veiled women and children fleing from the Baghouz area in the eastern Syrian
province of Deir Ezzor walk in a field on February 12, 2019 during an operation
by the US-backed Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) to expel hundreds of Islamic
State group (IS) jihadists from the region. Fadel SENNA / AFP
Visitors Attend ‘Open Mosque Day’ In Pune To Know More About Islam
Man Who Interrogated Masood Azhar Remembers When He Sang Like a Canary
Briefed P5 Countries on Fallout of Possible Terror Attack in India, Pakistan
was Building up Its Case
Of Britons Believe Islam Threatens British Way Of Life, Says Report
Wonders Whether to Bring Back Children Raised Under Islamic State
Lose Hope for Captured Loved Ones As End Of Islamic State's Caliphate Nears
University Professor Says Israel Tests Weapons On Palestinian Children
Wants Europe to Take Back Daesh Captives In Syria
Surveillance Firm Tracking Millions In Xinjiang
Energy Security To Top Indian Agenda During Saudi Crown Prince Visit
Muslim Villager Comes To Rescue of Ailing Cow; A Slap On The Face Of Fanatics
Major, 3 soldiers among 5 killed in Pulwama encounter with Jaish terrorists
after attack: Four separatist leaders lose security
Association in Austria's Vienna Provides Hot Meals to Homeless
denies UK claims of ‘commitments’ on Yemen
Deal on first phase of pullback from Hodeidah reached
Fighters, Ankara-Backed Militants Resume Clashes in Aleppo
Army Gives Crushing Response to Terrorists' Attacks in Hama
Assad: US will sell out those relying on it
Syria force says ISIS holding 1,000 civilians
Crown Prince, Pakistan PM chair joint Supreme Coordination Council session
coalition aircraft transport Syrian gold stashed by Daesh: Report
army kills 20 Houthi militants, injures several others in Dhale governate
Palestinians injured after clashes on Israel-Gaza border
Must Be Accountable For Terror Attack In Iran: Parl. Speaker Larijani
Palestinians, Israeli soldier wounded in Gaza clashes
warring parties agree on first phase of redeployment
evicts Palestinian family from house in Jerusalem al-Quds
clears Palestinians from Jerusalem home claimed by settlers
Wants Europe To Take Back Daesh Captives In Syria
Man Throws Hot Coffee on Sikh Clerk, Punches Him Thinking He Is Muslim
‘Won’t Stand Idly By’ As Turkey Buys S-400: Pence
We don’t want regime to come back to N. Syria
the SDF not a new international force in Syria says Arab League head
says supporting Dr M as PM ‘alone’ in defending Malay-Muslim interests
reminder to PAS leaders on truthfulness and Islam
PPBM replace Umno to represent Malays and Islam?
to mobilize members to fight extremism
Violence Bill: KP govt again facing resistance from religio-political parties
Arabia Inks Agreements worth $20 Billion with Pakistan
foreign policy leading country to isolation: Fazl
Pakistan soldiers killed in Balochistan attack: Report
claims it's fulfilling sanctions obligations against JeM
will be a very important country in coming future,' says Saudi crown prince
offers cooperation to Iran over probe into attack
FC men martyred in Panjgur attack
meeting in Pakistan cancelled
killed, wounded during a clash between Afghan forces and Taliban in Faryab
to be taken for quick hearing on Jamaat petition: AG
envoy for Afghan peace met with Abdullah in Kabul
Shabaab Resilience, Diplomatic Row Muddle Troop Withdrawal From Somalia
clerics demand arrest, prosecution of suspects in Kaduna killings
civilians killed in Boko Haram clash with government troops
to varying degrees, celebrate 2011 uprising
Fresh Boko Haram attack kills 9
by New Age Islam News Bureau
visitors attend ‘Open Mosque day’ in Pune to know more about Islam
least 100 people from different religions visited a mosque during the ‘Open
Mosque Day’ held at Azam campus on Saturday.
Karpe, a second-year law student of New Law College, Bharti Vidyapeeth, said,
“I wanted to know more about this religion and so I came to the campus.”
Thory, who hails from Jaipur visited the mosque out of curiosity. “I live in an
area where most of my neighbours are Muslims. I was always curious to know
about the way the community members worship inside the mosque. It was
interesting to see how they pray and why they say namaaz five times.”
Lord, forgive my sins and open the doors of mercy for me, you say this dua
while entering the mosque,” said Nazneen Shah, a member of the Jamaate-Islami
Hind, as she explained the meaning to the visitors.
Tiwari who hails from Jagdalpur, Chattisgarh said, “I always had questions on
what is the notion of Allah, or what is Azan and I have got my answers.”
Rajpurohit from Jodhpur, Rajasthan said that many of his misconceptions were
clarified. “It is a good platform to seek answers regarding the religion,” he
Bhosale, senior police inspector, Lashkar police station who visited the mosque
said, “This mosque is in my jurisdiction. I have been to many mosques and it is
interesting to see people from all faiths here today.”
man who interrogated Masood Azhar remembers when he sang like a canary
attack has brought terrorist Maulana Masood Azhar, the Jaish-e-Mohammad founder
who was released following the hijacking of IC-814, back in the spotlight.
Former Intelligence Bureau official Avinash Mohananey, who served in J&K
and Pakistan, revisits his long interrogatory sessions with ‘Pulwama
mastermind’ at Kot Bhalwal Jail, Jammu, from 1994 to 1999
years ago in November 1994, I showed Omar Saeed Sheikh’s photograph to Maulana
Masood Azhar to find out more about their relationship. By that time, Azhar had
been in detention for about eight months and I had been regularly interacting
meeting with him would be an addition to the knowledge about Pak-based ‘jehadi’
groups, their mentors and the role of the ISI. He was always forthcoming with
details to fill any gaps in our
understanding of various ‘jehadi’ organisations. Azhar did not recognise Omar
was always boastful about his importance. He claimed that when he landed at Heathrow
Airport, there was a traffic jam for two hours as many people had come to see and
receive him. He would repeatedly tell me “you people will not be able to keep
me in custody for long. You don’t know how important I am for Pakistan and the
ISI. You are underestimating my popularity. The ISI would ensure that I am back
in Pakistan.” There is little doubt that the ISI needed such Maulanas, who had
the capacity to generate religious hysteria and spew venom among masses against
India to spearhead ‘jehad’ in Kashmir.
that time, the first attempt by Omar Saeed Sheikh and Illyas Kashmiri, who had
kidnapped three British and one American from Delhi in October 1994, had
failed. Omar Saeed Sheikh was arrested by the UP Police, but Illyas Kashmiri
escaped. Apart from Masood Azhar, they had also demanded release of Sajjad
Afghani, chief commander of Harkat-ul-Mujahideen (HuM), both arrested and
detained together. Omar Saeed Sheikh is now in Hyderabad Jail (Pakistan),
awaiting execution after having been convicted of killing Daniel Pearl, the
reporter of ‘The Wall Street Journal’, in Pakistan, in 2002. Illyas Kashmiri
was killed in a US-drone strike in North Waziristan in Pakistan on June 3,
Azhar was arrested in peculiar circumstances on February 11, 1994, at Khanabal
Chowk in Anantnag. He was travelling in an auto rickshaw along with Sajjad
Afghani, whom he had met at latter’s hideout in Kapran forests of Anantnag
district. The duo tried to run when the auto they were travelling was
intercepted by the J&K Police for a routine check. Both were chased by Army
personnel deployed at a nearby picket and arrested.
could not take the pressure of questioning by the Army and soon started singing
like a canary. He even divulged the real identity of the man sitting next to
him in the auto rickshaw. The Army realised that they had hit a jackpot. Sajjad
Afghani never forgave Masood Azhar for the same and both had strained relations
even in the jail. The Army officers clearly knew the rank of chief commander,
but could not place Azhar’s position of being general secretary of the newly
formed Harkat-ul-Ansar. Nevertheless, the Army realised that the duo were a big
catch and were dispatched to Jammu for detailed questioning.
had never been slapped by my father, but for the first time in my life an Army
jawan did so even before asking me any question,” complained Masood Azhar to
me. Pointing towards his protruding belly, Azhar said: “I was declared
physically unfit for arms training at the training camp of HuM in Kunar
Province of Afghanistan and had to be sent back to Karachi.” It was because of
his abdominal girth, he got stuck in the tunnel dug by terrorists to escape in
Jammu. He saved himself, but Sajjad Afghani was killed by the J&K Police in
the same attempt in 1999. About assuming Portuguese identity, he clarified: “I
came on a forged Portuguese passport for implementing the merger of HuM and
Harkat-ul-Jehad-e-Islami (HuJI) in the Valley, as it was not possible for me to
cross the Line of Control on foot.”
was highly critical of his organisation in Pakistan for giving him a wrong
impression of the ground situation in Kashmir that led to his arrest. He blamed
the same on returning ‘mujahids’, called ‘ghazis’ (victors) in Pakistan, who
would narrate all kinds of false stories of how Kashmir was about to be
liberated and the Indian forces were on retreat. “I had imagined an Afghanistan-like
situation, where a liberated belt was created by Mujahideen groups and one
could travel to and from Pakistan without much difficulty. On the contrary, I saw
Mujahideens on continuous run avoiding Indian security forces,” he added.
ego was hurt in the second attempt to free him. He was not amused when a
shadowy group Al Faran had, apart from him, also demanded release of Nasarullah
Manzoor Langaryar, chief commander of HuJI, in exchange for four foreign
trekkers (two British, one each from the US and Germany) in its custody in July
1995. He claimed that it diluted his position and stature as there was no comparison
between him and Langaryar, whom he described as a person of low intellect and a
mere foot soldier. He blamed Abdul Hamid al-Turki, a suspected Turkish national
and leader of Al Faran, for the same. He disclosed that Turki and Langaryar had
moved together from the Afghan theatre in the same group to Kashmir. Turki was
subsequently killed in an encounter with the Army on December 4, 1995, in
words proved to be prophetic. In the third attempt, he was finally released in
exchange of passengers of IC-814 on December 31, 1999. There was no stopping
Masood Azhar thereafter. His stature in ‘jehadi’ circles in Pakistan
skyrocketed. ISI handed over training camps to him and pressurised most of the
cadre of HuM to join the newly floated Jaish-e-Mohammad. He became the ultimate
‘ghazi’ against India.
that time, in Pakistan, I had a glimpse of the same familiar face in early
February 2000. I was on way to my office at the Indian High Commission in
Islamabad. While I was waiting at a traffic signal, I saw a convoy of Toyota
pick-up trucks full of fiercely looking bearded Pakistanis carrying
Kalashnikovs heading towards Lal Masjid — about 100 of them. Not an unusual
sight in Pakistan at that time. Terrorist groups used to openly flaunt their
weaponry, address public meetings, collect funds and sell ‘jehadi’ literature.
Fortunately, he didn’t see me.
has more than paid back to the ISI for getting him released by organising
hijacking of IC-814. He has masterminded several devastating and high-profile
attacks in J&K and the rest of India after his release — Pulwama being the
latest one. He must be hunted down in the rat hole of Bahawalpur, Punjab,
Pakistan, where he is being safely guarded by the ISI. China must realise that
such terror ideologues have always hurt the hand that feeds them — a
fore-warning from history that it must not forget.
Delhi: Pakistan’s Foreign Office, last month in Islamabad, briefed the
ambassadors of the P5 countries—the United States, Russia, China, the United
Kingdom and France—on a possible terror incident in Kashmir and its likely
fallout, including “a possible surgical strike by India in view of Indian media
reports”, said a diplomat in the Ministry of External Affairs, who is
well-versed in Pakistan affairs. “Pakistan was building up its case by saying,
don’t blame us if anything happens in the region,” he said.
P-5 ambassadors were shown many Indian news reports and a few media assessments
of the election prospects of the Narendra Modi government to try and prove the
point that the Indian Prime Minister needed to go to war with Pakistan to win a
re-election. Before the budget, staunch critics of Modi in the India media were
suggesting that only a populist budget and a “limited war” with Pakistan could
ensure that he would regain his “lost ground”. These reports were used by the
Pakistan establishment to try and prove its “case”.
about the briefing by Islamabad, former Foreign Secretary Kanwal Sibal said,
“The P5 diplomats are not so naive that they will believe in any such
pre-emptive diplomatic strikes by Pakistan. Pakistan was pleading for ‘benefit
of doubt’, by suggesting that some groups in the region may do something in
Kashmir, but they weren’t guided by them or supported by them. No one buys
this. P5 ambassadors are cynical enough to understand the Pakistani game plan.”
Kondapalli, chairman of East Asian Studies at the Jawaharlal Nehru University
concurs with Sibal, while adding another argument: “China wants the US, Russia
and Europe out of the India-Pakistan region. China has completed 26 out of 43
infrastructure related projects in Pakistan under the China-Pakistan Economic
Corridor project and now wants to be a mediator in the unresolved disputes
between India and Pakistan. Any counter-action by India after Pulwama has to
take into account this factor, too.”
Pulwama, Pakistan has covered its tracks better compared to the Uri and
Pathankot attacks. In Pulwama, the suicide bomber is an Indian boy, which
changes the track of investigation. This is a model used in Afghanistan and is
a surprise for India. Pakistan seems to have studied the fallout of the
Pathankot and Uri attacks and has improved upon its tactics,” the diplomat in
MEA said. He added, “Knowing Pakistani diplomats well, they are trying to sell
to the P5 countries the line that Delhi’s actions are election related, that
Modi is trying hard to save his image in his domestic constituency. Pakistan is
trying to send the message that if any retaliatory action is taken against
Pakistan for what a Kashmir born Indian youth has done, it would respond
Vivek Katju, former Secretary and Pakistan expert, does not think Pakistan’s
briefing to the P5 is of any consequence. He said that neither the US nor China
could restrict India’s choices. “India has the capacity to handle any pressure
which seeks to limit its options,” he added.
of Britons believe Islam threatens British way of life, says report
than a third of people in the UK believe that Islam is a threat to the British
way of life, according to a report by the anti-fascist group Hope not Hate.
organisation’s annual “State of Hate” report, which will be launched on Monday,
argues that anti-Muslim prejudice has replaced immigration as the key driver of
the growth of the far right.
polling conducted by the group in July last year, 35% of people thought Islam
was generally a threat to the British way of life, compared with 30% who
thought it was compatible. Forty-nine per cent of those who voted Conservative
in the 2017 general election thought it was generally incompatible, and 22% of
Labour voters agreed.
a third (32%) said they thought there were “no-go areas” in Britain where
sharia law dominated and non-Muslims could not enter. Almost half of
Conservative voters (47%) and those who voted to leave the EU (49%) believed
this was true.
report said that while polling showed that attitudes towards Muslims in Britain
had improved between 2011 and 2016, the terror attacks in the UK in 2017 had
had a negative impact on perceptions.
a separate poll of more than 5,000 people in August 2018, 30% said they would
support a campaign set up by local residents to stop proposals to build a
mosque near where they live. Twenty-one per cent say they would still support
the campaign if either side became violent, because the matter was so serious.
the issues in the report is that of leftwing antisemitism. Hope not Hate said
that while extreme antisemitism and Holocaust denial were less common, there
were many examples of “conspiratorial” antisemitism and the use of antisemitic
tropes, “especially in relation to supposed Jewish power”.
report points to research that found an increase in antisemitic Google searches
in the UK. It found that 5% of UK adults did not believe the Holocaust happened
and 8% said the scale of the Holocaust had been exaggerated.
report’s authors said a large group was involved in “denying a problem exists
and dismissing the issue as a rightwing and Zionist smear”. It concluded that
the Labour party was still not doing enough to tackle antisemitism.
family history of so many members of the British Jewish community includes
first-hand experience of persecution. Many people in the Jewish community
therefore identify with a sense of the precariousness of their safety, where
material security and educational attainment are not seen as guarantors of
security and safety,” it said.
inability of the Labour party leadership to understand and acknowledge this
experience is particularly chilling when the Labour party and the left in
general hold values of equality and antiracism as core to their identity.”
report also found that while the numbers arrested for terror-related offences
in 2018 was down on the previous year, there was a growing threat of far-right
terrorism, which came both from organised groups such as National Action and
from lone actors who are radicalised over the internet.
group warned that there could also be a rise in support for Islamist extremist
group Al-Muhajiroun following the release of one of its founders, Anjem
Choudary, from prison.
latest polling also reveals a disturbing level of anti-Muslim prejudice and
discourse running through society, with a third of people saying they believe
there are Muslim-run no-go zones, and rising antisemitism on the left, which we
have exposed in a new investigation,” said Nick Lowles, the chief executive of
Hope not Hate.
while the banned terror group National Action has finally been destroyed by the
authorities, there is a growing threat of violence from the younger neo-Nazis
emerging in their wake. There are justified concerns that the police response
to these rising threats, especially against MPs, has fallen short. We believe a
very real threat remains from terrorism carried out by lone actors, too,
radicalised over the internet.
to this febrile mix is the release of Anjem Choudary and many of his network’s
leading figures, likely to regalvanise their supporters and provide yet another
seedbed for the far right to grow their support, too. We cannot wait for a
traditional, united, far-right umbrella organisation to emerge before we act.
We need to start connecting the dots now.”
wonders whether to bring back children raised under Islamic State
Belgium – The children’s voices crackled through the phone and into Fatiha’s
gray-walled living room.
are we going to grandma’s?” one implored in the background, and then into the
phone: “Are you coming to get us?”
the hallway, six coat hooks were fixed in a row at child’s height. A backpack hung
on each one. Up a steep stairway, sheets with characters from Pixar’s “Cars”
were carefully tucked into bunk beds, awaiting the children’s return.
Fatiha, a Belgian whose grandparents emigrated from Morocco, didn’t know when
her six grandchildren — who range in age from 10 months to 7 years – would be
back. They are among the hundreds of children born to European citizens who
went to fight for the Islamic State. Now that the caliphate has collapsed, and
the planned U.S. withdrawal has compounded regional instability, grandparents
across Europe are pushing to save children whom in some cases they’ve seen only
in photos, looking up at them from the dusty desert floor.
waiting for them, everything is ready for them,” Fatiha, 46, said in an interview
at her home outside Antwerp, in a bucolic village where backyards give way to
hayfields. The children’s fathers are dead, and their mothers – Fatiha’s
daughter and daughter-in-law – would face prison sentences if they return to
Belgium. So Fatiha has prepared to care for the children herself. To protect
her grandchildren, she spoke on the condition that her last name not be
Belgium, France and other countries that saw some of their nationals gravitate
toward Islamic State territory as it expanded across Syria and Iraq, the plight
of children who have claims to citizenship has ignited questions that would
test the most Solomonic of judges.
are grappling with how much responsibility they bear for the safety of these
small citizens, most of them younger than 6, in a region where fresh conflict
could erupt. Courts are weighing whether the rights of the children extend to
returning with their Islamic State parents. And a bitter public debate is
underway about whether grandparents whose own children ran away to the Islamic
State can be trusted to raise a new generation differently.
Kurdish authorities who control the territory in northeastern Syria where many
of these families ended up estimate they have more than 1,300 children in their
refugee and prison camps. Russia repatriated 27 children last week. France is
considering bringing back more than 100 fighters – who would face trial – and
their families. But until now, most governments have calculated that the
political downside of retrieving parents who may pose security risks outweighs
any need to bring back the children.
Fatiha’s case, a judge ruled that Belgium must repatriate her six
grandchildren, along with her daughter and her daughter-in-law – Belgian
citizens who joined the Islamic State and now want to come back. The two women
were convicted in absentia of joining a terrorist organization and would each
face a five-year prison sentence upon their arrival on Belgian soil. But the
judge ruled that bringing the children home and leaving their mothers in Syria
would violate the children’s human rights.
Dec. 26 ruling has spurred a furious response from Belgian leaders, and the
government plans to appeal in court on Wednesday. Authorities expect whatever
precedent is set to affect decisions about other Islamic State families. At
least 22 Belgian children are in Syrian camps, and more than 160 are believed
to be in the conflict zone.
most vociferous objections relate to the return of the parents.
won’t punish young children for their parents’ misdeeds,” Belgium’s migration
secretary, Maggie De Block, said in a statement last month. “They have not
chosen the Islamic State. That is why we want to make efforts to bring them
back to our country. For the parents, the situation is different. They
themselves have deliberately chosen to turn their backs on our country and even
to fight against it. Repeatedly.
has its limits,” she said. “The freedom you enjoy in our country to make your
own decisions also means you bear responsibility for the consequences.”
for De Block, the justice ministry and Belgium’s prime minister all declined to
comment for this report. They would not confirm whether the government was
paying the judge’s prescribed penalty of 5,000 euros per child per day if they
weren’t returned by Feb. 4.
for the children, Belgian sympathy goes only so far. Many people are anxious.
Belgium contributed the largest number of Islamic State fighters to Syria per
capita of any European Union nation, and the country remains scarred by the
attacks of 2016, when Belgian citizens with Islamic State connections targeted
Brussels with deadly bombings. Discussions on talk shows and in editorial pages
have stoked fear about what the children may have learned from their parents or
from Islamic State training camps, which targeted children as young as 6 for
indoctrination – although little evidence exists that any of the Belgians were
needs to protect “these children as well as our children, and to protect the
parents of our children,” said Nadia Sminate, a lawmaker in the regional
parliament for the Dutch-speaking north of Belgium who has been a vocal critic
of plans to bring back the children. “These children have been raised with
different values and norms than our children. We don’t have to be silly about
that. They’ve seen the cruelest things in the world.”
Fatiha needs to cheer herself up, she plays a video her daughter sent last
summer of her grandchildren raucously singing “Heads, Shoulders, Knees and
Toes” in Dutch – their first and only language.
days are a blur of frustration. A visit from the police, interviewing her yet
again to determine whether she would raise the grandchildren in a radicalized
home. A phone call with her lawyer, who is battling the Belgian government to
carry out the judge’s order. A rattling train trip to Brussels alongside other
grandmothers who are pushing policymakers to repatriate their toddlers. An
anxious internet search of prison conditions in Deir Ezzour, Syria, where she
was worried her daughter, daughter-in-law and grandchildren had been taken
after they dropped out of contact for more than two weeks last month.
they resurfaced, they reported that Kurdish authorities had blindfolded them and
transferred them not to Deir Ezzour, but to a more brutal camp than they’d been
in previously. One of Fatiha’s grandsons has chronic diarrhea, and now he has
only a single pair of pants, his mother said. Another has asthma, but no
keeps getting worse,” Fatiha’s daughter, Bouchra Abouallal, 25, said in an
interview with The Washington Post via a messaging service. “I keep telling the
children, ‘Don’t be afraid. Nothing is going to happen.’ But they’re not stupid
the December court order, “we told our children, ‘We’re almost home. We’ll be
there in a month,’ ” Abouallal said, her voice cracking.
boy’s voice interrupted. “Why are you crying?”
now they who are calming me down, not the other way around,” Abouallal told The
Fatiha’s account, her family’s problems started with her 2009 divorce from her
children’s father, which sent them searching elsewhere for support.
family had worn its faith lightly. Fatiha said they practiced “modern Islam.”
But her eldest son, Noureddine Abouallal, fell in with an Antwerp group called
Sharia4Belgium — which would later be connected to 2015 and 2016 terrorist
attacks in Paris and Brussels. Noureddine Abouallal shaved his head and grew a
beard. He and his wife — Tatiana Wielandt, who converted to Islam to marry him
in 2010 — marked their son’s birth with an announcement that included images of
a fighter and a gun.
Abouallal and her husband also joined Sharia4Belgium.
2013, when eager adherents of jihadism were streaming toward the fighting, the
two couples went with their babies to Syria. The men were killed within a year.
Abouallal and Wielandt – each pregnant with her dead husband’s child, and each
with an older son in tow – returned to Belgium in 2014. The state didn’t seek
to prosecute them then.
said she was furious that they had run away, but she let them back in her life.
Abouallal and Wielandt crammed into a bunk bed. Two baby boys were born. Their
toddler sons settled in at a school two doors down.
at a backyard barbecue, one grandson dived under a table as a plane flew
overhead – perhaps a reaction ingrained from bombings. But otherwise the boys
showed little evidence of what they had been through, Fatiha said.
one day in 2015, they all disappeared, leaving Fatiha with a house full of toys
and a child-size Nutella handprint on the door to the backyard.
felt like I was stabbed in my back. I felt like I didn’t want to have anything
to do with them,” she said. She left the handprint.
the end, she said, she decided it was better to keep in touch. The young women
made it with their children to the Islamic State stronghold of Raqqa. They
remarried, but their second husbands were killed around the time Wielandt gave
birth to her third child. After Western forces bombarded the city into
submission in late 2017, they fled into Kurdish-controlled territory and
eventually to the al-Hol camp in northeastern Syria.
daughter and daughter-in-law ask Fatiha for reminders about what Belgian primary
schools teach, so they can try to replicate the lessons. In video clips, the
kids show off their somersaults and tumbling. Recently, Abouallal sent a video
of Fatiha’s newest granddaughter, born last April, wearing her first headband
and plucking at the unfamiliar white elastic as it slipped over her eyes.
told them I want to see everything as they grow up,” Fatiha said. “I don’t want
to miss a thing.”
as the Belgian government stalls, and as the security situation in Syria
becomes increasingly uncertain, Fatiha and the other grandmothers are growing
Mazouz — whose son was caught at the airport as he tried to make his way to
Syria – started a support group called Mothers’ Jihad to help fight for the
return of Belgians who spent time in the caliphate.
understand the government. I understand the security issues,” Mazouz said. “But
I guarantee they’re going to come back, and if they come back in 15 to 20
years, what kind of mood are they going to come back in?”
said that after being repeatedly spurned by Belgian authorities, she now better
understands her son’s disaffection.
never asked myself, ‘Am I Moroccan or Belgian?’ I said I was Belgian,” she
said. “I was born here. I work here. I pay my taxes here. But now I ask myself.
Now the parents understand the perspective of the young adults.”
for the children in Syria have been targeted with bile.
everybody likes what we do,” said Heidi De Pauw, the director of Child Focus, a
Belgian organization that is modeled on the National Center for Missing and
Exploited Children in the United States. But for pressing Belgian authorities
on this case, she has received death threats and been told that the children
should be “drowned like kittens.”
Pauw and others say the children should not be condemned because their parents
made bad decisions.
psychologist who traveled to Syria in October to assess Belgian children in the
camps, including Fatiha’s grandchildren, said despite everything they have been
through, their play and development were relatively normal.
were really surprised about how these children were doing,” said Gerrit Loots,
a child psychologist at the Free University of Brussels. “Once these children
have adapted, they can go to school, they can be with others.”
said his greatest concern was how attached the children were to their mothers.
“They’ve never spent a day apart,” he noted.
said taking the children back to Belgium without their mothers would be
“psychologically disastrous.” Bringing them all back together, even assuming
the mothers go straight to prison, would be easier to manage, Loots concluded.
mothers say they want to return, but they are ready to stay behind in Syria if
that’s the cost of getting their children back to Belgium and safety.
have no problem with that,” Abouallal said. “I just want my children to have a
secure life, and have a normal life, and that they don’t punish them for the
mistakes we’ve made.”
sucked in her breath, then dabbed a tear, as her daughter described conditions
in their new camp.
to keep them busy,” Fatiha urged her daughter. “Tell them a story.”
love you,” the grandmother told them all, before she hung up the phone and
slumped into her couch.
Van den Berghe in Ranst and Quentin Aries in Brussels contributed to this
lose hope for captured loved ones as end of Islamic State's caliphate nears
Haji has followed news of the battle for Islamic State’s final stronghold more
closely than most.
four and a half years he has been hoping for information on family members
captured by the jihadists. Out of the five that went missing the day Islamic
State of Iraq and Levant (Isil) overran the Yazidi homeland of Sinjar, northern
Iraq, in 2014, only one returned.
had clung to the outside chance that his wife, two daughters and youngest son
were still alive and being held in the group’s ever-dwindling territory.
when it was reduced to less than a square-mile in the Syrian desert, he was
forced to confront a more painful possibility.
University professor says Israel tests weapons on Palestinian children
Arab professor of the Hebrew University of Jerusalem al-Quds says the Israeli
military tests various weapons against innocent Palestinians, even children, in
order to learn which are the most powerful, a report said Sunday.
Nadera Shalhoub-Kevorkian said in a lecture last Tuesday at Columbia University
that “Israel does weapons tests on Palestinian children” and that “Palestinian
spaces are laboratories for the Israeli security industry.”
an Arab professor of social work from the Hebrew University, quoted from the
testimony of a few children to assert that the Israeli military specifically
targets the younger generation for these alleged tests, said a report by
Israel’s Army Radio.
army checks what bombs to use – gas bombs or stink bombs,” a child named
Muhammad said, according to the report. “Whether to put over us plastic bags or
cloth bags, whether to hit us with their rifles or kick us with their boots.”
professor’s speech, titled “Violent Technologies in Palestinian Jerusalem,” was
based on the research she did in Israel during her tenure at Hebrew University.
It is also presented abroad as a Hebrew University study, Dabush reported.
university has not condemned the lecture, and has just said that the views
expressed by the professor do not represent the Hebrew University’s views.
are her personal opinions which express only herself,” it said in a statement.
new allegations against the Israeli troops come as several media reports had
earlier said the regime's military harvest organs from the Palestinian kids it
Vanderbeeken, the cultural secretary of Belgium’s ACOD trade union and a
philosophy of science scholar, said in August 2018 the population of the Gaza
Strip is being “starved to death, poisoned, and children are kidnapped and
murdered for their organs.”
November 2015, the Palestinian ambassador to the United Nations said Israel
harvested the organs of the Palestinians it killed.
a letter to the UN secretary general, Riyad Mansour said the bodies of
Palestinians killed by Israeli security forces “were returned with missing
corneas and other organs, further confirming past reports about organ
harvesting by the occupying power.”
New York Times also said in an August 2014 report that transplant brokers in
Israel had pocketed enormous sums of money.
on the newspaper's analysis of major organ trafficking cases since 2000,
Israelis had played a “disproportionate role” in organ trafficking.
issue of organ theft by Israel was first brought to the fore in a report
published by Sweden’s most highly-circulated daily Aftonbladet in 2009.
in 2000, Dr. Yehuda Hiss, the former head of Israel's forensic institute,
divulged that Israeli pathologists at the institute would harvest skin,
corneas, heart valves, and bones from the bodies of Palestinians and others
often without permission from relatives.
interview was, however, released no later than 2009 by Nancy Scheper-Hughes, a
professor of anthropology at the University of California-Berkeley, who had
conducted it as part of her investigation into the institute, in response to a
row created between Israel and Sweden over Aftonbladet’s report.
wants Europe to take back Daesh captives in Syria
President Donald Trump says Europe should take responsibility for those Daesh
terrorists from the continent who have been captured by the US in Syria;
otherwise, American forces will be “forced” to release them, as he plans to
withdraw American forces from the Arab country.
United States is asking Britain, France, Germany and other European allies to
take back over 800 ISIS fighters that we captured in Syria and put them on
trial. The alternative is not a good one in that we will be forced to release
them,” Trump tweeted on Saturday, using an acronym for Daesh.
US president then posted a follow-up tweet in which he said it was time for
European governments to step in and do their share, as Washington was not
willing to watch the captured Daesh members to spread throughout the continent.
....The U.S. does not want to watch as these
ISIS fighters permeate Europe, which is where they are expected to go. We do so
much, and spend so much - Time for others to step up and do the job that they
are so capable of doing. We are pulling back after 100% Caliphate victory!
AM - Feb 17, 2019
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people are talking about this
US and a number of its allies have been in Syria without Damascus’ permission
since 2014 under the pretext of fighting the Daesh terror group. Last month,
Trump declared victory over Daesh, and announced that he would withdraw the
roughly 2,000 American troops from the Arab country.
is while the military victory over Daesh in Syria as well as in neighboring
Iraq came as a result of operations by the militaries of the two Arab countries
as well as advisory military assistance from their regional allies. US
commanders have described Trump’s declaration of complete victory over Daesh as
showed last year that more than 5,000 Europeans — mostly from Britain, France,
Germany, and Belgium — had joined Daesh’s ranks since 2014, when the group
emerged in Syria and Iraq.
outfit has already conducted horrific attacks across Europe, including in
locations in and around Paris in November 2015 which killed 130 people.
on Saturday, Britain’s Justice Secretary David Gauke warned of the “risks” of
people returning after voluntarily going to “dangerous parts of the world,” an
apparent reference to the European members of Daesh.
said, however, “we can’t make people stateless.”
surveillance firm tracking millions in Xinjiang
A Chinese surveillance firm is tracking the movements of more than 2.5 million
people in the far-western Xinjiang region, according to a data leak flagged by
a Dutch internet expert.
online database containing names, ID card numbers, birth dates and location
data was left unprotected for months by Shenzhen-based facial-recognition
technology company SenseNets Technology Ltd, according to Victor Gevers,
co-founder of non-profit organisation GDI.Foundation, who first noted the
vulnerability in a series of social media posts last week.
data also showed about 6.7 million location data points linked to the people
which were gathered within 24 hours, tagged with descriptions such as “mosque”,
“hotel,” “internet cafe” and other places where surveillance cameras were
likely to be found.
was fully open and anyone without authentication had full administrative
rights. You could go in the database and create, read, update and delete
anything,” said Gevers.
has faced an outcry from activists, scholars, foreign governments and UN rights
experts over what they call mass detentions and strict surveillance of the
mostly Muslim Uighur minority and other Muslim groups who call Xinjiang home.
to its website, SenseNets works with China’s police across several cities. Its
Shenzhen-listed parent company NetPosa Technologies Ltd has offices in a
majority of Chinese provinces and regions, including Xinjiang.
and NetPosa, as well as the Xinjiang regional government, did not immediately
respond to requests for comment on Sunday.
Chinese government has ramped up personal surveillance in Xinjiang over recent
years, including the construction of an extensive video surveillance system and
smartphone monitoring technology.
said the foundation directly alerted SenseNets to the vulnerability, in line
with GDI.Foundation protocol. He said SenseNets did not respond, but that it
has since taken steps to secure the database.
energy security to top Indian agenda during Saudi Crown Prince visit
Delhi: Counter-terrorism, including Pakistans role in sponsoring terrorism
against India, and energy security are likely to be on top of India’s agenda
for discussion during Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman’s visit starting
is expected to take up with the Saudi Crown Prince Pakistan’s role in the
Pulwama terror attack that killed at least 49 Central Reserve Police Force
(CRPF) personnel in Jammu and Kashmir, informed sources said.
has already started diplomatic efforts to isolate Pakistan internationally with
Foreign Secretary Vijay Gokhale briefing envoys of around two dozen nations
including those of P-5 and South Asian nations about Pakistan’s footprint in
the Pulwama attack.
Saudi Arabia’s Ambassador to New Delhi Saud bin Mohammed Al-Saty has said that
Mohammed bin Salman’s visit to India presents a “historic opportunity” to
expand collaboration in all sectors.
bin Salman is on a three-nation diplomatic tour to Pakistan, India and China.
will be on a two-day visit to India starting February 19 and will meet Prime Minister
Narendra Modi and Petroleum Minister Dharmendra Pradhan. He is visiting
Pakistan before coming to India.
Muslim Villager Comes To Rescue Of Ailing Cow; A Slap On The Face Of Fanatics
A Muslim villager is hailed as a hero on the social media after a video of him
helping an ailing cow, abandoned on roadside by the custodians and caretakers
video is from Bhargain town of Kasganj district of Uttar Pradesh state.
to a report, the stray and ailing cow was lying on the roadside since last few
days but none dare to care for the poor animal.
Rehan Khan noticed the cow, he immediately rushed to the rescue. He provides
the cattle relief from chilling cold and also arranged fodder.
I contacted Satish Chandra Gupta, the Principal of RBL College who called the
officials of the local veterinary department”, Rehan said.
official of the local veterinary department said, “What Rehan Khan has done is
exemplary and a slap on the face of the people who wants to destroy the
communal fabric and unity of the country.”
major and three soldiers, besides a civilian, were killed in a gunfight in
Jammu and Kashmir’s Pulwama district barely 10 km away from the suicide attack
spot, police said on Monday.
people were killed in the gunfight that took place on Sunday night in Pinglena
village,” an officer said. The victims include an Army officer, while the
civilian has been identified as Mushtaq Ahmad.
gunfight started late on Sunday after security forces, including the Rashtriya
Rifles (RR), Special Operations Group (SOG) of the state police and the Central
Reserve Police Force (CRPF), surrounded the village following a tip off that Jaish-e-Muhammad
(JeM) terrorists -- the same group that carried out the February 14 attack
leaving a toll 49 troopers -- were hiding in the area.
the cordon was tightened, the holed-up terrorists fired triggering the
gunfight. Firing exchanges have again started at the encounter site,” the
days after the terror attack on the CRPF convoy in Pulwama district in which 40
security personnel were killed, the Jammu and Kashmir government on Sunday decided
to withdraw the security cover of some separatist leaders. It also asked police
to review and withdraw the security enjoyed by “other separatists”.
government is issuing orders withdrawing all security and any government
facilities provided to the separatist leaders — Mirwaiz Umar Farooq, Abdul
Ghani Bhat, Bilal Lone, Hashim Qureshi and Shabir Shah,” said a press release
issued by the J&K Directorate of Information and Public Relations. “All
security and any vehicles provided to them will stand withdrawn by today
evening. No security forces or cover should be provided, under any pretext, to
them or any other separatists,” it said.
the government release named Hashim Qureshi, the Ganga hijacker who returned to
Kashmir over a decade ago, the order issued by the state home department didn’t
name him. When contacted, Principal Secretary (Home) Shaleen Kabra said he had
no information about any order other than the one issued by the state home
department. “We have issued only one order, which has four names. I don’t know
about any other order issued by the government,” he said. The two top
separatist leaders, Syed Ali Shah Geelani and Yasin Malik, don’t have
government security. They were offered security after an attack on Hurriyat
leader Fazal Haq Qureshi in 2009, but they turned it down.
jailed separatist leader Shabir Shah has also been named in the order, police
sources said he has not been provided any security by the government. “I don’t
understand what they (government) are saying and what they will withdraw. He
has not enjoyed any security cover ever, at home or at his office,” Shah’s
wife, Dr Bilquees Shah, told The Indian Express. “He was offered security, but
he had refused,” she said.
his visit on Friday, Home Minister Rajnath Singh had indicated that the
government would take this step. “There are some elements here who take money
from Pakistan and ISI. I have told the officers that the security provided to
such people should be reviewed,” he had said at a press conference in Srinagar.
Umar Farooq, whose father Maulvi Mohammad Farooq was killed by militants in
1990, was the first separatist leader to be given security cover. The other
separatist leaders were given security after the moderate faction of the
Hurriyat Conference engaged in dialogue with the Centre in 2004. This had led
to the killing of Mirwaiz’s uncle, Maulavi Mushtaq Ahmad, thus forcing the
government to offer security. The security was strengthened after militants
targeted Mirwaiz’s aide, Fazal Haq Qureshi, in 2009.
leaders had never asked for it (security). In fact, it was the government that
insisted on keeping the personnel, based on what they said was their assessment
of threat perception,” Mirwaiz said on Sunday. “I have repeatedly said, from
the pulpit of Jamia Masjid, that the government can withdraw it,” he said.
said the withdrawal of security has no bearing on the Kashmir issue. “In no way
will it change the reality of the lingering Kashmir dispute, or the situation
on the ground, or our principled stand and outlook regarding its resolution… My
political, social and religious activities will continue as usual,” he said.
warned that if anything happens to the separatist leaders, it would have a
direct impact on the security situation in the state.
makes no sense. It will not change anything,” NC spokesman Aga Roohullah said.
“The Narendra Modi government has to answer whether the threat perception (to
separatists) has vanished or it is a political move”. Peoples Conference
chairman Sajad Lone refused to comment, saying it wouldn’t be appropriate
because his brother’s security has also been withdrawn.
to a PTI report, J&K BJP president Ravinder Raina welcomed the decision.
“The Hurriyat people are the real enemies of the Kashmiris and they are the
ones who ruined the Valley. (That) their security has been withdrawn is a
welcome step and I would like them to be arrested,” he was quoted as saying.
Hashim Qureshi’s son, Junaid Qureshi, earlier tweeted: “My father… has suffered
torture at the hands of ISI and spent years in jail in Pakistan. In the wake of
reports of withdrawing his security, let it be clear that the dispensation in
J&K and Delhi will be responsible if anything untoward happens to him or my
association in Austria's Vienna provides hot meals to homeless
Muslim association in the Austrian capital Vienna is distributing hot meals to
homeless and needy people, the association told Anadolu Agency on Sunday.
head of RAHMA Austria association Omer Batur said since three years they
provide hot meals to homeless people several days of the week.
said they provide hot meals to around 100 homeless people in a day.
said both Austrians and the foreigners living in Austria received the project
projects like this, Muslims can give the message 'we are living in this country
and we are in a search of solutions to common problems of this country' to the
society they live in," Batur stressed.
said social events like this is an important way of struggling with far-right
rhetoric which has risen in the latest period in Austria.
added that RAHMA Austria association has been providing aid to many needy
people around the world for 25 years, including Syrians, Rohingya Muslim, and
has dismissed claims by British Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt that it has made
special commitments to comply with the West’s demands in order to end Saudi
Arabia’s ongoing war on Yemen.
has made no commitments to any party or country about Yemen,” Iranian Foreign
Ministry spokesman Bahram Qassemi said in a statement on Monday.
made the remarks a day after Hunt claimed in an interview with London-based
Saudi paper Asharq Al-Awsat that Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif
had made certain promises to help end the conflict when they met in Tehran back
said Zarif only discussed the ongoing international efforts to end the war and
doubled down on Iran’s position that no other country than Yemen should decide
what is best for its people.
is an independent country and it is up to the Yemenis to make decisions and
Iran does in no way interfere in the country’s internal affairs,” Qassemi
this regard, Mr. Zarif has held numerous meetings and diplomatic conversations
with his foreign counterparts in order to find a solution… or solutions… that
could help ease the crisis and pave the way for the aggression to end and for a
lasting ceasefire to take its place,” he said.
noted that Iran had been regularly contacting European countries, including
France, Germany, Britain and Italy to facilitate peace talks and aid deliveries
to the people of Yemen.
Iranian diplomat said what Hunt meant by “commitment” was the same commitments
that Yemen’s warring sides agreed upon during the latest round of UN-brokered
peace talks in the Swedish capital Stockholm in December.
implied in his interview that Zarif had agreed to convince Houthi Ansarullah
fighters, who have been pushing back against Saudi aggressors, to evacuate
Yemen’s key port city of Hudeydah.
Arabia and its regional allies – including the United Arab Emirates – have long
been bombing the city, seeking to cut the impoverished country’s most important
Stockholm, both Houthis and Saudi-backed groups agreed to a ceasefire and an
ultimate retreat from the strategic city as the first major step to end the
deadly conflict, which has killed tens of thousands of Yemenis since its onset
in March 2015.
the Houthis’ commitment to the truce, however, the Riyadh regime and its
mercenaries have stepped up their attacks on Hudaydah in a bid to get the upper
hand in negotiations.
arms deals with Saudi, allies'
his interview, Hunt accused Iran of using Yemen “as a base to destabilize
Yemen’s neighbors,” a claim that the Saudis and the West have repeatedly used
to justify the war.
advised Hunt and other Western leaders to “come to their senses” and start
taking real steps towards peace by stopping their extensive arms deals with
Saudi Arabia and the rest of the “aggressors.”
UK has licensed over £4.7 billion worth of arms exports, including missiles and
fighter jets, to Riyadh since the deadly conflict began in 2015. May has so far
faced down calls for a ban on the weapons sales despite the growing
government and Houthi rebels have agreed on the first phase of a pullback of
forces from the key city of Hodeidah, in a deal the United Nations described
Sunday as important progress.
redeployment from Hodeidah was a key provision of a ceasefire deal reached in
December in Sweden, but deadlines to move forces away from the ports and parts
of city have been missed.
Red Sea port is the entry point for the bulk of Yemen’s imported goods and
humanitarian aid, providing a lifeline to millions in the Arab world’s poorest
two days of talks in Hodeidah city, the government and Houthis finalized a deal
on the first phase of the pullback and also agreed in principle on the second
phase, a UN statement said.
talks were led by Danish General Michael Lollesgaard as chair of a redeployment
coordination committee (RCC) that includes the government and the Houthis.
lengthy but constructive discussions facilitated by the RCC Chair, the parties
reached an agreement on Phase 1 of the mutual redeployment of forces,” said the
sides made “important progress on planning for the redeployment of forces” but
no date was given to begin the demilitarization.
parties also agreed, in principle, on Phase 2 of the mutual redeployment,
pending additional consultations within their respective leadership.”
first phase provides for a pullback from the ports of Hodeidah, Saleef, Ras
Issa and from parts of the city where there are humanitarian facilities.
United Nations is hoping that a de-escalation in Hodeidah will allow
desperately-needed food and medical aid to reach millions on the brink of
starvation in Yemen.
new round is planned within a week to finalize details on the second phase of
redeployment, the UN statement said.
ceasefire and a Hodeidah pullback agreed in Stockholm have been hailed as a
major step toward ending Yemen’s nearly four-year war.
Manbij Military Council and the Turkey-backed militants engaged in heavy
clashes in Eastern part of al-Bab region in Northeastern Aleppo, the
Kurdish-language Hawar news reported.
noted that the clashes took place after the Ankara-backed terrorists attacked
the military positions of the Kurdish Manbij Military Council in Eastern
clashes left losses among the Turkey-backed militants.
report comes as the military positions of Manbij Military Council came under
heavy attacks by the militants supported by Ankara in the village of al-Bavij
in al-Arimeh region in Eastern Al-Bab.
the Kurdish fighter announced that a bomb blasted a car of Ankara-backed
al-Hamzeh militants in the outskirts of Hazvan village in Al-Bab region,
killing one militant and injuring six others.
a relevant development earlier this month, the Turkish Army dispatched a large
number of Special Forces to Afrin region in Northwestern Aleppo concurrent with
intensified infighting among Ankara-backed militants in the region.
Hawar News reported that a sum of 200 of Special Forces of the Turkish Army
arrived in Afrin region in Northwestern Aleppo as some of them have been
stationed in Afrin and some others in the villages of Shirva and Jandariseh
Kurdish media pointed to the rising infighting among Ankara-backed terrorists
over their share of assets and properties stolen from the citizens, and said
that fierce clashes have erupted between Jeish al-Islam and Ahrar al-Sharqieh
militants in the center of Afrin and its surrounding areas over their share of
a relevant development on Wednesday, several Turkish Army soldiers and their
allied militants were killed in two military operations by the Kurdish forces
in Afrin in Western Aleppo, media reports said.
Hawar News reported that military vehicles, carrying Turkish Army soldiers and
Ankara-backed terrorists, was destroyed in the village of Koubeleh in the
Center of Afrin during the Syrian Democratic Forces' military operations
against the Turkish Army and Ankara-backed militants.
noted that two Turkish soldiers were killed and four others were wounded while
a military vehicle and military equipment were also destroyed.
Kurdish fighters, meantime, pounded and destroyed a military headquarters of
Ahrar al-Sham terrorists in the village of Deir Moshamash in the Center of
Afrin which resulted in death of two Ahrar al-Sham terrorists and injury of
Syrian Army troops fended off the terrorists' attack on their positions in
Mahradeh region in Northern Hama from their positions in Latmin, al-Arbaeen and
al-Zuka, killing and wounding a large number of militants while forcing others
Syrian Army's missile and artillery units also heavily pounded and destroyed
the terrorists' military positions near al-Latamanieh and Kafar Zita in
Northern Hama which was used by the terrorists to attack the safe regions.
a number of civilians were injured and several residential buildings sustained
damage in the terrorists' missile attacks on residential areas in the town of
al-Saqilieh in Northern Hama.
Western Hama, the Syrian Army's units foiled an attack by Islamic Turkistani
Party terrorist group from al-Haviz and Sharia on army's military positions in
Sahl al-Ghab region.
a relevant development on Friday, the Syrian army warded off new offensives by
Tahrir al-Sham al-Hay'at and other allied terrorists in the demilitarized zone
in Northern Hama and Southern Idlib, inflicting heavy damages and tolls on
Damascus Army units targeted a group of Islamic Turkistani Party terrorists who
intended to penetrate to the government forces' military positions in
Northwestern Hama from the surrounding areas of al-Haviz and al-Havija towns
near Sahl al-Ghab region, killing a large number of terrorists and destroying
their military equipment as well as forcing the remaining militants to retreat.
large number of terrorists were forced to flee the scene after their comrades
were killed and wounded in the Syrian Army attacks.
Syrian Army troops also pounded and destroyed the military positions of Tahrir
al-Sham terrorists near the town of Khan Sheikhoun in Southern Idlib.
President Bashar al-Assad warned on Sunday the United States would not protect
those depending on it, in reference to Kurdish fighters who control much of the
say to those groups who are betting on the Americans, the Americans will not
protect you,” he said without naming them. “The Americans will put you in their
pockets so you can be tools in the barter, and they have started with (it).”
President Donald Trump declared in December he would pull troops from Syria,
raising more questions over the fate of Washington’s Kurdish allies under the
threat of Turkish attacks.
forces have long supplied arms and training to the Syrian Democratic Forces
(SDF), led by the Kurdish YPG militia, the main US partner in the battle
against ISIS extremist group.
US presence helped the SDF seize swathes of north and east Syria, and has also
been widely seen as a deterrent against Turkey which has vowed to crush the
sees the YPG as a security threat and an extension of the Kurdish PKK movement
that has waged an insurgency on Turkish soil for decades.
US move drove Syrian Kurdish leaders into fresh talks with Damascus and its key
ally Moscow, hoping to agree a deal that could protect the SDF region and
safeguard at least some of their gains.
US-backed Syrian militia fighting ISIS in its last toehold in Syria says there
are over 1,000 civilians trapped in the tiny area and that the militant group
is preventing them from leaving.
Bali, a spokesman for the Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF), told The
Associated Press Sunday that ISIS has closed all the roads in and out.
officials have said the extremists are hiding among civilians in a tented
village and using a network of caves and tunnels.
which once ruled a proto-state in large parts of Syria and Iraq, is clinging to
an area less than a square kilometer in the village of Baghouz, in eastern
extremists may include high-level commanders, and could be holding hostages.
Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman and Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan
co-chaired the inaugural session of the joint Supreme Coordination Council
between their two countries.
council was set up to bolster the relations between Pakistan and Saudi Arabia,
Information Minister Fawad Chaudhry said last Friday, days ahead of Crown
Prince Mohammed bin Salman’s visit to Islamabad.
Saudi-Pakistan Supreme Coordination Council will help the two countries for
effective coordination and follow up to achieve mutually agreed objectives,” Foreign
Office spokesperson Dr. Mohammad Faisal tweeted on Friday.
Arabia and Pakistan signed a number of memorandums of understandings worth $20
billion across several sectors including oil, mining and energy on Sunday. The
deals were signed on Sunday upon the arrival of Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin
Salman to Islamabad on an official visit.
US-led coalition purportedly fighting the Daesh Takfiri terrorist group has
airlifted to safe sanctuaries several large boxes full of “spoils” that members
of the foreign-sponsored terror outfit had claimed in Syria’s eastern provinces
of Hasakah and Dayr al-Zawr as well as neighboring Iraq.
sources, requesting anonymity, told Syria’s official news agency SANA that
US-led military helicopters landed in the Dashisha area of Hasakah as well as
Hajin town in Dayr al-Zawr, and transported dozens of Takfiri commanders and
militants to unknown locations following a deal.
sources added that the extremists, in return, directed the US-led forces to
their caches of stolen gold east of Shaddadi town.
report corresponds with earlier reports that Daesh terrorists had transported
some 40 tons of gold bullions stolen from the strategic northern Iraqi city of
Mosul, located some 400 kilometers (250 miles) north of the capital Baghdad,
and other areas in Syria to Dashisha.
citing information received from local residents, reported on October 7 last
year that American helicopters had evacuated Daesh commanders from Shaafah town
in Abu Kamal district of Dayr al-Zawr to an undisclosed location.
US-led coalition has been conducting airstrikes and operations against what are
said to be Daesh targets inside Syria since September 2014 without any
authorization from the Damascus government or a United Nations mandate.
military alliance has repeatedly been accused of targeting and killing
civilians. It has also been largely incapable of achieving its declared goal of
February 12, the Syrian Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Expatriates, in two separate
letters addressed to UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres and the rotating
president of the Security Council, Anatolio Ndong Mba, denounced the coalition
strikes conducted against Baghouz town a day earlier, saying the US-led
warplanes had pounded a refugee camp.
sources told state-run Ikhbariyah Syria television news network that 16
civilians, including seven children, were killed as a result of the raid.
new crime is in line with the series of war crimes and crimes against humanity,
which the US-led coalition has perpetrated against Syrian people, its continued
support for terrorism, and its use of terrorists and separatist militia forces
to advance its fiendish plots aimed at Syria’s sovereignty, unity and
territorial integrity,” said the letters.
ministry also called on the UN Security Council to stand up against such
attacks and crimes.
The Yemeni army killed 20 Houthi militants, including a field commander, in
clashes in the southern Dhale governate on Sunday, Saudi state-agency SPA
forces advanced towards Al-Mashhad market in Ab governate as the Arab coalition
raided Houthi areas, killing several militants and injuring others east of
attacks targeted Houthi reinforcements on their way to Nahm front, according to
civilian reports on Yemeni Minister of Defense’s official website “September
Yemeni tribesmen from Hajjah’s Qeshar district destroyed Houthi militia
gathering areas in the Darb Al-Maru area.
sources revealed that the tribesmen belonged to the Bani Riban tribe, and that
they continue to group with other tribes to destroy militia gathering spots
across the region.
least 19 Palestinians were injured on Friday after clashes erupted on the
Israel-Gaza border, according to the Palestinian Health Ministry, as cited in
could be seen hurling objects towards Israeli military vehicles on the other
side of the border fence amid tear gas, as several injured Palestinian
protesters were carried away on stretchers by paramedics.
Great March of Return, launched in March last year, form a series of protests
along the Israeli-Palestinian border to demand the right for Palestinians to
return to their families' pre-1948 homes.
must be accountable for terror attack in Iran: Parl. Speaker Larijani
Parliament Speaker Ali Larijani says Islamabad should account for a recent
bloody terrorist attack in Iran’s southeast as the assault was plotted on and
launched from Pakistani soil.
Pakistani government should be accountable for this act involving the grouplet
orchestrating and conducting the operation from their (the Pakistanis’)
territory,” Larijani said during a parliamentary session on Sunday, referring
to the terrorist outfit that has claimed responsibility for the attack.
Wednesday, an explosives-laden car rammed into a bus carrying members of Iran’s
Islamic Revolution Guards Corps (IRGC) on a road in Sistan-and-Baluchestan
Province, killing 27 IRGC personnel and injuring 13 others.
so-called Jaish ul-Adl terrorist group, which is linked to al-Qaeda, claimed
responsibility for the assault.
[Iranian] Foreign Ministry and security apparatuses should seriously pursue the
incident,” Larijani added. “At the current juncture, Pakistan cannot [be
allowed to] act irresponsibly.”
said that despite the “respect” Iran has for the government in neighboring
Pakistani, “such behavior will severely damage the level of cooperation between
the two countries.”
attacks have in the past targeted Iranian security forces by Pakistan-based
terrorist groups. Iranian officials have stepped up their rhetoric against
Pakistan in the wake of the Wednesday attack.
Saturday, General Mohammad Ali Jafari, the IRGC’s chief commander, said in
unprecedented remarks that Pakistan was responsible for sheltering terrorists
and called on Islamabad to change its policy toward Jaish ul-Adl.
in his remarks, Larijani hailed the mass participation of the Iranian nation in
the rallies that marked the 40th anniversary of the Islamic Revolution.
also condemned the “hasty move” by the United States and Israel to hold an
anti-Iran summit in Warsaw, Poland, earlier this week.
came of all of that hype was a bunch of repetitive and empty speeches, which
showed how the US has turned into an instrument of a terrorist grouplet,” the
parliament speaker said.
Palestinians and one Israeli soldier were wounded Sunday during clashes in the
northern Gaza Strip, the Israeli army and Palestinian medical sources said.
(Israel Defence Forces) soldier injured when an explosive device was thrown
during Gaza riots on Israel’s border fence,” the army said on Twitter.
added that Israeli tanks struck “two Hamas military posts in Gaza in response
to the explosive device”.
Gaza, the health ministry of the Hamas movement that runs the enclave said 19
Palestinians were wounded by live ammunition during the clashes.
have, for nearly a year, gathered at least weekly in various spots along the
Gaza border for often violent protests.
want to be able to return to the homes their families fled from in the war
surrounding Israel’s creation in 1948, and are calling for an end to the Jewish
state’s blockade of Gaza.
least 250 Palestinians have been killed by Israeli fire in Gaza since March 30,
the majority during border protests but also by tank fire and air strikes.
Israeli soldiers have been killed during the same period.
government and Houthi militias have agreed on the first phase of a pullback of
forces from the key city of Hodeidah, in a deal the United Nations described
Sunday as important progress.
Red Sea port is the entry point for the bulk of Yemen’s imported goods and
humanitarian aid, providing a lifeline to millions.
United Nations is hoping that a de-escalation in Hodeidah will allow
desperately-needed food and medical aid to reach millions.
forces have forcibly evicted a Palestinian family from their home in the Old
City of the Israeli-occupied Jerusalem al-Quds, where they had lived for
sources, the Palestinian Ma’an news agency reported that the Israeli forces
raided Hatem Abu Assab’s family house in the Aqabat al-Khalidiya quarter of the
Old City near the al-Aqsa Mosque on Sunday.
said that the troops also physically assaulted the family’s members after they
encircled and broke into the building.
wife, Rania, said that the Israeli forces took away his husband and son to an
undisclosed location and the house was given to Israeli settlers.
(Israel) took my home, my memories, my dreams. They took my husband and my son.
The Israeli settler is inside my home, while I’m thrown out,” Rania said.
forces raided my home with no prior notice. We thought they came to deliver a
new notice regarding our home; however, to our surprise we were given little
time to abandon our home,” she added.
family, which currently comprises nine people, has been living in this house
for more than 56 years and made several appeals to the Palestinian residents of
Jerusalem al-Quds and different institutions to help it stand against the
Israeli decision to expel it from the house.
Abu Assab’s family came to the Old City after it was forcibly displaced from
al-Baqa’a neighborhood in western Jerusalem al-Quds in 1948 following the Deir
development come as Tel Aviv continues with its land expropriation policies in
the occupied territories in blatant defiance of international law.
600,000 Israelis live in over 230 illegal settlements built since the 1967
Israeli occupation of the Palestinian territories of the West Bank and East
Israeli police on Sunday evicted a Palestinian family from their home in the
Muslim Quarter of Jerusalem’s Old City, after the supreme court ruled Jewish
claimants were the rightful owners.
AFP photographer said residents of the neighborhood in Israeli-annexed east
Jerusalem scuffled with police, who stood guard as about a dozen Israeli
settlers took possession of the large building.
police spokesman said two people were detained.
disturbed police activities,” he told AFP but could not say if they were
Abu Asab, who lived in the house with her husband, their children and his aunt,
stood weeping outside as the settlers raised the Israeli flag on the roof.
live there, it’s my house, it’s my whole life,” she said. “They took
said the family was compelled to leave behind all its furniture and belongings.
Amim, an Israeli watchdog group which monitors settlement activity in
Jerusalem, reported on February 3 that the Abu Asab family had been served an
eviction notice ordering them to vacate the property by February 12.
said family members had lived there since the 1960s.
NGO Peace Now said the home originally belonged to a Jewish family which fled
during the 1948 war which accompanied Israel’s foundation.
Jerusalem was occupied during that conflict by Jordan until the 1967 Six-Day
War, when it was seized by Israel and subsequently annexed, moves never
recognized by the international community.
Abu Asab family lived until 1948 in a neighborhood it fled before eventually
moving to the home in question.
Now said in a statement Sunday that under an Israeli law passed in 1950
Palestinians cannot return to homes they fled in 1948.
1970 act, however, decreed that property in east Jerusalem abandoned by Jewish
owners could be reclaimed.
man throws hot coffee on Sikh clerk, punches him thinking he is Muslim
man was arrested on hate crime charges in the US state of California after he
punched a Sikh clerk and threw hot coffee on him as he believed the victim was
a Muslim, according to a media report.
man, identified as John Crain, threw the hot coffee at the clerk then punched
him in the face before fleeing just before 2 a.m. on Wednesday in Marysville,
the Sacramento Bee reported.
Sikh clerk told officers that Crain had prepared himself a cup of coffee and
attempted to leave without paying, according to a Marysville Police Department
is seen in the CCTV footage confronting Crain at the front door before being
attacked. The victim suffered injuries from the hot coffee, as well as a
contusion on his face, police said.
said officers were dispatched to the same store later that afternoon for
another reported assault and spotted Crain walking away from the area.
that day, officers responded to another assault in the area and found a suspect
walking away matching the description of the man from the earlier incident. The
suspect was arrested.
admitted to the officers that he had assaulted the clerk during the previous
told police he "hated Muslims" and attacked the Sikh clerk because he
believed he's Muslim. He was later booked into Yuba County Jail for theft,
assault and hate crimes charges.
Council on American-Islamic Relations and its allies from the Sikh community
condemned the attack.
condemn this attack on an individual because of his faith. This hate crime
represents yet another attack on our Sikh brothers and sisters fuelled by
Islamophobia and those emboldened by this administration's xenophobic policies
and sentiments," CAIR-SV's Civil Rights Attorney Saad Sweilem said in a
welcome the hate crime charges and encourage law enforcement to continue to
take these clear incidents of bias seriously."
‘won’t stand idly by’ as Turkey buys S-400: Pence
Vice President Mike Pence has repeated warnings to Turkey against purchasing of
Russia’s S-400 missile defense systems, arguing that doing so puts other
members of the NATO military alliance in danger.
raised the issue during a speech at the Munich Security Conference on Saturday,
saying Washington would continue to pressure Ankara to call off the deal.
will not stand idly by while NATO allies purchase weapons from our
adversaries,” he said. “We cannot ensure the defense of the West if our allies
grow dependent on the East.”
fiery remarks came a day after Turkey dismissed the first of two US deadlines
to cancel the controversial purchase.
had until February 15 to respond to US requests and signal its intentions to
cease with the sale, Military Times reported Sunday, citing an unnamed
official said Washington was going to halt a forthcoming sale of a Patriot
missile system to Ankara should the S-400 deal with Moscow proceed as planned.
have been clear with Turkey,” the official said. “They will not receive the
Patriot if they purchase the S-400."
Patriot sale, estimated at $3.5 billion, would include the sale of 80 Patriot
MIM-104E Guidance Enhanced and 60 PAC-3 Missile Segment Enhancement missiles,
as well as the related equipment.
President Recep Tayyip Erdogan reiterated his country’s resolve to proceed with
the Russian deal on Saturday, but also said that his country was also
interested in completing the Patriot deal as long as its interests were
to Sergey Viktorovich Chemezov, the Chief Executive Officer of Russian state
corporation Rostec which produces the S-400 system, Russia would supply Turkey
with four batteries of S-400, worth $2.5 billion each.
S-400 deal would also impact Turkey role in the development of the fifth
generation F-35 Joint Strike Fighter.
sources some of the parts for the program, often touted as the world’s most
expensive weapon. The Pentagon has warned the US Congress that the project could face delays should
Turkey drop out.
S-400 is designed to detect, track, and destroy planes, drones, or missiles 400
kilometers away. It has previously been sold only to China and India.
U.S. doesn’t want the regime to control northeast Syria after the withdrawal of
U.S. troops, a senior official said on Sunday.
at the Munich Security conference, James Jeffrey, the U.S. special envoy for
Syria, said Washington’s goals in northeast Syria have not changed.
involve first of all maintaining the security in that region, which means we
are not at all in favor of the regime coming back in because the regime does
not promote stability, it promotes instability as we have seen in other areas”,
also said the U.S. will not make an abrupt and rapid withdrawal of its troops
from northeast Syria.
is going to be an orderly, step-by-step withdrawal, and at each point, at each
phase, we are going to look at our underlying goals,” he said.
has long criticized the U.S. for backing the so-called Syrian Democratic Forces
(SDF) in northeast Syria, which was controlled by the terrorist PKK/YPG group.
head of the Arab League rejected suggestions that Turkish or European forces
could be introduced to northern Syria with the establishment of safe zones
after the withdrawal of US ground troops.
Aboul Gheit, the secretary-general, said the Syrian Democratic Forces should be
supported to establish control over their own territories. He called on
Damascus to “moderate its position” and effectively withdraw its stated
ambition to recover the territory it still does not control.
at the Munich Security Conference, Mr Aboul Gheit said the US troop presence in
Syria was uncomfortable for the Arab League, which has a principled stance
against foreign military deployments in Arab states, but that it was
contributing to the stability of the area.
sides should act “to ensure the situation would not worsen after their
withdrawal”. The best means to achieve this is to rely on the SDF. “They are
Syrians, they are indigenous forces inside Syria defending themselves,” he said.
comments came moments after Hulusi Akar, the Turkish defence minister, vowed to
intervene in the region to break up the control of the Kurdish YPG.
are there for one purpose, to get rid of terrorists, regardless of who they
are, YPG [or ISIS],” he said. “We are providing the security of the people,
providing the right condition for the return of the refugees.”
to Turkey’s existing operations, he said Ankara had “avoided another disastrous
influx of refugees”.
Pedersen, the UN envoy for Syria, acknowledged that the dynamic had changed
since his mandate was set out in Security Council Resolution 2254. But the
demands of this “new reality” required all sides to support the relaunch of
talks in Geneva as soon as possible.
need a new international agreement on how to move this forward based on
Security Council Resolution 2254,” he said. “There is a new reality. Is it
possible to get together on the Syrian file?”
Jeffrey, the US special representative on the crisis, said Washington supported
the UN efforts as the route to achieving the return of half Syria’s population,
which has been displaced. “The underlying problem is the nature of this
regime,” he said. “The government in Damascus is the primary reason why the
international community has been seized with this issue for seven years. We’re
calling for a major change in the behaviour of that regime to bring it in line
with a dozen resolutions.
need to get on top of this through a political process.”
Bou Saab, the Lebanese defence minister, said the proposed safe zone should not
depend on the outcome of a power struggle between the US and Turkey.
zone that is going to be put in place, the Americans are looking at it from one
angle, the Turks from another,” Mr Bou Saab said. “This is going to create
another problem that the world is going to have to deal with. It requires more
talks and the Arabs should be involved in that situation.”
Vershinin, the Russian deputy foreign minister, endorsed a suggestion from Mr Aboul
Gheit that the 1998 Adana accords should be used as a mechanism for the SDF and
the Syrian government to address Turkey’s security concerns. Under the deal
Turkey agreed not to invade Syria to destroy the Kurdish PKK, a group it deems
a terrorist organisation, if Syria stopped backing the militants.
intervention from Raed Al Salah, a founder of the White Helmets, was one of
only two Syrian voices at a morning of discussions in Munich.
Al Salah criticised the continuing failure by the outside world to get a grip
on the Syrian conflict.
don’t need agreements to preserve human security in the Middle East, we need a
change in world order,” he said. “The negative role played by international
organisations is that they give the dictator the right to control the aid
coming into the country.”
of the unresolved issues of the conflict is the regime’s use of chemical
weapons to shore up its position. A comprehensive report published by Germany’s
Global Public Policy Institute found 336 incidents of chemical weapons use in
Syria since 2012 and that 98 per cent of those had been carried out by the
regime of Bashar Al Assad.
order to effectively disrupt the Syrian chemical weapons complex and deter
their future use in Syria and other conflicts, the United States and the wider
international community should directly target the military formations that
would be responsible for any future attacks,” the report read. “The Syrian
helicopter fleet, which has played a critical role in the delivery of conventional
and chemical barrel bombs, should be a primary target.”
LUMPUR, Feb 18 — PAS said it is supporting Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad to remain as
prime minister until the next general election since the latter is seemingly
“alone” in Pakatan Harapan (PH) in defending Malay-Muslim interests.
a statement yesterday, party information chief Nasrudin Hassan, alleged that
there is a movement to unseat Dr Mahathir as prime minister, which he said may
adversely affect Islam and the Malays if successful.
believe Tun is stifled and uneasy with the attitudes of PH component parties
especially DAP and PKR from Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim’s team that is seen as his
rival to take the prime minister post,” he said, referring to Dr Mahathir.
looks to be alone in PH in defending a few policies that involve the interests
of the Muslims and Malays in Malaysian,” he added, giving the examples of the
anti-racial discrimination convention ICERD, local council elections and UEC
leadership is sensing a planned movement to unseat Tun as prime minister before
the upcoming 15th general election,” Nasrudin said, but did not provide any
proof to back his accusation.
PAS confirmed it has thrown its support behind the leadership of Prime Minister
Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad until the next general election.
secretary-general Takiyuddin Hassan said in a statement, after the party’s
central committee meeting in Marang, that PAS had issued a document expressing
the party’s commitment to Dr Mahathir.
Election Director Ahmad Samsuri Mokhtar also denied that it signed a letter
agreeing not to support Umno in the Semenyih by-election, claiming it was
merely a form of psychological warfare by Dr Mahathir to try and influence its
acknowledge that lying can be addictive and destructive, capable of destroying
communities and even whole countries. Telling lies, being dishonest and
receiving and giving bribes in any form are prohibited in Islam as they are
evil acts that can destroy society. All religions, for that matter, are against
these negative traits.
Quran says: “In their hearts is disease, so God has increased their disease;
and for them is a painful punishment because they used to lie” (2:10).
president Abdul Hadi Awang should stop avoiding the question of whether he gave
his “blessings” for Nik Abduh Nik Aziz to lie about receiving money from Umno.
Being the supreme leader of what he describes as an “Islamic party”, he should
be forthright in telling the truth, and nothing but the truth, to gain respect
from his followers.
has nothing to do with being compelled to tell lies to save a victim from a
criminal. It is not an issue of telling a “white lie” to prevent someone from
getting hurt or to protect oneself. The issue is more serious as it involves
the integrity and trustworthiness of a political party and its leaders who
claim to champion Islam.
clearly rejects lying and deception in all forms. The Quran says: “O you who
believe! Fear God, and be with those who are true (in words and deeds)”
Abduh has reportedly admitted that he was indeed the person heard in an audio
recording released last year, where he spoke about receiving funds from Umno.
He said after the recording was leaked, PAS leaders, including Hadi, as reported,
told him to deny that it was his voice in the clip.
leaders should be reminded that it is not related to lying to save grace in
this context as it involves the “transaction of money for political
expediency”, as heard confessed in the video recording. The Prophet said:
“Lying is not permitted except in three cases: a man speaking to his wife to
make her happy; lying in times of war; and lying in order to reconcile between
these types of lying are tolerated, it is crucial not to overstep the bounds of
what is and is not acceptable, what more by invoking the names of others or
one’s parents to justify one’s wrong deed. This is absolutely unacceptable in
Islam. The Quran is clear on this matter, too: “And when they commit an
immorality, they say, ‘We found our fathers doing it, and God has ordered us to
do it.’ Say, ‘Indeed, God does not order immorality. Do you say about God that
which you do not know?'” (7:28).
are reportedly speculations that the funds, if any, could be linked to a
lawmaker’s allegation in 2017 that large amounts of money originating from SRC
International Sdn Bhd were channelled to a former PAS member. SRC International
is a former subsidiary of 1MDB, which has been embroiled in an international financial
Islam, telling lies is tantamount to hypocrisy. “There are four
characteristics, whoever has them all is a pure hypocrite, and whoever has one
of them has one of the characteristics of hypocrisy, until he gives it up: when
he is entrusted with something, he betrays that trust, when he speaks he lies,
when he makes a covenant he betrays it, and when he disputes he resorts to
obscene speech” (al-Bukhaari and Muslim).
told to cover up “an act of receiving political bribes” are more evil and
salacious. Hiding the truth for fear that a party or person would lose out on
position by simply not being more truthful are lies concocted against God.
Being truthful and trustworthy is among the greatest virtues a human can
possess. Lying leads to corruption and deceit. Just look at the narratives of
many politicians who have been elected as props of trust by the denizens only
to be sent to jail during and towards the end of their tenure due to corruption
and blatant lying. They lied to get elected and those lies swelled into other
vices like embezzling government assets or engaging in illicit activities.
Prophet said: “You must be truthful, for truthfulness leads to righteousness
and righteousness leads to Paradise. A man will keep speaking the truth and
striving to speak the truth until he will be recorded with God as a siddeeq
(speaker of the truth). Beware of telling lies, for lying leads to immorality
and immorality leads to hellfire. A man will keep telling lies and striving to
tell lies until he is recorded with God as a liar” (Muslim).
this be a reminder to PAS leaders that a true Muslim leader should be known as
Al Amin, or “the faithful and trustworthy” that can be commended by the
community. The consequences of telling lies can cause leaders to lose their
self-worth. PAS leaders claiming to represent Islam should not try to be
evasive when it comes to telling the truth. They have to be reminded that being
truthful is an endearing quality that should be hallowed to attain blessings from
God and respect from the voters.
JAYA, Feb 18 — At a time when it needs support, Parti Pribumi Bersatu Malaysia
(PPBM) has instead come under fire from its allies in the Pakatan Harapan (PH)
government for accepting lawmakers who defected from Umno and its plan to
spread its wings to Sabah.
Malay-based party chaired by former Umno president of 22 years Tun Dr Mahathir
Mohamad is now seen as attempting to “dominate” the ruling coalition, which is
widely perceived to be under DAP control.
his great experience, Dr Mahathir was given freedom in the selection of his
Cabinet members, but now his image and credibility are being slowly chipped
away, starting with controversies over the academic qualifications of some
ministers and at least one mentri besar.
decision to expand PPBM to Sabah has also aroused discontent.
situation is alarming because it puts PPBM on a head-on collision course with
rivals Umno and PAS in the run-up to the March 2 by-election for the Selangor
state constituency of Semenyih.
four-way fight involves independent candidate Kuan Chee Heng, who is popularly
known as Uncle Kuan in the constituency, 30-year old Muhammad Aiman Zainali
from PH, 58-year old Zakaria Hanafi from BN and Nik Aziz Afiq Abdul from Parti
the real fight is between PH and BN where individual components in both
coalitions compete to be recognised as the party that best represent the Malays
and Islam, given near to 70 per cent of Semenyih’s 54,000-odd voters are
BN’s Umno is aided by Islamist PAS which has considerable followers and
considered as the “kingmaker” in this battle, PH’s PPBM cannot do the same with
its Islamist partner Parti Amanah Negara (Amanah) because the latter has yet to
fully accepted by the Malay community in the country.
regarded as being in its infancy, PPBM has to depend on the election machinery
of another ally PKR, while Chinese-majority DAP bring in the minority votes.
ground in Semenyih is rough for a new kid on the block, because the situation
is much different from a general election and local issues override national
stakes are high for PPBM despite being part and parcel of the ruling coalition
because the party is now seen as attempting to dominate and expand, which worry
DAP and some leaders in PKR.
voices of objections are raised, sarcastically questioning Dr Mahathir’s
wisdom, running down the defecting Umno MPs that joined PPBM as rubbish.
perception has made PPBM a target of envy and labelled as an untrustworthy
partner may affect its campaign in Semenyih as support from its partners in PH
may not be whole.
PPBM has a stalwart ally in PKR deputy president Datuk Seri Azmin Ali and his
band of loyal followers who have already pitched tents in various locations
within Semenyih to ensure the party wins Semenyih.
PKR’s election machinery can match that of BN and PAS is yet to be known, but
their itineraries since campaigning officially kicked off two days ago have
test to be on the same level if not higher than its partners in PH has begun
and whether or not it can replace Umno as the party for the Malays is now being
group Muhammadiyah is planning to mobilize its members to campaign for
wasatiyyah (religious moderation) in a renewed attempt to stem the tide of
Haedar Nashir said in Bengkulu on Sunday that major Islamic organizations,
including Muhammadiyah, had “neglected” the issue, resulting in the rise of
intolerance and hostility toward minorities.
is the time for major Islamic groups to “pay” for their mistake by engaging the
community more and instilling the values of religious moderation, which include
fairness, kindness, mutual respect and tolerance, he said.
which has millions of members nationwide, operates thousands of educational
institutions ranging from high schools to universities throughout the
now need to disseminate a counternarrative showcasing the tolerant and peaceful
aspects of Islam to fight against rampant hoaxes and hate speech,” Haedar said.
identified three groups who are vulnerable to radical or extreme values, which
will be specially addressed by its mubaligh (preachers).
first group are the people who are economically deprived and politically
marginalized and are therefore looking for a messianic figure to save them. The
second group is the upper middle class who are prosperous but spiritually
empty. The last group is tech-savvy millennials who have a limited
understanding of religion but are heavily exposed to radical ideas on social
has quite a strong network [to instill moderate values in society]. We want to
make this movement massive,” Haedar said.
new antiextremism drive was announced on the sidelines of the Muhammadiyah
leadership meeting held from Friday to Sunday in Bengkulu.
meeting, attended by around 460 participants including executives of
Muhammadiyah’s central board and leaders of the organization’s regional boards,
produced a set of recommendation named “Enlightenment Treatise” that called on
people to--among other things--be moderate, build peace and appreciate
also encouraged people to spread good literacy and avoid intolerance and hatred
amid the rising use of digital technology.
President Jusuf Kalla, who officially closed the meeting on Sunday, said
Indonesian Muslims seemed to experience habluminallah (better relations with
God), as more and more people go to mosques to perform and take part in
pengajian (learning forums).
their relations among habluminannas (humans), particularly among those of a
different religious or ethnic background, seemed to be deteriorating.
noted that according to a 2014 study by George Washington University,
Indonesia--as a country with the largest Muslim population--had failed to
embrace the values of Islam in various aspects of politics, business, law and
society as it ranked 144 out of 208 countries.
The Khyber Pakhtunkhwa government is once again facing resistance from religio-political
parties in getting the much-awaited Domestic Violence against Women (Prevention
and Protection) Bill-2019 passed from the assembly.
bill has been tabled for a debate before making it a law. However, this time
the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf government seems committed to passing the bill,
which had been left by the previous government due to objections by the
religio-political parties, including Jamaat-e-Islami and Jamiat
Ulema-e-Islam-Fazal and forwarded to the Council of Islamic Ideology (CII) for
review as per the Holy Qur’an and Sunnah.
the current bill has been drafted after a thorough consultation with the CII,
but once again the lawmakers of religious parties opted for changes in it. The
bill was tabled in the provincial assembly on February 11 to protect women from
sexual, psychological and economic abuse, stalking and other connected matters.
After the tabling of the bill, the JI parliamentary leader in the assembly
Inayatullah Khan and JUI-F’s Maulana Lutf-ur-Rehman took the floor, asking the
speaker KP Assembly Mushtaq Ahmad Ghani to avoid passage of the bill in haste.
are going to suggest amendments to the bill in the light of the Holy Qur’an and
Sunnah,” Inayatullah Khan said on the floor. Maulana Lutf-ur-Rehman called for
referring the bill to a parliamentary committee to discuss it in details. He
reminded that a similar bill was also introduced in Punjab Assembly, which was
later withdrawn. However, Provincial Minister for Law and Parliamentary Affairs
Sultan Mohammad Khan defended the bill. He assured that the government would
not show any haste in the passage of the bill. The minister invited all members
of the house, particularly the opposition and women legislators, to suggest
amendments for inclusion in the law if needed.
MPA Asia Khattak told The News that this time the bill would not be delayed
unnecessarily and passed. However, she said in the bill, the only woman was
declared “victim” and added that children and other house members should also
be included in the bill. However, she said the word “aggrieved person” is used
for victim of domestic violence in the Sindh Domestic Violence Act-2013, which
means any woman, child or any vulnerable person who is or has been in a
domestic relationship with the respondent and who alleges to have been
subjected to any act of domestic violence by the respondent.
she added that penalties are linked with the already sentences as per the
Pakistan Penal Code (PPC), as there should be proper penalties and fines for
the offenders in the bill.
will also raise the issue of Rs50,000 fine mentioned in the bill against the
victim if she did not prove her case,” she said, adding that it should be
reduced to Rs10,000 as such provision in the law would restrain the victims
from filing or registering the violence case.
the proposed law, no person shall commit, aid and abet the commission of the
act of domestic violence and any person who commits such an act shall be deemed
to have committed an offence under this Act and shall be liable to be punished
for such imprisonment and fine as provided for the said offence in the Pakistan
the commencement of the Act, the provincial government would constitute
District Protection Committees at the district levels, with deputy
commissioners concerned as chairperson, while executive district health
officer, district social welfare officer, district public prosecutor, district
police officer, four persons of civil society residing in the district and
chairperson of the District Committee on Status of Women (DCSW) district
concerned would be their members.
seeking assistance under the Act, the victim or her guardian would file an
application with the committee, which is bound to provide reasonable assistance
to the victim.
there is a penalty of Rs50,000 for a false complaint. “Any person who files or
proceeds or allows to proceed a false and frivolous complaint under the Act
shall be deemed to have committed an offence and shall be liable to a fine of Rs50,000,”
states the proposed bill. However, it was also proposed in the bill that a
breach of an order made by the court under this Act shall be deemed to be an
offence punishable with imprisonment for a term which may extend to three
months or fine that may extend to Rs30,000. The provincial government also
needs to notify the District Committee on the Status of Women (DCSW), to which
an important role has been given.
the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Commission on the Status of Women (KPCSW) has formed 23
DCSWs in the province years ago, but the government has yet to notify them.
Arabia inks agreements worth $20 billion with Pakistan
Saudi Arabia on Sunday signed eight agreements amounting up to $20 billion
agreement to invest in cash-starved Pakistan.
agreements were signed in the presence of Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan
and Saudi Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman, widely known as 'MBS', who is on a
two-day visit to the country.
the signing of the agreements, Khan said that it was a "great day for
Pakistanis", adding that Saudi Arabia "has always been a friend to Pakistan,
whenever it needed support," The News International reported.
cricketer-turned-politician urged the Saudi leadership to consider relaxation
for Pakistani pilgrims who go to Haj pilgrimage every year.
month, Saudi Arabia had agreed to provide $3 billion to Pakistan as a balance
of payment support to stabilise its ailing economy besides providing oil on
deferred payment for three years.
the Pakistani leadership for its hospitality, the Saudi Crown Prince remarked
that his country will make investments to support cash-strapped Pakistan. He
said that Pakistan has a "great future today with a great
foreign minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi, army chief General Qamar Javed Bajwa and
other ministers were present at the agreement signing ceremony.
on Sunday evening, the Saudi Crown Prince was given a red carpet welcome by PM
Khan in a break of protocol. He along with his cabinet ministers welcomed the
is Saudi Crown Prince's maiden visit to Pakistan since becoming the heir to the
throne in 2017. He is accompanied by a high-level delegation, including members
of the royal family, ministers and businessmen.
Saudi Crown Prince was slated to arrive in Islamabad on Saturday, but the visit
was postponed by a day. The Pakistan foreign ministry did not divulge the
reason behind the change in schedule, adding that the bilateral engagements
sudden change in the schedule came after Saudi Arabia strongly condemned
Thursday's terror attack in Jammu and Kashmir's Pulwama district that claimed
the lives of 40 CRPF personnel. Pakistan-based Jaish-e-Mohammed (JeM) outfit claimed
responsibility for the attack.
the deadly assault, Saudi Arabia on Friday reinforced its support to India
against terrorism and extremism, wishing for the speedy recovery of the
visiting Pakistan, the Saudi Crown Prince will embark on a maiden two-day visit
to India beginning from February 19.
Jamiat Ulema-i-Islam-Fazl chief Maulana Fazlur Rehman has said that the flawed
foreign policy of Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf government is leading the country to
isolation in the comity of nations, while its economic policy is increasing
poverty and indigence in the country making life harder for the poor.
the ‘million march rally’ organised by JUI-F here on Sunday, he came down hard
on the PTI government and warned the rulers that any move to rollback the 18th
Amendment and recognise Israel would be disastrous for the country.
the government for its failure to improve the economy despite tall claims
during the election campaign, the chief of his own faction of JUI said poverty
was on the steep rise with the result that life was becoming harder for the
who were claiming to change the very fate of the poor and bringing about
revolutionary changes in their lives have now come up with hens and eggs and
forgot and consigned to oblivion their glittering promises,” he said
Rehman alleged that the government was conspiring to amend the law that had
declared the Ahmadis as a minority and the chain of events and the stance of
the government had proved it beyond any shadow of doubt that the rulers were
with the enemies of Islam.
government is guilty of conspiring to alter the blasphemy law, setting
blasphemers free and playing to western tunes, and it was due to this reason
that a former elected prime minister and political leaders of the parties were
sent to jail before the election,” he continued.
JUI-F chief said his party would not allow the implementation of any foreign
agenda contrary to the teachings of Islam and that his party supporters would
not hesitate to render any sacrifice for upholding Khatam-i-Nabuwwat.
JUI-F chief accused the PTI of stealing the public mandate, alleging that the
last general elections were rigged in favour of Imran Khan-led party.
the Aasia Bibi case, he said it was not the legality of arrest or release of
the Christian woman that was bothering the nation, but her release “under a
deal” with the west.
insisted that the PTI supported and appreciated NAB when it arrested the
opposition leaders but started criticising the accountability watchdog when it
began investigations against Imran Khan’s sister and Aleem Khan.
announced that the next protest would be held on Feb 24 in Badin district of
Sindh province and on Feb 28 at Nasirabad in Balocistan province.
DELHI: Three days after the Pulwama terror strike, at least four members of the
Pakistani security forces were killed in an attack on the China Pakistan
Economic Corridor (CPEC) route in Balgatar area of Balochistan, according to a
report in The Balochistan Post. The report said the Baloch Raji Ajoi Sangar
(BRAS) had claimed responsibility for the attack.
BRAS spokesperson was quoted as saying that their fighters had attacked a
Pakistani Army patrolling team and a camp at the same time on Sunday morning.
Pakistan on Sunday said that Jaish-e-Mohammad, which claimed responsibility for
the Pulwama terror attack, was banned in 2002 and Islamabad was fulfilling its
obligations on sanctions as per the law.
least 40 CRPF personnel were killed and five injured on Thursday in one of the
deadliest terror attacks in Jammu and Kashmir when a Jaish-eMohammad (JeM)
suicide bomber rammed a vehicle with explosives into their bus.
terror group JeM claimed responsibility for the attack on the CRPF convoy.
a major diplomatic offensive against Islamabad after the attack, India has
highlighted Pakistan's role in using terrorism as an instrument of state
has slammed Pakistan for stating that it had no role in the Pulwama attack
carried out by Pakistan-based terror group JeM, saying Islamabad could not
claim that it was unaware of the presence of terror groups on its soil as the
links of such outfits to the country were there for everyone to see.
of external affairs (MEA) spokesperson Raveesh Kumar said: "JeM has
claimed responsibility for the attack. The organisation and its leadership are
located in Pakistan."
ministers had shared the same podium with UN-proscribed terrorists, Kumar said.
said India demands that Pakistan should take immediate and verifiable action
against terrorists and terror groups operating from territories under its
control to create a conducive atmosphere in the region, free of terror.
Foreign Office spokesperson Mohammad Faisal rejected India's allegation that
Pakistan was behind the attack.
Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman on Sunday expressed optimism about the
economic future of Pakistan, saying his country had been waiting for a leadership
like that of Prime Minister Imran Khan to partner with Islamabad in various
a reception dinner at Prime Minister House hours after arriving in Pakistan,
the crown prince — known as MBS for short — said Pakistan is a "dear
country" to all Saudis and that the two countries "have walked
together in tough and good times".
said Pakistan today had a great future in store "with a great
leadership", and noted that the country's GDP grew by 5 per cent in 2018.
believe that Pakistan is going to be a very, very important country in the
coming future and we want to be sure we are part of that," the crown
towards Prime Minister Khan, he said his country had been "waiting for
that kind of a leadership" to partner with and "build a lot of things
noted that Saudi Arabia and Pakistan today signed Memorandums of Understanding
(MoUs) for investment cooperation.
believe the amount of that kind of investment is US $20 billion," MBS
said. "It's big, for phase one."
expressed the hope that the investment will grow to bigger numbers in the
coming years and be beneficial for both the countries.
Saudi royal said his country would collaborate with Pakistan economically,
politically and in terms of security. "We believe in our region, that is
why we are investing in it," he added.
is my first trip [to the] east since I became the crown prince and the first
country [that I have visited] is Pakistan," the Saudi royal concluded.
Arabia a 'friend in need': PM
Minister Imran Khan in his speech welcomed the Saudi crown prince and his
delegation to the country, saying the Kingdom has always been a "friend in
need" to Pakistan.
Pakistanis, this is a great day," the premier said, adding that Saudi Arabia
had always been there when Pakistan needed friends.
want to thank you for the way you helped us when we were in [a] bad
situation," Khan told MBS, adding that Pakistan and Saudi Arabia were now
taking their relationship to a new level, where investment agreements would be
mutually beneficial for the countries.
investment would revolve around minerals, tourism, petrochemicals, agriculture,
food processing and other areas, he said.
Minister Khan also invited Riyadh to avail opportunities that can arise from
the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) and Pakistan's close links with
Beijing. "It is an exciting future where we have Saudi Arabia
participating in what is going to be, in the next 10 years, probably the
country with the biggest GDP," he added.
told MBS that if it hadn't been for security concerns, "you would have
seen thousands and thousands of people on the streets welcoming you."
prime minister's speech preceded the address of the Saudi crown prince, but
once MBS finished, Khan rose again to speak about two issues.
he requested MBS to allow Pakistani Haj pilgrims to undergo immigration at the
three major Pakistani airports before leaving for Saudi Arabia for their
Prime Minister Khan requested the Saudi authorities to look into the hardships
of the Pakistani labourers working in the Kingdom.
are some 3,000 [Pakistani] prisoners there and we just would like you to bear
in mind that they are poor people who have left their families behind," Khan
it a "special request", the premier asked MBS to "look upon them
[Pakistani labourers] as your own people".
response, MBS told Prime Minister Khan he could consider him the ambassador of
Pakistan in Saudi Arabia.
cannot say no to Pakistan ... whatever we can do, we will deliver that."
for bilateral cooperation signed
to the dinner, Pakistani and Saudi officials signed MoUs for bilateral
cooperation in a number of areas — a process overseen by Prime Minister Khan
and MBS. The agreements signed include:
cooperation programme between the Saudi Standards, Metrology And Quality
Organisation (SASO) and Pakistan Standards and Quality Control Authority
agreement between Saudi and Pakistani governments in the field of sports
agreement for the import of Saudi goods between the Saudi Fund for Development
MoU regarding Saudi funds' participation in the financing of power generation
projects between the Saudi Fund for Development and Pakistan
between the governments of Saudi Arabia and Pakistan to explore investment
opportunities in refining and petrochemical sectors
between the governments of Saudi Arabia and Pakistan in the field of mineral
between the government of Saudi Arabia and Pakistan on the development of
renewable energy projects
Minister Khan also held a one-on-one meeting with the Saudi crown prince at PM
House. It was followed by the inaugural session of the Saudi-Pak Supreme
by Khan and MBS, the council was formed to put in place a high-level
institutional mechanism to fast-track decisions in key areas of bilateral
cooperation, and for close monitoring of their implementation, a press release
issued by the Prime Minister's Office said.
council which was originally proposed by MBS will cover areas under three
pillars: political and security, economic, social and culture.
the council, a steering committee and joint working groups have been set up at
ministerial and senior officials levels to develop frameworks of cooperation in
specific projects and submit recommendations to the respective ministers.
Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi on Sunday offered Iran cooperation in
investigations into the deadly bombing of an Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps
offer was made during a telephonic conversation between Foreign Minister
Qureshi and his Iranian counterpart Javad Zarif. A Pakistani delegation would
now travel to Tehran to discuss Iranian concerns.
was the first high-level contact between Pakistan and Iran since the attack on
the troops’ bus on Wednesday, which left 27 guards dead and another 13 injured.
attack occurred when the troops were moving between the cities of Zahedan and
Khash. The attack was claimed by Jaish al-Adl, a terrorist group.
media reported that Mr Qureshi condemned the attack, offered Pakistan
government’s sympathies and expressed Islamabad’s readiness for cooperation
against the militants who have been targeting Iranian troops in the region
bordering the two countries.
area has in the past witnessed several incidents and Pakistan had last year in
October helped Iran recover some of the guards abducted by Jaish al-Adl.
Foreign Office issued no statement on the conversation.
Iranian foreign ministry, meanwhile, said Mr Qureshi “strongly condemn(ed) and
offer(ed) condolences over the recent terrorist attack in south-eastern Iran”.
supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei had blamed the attack on “the spying
agencies of some regional and trans-regional countries”. However, IRGC accused
Pakistan of turning a blind eye to the group. IRGC Commander Maj Gen Mohammad
Ali Jafari alleged that the group had sanctuaries on Pakistani soil. He said
Iran would retaliate against the terrorist group if Pakistan did not act.
have been running high in Tehran after the latest attack on its troops and
India has tried to cash in on Iranian grievances. Indian External Affairs
Minister Sushma Swaraj on Saturday made a brief stopover in Tehran while
travelling to Bulgaria.
her meeting there she discussed the attack on IRGC bus and the one on
paramilitary forces in Pulwama in India-held Kashmir.
and India suffered from two heinous terrorist attacks in the past few days
[that] resulted in big casualties. Today in my meeting with Sushma Swaraj, the
Indian FM, when she had a stopover in Tehran, we agreed on close cooperation to
combat terrorism in the region. Enough is enough!” tweeted Iranian Deputy
Foreign Minister Seyed Abbas Aragchchi after the meeting.
matter was also discussed during a meeting of Iran’s parliamentary body on
National Security and Foreign Policy. Iranian official newswire IRNA quoted the
spokesman for the parliamentary commission Ali Najafi Khoshravi as having said:
“One of the issues that was raised in the National Security Commission today
was that terrorist groups use the Pakistani territory to take actions against
however, noted that Tehran understood Islamabad’s problems in controlling its
border with Iran.
ambassador to Iran, Riffat Masood, was summoned to Iran’s foreign ministry to
receive Tehran’s protest over the attack.
Four personnel of Frontier Corps were martyred in an attack in Panjgur district
of Makran division on Sunday.
sources said unidentified armed men opened fire on FC personnel during the
change of shifts at two check-posts located in a mountainous area on the
outskirts of Panjgur town.
the incident, FC Balochistan spokesperson Khan Wasay said the four personnel
suffered multiple bullet wounds and died on the spot.
said that attackers took away weapons of the FC men.
after receiving information about the attack security forces rushed to the
scenes of the occurrences.
shifted the bodies to the hospital and launched a search operation in the area
to arrest the attackers.
deceased were identified as Lance Naik Abdul Rehman, Sepoy Nasibullah, Sepoy
Noman and Haq Nawaz.
group claimed responsibility for the attack.
is second attack on personnel of the paramilitary force in Balochistan within
24 hours. On Saturday, two FC soldiers were martyred in an attack in the town
Balochistan Chief Minister Jam Kamal Khan Alyani condemned the attack and
expressed sorrow over the loss of lives.
described the tragic incident a conspiracy against the peace of Balochistan and
development projects in the province.
An upcoming meeting in Pakistan between a delegation of the United States and
Taliban representatives has been cancelled, according to information coming
from both sides.
Taliban leader confirmed, on condition of anonymity, that the meeting was
cancelled, “by the Americans.” A Taliban statement issued later in the day said
the talks were postponed because many members of its 14 person negotiating team
were unable to go overseas since they are on “the US and UN blacklist.” Several
of them are on the U.N. Security Council sanctions list which bars them from
a U.S. official said Zalmay Khalilzad, who was supposed to lead the American
delegation, is not planning to visit Islamabad this week.
U.S. said it had not received an official invitation from the government of
Pakistan for this meeting which was first announced by Taliban spokesman
Zabiullah Mujahid a couple of days ago.
statement had set February 18 as the date of the talks and said a formal
invitation had been issued by Pakistan. In addition, he said, the Taliban
delegation would also meet the Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan.
day later, Pakistan’s information minister Fawad Chaudhry confirmed the talks
during a press conference, calling it a “game changer.”
next round of negotiations with the Taliban will be in Pakistan, and as a
result of these negotiations, there is a chance of stability in Afghanistan,”
Foreign Ministry reacted strongly to the announcement of a meeting in
Islamabad, saying it was in violation of a United Nations Security Council
complains to #UNSecurityCouncil on #Pakistan’s engagements with the Taliban on
which #Afg Govenrment is not consulted,” Tweeted Sibghatullah Admadi, a
spokesman for the Afghan foreign office.
Afghanistan launched a similar complaint against Russia for allowing Taliban
members to travel to Moscow for a conference in which nearly 50 Afghans,
including various political leaders, former jihadi commanders, and civil
society activists were invited. However, the Afghan government was not invited
to that conference because the Taliban have so far refused to engage with the
Kabul administration despite pressure from the U.S., Saudi Arabia, and others.
Ashraf Ghani lashed out at those attending the conference saying they had no
“executive authority” to make any agreements.
hundreds of such meetings be held,” he said.
analysts say Ghani’s statements indicated his frustration at being left out of
the negotiations between the Americans and the Taliban that first started last
Summer. Since then, the two sides have held several rounds of talks.
last meeting in Doha early January lasted for six days and Khalilzad said the
two sides had agreed “in principle” to a withdrawal of foreign troops from
Afghanistan in return for guarantees that Afghan soil will not be used by any
terrorist groups or individuals.
in a public event at Washington based United States Institute of Peace,
Khalilzad said the Taliban do not want to “sit with the government alone”
because they did not want to give President Ghani an advantage in the
presidential elections scheduled in July.
least 32 people including Taliban militants and soldiers of the Afghan Local
Police were killed or wounded during an overnight clash in Qaisar district of
209th Shaheen Corps of the Afghan Military in the North in a statement said the
clash took place late on Sunday night in Arkalik Village leaving at least 17
Taliban dead including one of their prominent commanders who has been
identified as Esmat Esmatyar.
statement further added that the clash also left at least 8 Taliban militants
to 209th Shaheen Corps, at least three Afghan Local Police soldier also lost
their lives during the clash and four others sustained injuries.
anti-government armed militants including Taliban have not commented regarding
the clash so far.
is among the relatively volatile provinces in the North of the country. The
security situation in some of its districts has deteriorated sharply during the
Feb 17 (UNB) - Attorney General Mahbubey Alam on Sunday said he will take steps
so that hearing on a petition filed by Jamaat-e-Islami challenging a High Court
order that had cancelled its registration as a political party is held as soon
registration of Jamaat-e-Islam had been cancelled with the High Court verdict.
A case is pending with the Appellate Division in this regard. So, the Prime
Minister has rightly said that no executive order can be issued over a
sub-judice matter. So, we’ll try to ensure that the matter is heard as soon as
possible,” he said while talking to reporters at his office.
the resignation of Barrister Abdur Razzak from Jamaat, the attorney general
said it does not matter whether they offer apology or not for their war crimes.
“However, the war crimes trial will continue.”
Friday, Jamaat-e-Islami assistant secretary general Barrister Abdur Razzak sent
his resignation letter from the UK to Jamaat Ameer Maqbul Ahmed as he said the
party failed to apologise for its anti-liberation war role in 1971 and reform
the organistion based on reality.
aim of a political party is to come to state power through election. How will a
party join the election if it has no licence? And those who do politics without
registration are called underground parties which the general people of the
country don’t accept,” Mahbubey Alam said.
any political party wants to do politics, it must have a ‘licence’ from the
Election Commission, he said, adding that the case over cancelling that
‘licence’ is pending with the Appellate Division. “Hope, we’ll able to take
steps as soon as possible for its hearing.”
doing politics by Jamaat with a new name, the attorney general cited the
example of Adolf Hitler, saying, “Hitler is no more. Will German people face
any difficulty to understand if anyone starts politics with the ideology of
Hitler? The same is applicable for Jamaat here.”
August 1, 2013, the High Court cancelled the registration of Jamaat-e-Islami
which opposed the independence of the country during the 1971 Liberation War.
U.S. Special Envoy for Afghanistan Reconciliation Ambassador Khalilzad met with
the Chief Executive of the Government of National Unity Abdullah Abdullah in
to a statement released by the Office of Chief Executive, Ambassador Khalilzad
briefed Chief Executive Abdullah regarding his trips to the region and other
countries as well as progress in peace talks.
statement further added that Cheif Executive Abdullah hailed Ambassador
Khalilzad and the U.S. government for their efforts in maintaining peace in
Afghanistan emphasizing that peace is one of the longtime demands of the Afghan
people and nothing can have more priority than to put an end to the ongoing conflict.
U.S. Ambassador to Kabul John Bass had also attended the meeting, the Office of
the Chief Executive said, adding that Mr. Abdullah also emphasized on an
Afghan-led, Afghan-owned, and dignified peace process.
meeting between the U.S. envoy and Chief Executive Abdullah has taken place a
day before the scheduled meeting of Ambassador Khalilzad with the Taliban
representatives and Pakistani officials in Islamabad.
Taliban group had earlier confirmed that a meeting regarding peace efforts
would be organized in Islamabad based on formal invitation of the Pakistani
Prime Minister Imran Khan.
Shabaab resilience, diplomatic row muddle troop withdrawal from Somalia
ongoing withdrawal of troops from Somalia is raising concerns of a security
vacuum that a resurgent al Shabaab will exploit.
African Union Mission in Somalia was initially meant to deploy with 8,000 troops
for just six months in 2007. However, it has had its mandate consistently
renewed and expanded.
Ethiopia, Uganda, Djibouti and Burundi have since jointly contributed 22,000
troops. Now they are trying to scale back and hand control to a fledgling
Somali government and ill-equipped military.
first reduction of troops was done in December 2017. In line with the UN
Security Council Resolution 2431 (2018), 1,000 troops will withdraw this month
in the second phase.
recent terror attacks in Somalia have put to question the strategy. An October
2017 attack killed 587 people in Mogadishu. This month there were two attacks,
with one killing nine and the second killing a military commander.
too, continues to suffer deadly attacks, which al Shabaab has claimed
responsibility for. The dusitD2 attack that killed 21 was a show of resilience
by the militant group.
make matters worse, a diplomatic row broke out on Saturday after Kenya declared
Somalia an enemy state and summoned its envoy in a dramatic escalation of a
long-running maritime dispute. Somalia denied offering oil and gas blocs in
Kenyan territory for auction, but relations are yet to be normalised. It was
not immediately clear how this would affect Kenya’s involvement with Amisom.
week, senior commanders of Amisom met in Mogadishu to chart the way forward
ahead of the next phase of withdrawal.
chairman Mousa Faki sounded the alarm in a communiqué calling for the country
to be stabilised first.
premature withdrawal is likely to undermine the gains made over the last
decade, at a great human and financial cost,” he said.
to this will be predictable financing for Amisom that will make it possible for
the Somali national security forces to take over primary security
responsibility from Amisom.”
latest withdrawal of troops will affect Burundian troops, who are based in
Jowhar, HirShabelle State.
they picked on Burundi forces was not a coincidence. The EU Council had in
March 2016 sanctioned Burundi over human rights violations, which in effect
meant they would not pay their soldiers' allowances. If they were to stay, the
AU had to get donors to pay them.
was communicated by the AU Commission to UN Support Office for Somalia in a letter
dated December 19, 2018.
a meeting with the Military Operations Coordination Committee on November 18,
2018, AUC wrote: "It has been decided that Burundi National Defence Forces
draw down by 1,000 troops by February 2019. The Commission would appreciate it
if UNSOS, in coordination with Amisom, could facilitate the drawdown of BNDF
Mulongo, the Deputy Special Representative of the Chairperson of the AUC for
Somalia, said on Monday: “We need to make do with the little resources we have
and implement the new ConOps [Concept of Operations] to help Amisom fulfil its
mandate of securing Somalia.”
Western countries are pushing for a systematic withdrawal, Somalia and the
region are opposed to the move.
President Mohamed Abdi Waare said on February 3 if hurriedly implemented, the
drawdown would leave his state vulnerable to attacks. He said there is still
work to be done to ensure successful implementation of the Transition Plan.
of Amisom Amb Fransisco Madeira told him the transition would be systematic.
last year, the Chiefs of Defence Staff of the Troop and Police Contributing
Countries met and approved Amisom’s ConOps for the transition period. The
document is important, as it will guide how the transition plan will be
implemented,” Madeira said. Elders and chiefs, however, want the process
delayed, saying Somalia's security forces cannot contain the threat from al
Gridneff, an international journalist covering the Horn of Africa, says the
move "doesn’t sound confidence-inspiring for the 400 local police planned
to be trained then deployed in Jowhar and supported by EU/UK".
last Wednesday insisted the withdrawal would create a “burden” on his region’s
TCCs (Troop Contributing Countries) and the Somali government also want the
drawdown stopped to allow recovery of territories under control of al Shabaab
and other terror groups. There is already a supremacy battle between al
Qaeda-affiliated groups and Isis in some parts of Somalia.
Mohamed Farmaajo acknowledges Somalia still has "a long way to go".
at a meeting convened by Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni in Kampala, he said:
“I believe if we continue to collaborate with the help of the EU and the
international community continues funding this operation, we will defeat al
Shabaab in very short order.”
Uhuru Kenyatta is on record calling for more troops in Somalia to cushion the
Kenya Defence Forces and the country from al Shabaab attacks.
particular concern to us in Kenya is the curious absence of Amisom in the Gedo
region. This region has now become a safe haven for al Shabaab and a launching
pad for attacks against our troops and people along our common border with
Somalia. It has become a critical soft belly for Kenya,” he told the Heads of
State Summit for Amisom TCCs in Djibouti in February 2017.
on BBC Hardtalk last week, Deputy President William Ruto reiterated Kenya’s
commitment to the cause. Stephen Sackur asked him: “If I may shorthand it, you
are telling me that your military commitment in Somalia is open-ended,
said: “It is indefinite until we are certain that Somalia is safe. Before then,
it will be reckless for us to walk away from a threat that threatens our
Gathara, who worked with Amisom until 2015, said the number being withdrawn is
"only a small, partial drawdown, as happened last year".
still retains the better part of 20,000 troops, and although there is talk of a
full withdrawal by next year, this is unlikely to happen, as the Somali
National Security Forces are, and will be, in no position to secure the whole
country. It wouldn't be the first time such a withdrawal is contemplated but
never realised," he said.
Mohamed, a former war correspondent based outside Mogadishu, also says the
withdrawal of 1,000 peacekeepers will not pose a major risk to Somalia
"because there will still be a strong force of 21,000 armed personnel on
the ground in Somalia”.
withdrawal represents a 4.5 per cent drawback. This is an insignificant
percentage that will not be felt on the ground, only if the 1,000 forces are
equally shared among the five contingents,” he said.
he acknowledged that the Somalia National Army is not ready to fully secure a
spot without Amisom support “because they are ill-equipped".
May 2017 at the London Conference, Uhuru called for more soldiers rather than
urge this conference to endorse the call by the TCCs and the AU for urgent
measures to support and strengthen Amisom," he said.
should include the upsurge of Amisom by an additional 4,000 troops to liberate
areas still under the control of terrorists."
also pushed for the provision of predictable and sustainable funding, including
from the UN-assessed contributions. Uhuru in January last year criticised the
withdrawal when he met UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres. He said the best
way to stabilise Somalia would be through more support for Amisom.
would like to call on the UN and the AU to ensure practical and realistic
Amisom exit timelines that should be subjected to regular reviews,” Uhuru said
in Addis Ababa on the sidelines of the 30th Ordinary Session of the AU Heads of
July, Guterres, wrote to the Security Council advising that the drawdown was
not realistic, especially after the Mogadishu attack on October 17. That
of the African peacekeeping force have also warned that withdrawal of their
troops will be premature.
US is also opposed to the withdrawal. However, there are questions on its
honesty, given UNSC resolutions are decisions taken by the countries on the
Security Council (on the recommendation of the Secretary General).
then, would veto-wielding permanent members such as the US agree to a
resolution mandating the withdrawal if they were opposed to it?
is also not keen on leaving. Instead, it has issued a proposal to donors that
would enable its troops to remain in Somalia under a new arrangement, provided
they are funded.
is also a key challenge in the peace process.
President Ismail Gueleh struck a different tone. He commended the Somali
government for its efforts to rebuild the Somali military and said it is now
able to take care of itself.
think this is the time right time that Somalia could be given the
responsibility. The country could not have depended on troops from foreign
countries forever,” he said.
refugees who voluntarily returned say they are in a far worse position than
they had been in the Daadab refugee camp, with no access to food, shelter or
with them losing their legal refugee status, they are no longer entitled to
donor or UNHCR help.
for comment, UNHCR-Kenya spokesperson Yvonne Ndege said: "Safety and
security in the country is paramount as is UNHCR’s access to refugee returnees
and internally displaced people. Refugees may wish to return voluntarily to
Somalia, and if they do, UNHCR is there to support this and ensure they are
able to make an informed decision."
further noted that all civilians, including returnees and displaced people,
should never be targets of conflict and have the right to live in safety.
therefore, emerges that the withdrawal poses a risk that it might offer an
opportunity to al Shabaab to regroup.
Council of Imams and Ulamas on
Sunday called on the Kaduna State Government to immediately apprehend and
prosecute the masterminds of
the Killings of 66 persons in Kajuru Local Government Area of the state.
religious leaders also urged Governor Nasir El-Rufai to ensure those who
carried out the killings are brought to justice
State Chairman of the council, Ibrahim Nakaka, at a news briefing at the
group’s secretariat in Kaduna,
said it is the responsibility of the state government to protect the lives of
Muslims and other indigenes as enshrined in the Constitution.
council alleged that attacks on Muslims communities in Southern Kaduna had
Nakaka said the killing of “more than 600 persons in Zonkwa in 2011 in cold
blood” remained fresh in the minds of Muslims in the state.
said the council discouraged Muslims from revenge because Islam does not allow
the taking of human lives without just cause.
urge the state government to stand on its feet as the onus of securing the
lives and properties of all Muslims in Kaduna State lies on the government of
the state as enshrined in the constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.
chairman said the council appreciated the quick intervention of the state
government to save lives and property.
said the council supports the appeal for calm and refrain from reprisal
Maigari, a local who said he travelled to the area ahead of the elections, said
there were two attacks: the first on the Adara people of Maro and a second, a
reprisal on the Fulani in the community.
said the reprisal claimed more lives than the initial attack.
the early hours of Monday, around 1 a.m., there was an attack on a community
called Ungwar Bardi in Maro, Kajuru Local Government. The people there are
predominantly Adara. So, there was an attack on them and 11 people were
killed,” he said.
civilians were killed in fighting between government troops and Boko Haram
militants in northeastern Nigeria, locals and civilian militia said Sunday.
deaths happened in the town of Buni Yadi, in Yobe State, on Saturday, in an
attack that the military said also killed five militants and four soldiers.
spokesman Sagir Musa said five militants "met their Waterloo" as they
attempted to overrun a military base at about 6:00 pm (1700 GMT) on Saturday.
about the same time, there were attacks on military positions in Gajibo and
Gajiganna, north of the Borno State capital, Maiduguri, security sources in the
Buni Yadi, local resident Aisami Lawan told AFP, "The attackers came
around 5:30 pm. The fighting lasted more than two hours. A stray projectile hit
one of the houses nearby, killing all five occupants. Eleven people were also
injured from stray bullets and shrapnel."
five civilians who were killed were buried on Sunday morning, he added.
member of the Civilian Joint Task Force militia assisting the military with
security confirmed the account and said Boko Haram militants were killed after
the terrorists turned back, a detachment of CJTF was waiting and laid ambush to
them," he added.
officer and three soldiers have lost their lives during the encounter," he
said, adding that five others were wounded.
said the heavily-armed militants were in four gun trucks and two armored
seized weapons and ammunition, he added.
Libyans are celebrating the eighth anniversary of their 2011 uprising that led
to the overthrow and killing of longtime ruler Muammar Qaddafi, with the
varying intensity of festivities underscoring the split between the country’s
east and west.
of people reveled Sunday in the western cities of Tripoli, Misrata and Zawiya,
where bands played national songs and flags lined the streets.
festivities were much more subdued in the country’s east, with only a few
people gathering at the central courthouse in Benghazi, a city that has billed
itself as the birthplace of Libya’s uprising.
least nine people were killed as the Nigerian army repelled a Boko Haram
attempt to overrun troops’ position in northeastern Buni Yadi town, officials
spokesman Sagir Musa said in a statement that the militants launched an attack
on the military base in the town on Saturday evening.
the terrorists appeared prepared for the attack as they approached the military
location with four gun trucks, a mine resistant ambush protection, a MOWAC and
assorted arms and ammunitions, they, however, suffered heavy losses as five of
the bandits/terrorists were effectively deleted,” according to Musa.
said the troops also captured heavy weapons and a motor cycle.
said one officer and three soldiers were also killed in the encounter while
five soldiers were wounded and are being treated.
attack came one day after 11 persons including three suicide bombers were
killed in an attack on a mosque in Maiduguri, capital city of Borno State.
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