trail.
a staunch advocate of Palestinian prisoners’ rights, said after her release
that she would continue to campaign for the release of all Palestinian
prisoners held in Israeli prisons and detention centers.
to Samidoun, a Palestinian prisoner solidarity network, she played a leading
role in supporting the education of the minor girls held there, organizing
classes on human rights and in review for mandatory high school examinations
when the prison authority denied the girls a teacher.
was last arrested in July 2017, when a large number of Israeli troopers raided
her home. Her husband, Ghassan, said Israeli forces also seized her computers
during the raid.
internal spy agency, Shin Bet, later announced in a statement that Jarrar was
arrested along with a Palestinian activist for “promoting terror activities,”
without providing any further information.
is one of the most outspoken critics of the Israeli occupation and has
repeatedly slammed the Tel Aviv regime’s atrocities against Palestinians.
Israeli regime has been denying the lawmaker the right to travel outside the
occupied Palestinian territories since 1988. She campaigned for months in 2010
before receiving the permission to travel to Jordan for medical treatment.
August 2014, Jarrar received a “special supervision order” from the Israeli
military, which ordered her to leave Ramallah to live in the West Bank city of
Ariha, also known as Jericho.
Jarrar set up a protest tent outside the Palestinian Legislative Council in
Ramallah, where she lived and worked, until the controversial order was
overturned later in September that year.
to reports, a total of 13 Palestinian lawmakers are currently held in Israeli
detention facilities without any trial under the so-called administrative
detention, which is a policy according to which Palestinian inmates are kept in
Israeli detention facilities without trial or charge.
Palestinian prisoners have been held in administrative detention for up to 11
Baghdadi death, Nobel laureate Nadia Murad asks: What about the rest?
NATIONS (Reuters) - The fight for justice for victims of Islamic State
militants does not end with the death of leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, Nobel
laureate Nadia Murad said on Wednesday, asking: “How about those that raped
who won the 2018 Nobel Peace Prize for her efforts to end the use of sexual
violence as a weapon of war, is an Iraqi Yazidi woman who was enslaved and
raped by Islamic State (ISIS)fighters in Mosul, Iraq, in 2014. Several of her
brothers were killed by Islamic State and their wives also held captive.
2010, Baghdadi led the jihadist group. U.S. President Donald Trump announced on
Sunday that Baghdadi killed himself by detonating a suicide vest after fleeing
into a dead-end tunnel during a raid by U.S. special forces in northwest Syria.
first I talked to my sisters-in-law,” Murad told reporters at the United
Nations. “Everyone was saying: ‘OK, but this is just Baghdadi, how about all
about those that raped us? They sold us, they still have our girls, they still
have our children - about 300,000 Yazidis still missing, we don’t know anything
about them,” she said.
experts warned in June 2016 that Islamic State was committing genocide against
the Yazidis in Syria and Iraq to destroy the minority religious community
through killings, sexual slavery and other crimes.
State militants consider the Yazidis to be devil-worshippers. The Yazidi faith
has elements of Christianity, Zoroastrianism and Islam.
is thousands of ISIS, they joined al Baghdadi and they continue to do what he
did,” Murad said. “So it wasn’t only Baghdadi, we have to know there is
thousands of ISIS like Baghdadi ... and they are not giving up.”
want to see them in justice,” she said.
U.N. investigative team, created by the U.N. Security Council, is collecting
and preserving evidence of acts by Islamic State in Iraq that may be war
crimes, crimes against humanity or genocide. Murad and human rights lawyer Amal
Clooney had long pushed Iraq to allow U.N. investigators to help.
captured alive need to be brought to justice in an open court for the world to
see. Justice is the only acceptable course of action,” Murad wrote on Twitter
must unite and hold #ISIS terrorists accountable in the same way the world
tried the Nazis in an open court at the Nuremberg Trials.”
al-Baghdadi-style raid on ISIS militants could soon become mission impossible
U.S. special operations raid that killed the Islamic State militant group’s top
terrorist Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi on Saturday was almost perfect. The military,
the intelligence agencies, the American allies and Trump administration
officials all deserve credit for this success, as well as the drone strike
Monday that killed ISIS spokesman Abu Hassan al-Muhajir. But the Trump administration’s
recent actions could make the al-Baghdadi raid one of the last of its kind for
more than a decade, until June 2019, I represented the Department of Homeland
Security in interagency discussions that led to numerous successes — and some
failures — against ISIS, al Qaeda and other terrorists at home and overseas.
Over those years, we learned what it takes to defeat groups such as ISIS, and
our success is based on two crucial factors that President Donald Trump’s
recent decisions put at risk.
we are running out of territory on which our military can carry out lethal
ground operations. ISIS still has an underground presence in the area of
northeast Syria from which Trump abruptly withdrew U.S. forces Oct. 6.
Previously, U.S. aircraft used to fly freely over this region and our troops
had the freedom to work alongside the Syrian Kurds to collect intelligence. But
since the withdrawal, they no longer have that access.
Syrian regime and Russian troops have already moved in, with Iranians likely
not far behind. All three are working to make it harder for the United States
to fly over most Syrian territory. Even Saturday’s al-Baghdadi operation had to
be rushed before the U.S. lost access to Syrian Kurdish territory and the
ability to overfly northern Syria.
Iraq, where other ISIS fighters have gone underground, Trump’s tough Iran
policy and his loose talk in February 2018 that U.S. forces were in Iraq to
look “a little bit at Iran” have reduced American troops’ access on the ground:
The Iraqi government has tried to steer a neutral course between its American
and Iranian “friends,” so these comments pushed Iraq into a corner. Iraq
responded by imposing stricter limits on the numbers and missions of U.S.
troops. Last week, Iraq denied an American request to relocate forces leaving
Syria to Iraqi territory.
military drone strikes against terrorists will continue because, unlike raids,
they don’t risk the lives of U.S. soldiers. However, it is harder to carry out
drone strikes in places like Afghanistan, where troop reductions, also ordered
by Trump, reduce the military’s ability to cover territory and find out what
terrorists are doing. Elsewhere, the success of U.S. counterterrorism efforts
in Libya, Afghanistan, Somalia and Yemen is driving terrorist groups to rethink
how and where they hide. ISIS and other terrorist groups adapt quickly, and
will start looking for safe havens that are impossible for U.S. special
operations teams and drones to access.
is another location where terrorists know U.S. raids or drone strikes are not
possible. Either would rupture already frayed U.S. ties with its NATO ally,
risk U.S. access to Turkey’s Incirlik Air Base and jeopardize what’s left of
U.S.-Turkish counterterrorism cooperation, which is still valuable to the U.S.
This is a very serious problem because al-Baghdadi was hiding in Idlib
province, a few miles from Turkish territory. While Turkey’s counterterrorism
capabilities have improved in recent years, ISIS terrorists can still hide in
Turkey or transit through it to join ISIS cells in Europe and elsewhere.
drone strikes and ground raids rely on similar networks of allies and
information collection capabilities. The Syrian Kurds provided access to a key
intelligence source on al-Baghdadi, for instance, and they gave other
assistance that helped the U.S. military plan raids and drone strikes against
ISIS fighters over the past three years.
surprise Syria withdrawal opened the way for a Turkish attack on our Syrian
Kurdish allies. That betrayal will make it harder for the U.S. to get any
foreign entity’s help the next time we need it, especially when we ask them to
U.S. military counterterrorism capabilities are the best in the world and
operate at a level of sophistication no other country can come close to
matching. But this took decades to develop. The Obama administration, for
instance, spent years building up the defense relationships, intelligence
networks and special operations forces that led U.S. military commandos to
Osama bin Laden in 2011 —and, this week, to al-Baghdadi. The Trump
administration largely continued this plan in 2017-2018, earning kudos in its
early years for removing some of the bureaucracy that slowed down operations
now, we’re at risk of losing the capabilities that led to Saturday’s success,
and of failing to develop the new ones we’ll need for the future. We will still
need the option to do raids, but counterterrorism officials agree that the U.S.
needs to use more than just military means to prevent terrorism. I’ve been in
policy meetings with dozens of special operations generals — the kind the
president says he admires — warning that we will not be able to kill our way to
we need to increase nonmilitary ways to find, arrest, prosecute and incarcerate
terrorists, and to prevent them from boarding planes or crossing borders. Both
the Obama and Trump administrations’ counterterrorism strategies have called
for helping other countries improve civilian counterterrorism capabilities in
if this approach is going to be successful, particularly if we limit our
military options, it requires greater funding than it’s received. In
particular, the U.S. needs to invest more in helping our allies build up their
civilian counterterrorism, aviation security, border security, terrorism
prevention and law enforcement capabilities. The Atlantic Council has been
trying to find ways the U.S. and key counterterrorism partners can do this more
effectively. Some of our allies can pay their own way, and just need a partner
to share each other’s “best practices.” Other allies will need more direct
assistance. That is, if these countries are willing to continue working with
Prime Minister Pressed to Quit as Protests Clog Streets
Alissa J. Rubin
— Under pressure from a growing number of protesters, Iraq’s prime minister
appeared likely Wednesday to step down in the coming days, although exactly
when is the subject of negotiations between two powerful Shiite Muslim leaders.
a letter to one of the men, the cleric Moktada al-Sadr, Prime Minister Adel
Abdul Mahdi said he would be willing to resign and call early elections. But
Mr. Mahdi insisted that it be done according to the procedures in the
is not enough for the prime minister to go to Parliament to announce early
elections,” Mr. Mahdi wrote on Tuesday, saying that there were constitutional
requirements “that the prime minister must abide by.”
prime minister did suggest another path, saying, “If the goal of the elections
is to change the government, there is a shorter way to do it.” He encouraged
Mr. al-Sadr, who controls the largest bloc in Parliament, to work out an
agreement with the man who controls the second-largest bloc, Hadi al-Amiri.
al-Amiri, a Shiite leader like Mr. al-Sadr, accepts the idea that there may
need to be a change in the leadership, members of Parliament said. But for now,
he would like to see Mr. Mahdi remain as reforms are being put in place. Mr.
al-Amiri and those close to him have said little publicly, but unlike Mr. al-Sadr,
have refrained from demanding the prime minister’s departure or early
events unfold in the coming days and the decisions that are made may prove
critical for Iraq, which is at risk of sinking into factional fighting and
the day since Mr. Mahdi sent his letter to Mr. al-Sadr, it has become clear
that many protesters have set their sights on more than demanding that the
prime minister steps down. They want to change the country’s entire system of
what their goal is, they now often respond “thawra” — the Arabic world for
revolution. For many here, this has become a struggle between ordinary people
and the elites, the poor and the rich, the pure versus the corrupt.
problem is not just with Adel Mahdi,” said Mohamed Fadhil, 35, a painter who
had taken it upon himself to pick up trash strewn on a side street by the
protesters gathering daily. “It’s with the Constitution. It’s with the system
in our country.”
went on, saying: “This constitution was written in 2005 — we were children. Now
we want a presidential system, and we should vote directly for the president of
Iraq and get rid of all the political parties.”
is no precedent for the resignation of a prime minister and there has been
almost no public discussions around the challenges in making the kind of
wholesale changes in Iraq’s government that are being demanded by the
push for Mr. Mahdi’s resignation came after his mishandling of nationwide
protests that began on Oct. 1, which his government first sought to repress
belatedly did the government try to quell them by meeting some of the
protesters' demands — and by then, more than 150 people were dead and thousands
wounded. That made almost any government gesture seem too little, too late.
amid the leadership negotiations, it is not clear whether anyone really has
control of the most important element in the mix: the Iraqi street.
people in the protests will not accept anything less than complete change in governance,”
said Raid Fahmi, who resigned from Parliament this week saying he was
disappointed by lawmakers’ failure to respond to the needs of their
constituents. “This is a new element in the equation: the tens, hundreds of
thousands in the street,” he said.
Fahmi noted that while protesters initially sought better services from the
government like water and electricity, as well as jobs, as the demonstrations
have gone on, the demands have become more far-reaching.
they do not just want Adel Abdul Mahdi to leave,” he said. “They want a change
in the way the government is constituted, a change in the way people are chosen
was no official count of how many people took to the streets on Wednesday, but
it was certainly many thousands who flowed into Tahrir Square, blocking traffic
more than a mile from the Jumhuriya Bridge, which leads to the Green Zone. That
is where many Iraqi government offices are located, including the prime
minister’s offices and the Parliament.
is a big issue for most of the demonstrators, who are angry at those few who
can buy their way into high-ranking jobs and then demand payments from those
beneath them. Many have also pointed to Iran. For the first time, Iraqis are
demanding that Tehran stop trying to influence Iraqi politics and stop using
the country for its economic benefit.
a majority of the crowds come from the Shiite strongholds in eastern Baghdad
that are predominantly loyal to Mr. al-Sadr, the cleric, many protesters were
from different sects and were of different ethnicities. That suggests that the
movement has both breadth and depth.
al-Sadr has demanded Prime Minister Mahdi’s resignation repeatedly since the
protests began, and again in the last three days. He is seeking early elections
that would be supervised by the United Nations and that might lead to an
overhaul in the Iraqi system of government.
road to power in Lebanon just got harder
NABIH BULOSSTAFF WRITER
— The resignation of Lebanese Prime
Minister Saad Hariri was a victory for anti-government protesters flooding the
country’s streets by the millions. It also was a wake-up call for Hezbollah,
the Shiite Muslim organization that wields substantial power in the region and
is regarded as a terrorist organization by the United States.
group, which is aligned with Iran and is considered a dangerous foe by Israel,
cemented its political clout in elections last year. It has wielded that power
in a coalition government to maintain the arsenal of weapons it says it needs
to fight Israel and protect its people.
the protests that drove out Hariri on Tuesday present a challenge to Hezbollah.
the one hand, it would seem to have common cause with the demonstrators, who
are demanding an end to government corruption. Decaying infrastructure,
intermittent electricity and water, little work and high prices all contributed
to some of the largest demonstrations Lebanon has ever seen. Hezbollah also has
railed against corruption, and has a reputation in Lebanon for being relatively
untainted by it.
the same time, the organization has become a pillar and protector of the
political establishment, the target of the protesters’ ire. That anger could
wind up being redirected at Hezbollah.
protests spread far beyond the Lebanese capital, Beirut, including south
Lebanon, which is dominated by the country’s Shiite Muslims and where Hezbollah
expects to have total support.
the south, in cities such as Sour, Nabatiyeh and Kfar Roummane, hundreds of
demonstrators gathered in public squares. Like their counterparts in Beirut and
elsewhere, they repeated “All of them means all of them,” a signature slogan
that demands all politicians leave.
Hezbollah, which maintains what it portrays as a benevolent, almost
paternalistic control of the south, the dissent was a surprise.
the protests persisted, even after Hezbollah’s leader Hassan Nasrallah said the
government should stay. The uprisings, he said, had been co-opted by foreign
powers antagonistic to Hezbollah. He instructed his supporters to leave the
streets; others, he said, could remain and protest if they wanted to, but the roads
would have to be reopened to allow the resumption of daily life.. He insisted
he didn’t fear for “the resistance,” the catch-all term referring to Hezbollah
and its supporters, but for the whole country.
his arguments left many unconvinced.
resistance cannot be victorious if people are starving,” said Farah Qubaisi, a
32-year-old academic and feminist activist protesting in Nabatiyeh. “Hezbollah
says it wants to help people, then it should stand with them.”
is considered less corrupt than its counterparts, and often more effective than
the state, with cadres better equipped than the Lebanese army, and an
impressive social works component it marshals to give better services to its
Hezbollah’s problem is its allies in government, including two deeply unpopular
figures, Nabih Berri and Gebran Bassil.
the octogenarian parliament speaker and head of the Shiite party Amal, is
widely viewed as an exemplar of the country’s venal political class.
Lebanese President Michel Aoun’s son-in-law as well as the country’s foreign
minister, heads a party that is Hezbollah’s top partner in the coalition
government. So visceral is the hatred of Bassil that demonstrators took up a
chant repeatedly mentioning his mother’s reproductive organs, albeit in far
those alliances have been expedient for Hezbollah, said Heiko Wimmen, a Lebanon
expert with the International Crisis Group. They’ve allowed it to maintain a
political order in which it keeps its weapons from being taken away while
protecting the interests of its base. A change in the status quo, ailing as it
is, could threaten all that.
in the most comfortable domestic setup they’ve ever been,” Wimmen said in a
phone interview on Wednesday. “They could have formed their own majority
government, but they’re in a government legitimized by having other parties,
which shields them from the U.S. and its sanctions.”
the days after Nasrallah’s speech, and as protesters continued to block roads,
grumblings began to percolate among pro-Hezbollah commentators, warning that
road closures were bringing people to economic ruin and that the Lebanese army,
by not forcibly removing them, was failing to protect people.
brought the harbinger of what a sectarian-tinged schism could bring. That
afternoon, party thugs said to be supporters of Amal and Hezbollah descended on
Beirut’s downtown district. They skirmished with protesters to destroy the
makeshift barriers they had placed on a main highway before going on a rampage
through their encampments.
of the clashes released on social media showed hordes of the young men ripping
signs, tearing down tents and setting fire to what equipment they could find.
Protesters who stood in their way were beaten down or chased away by a hail of
bottles and rocks. Security forces did little to stop the attack.
soon came back to clean up the damage. Hours later, people were again swarming
the protest camp; many said the attack had actually shaken away the fatigue
that had begun to set in after weeks of demonstrations.
the violence undoubtedly had a dampening effect. On Wednesday, protesters
acquiesced to roadblocks being removed and allowed traffic to resume in
downtown Beirut and elsewhere. It was perhaps a win for Nasrallah but one that
brought criticism even from his own base.
lists 21 entities, 4 individuals as terrorist elements
CITY, Oct. 30 (Xinhua) -- The Kuwaiti authorities listed 21 entities and four
individuals as terrorist elements, the Kuwait News Agency (KUNA) reported
decision was made by an anti-terrorism committee of the Kuwaiti Ministry of
Foreign Affairs, KUNA said.
listing came as part of Kuwait's efforts to combat terrorism and dry up its
resources, according to a ministry statement.
Kuwait the old Saudi?’ Clerics issue fatwa against IPOs
This year’s list of IPO debacles could grow longer if Kuwait’s clerics have
religious ruling in Kuwait against two initial public offerings launched this
month is stirring fears that the Gulf state is clamming up at a time its bigger
neighbour Saudi Arabia is doing just the opposite, courting investors in
anticipation of Saudi Aramco’s IPO.
offering of half of Kuwait’s stock exchange to citizens and a long-awaited
public subscription to Shamal Al-Zour, the company that owns and operates a
major power station, began Oct 1.
three weeks later, Kuwait’s highest religious authority said they breached
Islamic law’s prohibition on interest and branded them “haram,” or forbidden.
non-binding fatwa issued by the Ministry of Awqaf and Islamic Affairs said
Boursa Kuwait trades in stocks of companies including those that don’t comply
with Islamic principals, and makes “illegal revenues” from brokering
transactions in these stocks. --------
also states Kuwait Stock Exchange company’s earns returns on deposits at banks
aren’t Shariah compliant.
Kuwait the old Saudi?” said Fawaz Mohammad, a 41-year-old Kuwaiti businessman.
mere existence of this fatwa catapults Kuwait into the Middle Ages at a time
when Saudi is fast tracking openness and diversity, two values that were and
continue to be core to the Kuwaiti identity.”
a conservative country, Kuwait allows women to drive and doesn’t force them to
wear veils, freedoms that are just starting to take root in Saudi Arabia.
Kuwait, all laws are drafted, openly debated and issued through the Gulf
Cooperation Council’s only freely elected legislature. Islam is the official
state religion and Shariah a main source of legislation.
public offerings are mandated by laws issued by parliament, which doesn’t
require companies to be Shariah-compliant.
benchmark index declined 0.3% on Thursday, trimming this year’s gain to 18%. That
compares with an 8.2% increase for the MSCI Emerging Markets index.
elections looming next year, lawmakers are now more likely to put the spotlight
on populist issues as they go into parliament’s last session.
to the share sales is building in parliament.
Al-Hayef, a hardline Islamist lawmaker who is spearheading the campaign against
the Kuwaiti IPOs, has requested to quiz Finance Minister Nayef Al-Hajraf over
issues that include the offerings.
also alleges that transactions overseen by Al-Hajraf aren’t Shariah compliant,
even though Kuwait’s constitution or current laws don’t require them to be.
issue of observance of Islamic finance principles for companies looking to sell
shares has come up before, when Saudi Arabia’s National Commercial Bank was
preparing its 2014 IPO. It eventually won approval from scholars after
committing to become fully Shariah-compliant.
those who issued these fatwas know that their salaries and the salaries of
their sons come from state investments inside and outside Kuwait and from
interest on stocks, bonds and deposits in companies and banks?” columnist Ahmad
Al-Sarraf wrote in Al-Qabas.
companies under subscription have foreign investors.
sale of shares in Shamal Al-Zour would be the first IPO resulting from a
public-private partnership. It’s 40% owned by an international consortium that
includes Japan’s Sumitomo Corp. and France’s Engie SA.
two companies referred all questions to the Kuwaiti ministries of finance and
commerce. The Commerce Ministry declined to comment while Finance Ministry
officials couldn’t be reached for comment.
Kuwaitis are bewildered, some consider it good news since fewer subscribers
could mean bigger allocations.
are willing to fall in line. A group of lawmakers have issued a statement
calling on the government to halt the IPOs. This seems unlikely since the
bourse subscription ends Dec 1 and Al-Zour on Nov 29.
withholding $105 mln in security aid for Lebanon: Sources
President Donald Trump’s administration is withholding $105 million in security
aid for Lebanon, two US officials said on Thursday, two days after the
resignation of Lebanese Prime Minister Saad Hariri.
State Department told Congress on Thursday that the White House budget office
and National Security Council had decided to withhold the foreign military
assistance, the two officials said, speaking on condition of anonymity.
officials did not say why the aid was blocked. One of the sources said the
State Department did not give Congress a reason for the decision.
State Department declined to comment.
administration had sought approval for the assistance starting in May, arguing
that it was crucial for Lebanon, an important US partner in the volatile Middle
East, to be able to protect its borders. The aid included night vision goggles
and weapons used in border security.
Washington has also repeatedly expressed concern over the growing role in the
Beirut government of Hezbollah, the armed Shia group backed by Iran and listed
as a terrorist organization by the United States.
Hariri’s resignation on Tuesday amid huge protests against the ruling elite, US
Secretary of State Mike Pompeo urged Lebanon’s political leaders to help form a
new government responsive to the needs of its people and called for an end to
US official told Reuters he believed the security assistance was necessary for
Lebanon, as it struggles with instability not just within its own government
but in a turbulent region and houses thousands of refugees from war in
official said it was especially important to strengthen Lebanon’s military,
which he deemed one of the most capable institutions in the country now,
largely because of support from Washington.
official said drawing aid away from Lebanon could pave the way for Russia to
has expanded its influence in Syria since Trump announced he was withdrawing US
forces from the northeastern part of the country.
Assad says he does not want Turkey as an ‘enemy’
President Bashar al-Assad Thursday said he did not want to make an “enemy” of neighboring
Turkey, despite the latter’s invasion having led to a confrontation between
said that Turkish President Recep Recep Tayyip Erdogan himself was an “enemy”
due to policies hostile to Syria and opposed by most of his country’s political
“we must ensure that we don’t turn Turkey into an enemy and here comes the role
of friends,” such as Russia and Iran, the president said in a pre-recorded
interview on state television.
supports Syrian rebel forces who have battled Assad’s government during the
eight-year-long war that has killed more than 370,000 people.
month Ankara launched an operation on Syria’s northern border against Kurdish
Kurds spearheaded a US-backed military campaign against ISIS that deprived the
terror group of their final slither of Syrian territory in March this year, but
Ankara views the Kurdish forces as “terrorists”.
by their ally Washington – which early this month pulled its own troops back
from the border area, effectively allowing Turkey to attack – the Kurds turned
to the Syrian regime, which swiftly deployed and reclaimed swathes of territory
it lost years ago.
last week struck a deal with Russia to halt the weeks-long invasion.
agreement calls for the withdrawal of Syrian Kurdish fighters from areas along
Turkey’s border with Syria, with a view to setting up a “safe zone” where
Ankara plans to repatriate some of the 3.6 million Syrian refugees it currently
Soleimani tells PMU, officials to back Iraqi PM during Baghdad meeting
General Qassem Soleimani, the commander of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard
Corps - Quds Force, instructed commanders of the Popular Mobilization Unit
militias to support Iraqi Prime Minister Adil Abdul Mahdi during a secret
meeting in Baghdad on Wednesday, five sources familiar with the meeting told Reuters.
close to two of the most influential figures in Iraq also told Reuters that
Iran had intervened to prevent the overthrow of Abdul Mahdi amid demonstrations
which erupted weeks ago to protest the government’s performance.
populist Shiite cleric Moqtada al-Sadr demanded this week that Abdul Mahdi
calls for early elections to calm the largest popular protests.
urged his main political rival, Hadi al-Amiri, the head of an alliance of
Iran-backed Shia militia leaders, to assist in the overthrow of Abdul Mahdi.
Iranian security official confirmed Soleimani was present at a meeting in
Baghdad on Wednesday and that he was there to “advise”.
president says ministers in new cabinet should be picked on skills
President Michel Aoun vowed to form a new government of technocrat ministers
based on skills rather than political affiliations, after the resignation of
Prime Minister Saad al-Hariri following weeks of nationwide protests.
is at a critical juncture, especially from an economic aspect, and is in dire
need of a harmonious government capable of production that is not hampered by
political conflicts and rivalries and is supported by its people,” Aoun said in
a televised speech on the third anniversary of his presidency.
also said that the proposed economic plan is still awaiting an approval amid
mass protests that have gripped the country for nearly two weeks.
further called on demonstrators to pressure the country’s parliament to pass a
draft law to return money looted from the state.
address came after Prime Minster Saad Hariri submitted the resignation of his
cabinet on Tuesday.
president says Iraq’s PM will only resign if a replacement is found
President Barham Salih said on Thursday that Prime Minister Adil Abdul Mahdi
would only resign in response to mass protests if parliamentary blocs agree on
his replacement to avoid a constitutional vacuum.
said in a live address that new elections could only take place under a new
Ministers of Finance say reforms are reshaping regional economies
Arabia’s Minister of Finance Mohammed al-Jadaan said that wide-ranging reforms
have reshaped Saudi Arabia and the Gulf region into an international investment
powerhouse. The minister was speaking on Thursday at the third annual Future
Investment Initiative (FII) in Riyadh.
reform is designed to respond to challenges we face in our economy, not only
the challenges we face locally but internationally,” said al-Jadaan.
minister added that incoming foreign direct investments are a result of the
ongoing economic reforms, particularly in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.
FDI is growing 10 percent. Also, local investment is coming in Saudi Arabia, as
private investment has grown around 3 percent,” he added.
made the comments on a panel alongside his Kuwaiti and Bahraini counterparts,
Naif Falah al-Hajraf and Sheikh Salman bin Khalifa Al Khalifa, respectively.
The ministers discussed key factors that have made the region attractive for
investment, and what was required to move forward.
think the reality is that decisions are being made every year to enhance the
economic integration,” al-Jadaan added.
recently, Saudi Arabia jumped 30 places in the World Bank’s Ease of Doing
Business 2020 Index, taking the 62nd position, making the Kingdom the world’s
top improver. The results indicate that widespread social and economic reforms
carried out by the country are bearing fruit.
this improvement comes amid a global economic slowdown. The International
Monetary Fund (IMF) in its October 2019 World Economic Outlook cut its global
growth forecast to 3 percent for 2019, its lowest level since 2008-2009.
Geopolitical and trade tensions have also curbed growth prospects, hitting
business confidence, investment activity, and global trade.
we talk about the process of reform that has been taking place … it is
important to note that is not enough to create a portal, create a one-stop shop
in front of a 30 year-old process; it is critical to take every step of the
approval process and reengineer it,” said Bahrain’s finance minister Shaikh
Salman bin Khalifa Al Khalifa.
the same panel, Kuwaiti Minister of Finance al-Hajraf pointed out that oil
indicators in the region are a “distorting factor”, and that there are other
economic indicators to monitor.
is always a distorting factor in our economy - you can’t look at total
revenues, you can’t look at total GDP. You have to look at the policy-driven
part of your economy which is the non-oil portion, and that is what you should
continue to grow. We have focused all of our policy on it,” he said.
Arabia’s oil GDP fell 3 percent this year, al-Jadaan said in the panel on
Thrusday, while adding that non-oil GDP growth was flat at 2.9 percent.
pace of reforms
the umbrella of Vision 2030, Saudi Arabia has been developing the National
Transformation Program (NTP) over the last four years. The NTP is dedicated to
engaging stakeholders in identifying challenges and creating solutions for the
reforms program’s initiatives.
think the country [Saudi Arabia] is doing the right things: the bankruptcy law,
the commercial pledge law, the procurement law and the private sector law are
all big pieces in the jigsaw,” James Reeve, Group Chief Economist of
Riyadh-based Samba Financial Group told Al Arabiya English.
however, said that additional transparency and regulatory reforms are needed in
order to encourage more foreign investments in the region overall.
is vital that foreign investors feel that they have a level playing field with
domestic firms, and that there is a transparent and predictable regulatory
environment in place. The lack of such an environment is the main reason why
the MENA region has historically found it difficult to attract FDI outside of
energy and related sectors,” he added.
this year, Kuwait announced that its oil sector grew at 1.3 percent for Q1 2019
and non-oil sector expanded at 4.1 percent.
International Monetary Fund (IMF) announced in March that it expects Bahrain’s
economy to grow around 1.8 percent in 2019.
stressed that private firms must also play their role in transforming how the
region does business.
time has come for the government to zoom from the operation and leave the room
for the private sectors to lead the economy and this is what we are emphasizing
on,” he said.
later added that the economic agenda of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC)
should not be impacted by political differences.
has been achieved under the GCC umbrella is too good to let go,” he said,
adding: “We have our differences, we have to address the differences and work
it out in a very functional way.”
main topics discussed at FII in Riyadh this year were climate change,
technology, entertainment, and emerging economies. Since the launch of Vision
2030 in 2016, Saudi Arabia’s social reforms have opened up untapped sectors for
the Kingdom, such as entertainment and tourism.
analysts told Al Arabiya English that the policymakers in Saudi Arabia and the
region should continue to push ahead with additional economic diversification
reforms in order to attract investments – particularly to support small and
medium enterprises (SMEs).
need to invest and set up a functional SME sector is still not fully
understood. In the global economy, SMEs are main driver for a sustainable
economy and provider of jobs,” said Cyril Widdershoven, MENA analyst and
director of Netherlands-based consultancy Verocy.
the main risk is that there is still an approach to address and invest only in
flashy high-profile projects or high-tech,” Widdershoven, who was also a
participant at FII 2019, told Al Arabiya English.
added that there needs to be an emphasis on sectors other than technology or
entertainment in Saudi Arabia and the Arabian Gulf, such as ports, airports,
mining, and education.
ministers were speaking on the third and final day of FII 2019. Previous
speakers included US Energy Secretary Rick Perry, Brazilian President Jair
Bolsonaro, and the head of Saudi Arabia’s Public Investment Fund Yassir
bomb blast kills 9, injures dozens in Syria's Afrin
car bomb has exploded in Syria's northwest city of Afrin, leaving at least nine
people dead and 30 others injured.
to witnesses and a rescuer, the explosion took place at a busy market in Afrin,
a mainly Kurdish city near the Turkish border controlled by Ankara-backed
militant groups, on Thursday.
Kurdish Hawar News Agency (ANHA) reported that the bombing had killed at least
nine people and wounded 30 others.
posted on social media showed extensive damage to the Afrin market with fires
reports said two children were among those killed.
of top Shiite cleric Al-Sistani urge followers to join protests in Iraq
The supreme religious authority in the city of Najaf has indirectly encouraged
his followers to join the demonstrations in Baghdad to support and protect
protesters. It comes amid claims that Iraqi Prime Minister Adel Abdul-Mahdi is
once again planning an attempt to end the protests by force, security officials
and senior representatives of the supreme religious authority in Najaf told
Arab News on Thursday.
protests, which began at the start of October, continued on Thursday, despite
attempts by President Barham Saleh to calm the unrest with a speech that
included promises to meet many of the demands of the protesters, including the
resignation of Abdul-Mahdi and changes to election law, and to address the
mistakes that have been made by politicians. He has also been leading weeks of
intensive talks with the leaders of political factions in an attempt to find
solutions that are satisfactory to all parties.
Saleh’s speech was greeted with cynicism by most Iraqis and he faced
accusations that he was simply trying to distance himself from the politicians
the demonstrators want rid of.
by Abdul-Mahdi to appease angry Iraqis by providing hundreds of thousands of
new jobs, granting monthly payments to poor families, and to fight corruption
have failed to ease the tensions as hundreds of thousands of Iraqis continue to
gather daily on the streets of Baghdad and southern provinces.
have occupied Tahrir Square in central Baghdad and the buildings overlooking
it, preventing security forces from reaching the area since Friday. The
demonstrators have set up large tents to provide food, first aid and places
where people can sleep, taking turns to protect each other.
11-story Turkish restaurant building is the most strategically important of the
occupied buildings surrounding the square. It is located at the beginning of
Al-Jumhoriya Bridge, which leads to the Green Zone where most government
buildings and diplomatic missions are located, and overlooks the entire area,
providing a vantage point from which protesters can monitor the movements of
security leaders said that during the most recent meeting of the “Crisis Unit”
on Tuesday, Abdul-Mahdi ordered the defense minister to carry out an airstrike
to regain control of the Turkish restaurant building, Tahrir Square and the
surrounding areas. The minister refused.
proposed to end the demonstrators’ control of the Turkish restaurant at any
cost,” said one of the participants in the meeting. “There are hundreds of
demonstrators inside the building and thousands more outside it. Can you imagine
how big the losses will be if we used force against them? It would be a very
leaders and security officials said that Abdul-Mahdi enlisted the help of Maj.
Gen. Qasim Soleimani, the commander of the Quds Force of the Islamic Revolutionary
Guard Corps, and his Iraqi allies to crack down on the protests at the start of
October, resulting in “an unprecedented” number of casualties. They said he
plans to do the same again now in response to a call on Wednesday by Iran’s
Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei to end the protests in Iraq and Lebanon.
arrived in Iraq on Wednesday evening,” said a senior military commander who is
familiar with the procedures of the Crisis Unit. “No doubt he will oversee the
management of the (response to the demonstrations) as he did before. He will
guide his (allies) about what they have to do and then leave.”
the representatives of Grand Ayatollah Ali Al-Sistani, the leader of the
world’s Shiites and the most influential man in Iraq, and employees of his
affiliated institutions began to disseminate the instructions received by them
among their followers, political forces and Iranian-backed armed factions
distributed a brief statement to the media saying that “in response to the call
of marjiya (Al-Sistani)” and in coordination with the representatives of
marjiya and logistical support institutions of the Popular Mobilization
Commission (PMC), the government umbrella that includes most Iranian-backed
armed factions, “the supporters of marjiya”
will take part in a mass demonstration on Friday in Baghdad. Dozens of
SUVs and pickups carrying images of Al-Sistani and flags bearing the slogan of
the PMC began circling the streets of Baghdad hours later.
the end of the day, Al-Sistani's office issued a statement saying that he
supports the demands of the demonstrators calling for reform and supports their
right to peaceful demonstration, but does not allow any political forces to use
the images of Al-Sistani or speak on his behalf.
Sources close to Al-Sistani told Arab News
that clergymen in Najaf have decided to intervene indirectly because they are
upset by Khamenei's recent statements about the demonstrations, and because
they had received information suggesting Abdul-Mahdi intends to use deadly force
against the protesters.
is unreasonable for our youth to remain fuel for Tehran,” one of the sources
said. “These demonstrations must continue because they are the only way to
remove this corrupt political class. The demonstrations are strangling them so
they want to end them in any way they can. We will not allow him (Abdul-Mahdi)
and the Iranians to go too far.”
demonstrations in Baghdad and seven southern, Shiite-dominated provinces began
in early October in protest against corruption, high unemployment and a lack of
basic day-to-day services. Abdul-Mahdi and his allies ordered a brutal
crackdown on the protesters, killing at least 147 and injuring more than 7,000.
This succeeded in halting the demonstrations for two weeks.
the protesters returned to the streets a week ago in even greater numbers after
domestic and international pressure led to a pledge from security forces that
they would not use live ammunition against demonstrators. Even so, at least a
further 100 people have been killed and more than 5,500 injured in the past
week by tear-gas canisters and gunfire during clashes at the offices of
political parties and armed factions, during which the buildings were attacked
and set on fire, according to security and medical sources.
always wins,’ mosque founder tells Quebec Muslims in face of rejections
GIUSEPPE VALIANTE THE CANADIAN PRESS
residents north of Montreal learned of a plan to transform a local church into
a mosque and Islamic cultural centre, the reaction was so strong that parish
leaders invoked the 2017 mass shooting of Muslims in Quebec City to justify
putting the project on hold.
of the diocese of Trois-Rivières, Que., located along the St. Lawrence River
between Montreal and Quebec City, sent a litany of angry and threatening emails
to the parish. Others spoke out during public consultations held earlier in
Beaudoin, a parish member leading a committee on the future of the region’s
churches, said the outcry made diocesan Bishop Luc Bouchard think of the six
Muslim men shot dead in a Quebec City mosque in 2017. The Bishop decided to
stop the sale.
absolutely didn’t want something like that happening in Trois-Rivières,”
Beaudoin said in a recent interview. While no one threatened outright violence,
he said, the parish wanted to be prudent.
got emails saying: ‘The sale is not going to happen’ and other things like
that,” Beaudoin said. “So the Bishop stopped the sale. He said he wanted to put
out the fire.”
saga highlights the simmering tension in Quebec as the province confronts
social and demographic upheaval.
aging population and the fiercely secular identity among the francophone
majority are driving churches across the province into bankruptcy. At the same
time, ongoing immigration brings waves of newcomers whose diverse beliefs and
perspectives assert an increasing influence over the province’s identity.
Trois-Rivières, the underused St-Jean-de-Brebeuf church and the burgeoning
Islamic cultural centre face each other from opposite sides of a main
is an imposing greystone structure with a grand entrance and a towering
silver-coloured steeple; the other is a small, two-storey, semi-detached
building with a modest, Islamic-style wooden arch that extends from the front
said the Muslim community was already using the church’s basement for
activities. When mosque leaders learned of that the church was struggling
financially, they started negotiating with the parish to buy the building.
sides settled on a $500,000 price tag, Beaudoin said. But when the sale process
moved to the public consultation stage, about 100 residents showed up on Oct.
8, according to local media.
a few years it will become a ‘no-go zone’ — a place where Catholics will not be
able to go,” one man was quoted as saying, using a term commonly heard in
right-wing media to describe Muslim-majority neighbourhoods in European cities.
what you want for your children?” he said, according to Le Nouvelliste
leaders in Trois-Rivières did not return numerous requests for comment. But
Boufeldja Benabdallah, president and co-founder of Quebec City’s main mosque,
said he understood what the community was going through.
worshippers were murdered by a gunman in Benabdallah’s mosque in 2017. In a
referendum about six months later, residents of a Quebec City suburb rejected a
proposal to build the region’s first Islamic cemetery — a project Benabdallah
and others had been working on for two decades.
acted very allergically to our proposal,” Benabdallah said in an interview
Wednesday. But Quebec City’s mayor stepped in and began the process of selling
a piece of city-owned land to the community for an eventual cemetery.
who moved to Quebec from Algeria more than 50 years ago, said Muslims in the
province “need to be patient.”
accept the principle that people will react badly. We were disappointed but we
continued to talk. That is essential.”
said Islamophobia was a major reason driving opposition to the sale of the
Trois-Rivières church, but he also noted many Quebecers refuse to recognize the
precarious situation of the province’s Christian churches.
committee he has been leading for a year is scheduled to release its report on
the future of the region’s Catholic churches. He wouldn’t give details but
suggested its conclusions aren’t pretty.
Benabdallah said time is on the side of the province’s Muslim communities —
just as it was for the Italian, Jewish and Haitian immigrants who were once
treated with hostility but eventually became part of the fabric of Quebec
are in a painful situation now but change always wins,” he said. “Now it’s the
turn of the Muslims and tomorrow it will another group’s turn.”
for the cemetery project, Benabdallah said bureaucracy is another reason to be
patient. It’s been two years since Quebec City Mayor Régis Labeaume promised
the land for the cemetery, and the Muslim community is finally “weeks away”
from completing the deal, he said.
Gulf Nations Sanction Iranian Financial Network in Joint Action
Saudi Arabia—Saudi Arabia, Qatar and four other Gulf nations joined the U.S. in
imposing sanctions on a financing network controlled by Iran’s military and
several men linked to the Tehran-backed Lebanese group Hezbollah.
U.S. Treasury Department officials said the action is the largest ever by the
Riyadh-based Terrorist Financing Targeting Center, whose membership also
includes the United Arab Emirates, Oman, Bahrain and Kuwait.
Muslim voting guide not sanctioned by feds
Wilfrid Laurier professor who created a controversial guide for Muslim voters
using federal funds did so without the knowledge of her funder, a spokesman for
the federal agency says.
Matyas told the Toronto Sun that the Social Sciences and Humanities Research
Council of Canada (SSHRC) — the federal
research funding agency that promotes and supports postsecondary-based research
— had no prior knowledge of the Canadian Muslim Voters Guide being created and
was “not consulted” in the development of the document.
said SSHRC provided Zine a $24,923 Partnership Engagement grant for a “Mapping
the Canadian Islamophobia Industry” project, not for the Voter’s Guide.
takes the concerns raised seriously and is looking into the situation,” she
said, noting that the SSHRC is an arm’s-length agency and the government plays
no role in influencing the selection of grants.
Toronto Sun revealed a week ago that the guide — released three days before the
Oct. 21 election — was put together by Jasmine Zine — a professor of sociology
and Muslim studies — and graduate students Patima Chakroun and Shifa Abbas.
guide’s cover stated at the time that it was supported by a SSHRC grant — the
$24,923 Partnership Engagement grant she got last September.
who also received an $80,339 SSHRC grant in 2009 to research Canadian Muslim
youth post 9/11, gave Conservative Leader Andrew Scheer a series of failing
grades in her 34-page guide for allegedly associating with far-right
Islamophobic figures, for opposing the M-103 motion and the anti-Israel
Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement and for proposing immigration
policies that “compromise asylum seekers.”
guide claims that re-elected Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has been subject to
“Islamophobic hate campaigns” and suggests his blackface antics are OK because
of his public stance against Islamophobia.
who has not responded to Toronto Sun requests for comment, issued an Oct. 18
press release noting that they examined the party leaders’ stances based on
public statements and voting records to help Canadian Muslims decide how to
vote in the Oct. 21 federal election.
guide is still online; however the government logos have been removed.
Newman, vice-president of research at Wilfred Laurier University, told the Sun
Thursday the SSHRC logo was removed following discussions between the research
council and the university. He added that Zine assented to the removal.
the university appreciates the range of views on this matter, he said faculty
members at Canadian universities are “protected by academic freedom” — meaning
they can freely communicate the results of research.
administration considers adding more countries to travel ban list
Priscilla Alvarez and Pamela Brown
(CNN)Trump administration officials are discussing adding more countries to the
travel ban list, two sources tell CNN, potentially expanding the controversial
ban that has been criticized as discriminating against Muslims.
inter-agency discussion about imposing travel restrictions on countries that
are not compliant with electronic documents and information sharing -- a key
focus of the administration -- is underway, according to a senior
administration official. Fewer than five countries are under consideration, the
goal, the official said, is to "bring governments into compliance by using
the power of access to the United States." The travel restrictions would
be tailored to the countries, if they're added, and not impose a ban on them
altogether, the official noted.
administration has argued that the travel ban is vital to national security and
ensures countries are in compliance with security measures. But critics say the
restrictions imposed by President Donald Trump's executive order are an attempt
to ban Muslims from entering the United States. It's unclear which countries
are currently under consideration and if they are majority Muslim.
2018, the Supreme Court upheld the third version of the travel ban after
previous bans ricocheted through the courts. The ban restricts entry from seven
countries to varying degrees: Iran, Libya, Somalia, Syria and Yemen, along with
Venezuela and North Korea. Chad was removed from the list last April, after the
White House said the country improved security measures.
third iteration of the travel ban directs the Department of Homeland Security,
in consultation with other federal agencies, to assess the list of countries on
an ongoing basis and provide a report to the President.
has reached out to the Department of Homeland Security for comment.
of mid-September, more than 31,000 people have been denied entry to the United
States due to Trump's travel ban, a State Department official testified.
State Department has also issued more than 7,600 waivers, said Edward
Ramotowski, deputy assistant secretary for visa services in the Bureau of
lawmakers have continued to denounce the ban and pushed back against the
administration's argument that the ban was for national security purposes.
Muslim ban has not made us safer," Rep. Jerry Nadler, a New York Democrat,
said a House hearing on the ban in September. "It has weakened our
standing in the world and runs contrary to our country's moral and
philosophical foundation. The United States has always been, and must continue
to be, a place that welcomes and embraces people of all religions and
Afghan forces accused of atrocities
A US advocacy group, Human Rights Watch (HRW), accused CIA-backed Afghan
paramilitaries on Thursday of committing extrajudicial executioner,
orchestrating enforced disappearances and attacking medical facilities.
hard-hitting report also details changes in the US targeting rules which, HRW
says, have led to indiscriminate airstrikes being called in by these forces and
causing disproportionate harm to civilians.
report — They’ve Shot Many Like This: Abusive Night Raids by CIA-Backed Afghan
Strike Forces — has also documented individual cases of abuses by CIA-backed
Afghan paramilitary forces. It claims that the abuses follow set patterns,which
are repeated and widespread in every province where such units operate.
Rights Watch claims that the 14 case studies documented in this report are
“illustrative of a larger pattern of serious laws-of-war violations—some
amounting to war crimes”.
report covers the period from late 2017 to mid-2019. The report also delves
into the command and control of these “strike forces”, including the role of
the CIA, the US military and the lack of oversight by the Afghan government.
of the report Patricia Gossman claims that such actions do not only affect
immediate families but have also “consigned entire communities to the terror of
abusive night raids and indiscriminate airstrikes”.
report argues that in the absence of a larger political settlement, any
agreement between the US and Taliban would not end the armed conflict between
the Afghan government and the Taliban, nor resolve a range of conflicts that
have fuelled fighting among various Afghan factions for over four decades.
if there is a political settlement, “the kind of Afghan government that
emerges, the structure of the country’s defence forces, and the extent to which
existing militia and insurgent forces demobilise and disarm will all be
critically important”, the report adds.
report notes that “one glaring omission” in the peace negotiations so far has
been discussion of the future of clandestine Afghan forces operating as part of
the covert operations of the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) in Afghanistan.
units get ground support from US special forces seconded to the CIA and air
support from the US military, including intelligence and surveillance in the
identification of targets.
US military officials have sought to retain these Afghan paramilitary forces in
Afghanistan as a bulwark against Al Qaeda and the Islamic State. These troops
include “Afghan strike forces who have been responsible for extrajudicial
executions and enforced disappearances, indiscriminate airstrikes, attacks on
medical facilities, and other violations of international humanitarian law, or
the laws of war,” the report claims.
documented by HRW
paramilitary forces raid the home of a staff member of an Afghan NGO in March
2018. The forces arrived late at night at the family compound and separated the
women from the men.
singled out the staff member’s brother and took him to another part of the
house. They shot him, leaving the body, and left with another male family
member, whom the government later denied holding.
October 2018, an Afghan paramilitary force unit raided a home in the Rodat
district of Nangarhar province, shooting dead five civilian members of one
family, including an elderly woman and child.
December 2018, the Khost Protection Force fatally shot six civilians during a
night search operation in Paktia province. They shot Naim Faruqi, a 60-year-old
tribal elder and provincial peace council member, in the eye, and his nephew, a
student in his 20s, in the mouth.
congresswoman Omar criticized for refusing to back Armenian Genocide bill
congresswoman Ilhan Omar has been criticized for refusing to vote in favor of a
bill recognizing the mass killings of Armenians at the hands of Ottoman Turks
more than a century ago as a genocide.
US House of Representatives passed the House Resolution 296 on Tuesday in a
vote of 405-11, featuring strong bipartisan support. Omar voted “present,” the
equivalent of abstaining on the vote.
resolution recognizing the 1915-1923 massacre of an estimated 1.5 million
Armenians as a genocide is seen as a strong rebuke against the government of
Turkey – the Ottoman Empire’s successor state – and its president, Recep Tayyip
Erdogan, who has long lobbied against such moves.
defended her decision by releasing a statement saying that recognition of
genocide should not be used “as cudgel in a political fight,” and that the
United States had to also recognize the mass slaughters of Native Americans and
should be done based on academic consensus outside the push and pull of
geopolitics. A true acknowledgment of historical crimes against humanity must
include both the heinous genocides of the 20th century, along with earlier mass
slaughters like the transatlantic slave trade and Native American genocide,”
she said in a statement.
congresswoman then went on Twitter to say that she did recognize the Armenian
Genocide, but took issue with the timing and context of the bill being
Armen, an activist who tweets on the Armenian Genocide, responded to Omar by
asking: “When would have been good timing for you Ilhan?”
then went on to applaud several congresswomen who supported the bill, including
those representatives from religious and ethnic minorities.
of color advocates fiercely came out to stand with those who have experienced
cultural erasure, genocide, and settler colonialism today. They stood with
Armenians who are descendants of the dead and remain displaced as the living,”
Tlaib – the first of two Muslim women in Congress (the other being Omar) and
seen as one of Omar’s closest allies in Congress – was one of the co-sponsors
of the bill.
to a Reuters report, the nature and scale of the killings remain highly
contentious nearly a century after they took place. Turkey accepts that many
Armenians died in partisan fighting beginning in 1915, but denies that up to
1.5 million were killed and that this constituted an act of genocide – a term
used by many Western historians and parliaments.
has also refused to answer reporters’ questions on her decision, telling
Buzzfeed’s Miriam Elder that she should not ask her about the vote or the
freshman representative from Minnesota is also being criticized for being the
only Democrat in the House to vote against another bill – which passed
overwhelmingly on Tuesday – calling on US President Donald Trump to impose
sanctions and other restrictions on Turkey and Turkish officials over its
offensive in northern Syria.
decision on both bills has brought into question her inconsistency on US
foreign policy regarding the use of sanctions, especially given her role as a
member of the House Foreign Affairs Committee.
Violence and Repression Remain Rampant in Indian-Administered Kashmir: UN
- The U.N. human rights office has denounced what it calls the ongoing repression
in Indian-administered Kashmir and is urging the government to restore the
rights stripped from the region’s millions of Muslim inhabitants in August.
only Muslim-majority state of Jammu and Kashmir has officially ceased to exist.
On August 5, the Indian government revoked constitutional provisions that
granted partial autonomy to the area. As a result, the region was divided into
two federally administered states - one being Jammu and Kashmir, which will
include the restive Muslim-majority Kashmir Valley and the Hindu-majority
Jammu. The second territory will include the high-altitude Buddhist enclave of
move, which came into effect on Thursday, ends seven decades of self-rule for
office of the U.N. high commissioner for human rights says it deplores the
restrictive measures and what it calls the wide range of rights abuses that
have continued unabated since August. In large parts of the Kashmir Valley, it
reports an undeclared curfew is preventing the free movement of people and
restricting their rights to health, education and freedom of religion and
rights office spokesman Rupert Colville says the agency has heard about
allegations of excessive use of force by security forces during sporadic protests.
He says at least six people reportedly have been killed and scores seriously
injured in separate incidents since the area was split into two.
have also received reports of armed groups operating in Indian-administered
Kashmir threatening residents trying to carry out their normal business or
attend school, as well as several allegations of violence against people who
have not complied with the armed groups’ demands…Hundreds of political and
civil society leaders, including three former chief ministers of Jammu and
Kashmir, have been detained on a preventative basis,” Colville said.
says his office also has received allegations of torture and ill-treatment of
people held in detention. He notes torture is banned under international law
and says these allegations must be independently and impartially investigated.
says restrictions on landline telephones have been lifted, but all internet
services remain blocked in the Kashmir valley. At the same time, he says media
outlets face restrictions and several journalists allegedly have been arrested
in the past three months.
says the people of Kashmir remain bound to the whims and will of the
government. He says major political decisions about the future status of Jammu
and Kashmir are taken without their consent. He notes the region’s leaders are
being detained and their right to freedom of expression and political
Prime Minister Narendra Modi has defended the split, saying the special status
had impeded the region’s progress, given rise to terrorism and was used as a
weapon by rival Pakistan to “instigate some people.”
has long accused Pakistan of supporting and training militants to foment a
separatist insurgency in Kashmir, charges Islamabad denies.
chief appeals to India, Pakistan to deal with Kashmir issue through dialogue
NATIONS: As Jammu and Kashmir transitioned from a state into two union
territories, UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres reiterated his appeal that
India and Pakistan deal with the Kashmir issue through dialogue and ensure full
respect for human rights.
and Kashmir on Thursday transitioned from a state into union territories of
Jammu and Kashmir, and Ladakh, nearly three months after the NDA government
abrogated the state's special status.
about the Secretary General's comment as Jammu and Kashmir ceased to be a state,
the UN chief's Deputy Spokesman Farhan Haq during a media briefing on Thursday
said, “Well, just to reiterate our basic concerns that the Secretary General
has previously expressed his concerns about the situation in Kashmir. As you
know, he has met with representatives of India and Pakistan at their request to
discuss the situation."
said the UN chief has appealed to both India and Pakistan "to deal with
the issue through dialogue, and, as we've made clear and, particularly, as the
High Commissioner for Human Rights has made clear, the situation in Kashmir can
only be solved with full respect for human rights.”
between India and Pakistan has escalated after the revocation of Jammu and
Kashmir's special status.
has downgraded diplomatic ties with New Delhi and expelled the Indian High
has been trying to internationalise the Kashmir issue but India has asserted
that the abrogation of Article 370 was its "internal matter".
two UTs came into existence on the day of the birth anniversary of the
country's first Home Minister Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel, who is credited for
merger of over 560 states into the Union of India.
to attend conference at Wheaton College to advance evangelical-Muslim dialogue
of students are expected to attend a conference at Wheaton College aimed at
helping evangelicals and Muslims to more effectively communicate and understand
Neighborly Faith Conference will be held at Wheaton on Friday and Saturday, but
is not being hosted or sponsored by the college. It will feature both
evangelical and Muslim speakers.
Singer, co-director of Neighborly Faith, told The Christian Post that while the
organization has hosted smaller interfaith events, this will be their first
larger scale conference, with 350 students and staff expected to attend.
provided The Christian Post with a press release about the conference which
notes: “Christians are called to love all of their neighbors, yet 91% of
evangelicals say their current friends are ‘mostly similar’ to them when it
comes to religious beliefs. Perhaps this is why 62% of evangelicals recently
reported anti-Muslim sentiment in their own communities. According to the
Foundation for Ethnic Understanding, ‘Evangelical Christian and Muslim
relations is the greatest interreligious challenge in America today.’”
speakers for the conference include: Luke Goodrich of the Becket Fund; Kristen
Deede Johnson of Western Theology Seminary; Matthew Soerens of World Relief;
Jennifer McNutt of Wheaton College; and Daniel Darling of the Southern Baptist
Convention’s Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission.
of the evangelical keynote speakers will be Matthew Kaemingk, assistant
professor of Christian Ethics at Fuller Seminary in Houston, Texas, and author
of the book Christian Hospitality and Muslim Immigration in an Age of Fear.
Faith has been helping the evangelical community answer this question: Will we
treat our new Muslim neighbors as a problem to be solved, a threat to be
neutralized, or a profound and historic opportunity to relearn the hospitality
that Christ taught us?” Kaemingk asked. “Now they are developing young leaders
on college campuses who are eager to welcome Muslims as Christ welcomes them.
I'm excited to contribute my expertise to the conference.”
conference will also feature Muslim speakers, including: Anwar Khan of Islamic
Relief USA; Petra Alsoofy of the Institute for Social Policy and Understanding;
and Shadi Hamid of the Brookings Institution.
Faith's approach is unique in the otherwise staid world of ‘interfaith’
dialogue — it doesn't try to dilute its theological commitment to Christ, nor
should it. Muslims, likewise, come to the table with their own deep
convictions,” Hamid said in a statement.
Constitutional Committee concludes 2nd day
Syrian Constitutional Committee -- made up of members from the opposition,
civil society and regime -- concluded the second day of talks on finding a
constitutional roadmap for ending the lingering crisis in Syria.
150-member committee is mandated, within the context of a UN-facilitated Geneva
process, to prepare and draft constitutional reforms paving the way for a
political settlement in Syria.
will gather for a third day of talks on Friday.
opposition member who did not want to be named expressed "cautious
optimism" about Thursday's meeting saying 50 people addressed the
least the atmosphere is not a collision or something unexpected, the views are
not close to each other, but hopefully there will be an intention to accomplish
something,” he said.
relative optimism stems from a determination to accomplish something,” he
UN Envoy for Syria Geir Pedersen together with Constitutional Committee
co-chairs Ahmad Kuzbari from the Syrian regime and Hadi Albahra from the
opposition presided the meeting.
saying their meeting is a "sign of hope", Pedersen said the committee
was "duty bound to strive to take on board the views of all your fellow
Monday the group has to agree to a 45-strong body -- 15 from each of the Syrian
regime, the opposition and the civil society blocs -- to start work on the new
constitution aiming for UN-supervised elections," he added.
goal is for consensus decisions where possible, and otherwise with a majority
has been locked in a vicious civil war since early 2011, when the Bashar
al-Assad regime cracked down on pro-democracy protests with unexpected
in talks with Russia to hand over 18 regime elements
is in talks with Russia on handing over 18 Syrian regime army members who were
captured during search activities southeast of Ras Al-Ayn, Syria, in the area
of Turkey’s Operation Peace Spring, Turkey’s defense minister said on Thursday.
are talks with Russians on the handover of 18 people, who were learned to be
regime army members, to Russians,” Hulusi Akar said during the inspection of
border troops in Turkey's Sanliurfa province, near the border with Syria.
presented the developments about the issue to our President [Recep Tayyip
Erdogan] and received instructions,” Akar said.
Tuesday, Turkey’s National Defense Ministry said on Twitter that during a
search southeast of Ras al-Ayn, 18 persons claimed to be elements of the Syrian
regime were taken into custody.
area comes under Turkey’s anti-terror Operation Peace Spring, which was
launched on Oct. 9 to eliminate terrorists from northern Syria east of the
Euphrates River in order to secure Turkey’s borders, aid in the safe return of
Syrian refugees, and ensure Syria’s territorial integrity.
Oct. 22, Turkey and Russia reached a deal under which YPG/PKK terrorists would
pull back 30 kilometers (18.6 miles) south of Turkey’s border with northern
Syria within 150 hours, and security forces from Turkey and Russia would
conduct joint patrols there.
its more than 30-year terror campaign against Turkey, the PKK -- listed as a
terrorist organization by Turkey, the U.S. and the European Union -- has been
responsible for the deaths of 40,000 people, including women, children and
infants. The YPG is the Syrian offshoot of the PKK.
Turkey's procurement of the Russian S-400 missile systems, Akar said: “Efforts
to make these air defense systems work full capacity will continue until spring
Home Office mentions Iraq in ‘copy and paste’ refusal letter to Jamaican man
Jamaican man caring for his terminally ill partner in Britain was told by the
country’s Home Office that he “failed to demonstrate that him and his wife
would be at risk in Iraq”, in what appeared to be a “copy and paste” letter
where his identity was confused with someone else’s.
Wallfall, 49, lives with his British partner, Karen McQueen, 49, who is
diagnosed with terminal cancer and is awaiting a kidney transplant.
Wallfall, who’s never been to Iraq, has been in the UK since 2002 and has been
in a relationship with Ms McQueen for three years, The Guardian reported. The
couple said that she is dependent on him for support with her serious health
the letter however, the Home Office said that it didn’t believe the couple’s
relationship was genuine because Mr Wallfall’s name is not with MS McQueen’s on
their tenancy agreement.
Jamaican national was upset and angry that the Home Office decided that his
relationship with Ms McQueen wasn’t genuine.
Wallfall’s lawyer said that the letter sent to him by the Home Office shows
clear evidence of “copies and pastes” and disregards individual submissions
when reaching its conclusions, which said: “You have claimed that you will be
unlawfully killed on return to Iraq … you have not demonstrated … that death is
Wallfall told The Guardian: “The Home Office should not have made the mistake
of saying I’m from Iraq. How could they have considered my case properly if
they wrote things like that in the refusal letter?”
added that his life would be at risk from gang violence if he’s sent back to
case should have been considered properly without cut-and-paste information
about Iraq in it. The Home Office has treated me so unfairly. They locked me up
in detention for many months. My mum died while I was locked up and I was taken
to her funeral by immigration officers,” he added.
is a good man and he could contribute so much to our society if he was allowed
to,” Ms McQueen said. “I can’t believe the Home Office refused his case because
they said he couldn’t prove he would be in danger in Iraq.
Taliban militants, civilians killed, wounded as explosives-laden vehicle goes
off in Jawzjan
explosion in northern Jawzjan province killed or wounded at least 31 people
including many Taliban militants and ordinary civilians.
209th Shaheen Corps in a statement said the incident took place at around 3:00
pm on Wednesday in Bazarak Jangal Aregh Village of Mardian district.
statement further added that the Taliban militants were transporting roadside
bombs and explosive materials and were their way from Chahar Bolak district of
Balkh province to Mardian district.
the explosives went off prematurely killing 15 Taliban militants and 2
civilians, the 209th Shaheen Corps added.
explosion also wounded 14 other people including Taliban militants and ordinary
Taliban group has not commented regarding the incident so far.
Attacks Getting More Effective, SIGAR Says
- Attacks carried out by Taliban and other insurgent groups in Afghanistan were
twice as effective in the third quarter of 2019 than they were earlier in the
year, according to a leading oversight authority on Afghanistan that reports to
the United States Congress.
half of the 3,495 EIA (enemy initiated attacks) this quarter (49% from June 1
to August 31) were considered “effective” enemy-initiated attacks (EEIA) that
resulted in ANDSF, Coalition, or civilian casualties. Enemy attacks have been
more effective this quarter than they were during the preceding months of this
year (42% effective from January-May 2019),” according to the latest quarterly
report presented to the Congress Thursday by the U.S. Special Inspector General
on Afghanistan Reconstruction (SIGAR).
addition, the report said, the number of attacks on Afghan government or
coalition forces also increased compared to last summer.
(Resolute Support, the NATO mission) reported 7,183 EIA (enemy initiated
attacks) this quarter (June 1-August 31, 2019), with most attacks occurring in
the south, west and northwest of the country,” the SIGAR report said.
the other hand, Afghan security forces increased their ground operations and
air strikes, and the U.S. and coalition forces dropped more bombs in September
this year, 948 according to U.S. Air Force Central Command, than at any time
since October 2010. “According to NATO Special Operations Component
Command-Afghanistan (NSOCC-A), the 2,531 ground operations conducted by ASSF
(Afghan Special Security Forces) from January-September 2019 have already
outpaced the total for all of 2018 (2,365),” the report added.
heightened intensity in fighting is responsible for raising the level of
civilian casualties in Afghanistan in recent months.
Unites Nations Assistance Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA) recorded what it
called an “unprecedented number of civilian casualties” in the third quarter of
casualties at record-high levels clearly show the need for all parties
concerned to pay much more attention to protecting the civilian population,
including through a review of conduct during combat operations,” said Tadamichi
Yamamoto, the Secretary-General’s Special Representative for Afghanistan.
special BBC investigation revealed “an average of 74 men, women and children
were killed every day in Afghanistan throughout the month of August.” However,
BBC clarified that only a fifth of those were civilians and the rest were
combatants “including more Taliban than expected.”
the collapse of peace talks between the U.S. and Taliban in early September,
both sides ramped up attacks. According to a report on the website of the
Bureau of Investigative Journalism, “Almost 40 strikes hit Afghanistan every
day in September.”
report called the jump from previous months “dramatic,” 1,113 in September
compared to 810 in August and 537 the previous month.
addition, the Taliban ramped up attacks on activities related to Afghan
presidential elections that were held September 28, resulting in a historic low
air raids kill 6 insurgents in N. Afghanistan
Afghanistan, Oct. 31 (Xinhua) -- At least six militants were killed as fighting
aircrafts pounded a Taliban hideout in Darqad district of Afghanistan's
northern Takhar province on Wednesday, provincial governor's Spokesman Mohammad
Jawad Hajari said Thursday.
more militants sustained injuries due to the airstrikes, the official said.
security personnel or civilians had been hurt during the raids, the official
militants who have lost grounds in parts of the relatively Takhar province with
Taluqan as its capital 245 km north of Kabul have not made comments on the
claim 14 lives; wound 22 in Afghanistan within 24 hours
Oct. 30 (Xinhua) -- At least 14 people including four civilians have been
killed and 22 civilians wounded in bomb blasts in the insurgency-battered
Afghanistan over the past 24 hours, officials said on Wednesday.
the latest explosion, a motorbike went off in Spin Boldak district of the
southern Kandahar province on Wednesday afternoon, wounding seven civilians,
provincial police spokesman Jamal Barikzai said.
to the spokesman, anti-government militants placed an explosive device in a
motorbike and detonated it in front of a hotel in the bazaar of Spin Boldak
district at 1:11 p.m. local time, wounding seven civilians, some in critical
an explosive-laden car drove by a militant in Mardyan district of the northern
Jawzjan province on Tuesday evening exploded prematurely, killing 11 people
including 10 militants and a civilian and wounding 12 civilians, provincial
police chief Abdul Wahid Wajdan said Wednesday.
mine planted by militants on a road in Mizan district of the southern Zabul
province struck a car, killing three civilians and wounding three others on
Tuesday evening, a statement of provincial police said Wednesday.
civilians mostly bear the brunt of war as 2,563 civilians had been killed and
5,676 others injured in the first nine months of the current year, according to
a report of the UN Assistance Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA) released recently.
upholds death sentence of Islamist chief Azharul Islam
highest court on Thursday upheld a death sentence against a top Islamist leader
for war crimes in a move that lawyers said meant he would almost certainly be
executed in the coming months.
M Azharul Islam, a stalwart of opposition party Jamaat-e-Islami, was sentenced
to death in 2014 for rape, murder and genocide during the country's 1971
would become the sixth Islamist leader to be hanged for their role in the war,
which saw Bangladesh break away from Pakistan after a nine-month conflict.
Supreme Court led by Chief Justice Syed Mahmud Hossain rejected an appeal by
the 67-year-old in a majority verdict, defence lawyer Khandker Mahbub Hossain
will file a review petition against the verdict," he said, adding Islam
was an 18-year-old student during the war and did not have a leading role
helping the Pakistani military.
it is rare in Bangladeshi judicial history for a verdict to be overturned on
review. All previous death sentences arising out of the 1971 war cases have
prosecutor told AFP news agency that Islam could be hanged within months if the
review backs the verdict.
was assistant secretary general of Jamaat, the nation's largest Islamist party,
which sided with Pakistan during the conflict. He is the last of its prominent
leaders to face war crimes accusations.
recent years, the controversial International Crimes Tribunal, set up by the
government in 2010, has sentenced dozens of people to death including five
Jamaat leaders on war crimes charges.
former minister of the main opposition Bangladesh Nationalist Party was also
sentenced to death by the tribunal and later hanged.
said that as regional head of a pro-Pakistani armed group and student wing
leader of Jamaat, Islam was involved in the murder of 1,200 people in the
northern district of Rangpur during the war.
lawyers said the charges were fabricated.
which is banned from contesting elections, said the war crime trials were only
aimed at eliminating Bangladesh's top Islamist leaders.
supreme leader was executed in 2016. The sentences against Islamist leaders
sparked unrest in 2013-14 that left hundreds dead.
groups have said the trials fell short of international standards.
SC upholds death sentence of Jamaat leader
Bangladesh’s highest court on Thursday upheld a death sentence against a top
Islamist leader for war crimes in a move that lawyers said meant he would
almost certainly be executed in the coming months.
Azharul Islam, a stalwart of the opposition Jamaat-i-Islami, was sentenced to
death in 2014 for rape, murder and genocide during the 1971 operation by
would become the sixth Islamist leader to be hanged for their role in the war.
will file a review petition against the verdict,” he said, adding Islam was an
18-year-old student in 1971.
prosecutor said that Islam could be hanged within months if the review backs
the verdict. Islam was assistant secretary general of Jamaat, the nation’s
largest Islamist party, which sided with Pakistan during the conflict. He is
the last of its prominent leaders to face war crimes accusations.
recent years, the controversial International Crimes Tribunal, set up by the
government in 2010, has sentenced dozens of people to death including five
Jamaat leaders on war crimes charges.
said that as regional head of a pro-Pakistani militia and student wing leader
of Jamaat, Islam was involved in the murder of 1,200 people in the northern
district of Rangpur during the war. Defence lawyers said the charges were
which is banned from contesting elections, said the war crime trials were only
aimed at eliminating Bangladesh’s top Islamist leaders.
supreme leader was executed in 2016. The sentences against Islamist leaders
sparked unrest in 2013-14 that left hundreds dead.
kill 13 Taliban militants in provincial capital of Baghlan
airstrike killed at least 13 Taliban militants in Pul-e Khumri, the provincial
capital of Baghlan province.
military officials said Friday the security forces conducted the airstrike in
the past 24 hours as part of the ongoing offensive to suppress the
anti-government armed militants.
security situation in Baghlan province has deteriorated during the recent
militants are active in some districts of the province and often conduct
terrorist related activities.
the Afghan forces routinely conduct counter-terrorism operations against the
anti-government armed groups in this province.
Forces kill, detain 4 ISIS and Taliban militants; destroy IED making material
Afghan Special Forces killed 3 militants of ISIS Khurasan group and arrested a
Taliban militant during the operations in Nangarhar and Parwan provinces.
military officials said Friday the Special Forces killed the 3 ISIS Khurasan
militants during a patrol in Achin district of Nangarhar.
officials further added that the Special Forces arrested the Taliban militant
in Bagram district of Parwan province.
Special Forces also destroyed IED making material during a separate operation
in Chaparhar district of Parwan, the officials added.
Forces kill, detain 38 Taliban militants in Daykundi and Wardak provinces
Afghan Special Forces killed 33 Taliban militants and arrested 5 others during
the operations in Daykundi and Wardak provinces.
military officials said Thursday the Special Forces also destroyed two caches
of weapons during the same operations.
officials further added that the Special Forces killed 30 of the militants
during a raid in Gizab district of Daykundi province.
Special Forces also arrested one militant an destroyed a cache of weapons
during the same raid, the officials added.
Niger soldiers killed in probable Boko Haram attack: ministry
(Reuters) - Twelve soldiers in southeastern Niger were killed and eight wounded
in an overnight attack by gunmen likely belonging to Islamist insurgent group
Boko Haram, the defense ministry said on Wednesday.
Haram has been fighting for a decade to carve an Islamist caliphate out of
northeast Nigeria, and has carried out regular raids over loosely guarded
borders into neighboring Chad, Niger and Cameroon.
the night of Oct. 29-30, an army position in Diffa region was “attacked by
unidentified armed persons very probably belonging to the terrorist group Boko
Haram,” the ministry said in a radio statement.
terror suspects killed as al-Shabab raid Kenyan police camp
Kenya, Oct. 30 (Xinhua) -- Al-Shabab militants killed two of their accomplices
who had been detained by Kenyan security officers when they raided a police
camp in Wajir County near the border with Somalia on Tuesday evening.
regional police commander Paul Soi confirmed the incident on Wednesday, saying
three police officers were injured during the gunfight with the extremist group
suspected to have crossed from Somalia.
said there were plans to transfer the suspects to another station before the
militants stormed the Dadajabula police station.
police and witnesses said it was raining heavily at the time of the raid,
forcing the police officers on duty to take cover, giving way for the attackers
to raid the station at around 8 pm.
seems they were high-value suspects. They were pulled from the cells and
killed," said a local official who did not want to be named. He said the
raid was about rescuing two al-Shabab suspects the police detained at the
station is about 13 kilometers from the Kenya-Somalia border. The border is
porous that could allow in terrorists freely.
police said the attackers used rocket-propelled grenades in the attack scaring
officers on duty.
officers called reinforcement from the military but by the time the backup team
had arrived, the militants had accessed the police cells and killed two men who
were held there over terror-related incidents.
believe the attackers were on a rescue mission after the arrest and detention
of the two men who were later slain. The suspects had been detained at the
station hours earlier over terror-related issues, police said.
female civilian was also injured in the attack alongside two police officers
and a police reservist. The station was burnt in the attack. One of the police
officers was shot in the hip, with the bullet exiting, while the other has a
bullet lodged in his stomach.
incident comes days after Somalia authorities handed over to Kenya two men
believed to be members of al-Shabab terror group.
county and other parts of northern Kenya have been subjected to successive
explosive attacks by al-Shabab operatives in the country following the
onslaught by Kenyan soldiers on the al-Shabab in southern Somalia.
irregular migrants rescued off Libyan coast
200 migrants have been rescued off Libya’s coast in operations conducted by the
navy of the country’s UN-recognized Government of National Accord (GNA),
according to a statement on Thursday.
GNA said in a statement that 200 migrants including seven women and three
children were rescued in two operations held on the northwestern coast of
rescued migrants were from Egypt, Morocco and Tunisia, the statement added.
year, thousands of irregular migrants use Libya as a gateway to cross the
Mediterranean to Europe in overcrowded boats, often dying in the process.
numbers have declined since mid-2017 after Italy introduced a policy to return
migrants to Libya if found at sea.
policy has drawn condemnation from human rights activists as Libya has remained
beset by turmoil since long-serving leader Muammar Gaddafi was ousted and
killed in a bloody NATO-backed uprising in 2011.
2 international aid groups can resume work
aid groups suspended in Nigeria last month due to alleged aid to terrorists are
now free to resume operations, said officials on late Wednesday.
suspension of the two international humanitarian organisations --Mercy Corps
and Action Against Hunger -- is temporarily lifted," announced Sadiya Umar
Farouk, minister for humanitarian affairs and disaster management.
said the government lifted the suspension on the recommendation of a government
board of inquiry that looked into their activities.
said the board recommended regular scrutiny of the activities of most
Kallon, the UN humanitarian coordinator in Nigeria, praised the development,
saying: "I am confident this effort will strengthen our relationship and
partnership with the Nigerian government and military."
two aid groups were banned and their offices in many northern states closed in
September over allegations of providing logistics, foods, and medication to the
terror group Boko Haram in the country’s northeast. Both groups have denied the
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