Rabah, vice president of Muslim Community Patrol & Services, outside the
Police Department's 72nd Precinct, with a car the group intends to use to
patrol neighborhoods in Brooklyn.
MPs Say Highest Saudi Authorities May Be Responsible For Activists' Torture
Form Community Patrol, Some Neighbours Say No Thanks
Visit to Gulf Can Help Us Defeat Murderous Extremists, Top Emirati Diplomat
Francis Condemns Yemen Plight, Urges Respect for ‘Fragile’ Truce
Wants US Military in Iraq to ‘Watch Iran’
Students Urge Muslim Leaders to Form New Political Front to Fight Lok Sabha
in four Londoners have witnessed extremism according to poll
Bride Asks to Return to Europe as Islamic State Caliphate Crumbles
People in Mostly Christian Countries Believe Values Clash With Islam – Poll
Francis in UAE to bolster Christian-Muslim relations
to meet Afghan opposition leaders in Moscow’
Mosul Exhibition, Iraqi Artists Process Brutal Rule of Daesh
Tolerance Embraces Faiths, Runs Up Against Politics
in shrinking Syria holdout, Daesh turns to human shields
Dispatches Massive Military Convoy to Largest Base in Northern Syria
Army Heavily Pounds Terrorists' Military Positions in Hama, Idlib
US Warplanes Attack Syrian Army Positions in Deir Ezzur
to consider longer presidential term: lawmaker
hosts Palestinian groups, urges calm with Israel
begins construction of new Gaza border barrier
man shot by Israeli forces during Gaza protest dies of wounds
carrying Iranian pilgrims in Iraq comes under terrorist attack, nine injured
of Islamic Cooperation urges world to ensure safety of Palestinians
wounded by Israeli fire during protests dies
says can’t understand US silence over Khashoggi case
warns against foreign meddling in Venezuela’s affairs
says he would return troops to Syria if needed
Students Urge Muslim Leaders to Form New Political Front to Fight Lok Sabha Polls
India’s protest, Pakistan foreign minister calls up Syed Ali Shah Geelani
Case: NBW Issued Against 2 Pakistan Army Officials
Program Held: Concern Expressed On Increasing ‘Dowry’ Demands
US Eyes Afghan Exit, India Talks To Key Players
talks with Taliban should not impact president’s poll in Afghanistan, says
of Gulf royal families given permits to hunt protected bird
Khan should not fear Shehbaz Sharif and summon Parliament session: Marriyum
talking to US from position of strength
pitches Lodhran as new contender for south secretariat
orders speedy justice in Sahiwal shooting case
Workers Race To Batten Down Rohingya Refugee Camp With No Sign Of Crisis Ending
to meet anti-govt leaders in Moscow
summit to strengthen peace efforts in Afghanistan: Noor
Taliban leader Qari Janan killed with his 7 comrades in Helmand
vows to defend constitutional values and safety of institutions in Moscow
Cops Uncover 'Love Scam' Syndicate Misusing Islam To Fleece Victims
Worldwide Protest China's Uyghurs Policy
College alumni declare support for Jokowi-Ma’ruf pair
at stake for Malaysia Baharu in the Semenyih by-election?
Abu Sayyaf members surrender over Philippine church bombing
Dispatches from A Nomad: Kenya Falls Victim To ISIS-Al Shabaab Supremacy Wars
Terror reaches Nigeria
PM says protesters’ economic demands are legitimate
Africa peace deal to be initialed Tuesday: Sudan
al-Shabaab fighters killed in Somalia - US army
by New Age Islam News Bureau
MPs say highest Saudi authorities may be responsible for activists' torture
(Reuters) - Three British lawmakers on Monday endorsed reports that women
activists detained in Saudi Arabia have been tortured, and said responsibility
for what is likely a violation of international law could lie with “Saudi
authorities at the highest level”.
conclusions of the panel indicate growing uneasiness among Western allies with
alleged rights abuses under Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, the kingdom’s de
facto leader who already facing opprobrium over last year’s murder of
journalist Jamal Khashoggi.
United Nations investigator is now leading an international inquiry into the murder,
which has tarnished the crown prince’s standing in the West after he won
accolades for seeking to ease social restrictions and end the country’s
dependence on oil revenues.
reforms have been accompanied by a crackdown on dissent, including the arrest
of over a dozen women’s rights campaigners starting last May, most of whom had
advocated for the right to drive and an end to the male guardianship system.
International said last month it had documented 10 cases of torture and abuse -
including sexual harassment, electrocution, flogging and death threats - while
the activists were held at an undisclosed location last summer.
reported earlier that an aide to Prince Mohammed who was fired for his role in
the Khashoggi murder personally oversaw the torture of at least one of the
women months earlier.
Arabia, an absolute monarchy where public protests and political parties are
banned, says it does not have political prisoners and denies torture
allegations. Officials have said monitoring of activists is needed to ensure
British lawmakers Crispin Blunt, Layla Moran and Paul Williams said they found
reports by international rights groups and news media to be credible,
describing the detainees’ treatment as “cruel, inhuman and degrading”.
lawmakers, who formed a review panel with prominent lawyers, said the Saudi
authorities had also violated international law by holding the detainees
incommunicado and denying them access to legal advice.
rests not only with direct perpetrators but also those who are responsible for
or acquiesce to it, they added.
Saudi authorities at the highest levels could, in principle, be responsible for
the crime of torture,” their final report said.
Saudi government communications office did not reply to a request for comment
on the report.
of the detained women’s rights activists have been accused in Saudi media of
belonging to the outlawed Muslim Brotherhood and supporting Qatar, which is
locked in a dispute with Riyadh.
British lawmakers called on the Saudi authorities to immediately release them
and review the allegations against them, and to prosecute those responsible for
said requests to visit the detainees in Saudi Arabia have gone unanswered.
Saudi women activist detainees have been treated so badly as to sustain an
international investigation for torture,” said Blunt, a lawmaker in Prime
Minister Theresa May’s Conservative Party.
Arabia stands on the brink. It is not too late to alter course and avert the
spiral downwards to catastrophe that the detention of these activists
represents,” he said.
Muslims Form Community Patrol, Some Neighbours Say No Thanks
Alexandra E. Petri
Ali remembers the worry he felt when he first spotted the “Punish a Muslim Day”
letter, mailed last spring throughout England, encouraged violence that ranged
from pulling off a woman’s head scarf to bombing mosques. Each attack, the
letter instructed, would be rewarded with points. The hate campaign prompted
the police in New York and other big cities to expand patrols around mosques
and Islamic centers on the specified day.
Ali, who lives in Downtown Brooklyn, said he was consumed by thoughts of his
four children’s safety.
just boiled inside of me,” said Mr. Ali, 38, who moved to the United States
from Yemen in 1990. “That’s when I said to myself that it was really important
to come out and protect Muslims in the community.”
added, “I have to stand up.”
it turns out, he will spend most of his time sitting — in a white Ford Taurus
that is detailed to look like a police squad car with red and white emergency
Ali is among the first 30 members of the all-volunteer Muslim Community Patrol
& Services that is preparing to operate in neighborhoods in Brooklyn, with
a goal of growing its fleet of two cars to five by the end of the month and
eventually expanding citywide. The group recently held a training led by
off-duty officers from the Police Department’s 72nd Precinct.
like a neighborhood watch but on steroids,” said Noor Rabah, the group’s
31-year-old vice president who lives in Sunset Park.
word of the new patrol has begun to spread, the backlash has been swift, even
among some members of the Muslim community who have criticized the lack of
information, and even questioned the need for the patrol.
the Shomrim that patrols largely Hasidic neighborhoods in Brooklyn and the
Brooklyn Asian Safety Patrol that operates mainly in Sunset Park, the new group
— believed to be the first of its kind in the country — hopes to function as
extra sets of eyes and ears for the police.
unarmed civilian patrol will offer translation services — its members are
fluent in any of seven languages — explain cultural nuances, report suspicious
activity, respond to traffic accidents and even help in searches for the
missing. The patrol has the support of Brooklyn’s borough president, Eric L.
Adams, and Assistant Chief Brian J. Conroy, the commanding officer of Patrol
Borough Brooklyn South.
than buildings went down in 9/11. Trust between communities went down,” Mr.
Adams said. “We are building it back one brick at a time, and this patrol is
one of those bricks.”
said the group is self-funded and used donations to purchase the cars and navy
blue uniforms for its members, many of whom are involved with the Muslim
Community Center in Sunset Park.
plan to work in shifts, watching over arrival and dismissal times at three
Islamic schools in Brooklyn and conducting patrols from 5 p.m. to 11 p.m.,
mostly near mosques and bus and subway stops in Bay Ridge and Sunset Park,
where there are large Muslim populations. It will also link residents to food
pantries, mentorship programs and counseling services. It aims to serve anyone
who needs help, Mr. Rabah said, not just Muslims.
is prevention,” Mr. Rabah said. “Just us being around should deter the average
criminal mind of doing something to harm another person.”
in a world where far-right conspiracy theories have inspired terror plots
against an Islamic enclave in upstate New York, and a travel ban has blocked
residents of predominantly Muslim countries from entering the United States,
nothing, it seems, is that simple.
said they were prepared for skeptics.
they did not expect the vitriol unleashed when a photo of their new,
double-parked patrol cars on Fifth Avenue in Bay Ridge turned up Dec. 21 on
Facebook, and later on Instagram. The hostility spread after a far-right
Canadian website, Rebel Media, posted a snippet on YouTube. The ugly online
comments included accusations that the group was a stalking horse for Shariah
law, and worse.
expected some sort of, ‘Wait, what is that?’ but not, ‘Wait, what the hell is
that?’ Mr. Rabah said. “There’s a big difference.”
in the Muslim community were equally startled, but for a different reason: The
cars’ resemblance to New York City police cruisers stoked anxieties rather than
Elrowmeim, the adult education and women’s empowerment manager at the Arab
American Association of New York, based in Bay Ridge, said a single misstep
from the patrol could reflect poorly on the city’s entire Muslim community. She
said more outreach to community leaders was essential before patrols began
then, Ms. Elrowmeim, 34, offered this message: “We don’t want you near our
68th Precinct, serving Bay Ridge and Dyker Heights, fielded a flurry of calls
from concerned residents after the social media posts, leading police officials
to hold an introductory meeting with Muslim Community Patrol members to discuss
parameters: Call 911 if they encounter something suspicious, and take no
enforcement action on their own. “We expect them to follow the law in general,”
a Police Department spokesman said.
date has been finalized for the start of patrols, Mr. Rabah said. Before the
rollout, members will attend community board meetings to explain the patrol’s
mission and to answer questions from residents. On Friday, the group met with
members of the influential Arab American Association of New York, whose vice
president, Habib Joudeh, had said he was not told about the patrol group until
after the backlash prompted by the photo of the car.
have to inform people of what’s going on first,” Mr. Joudeh said.
the Shomrim, which patrols in vehicles and on foot, the Muslim patrol will
operate only from patrol cars, Mr. Rabah said.
know our place: We are not cops,” he said. “We are simply patrollers for the
community that also serve as the eyes and ears for the N.Y.P.D.”
patrols work in concert with the police, but are not sanctioned or regulated by
the Police Department. “Safety is a shared responsibility with the community,
so this is an opportunity for the community to help out and work together with
the police,” Assistant Chief Conroy said in an interview.
Rabah, a funeral organizer for the Janazah Project, said the Muslim Community
Patrol had been a long-held dream of his and others. A series of sensational
2016 attacks, including the murder of an imam and his assistant in Queens and
an arson attack on a Muslim woman dressed in traditional garb in Manhattan,
gave energy to their cause, he said.
York City is home to an estimated 769,000 Muslims. They make up about 9 percent
of the city’s population, but represent 22 percent of all Muslims living in the
United States, according to Muslims for American Progress.
2017 in the city, there were 14 reported anti-Muslim bias incidents, according
to the Police Department’s annual report. Last year, there were 14 bias-crime
incidents recorded against Muslims during the first three quarters of the year,
the most recent data available.
Nasher, executive director of the New York chapter of the Council on American
Islamic Relations, said the actual number of hate crimes is likely much higher,
since bias attacks often go unreported. Still, she said she saw the community
patrol as more than just a response to discrimination and attacks against
Muslims; it was also reflective of a desire to participate and engage with
society in deep, meaningful ways.
in general have had an awakening,” Ms. Nasher said. “We see this movement
across the board in which Muslims are thinking more conscientiously about how
to give back.”
1988, a group of men from a Brooklyn mosque conducted foot patrols in
Bedford-Stuyvesant in an effort to rid the community of crime and drugs,
specifically crack cocaine. But CAIR officials said they believed the new
Muslim patrol is the only group of its kind in the nation.
Quhshi, the owner of Le’Jemalik Salon & Boutique in Bay Ridge, said she
felt a “spark of happiness” when she saw a video of the patrol car on
Instagram. The extra protection is welcome, she said, especially for women who
wear hijabs — “walking billboards of a Muslim” — and are particularly
vulnerable to harassment.
Quhshi, a 39-year-old native of Brooklyn who now lives in Queens, said she has
not had problems while wearing a hijab, but her teenage daughter has.
everything going on, you sort of feel like the whole world is against Muslims,”
she said. “So it feels good to know that there is someone there, watching out.”
Ali, who helped found Mercy Bakery, a nonprofit that runs bakeries and provides
free loaves of bread to families in need, stressed that the goal was to serve
the entire community, not only Muslims.
hope people just give us a chance,” he said.
visit to Gulf can help us defeat murderous extremists, top Emirati diplomat
Pope Francis to the Middle East will help deliver a rebuke to “murderous
fundamentalists” who promote a warped and violent interpretation of Islam, a
senior Emirati diplomat has said.
for Politico magazine, Yousef Al Otaiba, the UAE ambassador to the US, said
that promoting a vision of tolerance and peaceful coexistence with people of
other faiths could prove more effective than force in defeating the ideology of
ISIS and its “crazed followers”.
an article headlined ‘Why we invited the Pope to the Arabian Peninsula’, Mr Al
Otaiba wrote that populations across the Middle East are facing the “the menace
of extremism” with the region becoming a “cauldron of conflict”.
interpretations of Islam represent a tiny minority of those who practise the
faith,” said Mr Al Otaiba, who has been ambassador to the US for 10 years. “But
often the shrillest voices shout the loudest — whether it is on TV, on the
internet or in a mosque. They twist and obscure the fact that Islam is a
religion of peace.”
Al Otaiba cited an extract from an article in Daqib, an ISIS magazine, which
told secular readers that they hated them because they “reject the oneness of
Allah — whether you realise it or not.” He said it was an example of “extreme
voices [that] seek to incite crazed followers to do their bidding”.
added: “They give rise to zealots like who carry out hateful, violent deeds
against religious and ethnic minorities. Christian Coptic churches are attacked
in Egypt. The Yazidi homeland is destroyed in Iraq. The Jewish Museum is bombed
in Brussels. And fatefully, it is Muslims — Sunni and Shia — that suffer the
heaviest price of all from the murderous fundamentalists.
the threat or being complacent is too dangerous and will only feed the cycle of
sectarian violence that has gripped the region for more than a generation.
Removing the extremists by force is also not the answer as long as the poisoned
ideology and the conditions that nurture it endure.”
solution in breaking the cycle and encouraging people to accept people who are
different, Mr Otaiba said, involves promoting an approach “close to the centre
of the Muslim world”, which is already found in the UAE.
told his US audience about more than 40 churches in the UAE, and plans for a
new Hindu temple. He described the country’s Jewish community as “vibrant and
Francis is due to arrive into Abu Dhabi on Sunday evening, and will take part
in interfaith meetings before delivering a public Mass on Tuesday. Although the
audience will be mostly Catholic, Muslim leaders are also expected to attend.
ideas and principles of mutual respect and genuine tolerance should be
universal,” he said. “Faith and belief are instruments of good for noble goals
— not the pretence for death and destruction. The voices of moderation and
acceptance must be lifted over those of division and hatred.
the birthplace of the three Abrahamic religions, the Middle East today has
become a cauldron of conflict among and within them. Religion today is a
treacherous fault line that divides the region. But the true faith of Muslims,
Christians and Jews has never been about hate or fanaticism. There is no clash
of civilisations or ideas — only a rash of ignorance and a deficit of courage
and moral leadership.
years ago deep in the desert, missionary doctors and Bedouin villagers built a
bridge between two faiths with acts of kindness and understanding. We can do it
again. This weekend, Pope Francis and the Grand Imam will unite their voices in
prayers and homilies to the billions of Catholics and Muslims across the world.
It will come from the heart of the Arab world in a country that embraces and
lives these ideals every day.”
Francis condemns Yemen plight, urges respect for ‘fragile’ truce
Francis, the head of the Roman Catholic Church, has in strongest terms ever
condemned the Saudi-led coalition’s war on Yemen, urging the warring sides to
respect a “fragile” peace deal, shortly before starting his historic visits to
the UAE and Saudi Arabia.
cry of these children and their parents rise up to God,” the Pontiff told tens
of thousands of people in Vatican City on Sunday, before traveling to the
United Arab Emirates which is a part of the Saudi-led coalition fighting in
Yemen since 2015.
people are exhausted by the long conflict and many children are hungry, but
humanitarian aid isn’t accessible.”
us pray strongly because they are children who are hungry, who are thirsty,
they don’t have medicine and they are in danger of death,” he said.
Pope said that he was following the urgent humanitarian crisis in Yemen with
great concern during the first-ever papal visits to the Arabian Peninsula. He
also urged all sides to implement a fragile peace deal and help deliver food,
water, and medicine to millions of hungry people.
on Sunday, the United Nations mission in Yemen warned warring sides that the
Hudaydah truce is fragile.
Dutch General Patrick Cammaert, who also chairs Redeployment Coordination
Committee (RCC) – a UN-appointed committee tasked with monitoring the Hudaydah
ceasefire – made the comment during meetings with former government officials
and Ansarullah forces aboard a ship anchored off the key port city.
said the talks were cordial and constructive and urged both sides to observe
the ceasefire. Cammaert said any violations would jeopardize the Stockholm
Agreement and the Yemeni peace process.
talks were held on a ship because the representatives of Ansarullah refused to
enter areas controlled by Saudi-led aggressor forces.
to a UN statement, Cammaert boarded the vessel on Saturday and picked up
representatives of the former regime at a rendezvous in the Red Sea before
returning to Hudaydah to await Houthi envoys, who arrived later on Sunday.
RCC was formed on the back of an agreement reached under the auspices of the UN
in Sweden last December.
breakthrough deal calls for a ceasefire in Hudaydah — which has been under a
Saudi-led siege — the withdrawal of both Saudi-backed forces and the Yemeni
defense units from the city, and the deployment of UN observers there.
Arabia and some of its vassal states invaded Yemen four years ago to restore a
Riyadh-aligned regime that had resigned and fled the country. The Houthis and
their allies — who have since been running state affairs — have been defending
the country against the Saudi-led invasion.
onslaught has killed tens of thousands of people and driven the entire Yemen
close to the edge of famine.
violation of human rights
Francis raised his criticism of the war in Yemen before boarding a flight to
Abu Dhabi, where he was warmly greeted by its Crown Prince Sheikh Mohammed bin
officials have said it is not clear whether Pope Francis will address the
sensitive subject in public or private during his visit to Abu Dhabi, which is
aimed at promoting interfaith dialogue.
Pontiff has also been urged to use the historic visit to raise human rights
concerns with Arab officials.
UAE faces criticism from human rights groups for jailing activists, including
Ahmed Mansoor, an Emirati who is serving a ten-year sentence for criticizing
the government on social media.
are calling on Pope Francis to raise the issue of their incarceration with his
hosts, and urge their immediate and unconditional release," Amnesty
International said in a statement on Saturday.
UAE authorities are trying to brand 2019 as the 'year of tolerance' and are now
seeking to cast the Pope's visit as proof of their respect for diversity. Does
this mean they are ready to reverse their policy of systematic repression of
any form of dissent or criticism?" said Lynn Maalouf, Amnesty
International's Middle East Research Director.
2011, the authorities have systematically cracked down on their critics,
including activists, judges, lawyers, academics, students and journalists by
way of arbitrary detentions, enforced disappearance, torture and
have said that the papal visit should not be used as an opportunity to mask
over human rights violations taking place within the UAE.
will take more than symbolic meetings to gloss over the UAE's appalling human
rights record. The fanfare around Pope Francis’ visit will be missed by the
many human rights defenders, including Ahmed Mansoor, Nasser bin Ghaith and
Mohammed al-Roken, who are serving lengthy prison sentences simply for
exercising their right to freedom of expression. We are calling on Pope Francis
to raise the issue of their incarceration with his hosts, and urge their
immediate and unconditional release," said Maalouf.
wants US military in Iraq to ‘watch Iran’
President Donald Trump said it was important to keep a US military presence in
Iraq so that Washington can keep a close eye on Iran, according to a CBS
interview to be broadcast on Sunday.
said the United States spent a fortune on a base in Iraq. “We might as well
keep it. One of the reasons I want to keep it is because I want to be looking a
little bit at Iran because Iran is a real problem,” he said in excerpts from a
CBS “Face the Nation” interview.
if that meant he wanted to be able to strike Iran, Trump said, “No, because I
want to be able to watch Iran.”
I want to do is be able to watch. We have an unbelievable and expensive
military base built in Iraq. It’s perfectly situated for looking at all over
different parts of the troubled Middle East rather than pulling up.”
defended his decision to withdraw troops from Syria but refused to provide a
timetable for the pullout, which was criticized by members of his own
Republican Party and caused concern among some allies in the region.
said some of the forces moving out of Syria will go to the base in Iraq and
“ultimately some will be coming home.”
students urge Muslim leaders to form new political front to fight Lok Sabha
Students of Aligarh Muslim University (AMU) on Saturday urged all Muslim
leaders across the country to join hands and form a new political front to
fight the upcoming general elections.
student leaders from the university organised a meeting with a few such
political leaders on Saturday, another one has been scheduled for February 12.
Presidents of Rashtriya Ulema Council, Peace Party, National Aman Party among
others are slated to attend the meeting to decide the strategy and distribution
to TOI, Salman Imtiaz, president of AMU students union, said that the idea of a
political front of Muslim leaders was mooted as secular parties and successive
governments have failed to fulfil the aspirations of the community and uplift
them from their marginalised status. He added that the union would mobilise AMU
alumni across the state and hold meetings to sensitize them about various
issues related to the community.
of AMU students union Humza Sufyan said that not a single political party has
made any effort to uplift Muslims even though it has been over 70 years since
independence. “We are being marginalised and that is the reason behind the new political
front,” he added.
in four Londoners have witnessed views “promoting, endorsing or supporting
extremism,” a governmental survey has shown, amid warnings that radicalisation
may be on the rise.
research found that as many as 1,5 million adults in Britain’s capital have
witnessed support for extremism in the past year, suggesting that
counter-radicalisation efforts may not be having a positive impact in all
survey also showed that almost two-thirds of Londoners would not know how to
seek support over terror concerns, while less than a quarter of respondents
said they could spot the signs of extremism.
results of the governmental poll for the Mayor’s Office for Policing and Crime
come in the wake of four terror attacks by ISIS supporters and far-right
terrorists in London.
city’s mayor, Sadiq Khan, said that “it’s clear that our ability as a country
to tackle radicalisation and violent extremism is simply not good enough, and
this is putting our safety and security at risk.”
don’t think there are things such as hard to reach communities, there is hard
to reach government and we need to do a far better job at making sure we engage
with all Londoners,” he added, according to British media.
Khan said authorities needed to gain the trust of people exposed to extremism
of all kinds and called for a “full and frank assessment” of existing
government programmes to tackle low public engagement.
many communities now feel distrustful and alienated by Prevent and this is a
fundamental flaw that needs to be addressed.”
Britain’s flagship counter-extremism programme, has been the object of years of
controversy. It will now undergo an independent review, the government
announced in January.
terror plots have reportedly been foiled in Britain, marking an increased
threat from both Islamic extremists and far-right extremists.
Khan has expressed concern that Brexit would cause a spike in hate crime
similar to the one that followed the 2016 EU referendum, and said police were
contingency planning for potential civil unrest.
Khan himself has often been the object of extremist attacks. Extremists
frequently post doctored images of Mr Khan and racist memes on social media.
Critics have also crowdfunded a balloon depicting the London mayor in a bikini,
which emulates an anti-Donald Trump protest.
key thing is to not allow haters to succeed by letting it affect you. It’s
distressing for friends and family but there are more of those that are decent
than are horrible and nasty,” he said.
— Four years after leaving Germany to live under the ISIS terrorist group,
19-year-old Leonora has fled the militants’ last bastion in eastern Syria and
says it’s time to go home.
was a little bit naive,” she says in English, wearing a long billowing black
robe, and a beige headscarf with white spots.
forces are fighting the last ISIS militants in a final shred of territory in
eastern Syria near the Iraqi border, causing thousands of people to flee.
beyond the frontline village of Baghouz, Leonora and her two small children are
among the thousands of men, women and children to have scrambled out this week.
young German woman says she first came to Syria aged 15, just two months after
converting to Islam.
three days, I married my German husband,” she tells AFP, at a screening centre
for the displaced run by the US-backed Syrian Democratic Forces.
says she became the third wife of German radical Martin Lemke, after he
travelled to Syria with his first two wives.
had the year before swept across large swathes of Syria and neighbouring Iraq,
declaring a “caliphate” in areas it controlled.
first lived in the extremist group’s de-facto Syrian capital of Raqqa, but says
she was just a housewife.
was just at home, in (the) house cooking, cleaning — stuff like this,” says the
pale-faced German, clutching the youngest of her two children, an infant aged
just two weeks.
Kurdish authorities hold hundreds of foreign alleged ISIS fighters in
detention, as well as thousands of their wives and children in camps for the
Kurds have repeatedly urged Western governments to take back their nationals,
but these powers have been reluctant.
first life in Raqqa was easy, Leonora says, but that changed when the SDF
started advancing against the militants, with support from US-led coalition air
Kurdish-led SDF overran Raqqa in 2017, after years of what residents described
as ISIS brutal rule, which included public beheading and crucifixions.
they lose Raqqa, and we started to change our house every week because they
lost every week a city,” she says.
they came under attack by the Kurdish-led SDF, Leonora says the ISIS fighters
left their families to fend for themselves.
left the women alone, no food, they don’t care about you,” she says. The enemy
was advancing “and you were sitting alone in an empty city with your kids”.
ended up in a tiny patch on the eastern banks of the Euphrates in Deir Ezzor
SDF have cornered ISIS into a patch of less than four square kilometres (around
1.5 square miles) in recent days.
she says, she picked up her children, and fled with her husband, and his second
wife into SDF-held territory.
forces detained Lemke on Thursday.
claims Lemke worked mostly as a technician for IS.
makes technical stuff, computer stuff, repairs computer, mobiles,” she says.
investigations published in German newspapers portray Lemke, who is now
believed to be 28, as an influential figure among foreign radicals in Syria.
than 36,000 people have fled the SDF assault on the so-called “Hajin pocket”
since early December, according to the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, a
Britain-based war monitor that relies on a network of sources inside the
them, 3,200 have been detained as alleged militants.
arid farmland near Baghouz, a group of men sit on the ground as SDF and
coalition personnel stroll nearby.
far off, a group of women and their children — most from neighbouring Iraq —
wait to be driven north to a Kurdish-held camp for the displaced.
people in mostly Christian countries believe values clash with Islam – poll
numbers of people in Christian-majority countries in the west see a fundamental
clash between Islam and the values of their nation, according to a survey.
significantly fewer people in the Middle East and North Africa view Christianity
in the same way.
half the people taking part in the poll in France and Germany, and nearly
one-third in the US and the UK, thought there was a clash between Islam and the
values of society in their country.
asked the same question about Christianity, 25% of people in Saudi Arabia and
22% of Algerians said there was a clash with the values of their country, but
the proportions fell to 13% in the United Arab Emirates and 7% in Egypt.
poll on attitudes towards religion, carried out by YouGov, was commissioned by
the Muslim Council of Elders to mark the first papal visit to the Arabian
peninsula. Pope Francis is attending an interfaith conference in Abu Dhabi and
will hold an open-air mass on Tuesday expected to be attended by 120,000 people.
for religious freedom are highlighting the significance of the historic papal
visit to the birthplace of Islam, and hope Francis’s message of peaceful
coexistence will be heard in other countries in the region, where many
Christians are denied rights or face persecution and death.
proportion of Christians in the Middle East has fallen to about 4% of the
population from about 20% before the first world war, according to the Vatican.
Al Otaiba, the UAE’s ambassador to the US, said: “The pope’s visit will send a
strong signal across the region and world: people with different beliefs can
live, work and worship together.
everyone will welcome or embrace the message. Across the Middle East, we face
the menace of extremism … Ignoring the threat or being complacent is too
dangerous and will only feed the cycle of sectarian violence that has gripped
the region for more than a generation.”
human rights campaigners have urged the pope to use his landmark visit to
address the war in Yemen. The UAE is part of the Saudi-led military coalition
that has been accused of human rights violations in the country.
a letter to the pope, Human Rights Watch said the coalition had, since March
2015, indiscriminately bombed homes, markets and schools, impeded the delivery
of humanitarian aid and used widely banned cluster munitions.
a pointed address in St Peter’s Square shortly before boarding his plane to Abu
Dhabi, Francis said he was following the situation in Yemen “with great concern”.
said Yemen’s population was “exhausted by the lengthy conflict, and a great
many children are suffering from hunger, without being able to access food
supplies”. He added: “The cry of these children and their parents rises up to
Rights Watch also urged the pope to put pressure on UAE leaders over domestic
political repression, saying freedom of expression and association was under
attack, and thousands of low-paid migrant workers in the country were
vulnerable to forced labour.
Leah Whitson of Human Rights Watch said despite declaring 2019 “a year of
tolerance”, the UAE government had “demonstrated no real interest in improving
its human rights record”.
added: “But the UAE has shown how sensitive it is to its image on the global
stage, and Pope Francis should use his visit to press UAE leaders to meet their
human rights obligations at home and abroad.”
YouGov poll on religious attitudes found in four western countries, respondents
had less favourable views of Islam than other religions. In France, 49% said
they felt fairly, or very, unfavourable towards Islam, compared with 19% who
were unfavourable towards Judaism, 15% to Christianity, 13% towards Hinduism,
14% to Sikhism and 9% to Buddhism.
Germany, 53% of respondents were unfavourable towards Islam, compared with 10%
to 22% who were unfavourable to other religions. In the US and Britain, smaller
proportions (37% and 32%) were unfavourable towards Islam, with a similar range
viewing other religions negatively.
north African countries and the Middle East, unfavourable views of Christianity
ranged from 43% of respondents in Algeria and 42% in Saudi Arabia to 28% in
Egypt and 13% in the UAE.
Saudi Arabia, Algeria and Egypt, large majorities viewed Hinduism, Sikhism and Buddhism
unfavourably. More than half of respondents in Saudi Arabia and Algeria, and
40% in Egypt, had negative views about Judaism.
Francis is seeking to turn a page in Christian-Muslim relations while also
ministering to a unique, thriving island of Catholicism as he embarks on the
first-ever papal trip to the Arabian Peninsula, the birthplace of Islam.
Francis is building on two of his priorities with his Sunday-Tuesday visit to
the United Arab Emirates – promoting interfaith dialogue and visiting the
Catholic peripheries – diplomatic protocol is likely to dictate that he leaves
other concerns behind.
Emirates’ support for Saudi Arabia’s war in Yemen, which has caused the world’s
worst humanitarian crisis, and the UAE’s problematic record on human rights and
labour violations at home are likely to get a pass – at least in public.
is travelling to Abu Dhabi to participate in a conference on inter-religious
dialogue sponsored by the Emirates-based Muslim Council of Elders, an
initiative that seeks to counter religious fanaticism by promoting a moderate
brand of Islam.
is the brainchild of Sheikh Ahmed el-Tayeb, the grand imam of Egypt’s Al-Azhar,
the revered 1,000-year-old seat of Sunni Islam learning that trains clerics and
scholars from around the world.
will be the fifth meeting between Francis and Sheikh el-Tayeb, evidence that
Al-Azhar’s freeze in relations with the Holy See sparked by Pope Benedict XVI’s
2006 comments linking Islam to violence has thoroughly thawed.
a video message to the Emirates on the eve of his trip, Francis paid homage to
his “friend and dear brother” Sheikh el-Tayeb and praised his courage in
calling the meeting to assert that “God unites and doesn’t divide”.
am pleased with this meeting offered by the Lord to write, on your dear land, a
new page in the history of relations among religions and confirm that we are
brothers despite our differences,” Francis said.
a statement, Al-Azhar described the upcoming meeting as “historic” and praised
the “deeply fraternal relationship” between its imam and the pope, which it
said even includes birthday greetings.
and Sheikh el-Tayeb are to address the Human Fraternity Meeting on Monday that
has drawn not only Christian and Muslim representatives but hundreds of Jewish,
Hindu, Buddhist and other Christian faith leaders.
is all part of the Emirates’ Year of Tolerance and its effort to show its
openness to other faiths in a region otherwise known for severe restrictions on
religions outside of Islam.
something new for the Muslim world, that within the discussion of dialogue,
they’re talking about inter-religious dialogue across the board,” beyond basic
Christian-Muslim relations, said Marco Impagliazzo, president of the
Sant’Egidio Community, a Rome-based Catholic organisation active in interfaith
relations who will be attending the conference.
other main initiative in Abu Dhabi is a giant Mass on Tuesday in the city’s
main sports arena that is expected to draw some 135,000 people in what some
have called the largest show of public Christian worship on the Arabian
Francis will see first-hand a Catholic community that is big, diverse and
dynamic, at a time when the wider Middle East has seen an exodus of Christians
fleeing persecution at the hands of Islamic State and others.
the more than nine million people now living in the UAE, about one million are
Emirati while the rest are foreigners drawn to the oil-rich federation to work
in everything from white-collar finance to construction.
Catholic Church believes there are some one million Catholics in the UAE.
are Filipino and Indian, many of whom have left behind families for work and
can face precarious labour conditions, which human rights groups regularly
church has a unique role because it becomes home,” said Brandon Vaidyanathan,
chairman of the sociology department at Catholic University in Washington, who
grew up in Dubai.
becomes a place of belonging” in a country where foreigners can live, work and
practise their faith but will never gain citizenship.
Vaidyanathan, who converted from Hinduism to Catholicism while living in Dubai,
said the Emirates’ religious tolerance is commendable given the trends of the
noted the “unprecedented” nature of the government’s invitation to Francis, its
donation of lands for churches and even a recent decision to rename a mosque
Mother Mary of Jesus.
he pointed to the difference between freedom to worship and true religious
for example, can only be displayed inside churches, proselytising for faiths
other than Islam is banned and Muslims are forbidden from converting.
is likely to focus on issues of religious freedom and fraternity in his public
on all his other foreign trips, he will not deliver a political speech.
spokesman Alessandro Gisotti said the reason was to give greater emphasis to
his speech to the interfaith conference.
dodged a question about whether Francis would raise Yemen’s years-long war in
his private talks with the sheikh.
UAE is deeply involved in the Saudi-led war in the Arab world’s poorest
country, where tens of thousands have been killed and millions face food and
don’t know if the Holy Father will confront it publicly or privately, but
certainly on many occasions, even recently, he has underlined the need to
search for peace in particular to guarantee the humanitarian rights of the
population, especially children,” Mr Gisotti said.
groups working in Yemen hope Francis will not just rely on his past appeals,
but will use his visit to bring his message to the Emirati leadership.
the overseas aid group of the Catholic Church in England and Wales, recently
joined a coalition of British humanitarian organisations in appealing for
Yemen’s limited ceasefire to hold so that humanitarian aid can reach the most
Taliban will reportedly hold a meeting with some Afghan opposition leaders in
Moscow, in a move likely to alienate the Afghan government, which is already
excluded from talks between the militant group and the United States.
reports said on Sunday that the two-day meeting in the Russian capital would
start on Tuesday and would be attended by some of Afghan President Ashraf
Ghani’s chief political rivals.
to AFP, a “senior Taliban official” described the meeting as non-political and
“arranged by some organizations based in Moscow.”
on Saturday, the Russian Embassy in Kabul issued a statement on behalf of the
“Afghan Society of Russia,” which said the group had invited “influential
figures” to dialog in the President Hotel in Moscow.
are ready to play our role in bringing peace to Afghanistan,” the statement
those who have confirmed their attendance is Haneef Atmar, who is running against
Ghani in elections slated for July.
warlord Atta Muhammad Noor and former Afghan President Hamid Karzai will also
be attending the talks, according to AFP.
said the meeting was “a pathway toward strengthening the peace efforts led by
the US” while Atmar described it as “an important step toward intra-Afghan
government-appointed council tasked to engage the Taliban said it was not
invited to Moscow.
Saleh, who is running as vice-president on Ghani’s ticket in elections, voiced
frustration in a post on his Facebook page.
shows the peak of depression, and begging to terrorists,” Saleh said, adding,
“A smile to the enemy is a blow to the national spirit.”
Ahmadi, a spokesman for the Afghan Foreign Ministry said, “At this moment, we
do not see the need for such a meeting.”
know it will not help Afghanistan toward reaching peace at all, so it’s little
more than a political drama,” he added.
government has already been frozen out of the talks between the US and the
Taliban, including six days of discussions in Doha last month.
Taliban are scheduled to hold another round of peace talks with the US in Doha
on February 25.
Taliban militant group said earlier that the administration of US President Donald
Trump “appears” to be “serious” in its negotiations with the group on bringing
an end to the war in the Asian country.
Ghani said in Kabul on Sunday that he would not accept a “temporary peace
Mosul exhibition, Iraqi artists process brutal rule of Daesh
A raven perched on the shoulder of a woman with flaming hair is Iraqi artist
Marwan Fathi’s symbol for the terrible events he and his home city Mosul have
had to endure.
years under the oppressive and violent rule of Daesh and the military campaign
which drove it out in 2017 left much of the northern city in ruins. Thousands
were killed, rendered homeless or maimed. Those who survived are deeply
still jump awake at night thinking an air strike is about to hit or that they
are coming to take one of us,” Fathi, 36, said. “Everyday is a struggle.”
work is on display in “Return to Mosul” — the city’s first art exhibition since
before it was seized by Daesh, whose ultra hard-line version of Sunni Islam
prohibits most art forms.
from across Iraq are taking part in the six-day show, including many who lived
in Mosul when it was in the militants’ grip.
Riskin’s haunting work ‘destruction’ depicts a giant skeleton standing on one
leg, while Mohammad Al Kinani’s series of paintings — ‘Caliphate I’, ‘Caliphate
II’ and ‘Caliphate III’ represents the beginning and end of Daesh, and Mosul’s
said the artists who stayed in the city lived in constant fear and despair.
was a time when we considered killing ourselves. We reached that low. But then
we thought, what would happen to the children?” Fathi, a professor of fine
AND THE CITY
show is in the newly re-opened Royal Hall of the Mosul Museum, which was looted
and destroyed by Daesh and in the ensuing war to wrest control of the city.
Mozahem, another Mosul-born artist, continued to work in secret while the city
was under the militants’. Using a writing pad he kept hidden to avoid
discovery, Mozahem produced 40 pencil drawings which are now among his most
cherished possessions, an expression of what he and his family suffered.
“City of the Whale,” his painting in the exhibition, Mozahem drew on the story
of the prophet Jonah and the whale, which features Nineveh, the ancient
Assyrian city which stood roughly where Mosul is today.
their capture of the city in 2014, Daesh went on a rampage, destroying many of
Mosul’s ancient sites and artefacts, including a shrine believed by many to be
militants not only destroyed the city, Mozahem said. “They also killed
something inside, our spirit.”
Matthew Vincent, an American archaeologist, says technology can help preserve
some of what was lost. Vincent is a co-founder of a crowdsourced, digital
preservation project called Rekrei, which collects photographs of damaged or
lost monuments and artefacts to re-create these in 3D representations.
the Mosul Museum, visitors are now able to catch virtual glimpse of ancient
Assyrian treasures destroyed by Daesh. One of them, the Lion of Mosul, was a
colossal Assyrian guardian lion from about 860 BCE, one of two which stood at
the entrance of the Temple of Ishtar at Nimrud, Iraq.
is never going to replace the original but new technology is giving us a path
we simply didn’t have before,” Vincent said.
tolerance embraces faiths, runs up against politics
United Arab Emirates — The United Arab Emirates has branded a bridge, a new
ministry, a family day at the park and even the entire year of 2019 under the
banner theme of “tolerance,” an elaborate effort that’s in overdrive as the
country prepares to host Pope Francis starting Sunday in the first-ever papal
visit to the Arabian Peninsula.
state’s tolerance-themed project, however, has hard limits. While allowing
churches and other places of worship to exist, and marking holidays like
Christmas, the Hindu Diwali and Chinese New Year with festivals and
celebrations, the government has simultaneously stomped out critical political
expression in the name of national security.
rights activists and Muslim Brotherhood sympathizers have been imprisoned,
academic research deemed sensitive has been curtailed and human rights groups
have been barred entry. Political parties are banned and local media are
while the law prohibits religious discrimination and guarantees the freedom to
exercise religious worship, the state’s official religion of Islam is tightly
monitored and controlled.
permit is required to hold a Quran memorization circle or lecture, collect
donations or distribute books or audio in mosques. The law also prohibits
mosque employees from preaching and teaching religious lessons outside of
all imams receive their salaries from the government and — with the exception
of the most senior imams — must follow an official weekly guidance on the
content of Friday sermons.
UAE’s Minister of Tolerance, Sheikh Nahyan bin Mubarak Al Nahyan, said the
government is simply doing what “we think is right for our people and for the
are trying to protect our religion,” he told The Associated Press in an
interview last week. “We want to restore our real religion, which stems from
our holy book the Quran, which believes in living together. It believes in the
dignity of a human being.”
UAE, a federation of seven constituent monarchies led by President Khalifa bin
Zayed Al Nahyan, is known for its gleaming cities of Dubai and Abu Dhabi.
Modern skylines draw tourists from around the world, bars exist next to
mosques, men and women dressed in traditional garb brush past foreigners, and
tight security and surveillance ensures high levels of safety.
bodies, public relations firms and even banks have been busy promoting the
state’s version of tolerance in preparation for the pope’s visit, which
includes a meeting on Monday with Sheikh Ahmed el-Tayeb, the grand imam of
Al-Azhar, Sunni Islam’s foremost religious institution, and a mass on Tuesday
before 135,000 people in Abu Dhabi.
a video message translated into English and Arabic ahead of his arrival, Pope
Francis described the UAE as “a country which strives to be a model for
coexistence and human fraternity, a meeting point of different civilizations
and cultures. A place where people find a safe place to work, live freely and
where differences are respected.”
UAE has a Hindu temple in Dubai and a large one being built in Abu Dhabi on
land donated by the country’s rulers to help accommodate the roughly 3.3
million Indians who live in the country. It is also home to around 1 million
Catholics, including a sizeable Filipino community. In addition to several
Catholic churches, there are numerous churches in the UAE of other Christian
denominations, a Sikh temple and a space for Jewish worship.
the U.S.-based Freedom House notes that more than 85 percent of the UAE’s
population consists of foreign residents who lack political rights and
electoral opportunities, including tens of thousands of stateless residents—
known as Bidoon.
House says that since 2011, when Arab Spring protests rocked countries
throughout the Middle East, the UAE has aggressively cracked down on opposition
activists, particularly if they are suspected of belonging to Al-Islah, an
Islamist group perceived as an offshoot of the Muslim Brotherhood.
UAE has branded the Muslim Brotherhood a terrorist organization, viewing it as
a threat to the country’s system of hereditary rule.
certainly not tolerant of any form of political dissent,” Devin Kenney,
researcher on the UAE for Amnesty International, said.
mean OK, sure, like bars exist and people of multiple faiths are allowed to
practice their faiths so it’s not culturally totalitarian but it’s clearly not
a really tolerant place,” he added. Kenney said the pope’s visit “seems like a
fairly straightforward PR gesture.”
recent years, the UAE named dozens of individuals and some 80 groups as
“terrorist”— many for their alleged ties with the Brotherhood, which is not
deemed a terrorist group in Europe or the U.S.
list includes political dissenters and opposition voices, but also groups like
the Council on American-Islamic Relations, a Muslim advocacy and civil rights
group in the U.S., as well as Islamic Relief Worldwide, a UK-based humanitarian
aid organization with operations around the world.
a statement to the AP, Islamic Relief said it is not connected in any way to
the Muslim Brotherhood and that the allegation has been “hugely damaging.” The
group said it was never provided with any evidence by Emirati authorities to
substantiate the assertion and has tried to contest it in UAE courts.
our attempts to get an open hearing in front of a judge have been rejected on
procedural technicalities,” the group said.
UAE is also one of four Arab countries that cut ties with Qatar in 2017, in
part over its support of the Brotherhood throughout the region. The UAE banned
the news operations of Al Jazeera inside the country, expelled Qatari
residents, blocked websites affiliated with Qatar and warned residents that
anyone who expressed sympathy for Qatar could face up to 15 years in prison.
On a rooftop near the front line with the Daesh group’s collapsing caliphate in
eastern Syria, a US-backed fighter and his comrades sip tea as they await
orders to restart the battle.
Syrian Democratic Forces halted their ground assault on Daesh’s final shreds of
territory last week, saying the militants are increasingly using civilians as
human shields to block the advance.
the desert hamlet of Baghouz, held mostly by the SDF, 22-year-old Mohammed
Ibrahim Mohammed points toward a dirt mound separating areas under their
control and the militants.
we arrived to this point almost six days ago we haven’t moved forward,”
explained the young fatigue-clad man from the nearby town of Hajjin, who joined
the SDF just five months ago.
fighting has stopped as we wait for the remaining civilians to leave,” he said.
a few dozen meters away, on the other side of the dirt berm, trucks, motorcycles
and cars driven by Daesh fighters zip along the front line and out toward white
tents further away, surrounded by women wearing long black robes.
are all Daesh houses,” said Mohammed, using an Arabic acronym for Daesh.
we see women coming to take wood” from nearby palm trees, he said.
streets of Baghouz, which the SDF entered two weeks ago, are lined with the
burnt-out skeletons of cars and bullet-pocked buildings, some of them
fighters group in clusters around some of the structures, tending small fires
and exchanging small talk and cigarettes.
perch on balconies and roofs with a view over the other side.
one terrace, a fighter uses binoculars to a get a closer look at militants just
a stone’s throw away.
the SDF, with air support from the US-led coalition, ramped up its offensive in
recent weeks, thousands of civilians have poured out of the beleaguered
than 36,000 people, mostly women and children from militant families, have fled
since December via humanitarian corridors opened up by the SDF, according to
the Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights.
figure also includes some 3,100 extremists, the war monitor added.
while hundreds of people a day reached SDF-held territory early last month, the
flow has slowed to a trickle.
arrivals say there are still many civilians and foreign fighters in the
besieged pocket of territory.
the final push paused, the eerie quiet is only broken by intermittent gunfire
and the occasional roar of a coalition airstrike or artillery fire targeting
the neighboring village of Al-Shaafa, the SDF’s spokesman for the Deir Ezzor
region said the assault has been put on hold to protect civilians.
jihadists are using the civilians as human shields to block our advance,” Adnan
Afrin told AFP.
has forced women and children, including members of fighters’ families, to
remain close to the battle.
are putting the civilians on the front lines,” he said, adding that airstrikes
and artillery continued to target positions further back, “where the jihadists
has shown a pattern of trapping civilians among its fighters in order to slow
offensives as its cross-border “caliphate,” proclaimed in 2014, has withered
under multiple offensives.
the extremists withdraw, they leave minefields and booby traps to slow their
attackers and prevent civilians from escaping.
help protect those that remain cornered, the SDF is pushing to open new “safe
corridors” to help civilians escape before the US-backed force delivers the
final blow, said Afrin.
sources reported that a massive US military convoy has been sent to a
US-controlled military base in Eastern Euphrates in Aleppo province.
sources noted that the US military convoy crossed into Syria from Iraqi Kurdistan
Region via al-Walid passage with the help of the US-backed Kurdish militants.
said that the US troops have sent a sum of 70 trucks and oil tankers carrying
logistical support, ammunition, military equipment and vehicles for a military
base near Ain al-Arab in Northeastern Aleppo which is the largest US military
base in Northern Syria.
dispatch of new military convoys by the US comes while President Trump has
declared a pullout of the US troops from Syria.
a relevant development in late January, the US Army sent over 250 Military
Trucks to Raqqa, Hasaka, Aleppo to Reinforce its Military Bases there.
London-based Syrian Observatory of Human Rights (SOHR) reported that US
military convoys comprising 250 military trucks have entered the provinces of
Aleppo, Raqqa and Hasaka.
SOHR noted that the trucks carried ammunition and logistical supplies for the
US troops in Syria, and said that the trucks were unloaded in Ain al-Arab, Ain
al-Arab Airport, Ain Issa, Raqqa and Tal Tamr as well as several other military
bases in Raqqa, Hasaka and Aleppo provinces.
a relevant development on January 14, the SOHR had reported that a US military
convoy comprising tens of military vehicles had arrived in Deir Ezzur province
via roads linking Eastern Euphrates in Syria to Iraq's Kurdistan Region.
on January 11, a US military convoy comprising 150 armored vehicles, military
hardware and logistics supplies entered al-Jabalieh military base in Northern
part of Raqqa city and Ain al-Arab in Aleppo countryside.
analysts believe that even if the US decision for pullout would take place it
would not mean end of Washington's presence in Syria.
say that the US failure in Syria and Iraq has made Washington to face two
options of whether to leave the region without any achievement or continue to
maintain its political and military presence in Syria through its proxies.
analysts said that the Americans have chosen the second option which is
reviving and strengthening the ISIL terrorists group along Syria-Iraq borders.
local sources said that several massive US military convoys have arrived in
Hasaka province from Iraq's Northern regions via areas under the control of the
Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF).
noted that the US military convoys also contained military and logistics
equipment sent to the US-led coalition bases in Eastern Euphrates region.
sources reiterated that fortification of the US military bases in Eastern Syria
is still underway even after Trump's decision to pull out forces from Syria.
a relevant development earlier this month, the SOHR said the US had dispatched
hundreds of military trucks comprising weapons and military equipment to Deir
Ezzur province in Eastern Syria since President Donald Trump declared his decision
to withdraw troops from the country.
SOHR said that a military convoy comprising a sum of 150 trucks carrying cars
and logistic military equipment has been dispatched to the regions under the
control of the Syrian Democratic Forces specially on Eastern Euphrates from the
Iraqi Kurdistan Region.
SOHR noted that it was the third US military convoy sent to Syria after Trump's
decision on exit of the American troops from Syria, and said that a total
number of 500 trucks containing weapons and military equipment have been
dispatched to Eastern Syria so far.
the SOHR reported that withdrawal of the US heavy military vehicles from
Eastern Euphrates towards Iraq has not yet been monitored officially.
SOHR reported that the Turkish media reports sating that the US has withdrawn
its forces from a base at the Syrian-Iraqi-Turkish border were related to the
US forces' traffic between Syria and Iraq.
SOHR had also reported that a long convoy of almost 200 US army trucks,
carrying weapons, munitions and logistical equipment, left the US bases in Iraq
on Saturday and arrived in coalition bases in Raqqa, Manbij and Ein Issa in
the meantime, the Kurdish militia reported that the trucks arrived in the town
of Amouda and left then for the US-run bases in Northeastern Syria, adding that
the arms and ammunition cargo is to be delivered to the SDF.
Syrian Army attacks came in response to the Turkistani Islamic Party attacks on
their positions in Northern Hama and Southern Idlib.
Syrian Army heavily pounded the terrorists' movements and military positions in
the villages of al-Sarmanieh, Havash, al-Hoveijeh to North and Northwest of
Hama, inflicting heavy losses on them.
Southern Idlib, the Syrian Army also fended off an attack by Tahrir al-Sham
al-Hay'at (the Levant Liberation Board or the Al-Nusra Front) on their
positions from al-Hobait and al-Kasik.
terrorists sustained heavy losses in the failed attacks on the Syrian Army
Syrian Army units also pounded the terrorists' military positions in the
village of Safouhen in Jabal al-Zawiyeh in Southern Idlib, destroying one of
their arms depot and military equipment.
Syrian Army also destroyed the headquarters of the terrorists in Northern Hama
and Southern Idlib as government troops continue to repel attacks by the
militants in the same region.
a relevant development on Saturday, the Syrian Army's missile and artillery
units heavily pounded the military positions of Tahrir al-Sham al-Hay'at
terrorists in the outskirts of al-Hobait town in Southern Idlib, destroying
several positions as well as killing and injuring a number of militants.
Northern Hama, the army's artillery and missile units hit the terrorists'
positions near Qaleh al-Maziq town, killing several terrorists and destroying
their military equipment and hardware.
army troops also annihilated the military positions and movements of the
terrorists in al-Jisat town in Northern Hama in response to the militants'
attacks on the government troops' military positions there.
Arabic-language service of the Russian Sputnik news agency reported that the US
warplanes pounded the Syrian Army's artillery unit in al-Askariyeh region West
of Al-Bu Kamal in Southeastern Deir Ezzur.
noted that the Syrian Army's artillery canon was destroyed in the attack and
two Syrian soldiers were also wounded.
Syrian state news agency (SANA) also reported that the ISIL terrorists stationed
in the town of Baghouz also attacked the Syrian Army positions concurrent with
the US airstrikes on army positions in Southeastern Deir Ezzur.
Syrian Army troops killed and wounded a large number of terrorists in fierce
clashes with them and after warding off their attack.
a relevant in early May 2018, the US-led coalition fighter jets bombed the
Syrian Army positions in Eastern Deir Ezzur after the army’s advances against
the Washington-backed Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) in the province.
fighter jets bombed the army positions between the towns of al-Qouriyeh and
Mahkan near the Euphrates River bank in Eastern Deir Ezzur.
will consider extending the presidential term to six years from four, a senior
lawmaker said on Sunday, which could allow President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi to
stay in power beyond 2022, when his second term is due to end.
speaker of Egypt's parliament, Ali Abdel-Aal, said he had received a motion
from lawmakers proposing constitutional amendments which will be considered by
parliament after the motion is discussed in committee. He gave no details on
the proposed changes.
Abdel-Hadi al-Qassabi, head of the Support Egypt parliamentary bloc that is
sponsoring the amendments, said the proposed changes included extending the
to maintain stability and to complete the development plans, there is a
proposal to extend the presidential term to six years," Qassabi told
journalists in parliament before the motion was conveyed to Abdel-Aal.
has been building that authorities would seek to change the current
constitution, approved in a 2014 referendum, to allow Sisi to remain in office.
was not immediately clear if the proposed amendments would scrap the two-term
limit stipulated in the current constitution or if that limit would be retained
to apply to the longer new six-year presidency.
changes could take months because they require approval by two thirds of
parliament's 596 members followed by a referendum.
which Abdel-Aal said would be allowed to debate any proposed changes,
overwhelmingly supports Sisi.
current constitution, approved by a referendum in 2014, allows the president
and a fifth of parliament members to propose an amendment to any of the
constitution's articles, said Qassabi.
proposed changes also include adding a second, upper parliamentary chamber
known as the Council of Senators as well as the appointment of one or more
deputy presidents, he said.
had a second upper chamber known as the Shura Council, but it was abolished in
proposals include a quota guaranteeing women at least 25 percent of seats in
parliament, as well as "adequate representation" for youth, farmers,
workers and the country's Christian minority.
state news agency MENA said in December that an Egyptian court had scheduled
hearings of a petition by a number of ordinary Egyptians demanding that the
speaker of parliament take steps to introduce constitutional changes that would
allow Sisi to seek re-election after his second term in office expires.
will hold talks with leaders of two major Palestinian factions to try to
salvage faltering unity efforts and to restore calm with Israel, officials said
head of Hamas, which runs the Gaza Strip, led a delegation to meet with
Egyptian security officials in Cairo. The leader of a smaller Gaza-based
faction, Islamic Jihad, also headed to Cairo, Palestinian officials said.
has been in a bitter rivalry with Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, who is
based in the occupied West Bank, for more than a decade. Numerous
reconciliation efforts have failed.
is also trying to prevent an escalation in violence between Hamas and Israel,
after months of tension along the Israel-Gaza border. Cairo sent officials to
Gaza in recent weeks to keep an eye on the situation.
is driven by its interest to avoid a new war in Gaza and in improving the
living conditions of Gaza residents,” said one Palestinian official, who asked
not to be named.
between Hamas and Abbas’ Palestinian Authority (PA) worsened last month when
Abbas ordered his men to leave their posts at the Rafah border crossing with
Egypt, the main corridor for Gazans.
prompted Cairo, which had in the past year coordinated operations with the PA,
to close the crossing.
officials now say that Egypt has quietly resumed operations at the Rafah
crossing over the past week, this time working with Hamas. However, there was
no immediate comment on the reopening of Rafah from Egyptian officials.
Sunday, Hamas chief Ismail Haniyeh passed through the Rafah crossing, along
with dozens of other Palestinians.
million Palestinians live in the Gaza Strip, where poverty is rampant and
unemployment stands at 50 percent. Israel, together with Egypt, maintains a
blockade of the enclave, citing security concerns.
health ministry says more than 220 Palestinians have been killed in the past
year by Israeli troops in weekly protests along the border, billed as pressing
for an end to the blockade.
said Sunday that work to strengthen its border with the Gaza Strip had entered
a new phase, with construction starting on a massive new barrier along the
the weekend we began building the above-ground barrier along the Gaza border,”
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu told journalists before the weekly cabinet
barrier, set to stand six meters (20 feet) off the ground, “will prevent
terrorists from Gaza from penetrating into our territory on the ground”, he
said in Hebrew.
gave no further details but a defense ministry statement said that work on the
structure began Thursday.
is set to follow the 65-kilometre (40-mile) course of an underground barrier
also under construction meant to neutralize the threat of cross-border tunnels
built by Gaza militants.
its western end, the statement said, the above-ground barrier would join a
fortified sea wall jutting into the Mediterranean, aimed at blocking
Palestinian attacks by water.
massive and especially strong,” the ministry said in an accompanying video
the last Gaza war in 2014, Israeli forces killed four Hamas militants who had
managed to cross into Israel by water.
Israeli commentators have said that Netanyahu would be unwilling to see a new
uptick in hostilities with Gaza’s Hamas rulers in the run-up to general
elections set for April 9.
the premier, who is also defense minister, on Sunday pledged the upcoming polls
would not affect security decisions.
the quiet is not maintained in Gaza, we will make the decisions even in the
elections period and will not hesitate to act,” he said.
have for nearly a year gathered at least weekly along the Gaza border for
want to be able to return to the homes their families fled in the war
surrounding Israel’s creation in 1948, and are calling for an end to the Jewish
state’s blockade of Gaza.
least 246 Palestinians have been killed by Israeli fire in Gaza since March 30,
the majority during border protests but also by tank fire and airstrikes.
Israeli soldiers have been killed over the same period.
says its actions are necessary to defend the border and stop mass incursions
into its territory.
young Palestinian man has died less than a week after suffering
Israeli-inflicted gunshot wounds during an anti-occupation protest along the
border between the blockaded Gaza Strip and the occupied territories.
spokesman for the Gaza Ministry of Health, Ashraf al-Qidra, said in a statement
that 30-year-old Ahmed Ghazi Abu Jebel, a resident of Shuja'iyya neighborhood
of Gaza City, succumbed to his wounds at Shifa Hospital on Sunday evening.
Jebel was shot and wounded during a “Great March of Return” protest northwest
of Beit Lahia city last Tuesday as hundreds of people staged a demonstration to
protest the Tel Aviv regime’s 12-year naval blockade against the Gaza Strip.
250 Palestinians have been killed by Israeli forces ever since anti-occupation
protest rallies began in Gaza on March 30. Over 26,000 Palestinians have also
Gaza clashes reached their peak on May 14 last year, on the eve of the 70th
anniversary of Nakba Day (Day of Catastrophe), which coincided this year with
the US embassy relocation from Tel Aviv to occupied East Jerusalem al-Quds.
June 13, 2018, the United Nations General Assembly adopted a resolution,
sponsored by Turkey and Algeria, condemning Israel for Palestinian civilian
deaths in the Gaza Strip.
resolution, which had been put forward on behalf of Arab and Muslim countries,
garnered a strong majority of 120 votes in the 193-member assembly, with eight
votes against and 45 abstentions.
resolution called on UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres to make proposals
within 60 days “on ways and means for ensuring the safety, protection, and
well-being of the Palestinian civilian population under Israeli occupation,”
including “recommendations regarding an international protection mechanism.”
least nine Iranian pilgrims have been wounded after their bus came under a
terrorist attack in Iraq’s northern province of Salahuddin, according to Iraqi
bus was targeted by unknown gunmen on a road south of the town of Balad, some
50 kilometers north of Baghdad, on its way to a Shia shrine on Sunday, reports
Aqaei, director general of Iran’s Hajj and Pilgrimage Organization, confirmed
the news, saying the pilgrims were targeted by terrorists who opened fire on
people have been transferred to a local hospital in the city of Balad and the
rest to Kadhimiya hospital, he said, adding three of the injured were in
to Aqaei, an Iraqi assistant driver was also among the wounded. The pilgrims,
he said, hail from the city of Parsabad Moghan in northwestern Ardabil
Arabic-language al-Sumeria reported that a road side bomb had hit the bus.
were no immediate claims of responsibility for the attack, but such assaults
bear the hallmark of the Daesh terrorist group.
Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi declared the end of military operations
against Daesh in the Arab country on December 9, 2017.
Daesh remnants have resorted to deserts and rugged mountains as safe havens,
carrying out hit and run attacks from time to time against security forces and
The Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) on Saturday condemned Israeli
decision to suspend operations of an international observer force in the city
of Hebron, after 20 years.
OIC declared the Israeli action a blatant violation of the Geneva Conventions
and the international law.
organization called on the international community to ensure the Temporary
International Presence in Hebron (TIPH) stayed in the city to protect the
OIC also urged the world to take measures to put an end to the ongoing
violations and abuses committed by Israeli settlers and the Israeli occupying
has deployed unarmed civilian observers since 1997. Hundreds of hard-line
Jewish settlers guarded by soldiers live in the heart of Hebron, which has over
the Israeli decision, the Palestinians also urged the UN to deploy a permanent
international force in the West Bank and East Jerusalem.
official Saeb Erekat says the UN should “guarantee the safety and protection of
the people of Palestine” until “the end of Israel’s belligerent occupation.”
Palestinian died Sunday from gunshot wounds inflicted by Israeli soldiers
during violent protests along the Gaza Strip’s border, the enclave’s health
Abu Jamal, 30, was wounded during clashes in Beit Lahiya in the north of Gaza
on January 29, said ministry spokesman Ashraf al-Qudra.
has shaken the frontier between Gaza and Israel since March as residents of the
blockaded enclave have staged mass protests.
than 30 Palestinians were wounded by Israeli fire on Friday as the weekly
demonstrations again turned violent.
least 247 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.
President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said Sunday that the US’ silence toward the
killing in Istanbul of Saudi dissident journalist Jamal Khashoggi by its allies
in Riyadh is not acceptable, and Ankara wants everything to be clarified about
cannot understand America's silence... We want everything to be clarified
because there is an atrocity, there is a murder," Erdogan told an
interview with state-run TRT television. "The Khashoggi murder is not an
investigative team led by the United Nations (UN) believes Saudi Arabia’s Crown
Prince Mohammed bin Salman is the prime suspect in the state-sponsored
assassination of Khashoggi in Turkey back in October 2018, an adviser to
Erdogan said Friday.
Aktay made the remark on Friday following a meeting with the UN investigative
team that is probing the brutal murder of Khashoggi inside Saudi Arabia’s
consulate in Istanbul last October.
team, led by Agnes Callamard, the UN special rapporteur on extrajudicial,
summary, or arbitrary executions, arrived in Turkey on Monday to probe
UN team considers the crown prince of Saudi Arabia the main person responsible
for the killing of Khashoggi. The team held a number of meetings in Turkey,
including with Khashoggi’s fiancé, and she (Callamard) also intends to listen
to the audio recordings related to the crime,” Aktay told the Turkish NTV
has been barred from the Saudi consulate in Istanbul, where she had requested
access to as part of the investigation.
a Washington Post contributor and Saudi regime critic, was murdered at the
Saudi consulate in Istanbul on Oct 2.
visited the consulate to obtain paperwork for his upcoming marriage to a
says Khashoggi was killed by a team of 15 Saudis who strangled him at the
kingdom's diplomatic mission.
which said it was in possession of audio evidence of Khashoggi’s murder soon
after he failed to exit the consulate, has indirectly suggested that Prince
Mohammed ordered his killing. The Washington Post reported in November last
year that the CIA had also concluded that Mohammed ordered his killing.
has demanded that Riyadh extradite the suspects in the case to stand trial in
Turkey. Saudi Arabia has refused to do so.
has not yet produced Khashoggi’s body, either.
findings and recommendations are expected to be reported to the UN Human Rights
Council at a June 2019 session
says those countries that have recognized Venezuela’s self-proclaimed “interim
president” Juan Guaido are worsening the Latin American country’s problems.
is a problem in a country. There is a spark that can turn into a fire at any
moment. In this case, they should have contributed to the solution of the
problem through dialog,” said Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu at a
press conference in Istanbul on Sunday, referring to the countries that have
is that how they handled things? No! On the contrary, the event was fueled from
the outside. The people of Venezuela are being punished by such an approach,”
top Turkish diplomat said Ankara had tried to initiate talks regarding
Venezuela last year between Washington and Latin American nations. “But today,
none of the countries that have taken these steps against Venezuela has sought
Friday, Cavusoglu warned that if foreign interference continued in Venezuela,
it could drag the country “into a civil war.”
has been in political turmoil in the past couple of months, with the opposition
blaming Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro over an ailing economy,
hyperinflation, power cuts, and shortages of basic items.
crisis deepened in Venezuela on January 23, when opposition figure Guaido, a
lawmaker who leads the defunct National Assembly, proclaimed himself the
“interim president” of the country. United States President Donald Trump was
quick in officially recognizing him as such.
National Assembly is not recognized by the Venezuelan state, which has given
legislative powers to another body, the Constituent Assembly.
White House has called on other countries to follow suit in recognizing Guaido.
It has further placed tough sanctions against Venezuela’s state-owned oil firm
PDVSA and certified the authority of Guaido to control certain Venezuelan
assets held by the Federal Reserve Bank of New York or any other US-insured
the European Parliament on Thursday approved a resolution through which it
recognized the 35-year-old Guaido as the “interim president” of his country,
calling on the member states of the European Union (EU) to support the
opposition figure until a “free, transparent and credible” presidential
election can be held.
members Britain, Germany, France, and Spain had given an eight-day ultimatum to
Caracas on January 26 to hold a new election or see Europe recognize Guaido.
Caracas rejected the ultimatum, describing it as “childlike.”
and a number of right-leaning Latin American countries have also offered
official recognition to Guaido.
other countries, including Russia, China, and Iran, have expressed support for
the elected government in Venezuela and condemned outside interference in the
country. Turkey, which has boosted economic and political ties with Venezuela,
is also among the countries that has strongly supported the legitimate
government in Caracas.
month, President Recep Tayyip Erdogan called Maduro to urge him to stand firm
against “anti-democratic developments.”
Saturday, tens of thousands of Maduro’s supporters and opponents staged rival
rallies in Caracas. Pro-government demonstrators converged in the western side
of the capital to mark the 20th anniversary of the Bolivarian revolution and
the rise to power of the late President Hugo Chavez.
his supporters, Maduro, 56, agreed to hold parliamentary elections earlier than
planned but reiterated the legitimacy of his presidency and his government amid
mounting Western pressure for him to step down.
want to bring forward elections, let’s have elections,” Maduro said, adding
that he was “very ashamed to see this group of opposition coup perpetrators”
taking orders from Washington.
was sworn in for a second term on January 10, after a vote that faced an
opposition boycott and allegations of vote-rigging, which the government has
U.S. would return its forces to Syria if Daesh makes a comeback in the war-torn
country, President Donald Trump said Sunday.
about a possible resurgence of the terror group, Trump told CBS News “we’ll
come back if we have to.”
have very fast airplanes, we have very good cargo planes. We can come back very
quickly,” he said in remarks taped Friday, but aired ahead of Sunday's Super
pointed to a military installation in Iraq, which the U.S. could use to
facilitate the operation if needed. Some U.S. troops currently stationed in
Syria will be sent to that base, while others will return home, he said.
remarks follow his announcement in December that the U.S. would be pulling out
of northeastern Syria after claiming Daesh’s defeat at the hands of the
U.S.-led international coalition.
pushback from within his administration and from key U.S. lawmakers, Trump
later signaled a "slow & highly coordinated pullout" from the
country but the Pentagon has continued to plan for the withdraw.
DELHI: Despite the strong protest lodged by India against Pakistani foreign
minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi’s phone conversation with separatist leader
Mirwaiz Umar Farooq, Qureshi spoke to hardline Hurriyat Conference chairman
Syed Ali Shah Geelani and discussed the Kashmir issue.
Pakistan foreign office said Qureshi and Geelani discussed an international
conference to be held in London to “express solidarity with the Kashmiri
people”. India has alreadyasked the UK not to allow the event to take place.
minister Qureshi spoke to the senior leadership of the All Parties Hurriyat
Conference on telephone before his departure for London to attend international
activities to be held there in connection with the Kashmir Day,” the foreign
office statement said.
refrained from responding officially as, government sources said, it had
already made its position clear on the issue. The government believes Qureshi,
by taking an excessively hard line position on Kashmir, is trying to undercut
Pakistani PM Imran Khan’s peace overtures to India.
case: NBW issued against 2 Pakistan army officials
A sessions court has issued non-bailable warrants against two Pakistan Army
officials — Major Abdul Rehman Pasha and Major Iqbal — in connection with the
26/11 Mumbai terror attacks case.
Major Pasha has retired, the prosecution believes Major Iqbal is still serving
as an ISI official in Pakistan, as disclosed by US born Lashkar-e-Taiba
terrorist David Coleman Headley, an approver in the case. Both Major Iqbal and
Major Pasha are shown as accused in the chargesheet filed in the case.
sessions judge S V Yarlagadda on January 21 allowed an application filed by
special public prosecutor Ujjwal Nikam.
program held: Concern expressed on increasing ‘Dowry’ demands
Dr. Shakeel Ahmed Samdani, Professor of Law of Aligarh Muslim University and
Member, All India Muslim Personal Law Board while delivering a speech at
Du-ba-Du program told that so far, it was thought that Siasat is only a daily
newspaper but later, it came to be known that it is performing educational,
social and welfare activities successfully. He also told that it is an honour
for him to participate in such a program. He promised that he would publicize
this campaign in the entire country. He expressed great concern that performing
marriage is becoming a major issue despite it being a simpler task in Islam.
This campaign is a model for those who have determined to work in the field of
Muslim social welfare.
was addressing Du-ba-Du program organized by Siasat Urdu Daily at SA Imperial
Garden Tollichowki, Hyderabad. He applauded the efforts of Mr. Zahid Ali Khan,
Editor of Siasat Urdu Daily and Mr. Zaheeruddin Ali Khan, Managing Editor of
Siasat Urdu Daily and congratulated them. He also told that in certain states
of the country, Muslims are living in a poor condition. They do not have
sufficient food to eat and adequate house to live in. In such a situation, how
can the parents of the girl find suitable matrimonial alliances and fulfill the
dowry demands of the relatives of the boys.
the campaign of Siasat and Millat Fund is spread in every nook and corner of
the country, awareness could be created and planning could be formulated. He
expressed the concern that in Bihar, Rajasthan, Chhattisgarh, UP and other
states, there is a lot of poverty. In these areas, the Muslims perform their
marriages in a simpler way following Islamic tenets.
Zaheeruddin Ali Khan who monitored the program, highlighted its details. He
contacted many parents and guardians.
Shaikh Siyadat Ali impressed upon the parents to instruct their children to
lead life in the light of Quran and Sunnah. Only those communities which
followed the tenets of Islam, led successful life. He pointed out that while
seeing the girl for finalizing matrimonial alliances, the mistakes committed by
our community are creating a bad impression on others.
Mohammed Moinuddin, President, Federation of Tolichowki Colonies, Mr. Meer
Anwaruddin, Dr. Mohammed Ayub Haideri, Dr. Nazim Ali and others were present in
the function. The registration started at 11 a.m. In all, 150 girls and 100
boys registered their names for matrimonial alliances.
viewers from various countries watched the program live on Siasat Facebook,
Youtube and TV.
US eyes Afghan exit, India talks to key players
PASHTUNS to Hazaras and Tajiks, New Delhi has quietly opened channels of
communication with top Afghan leaders cutting across communities and factions
as uncertainty looms over Afghanistan amid signs of the US withdrawing from the
strife-torn country, top sources told The Indian Express.
have independently started engaging with all major political actors and
factions, since we have major economic assets in Afghanistan and need to secure
those interests,” sources said. Some of these players have visited India in the
recent weeks and have met “those who matter in the Indian system”, they said.
Indian Express has learnt the government has been “working behind the scenes”
over the last few months, as it became clear that Washington is negotiating
with the Taliban to enable its exit from Afghanistan.
November, India made its intent clear about sharing the table with the Taliban,
when it sent two of its most experienced former diplomats with expertise in the
region — former Indian envoy to Pakistan T C A Raghavan and former Indian envoy
to Afghanistan Amar Sinha — for the Russia-organised Moscow format talks.
it retained deniability by saying that its participation was at a
“non-official” level, it was clear that Delhi could read the writing on the
wall and wanted to be “in the room” when the Taliban was negotiating.
the principal actors with whom Delhi has engaged recently include former
Afghanistan President Hamid Karzai, who is emerging to be a key player in the
peace and reconciliation process.
candidates, including Afghan President Ashraf Ghani, Chief Executive Officer
Abdullah Abdullah, former National Security Advisor Hanif Atmar, former
National Directorate of Security chief Rahmatullah Nabil, and Hizb-e-Islami
leader Gulbuddin Hekmatyar have registered to stand for the presidency.
is likely that some of these candidates have been sounded out by Delhi. “We may
not have been visible, but we have been active,” sources said.
has also engaged with key international stakeholders — the US, Russia, Iran and
several Central Asian countries — in the recent weeks. Sources said it is now
planning to have a structured dialogue with Chinese interlocutors as well, who
have economic stakes in Afghanistan. “We are going to discuss the future of
Afghanistan with China as well,” sources said. However, Delhi has not yet
approached Pakistan to discuss Afghanistan.
is learnt to have impressed upon the international players that it will not
favour any “interim arrangement” — as is being pushed by the US — and would
want the Presidential elections to be held on July 20, as per the current
said this was conveyed to Zalmay Khalilzad, the US interlocutor with the
Taliban. “We have told him that existing political and constitutional
structures also have to be safeguarded,” the source said.
Delhi is also planning to continue with developmental projects in Afghanistan,
notwithstanding US President Donald Trump’s jibe about India building
libraries. “We have a commitment of $3 billion, and have spent more than $2
billion. We will continue to work on those projects,” sources said.
has conveyed to the US that its talks with the Taliban should not in any way
jeopardise Afghanistan’s political and constitutional structure or the
presidential elections scheduled for July 20, according to people familiar with
position on the US-Taliban talks to end 17 years of conflict, and its concerns
about the rapidly evolving situation in the war-torn country, were relayed to
US special representative Zalmay Khalilzad when he visited India for the
Raisina Dialogue last month. Khalilzad had met external affairs minister Sushma
Swaraj and foreign secretary Vijay Gokhale during the trip.
the same time, the Indian government has adopted a multipronged approach
towards the situation in Afghanistan, including intensive consultations with a
cross-section of Afghan leaders in Kabul and New Delhi and discussions with
other key players such as Russia and Iran. As part of this approach, India
plans to reach out to China for talks on the future of Afghanistan, the people
cited above said.
a cue from its handling of recent political crises in the Maldives and Sri
Lanka, the Indian government will not act in haste despite pressure to spell
out its position in response to the fast-paced developments in Khalilzad’s
talks with the Taliban, the people said. “The situation is being monitored
regularly at the top level. Just because we haven’t taken a public position, it
doesn’t mean we are not active in securing our interests,” said a top official
who asked not to be named.
the backdrop of reports that the US-Taliban talks could lead to an interim
government that includes the militants, Khalilzad was told by his Indian
interlocutors that New Delhi favoured retaining Afghanistan’s political
structure created with great difficulty over the years, and did not favour
interim arrangements, the people said.
US special representative was told India favours an Afghan-led, Afghan-owned
and Afghan-controlled process. While we understand the US compulsions to
withdraw, Afghanistan’s existing political and constitutional structure has to
be safeguarded,” added the top official.
part of its engagement with regional players on Afghanistan, India plans to
discuss the evolving situation soon with China, a country with which there had
been no meetings since Khalilzad launched his initiative. The people quoted
above said these talks will be at a high level.
has also stepped up behind-the-scenes consultations with Afghan leaders such as
former President Hamid Karzai in Kabul and New Delhi. Several Afghan leaders
have quietly visited India for these talks. India was perceived as being closer
to the Tajik-dominated Northern Alliance, and the government has ensured these
consultations have included the Pashtun leadership, widely seen as being within
Pakistan’s sphere of influence, the people said.
the widely reported comments of the Indian Army chief, Gen Bipin Rawat, that
India should consider talking to the Taliban without preconditions, the people
said there had been no change in India’s policy on not engaging the militants.
“Our history with the Taliban is a sensitive issue and talking to them would
find no acceptability within the system or among the people,” the top official
people noted that Pakistan appeared to be the only country in the region that is
taking comfort in the possible creation of a government in Kabul with the
Taliban as a dominant player. “But even Pakistan’s close ally China wouldn’t
want an unstable Afghanistan with the Taliban in a dominant role. China also
has its concerns about the East Turkestan Islamic Movement, and they want to
keep Xinjiang safe from such groups,” the top official added.
The federal government has issued at least 13 special permits to members of the
royal families of Gulf states to hunt internationally protected bird houbara
bustard in Sindh during the 2018-19 hunting season, according to sources.
given the permits include a king and a president, besides crown princes, their
uncles and cousins, and armed forces chiefs belonging to the ruling families of
Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain and Qatar.
least one member of the elite group has a dubious distinction, as he is being
pursued by a Pakistani investigation agency for his alleged role in a money
laundering scam being investigated in the country.
ruling Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf had criticised the-then federal government when
it had issued hunting permits to members of the Arab royal families last year
and announced that it would not allow them to hunt in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, where
the PTI had its own government.
although the hunting permits were issued for Khyber Pakhtunkhwa as well,
hunting could not be carried out in the province owing to its government’s
tough stance on animal conservation. But this year the federal government,
which is led by the PTI, has issued hunting permits for Sindh, according to the
sources said that Malik Amin Aslam — the president for South East Asia of the
International Union for Conservation of Nature, who is also adviser to the
federal government on climate change — looked the other way when the permits
for hunting houbara bustard were being issued to members of the Gulf royal
inhabitant of the colder Central Asian regions, the houbara bustard migrates
southwards in winter to avoid the harsh weather conditions in its habitat.
the bird used to migrate right up to the Arabian peninsula, but owing to
ruthless hunting there over the years by Arab hunters, who considered it to be
an aphrodisiac, it has stopped going there and rests in Pakistan instead during
to the bird’s special status and its dwindling population, the houbara bustard
is protected globally. But the Pakistan government, keeping in view the royal
hunters’ interest in it, issues special permits to hunt the bird, which is also
protected under Pakistani laws. (Pakistanis are not allowed to hunt it.)
this is not the first time that such permits have been issued as previous
governments have also issued these permits.
per the permits signed by M. Adeel Pervaiz, the foreign ministry’s deputy chief
of protocol, the names of the permit holders and the areas allocated to them
are as follows:
of Bahrain Sheikh Hamad bin Issa bin Salman Al-Khalifa has been allocated
Jamshoro district, including Thano Bula Khan, Kotri, Manjhand and Sehwan
tehsils. President of the United Arab Emirates and Ruler of Abu Dhabi Sheikh
Khalifa bin Zayed Al-Nahyan and Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme
Commander of the UAE Armed Forces Gen Sheikh Mohammad bin Zayed Al-Nahyan have
been allocated Sukkur and Nawabshah districts. Prince Mansour bin Mohammad S.
Abdul Rahman Al-Saud of Saudi Arabia has been given Kashmore district.
of Bahrain’s king Sheikh Ebrahim bin Hamad bin Abdullah Al-Khalifa has been
allocated Shah Bunder tehsil in Sujawal district. The king’s defence adviser
Sheikh Abdullah bin Salman Al-Khalifa has been granted Jati tehsil in Sujawal
district. The king’s first cousin and Bahrain’s Interior Minister Lt Gen Sheikh
Rashid bin Abdullah Al-Khalifa has been given Naushahro Feroz district.
and Malir districts, excluding Malir Cantonment and Dhabeji, have been reserved
for Sheikh Ahmed bin Ali Al-Khalifa, who is a first cousin of Bahrain’s king.
The deputy prime minister of the UAE, Sheikh Sultan bin Zayed Al-Nahyan, has
been given Khairpur district, excluding Kotdiji and not across Nara canal. A
representative of Abu Dhabi’s rulers, Sheikh Hamdan bin Zayed Al-Nahyan, has
been allocated Khairpur Nathan Shah tehsil, Juhi tehsil and union council
Fareedabad in Dadu district, Gaibi Dero in Larkana district, Shahdadkot
district and Khairpur district (across Nara canal).
chief for police and general security of Dubai and a member of the ruling
family Lt Gen Sheikh Ahmed bin Rashid Al-Maktoum has been allocated Tharparkar
district, including Mithi and Nagarparkar (minus protected area), and Umerkot
district. A member of the ruling family of Dubai, Shaikh Rashid bin Khalifa
Al-Maktoum, has been allocated Badin district, Jungshahi in Thatta district and
Dhabeji in Malir district. Mirpurkhas district has been reserved for a member
of the Qatar’s ruling family, Sheikh Abdul Rehman bin Hamad Al-Thani.
Abdullah Lootah, a UAE citizen and chief of the Summit Bank, has been given
Thatta district, excluding Shah Bunder and Jungshahi. He is being pursued by
the Federal Investigation Agency for his alleged role in a money laundering
Muslim League Nawaz (PML-N) spokesperson Marriyum Aurangzeb on Sunday demanded
the Prime Minister Imran Khan to summon Parliament session to hold discussions
over ongoing economic crisis. Aurangzeb took a jibe at PM Khan, saying that
where was economic policy and vision [of government] She said that Imran Khan
must tweet about atrocities of his government against nationals as foreign
loans now stood at trillions. Criticising PM’s tweet regarding rainfall and
snowfall, she said that issues can never be resolved through tweets when
economic crisis was prevailing in the country. She alleged that the current
government was powerless to bring any betterment in current situation.
While sharing his views about the ongoing negotiations between the United
States and the Taliban, renowned foreign policy author Ahmed Rashid on Sunday
said the Taliban were talking from a position of strength as they controlled
more territory than the Afghan government.
I think is crucial is that the Taliban have now found an America that is
willing to talk. Even the initiative taken by Richard Holbrooke and other
American diplomats in the past – never had the full backing of the President or
the US establishment. Now the Taliban are finding that Trump is determined to
pull out and this was his promise to his own voter base in the US,” said Mr
Rashid on the concluding day of Adab Festival, which was held at Governor
the session titled ‘In conversation with Ahmed Rashid’, being moderated by
journalist Zahid Hussain, the author was asked about his take on Afghan peace
want to know what has made the Trump administration take this more seriously?
And as reports are coming in from Afghanistan that the Taliban are much more
powerful than ever and more than 55 per cent of Afghan territory is supposed to
be under their control. What has led the Taliban to negotiate, they have always
talked about talking to the Americans and refused to have any interaction with
the Kabul government, do you think now the Taliban are talking from a position
of strength?” asked Mr Hussain.
Rashid said: “Now the Taliban are finding that Trump is determined to pull out
and this was his promise to his own voter base in the Untied States. He wants
to fulfil this promise before the next election so he can point to them and
say, ‘look I promised you troops out of Afghanistan…’ and this whole Trump
philosophy is all about internalising economy, abandoning trade and
international alliances while concentrating on strengthening the US.
course, you can argue that this is ridiculous because you need interaction with
your allies and trading partners. So I think the whole American ideology has shifted
dramatically by Trump. I’m sure Zalmay Khalilzad (a US diplomat and special
representative for Afghanistan) wakes up every morning fearing that Trump has
tweeted something overnight saying that all American forces are coming out
tomorrow morning. And Trump won’t even wait for a settlement.”
said that, Mr Rashid added there had however been remarkable progress in the
past three to four months but it still needed time to change people’s mind and
next round [of talks] between the Taliban and Khalilzad is at the end of this
month. And we don’t know what is going to happen. Trump is facing huge threat
from the Muller investigation and it is very unpredictable. But at the moment I
think he is determined to take US troops out of Afghanistan.
other thing is that the Taliban are not going to have a ceasefire immediately
until they probably gain more territory. They also realize that all these
regional countries are wooing them. They’ve been to Japan, Indonesia, Russia…so
all the regional countries are taking the Taliban very seriously and of course
this is a big blow to President Ashraf Ghani.”
As many as 18 departments will be housed in the planned south Punjab “mini
secretariat” though the issue of selection of a city for setting it up has
become more complicated for the provincial government because of the jumping in
of Mr Jehangir Tareen who reportedly wants the establishment at Lodhran.
Executive Council on Creation of South Punjab Province chairman Chaudhry Tahir
Basheer Cheema wanted the mini secretariat in his hometown of Bahawalpur, and
the chief minister and the bureaucracy believed it should be set up in Multan
for a better liaison with the seat of the provincial government in Lahore.
on Sunday said there was also the third option for establishing the secretariat
wanting the secretariat in Multan argue that the expected opening of the
Lahore-Multan motorway on February 15 would reduce the travelling time between
the two cities by three hours. This would facilitate communication between
Lahore and the mini-secretariat.
say that initially the authorities had proposed the secretariat could be
established in the Cotton Research Institute in Multan. But the idea was
dropped and now the New Kutchery on the city periphery was being pointed out as
the best possible location for it.
buildings of the courts (kutchery) were constructed over 100 kanals in 2015-16,
but the local lawyers and judges posted in Multan had found it unsuitable for
the purpose and they returned to the old premises in the city. Since then, the
New Kutchery had been lying vacant and could be used for setting up the
mini-secretariat without any hassle, an official said.
of the city is very important but the issue has become complex because of the
diverse opinion by those who matter now in Punjab. Every group has its own
justifications. Let us see what happens,” a senior official said.
sources said the government has started planning how to attract officials to
the south Punjab mini-secretariat from Lahore where they have official
residences, proper conveyance and good educational institutions for their
this connection, the sources said, several incentives for officials were being
planned. One of them was to give the officials secretariat allowance like being
given to those working in the provincial civil secretariat, besides additional
pay, proper residence and good vehicles.
sources said nearly 150 posts of the 18 departments to be housed in the
mini-secretariat had been initially created. The secretariat would function
under an additional chief secretary. Each department would be represented by a
special secretary, having a team of two additional secretaries, four deputy
secretaries and four section officers. Every team would have supporting staff.
departments that would function there included planning and development,
health, education, irrigation, communication and works, finance, local
government, housing, women development , energy and agriculture.
Prime Minister Imran Khan in a one-on-one meeting with Punjab Chief Minister
Usman Buzdar here on Sunday directed him to ensure speedy justice to the
grieving family in the Sahiwal killings case.
prime minister, who came to Lahore on a day-long visit, expressed complete
solidarity with the bereaved family and hinted at constituting a judicial
commission to investigate the Jan 19 shooting if the family would demand,
people, including a teenage girl and her parents, were shot dead on the highway
near Sahiwal allegedly by Counter-Terrorism Department personnel in what the
CTD immediately claimed was an exchange of fire with terrorists on Jan 19.
his Lahore visit, Mr Khan chaired back-to-back meetings on issues of
governance, police reforms, security situation and development projects besides
one-on-one meetings with Governor Chaudhry Sarwar and CM Buzdar at chief
minister’s secretariat. Provincial ministers and bureaucracy attended the
a question about a briefing on the Sahiwal case at one of the meetings, federal
Information Minister Fawad Chaudhry told the media that the prime minister had
expressed his complete solidarity with the bereaved family members and asked
the chief minister to take all-out measures to dispense justice to the family.
said considering the complaints being received from domestic consumers against
inflated gas bills at citizens’ portal, the prime minister ordered an
investigation. The PM was also quoted as saying that it was unjustified to put
extra burden of gas prices on the masses. “The prime minister has directed
federal minister for petroleum and natural resources Ghulam Sarwar Khan to
launch an investigation to find out why inflated gas bills have been sent to
the domestic consumers,” said Mr Chaudhry.
per cent domestic consumers across the country used minimum up to 300mmf
natural gas and the government had hiked the tariff for such consumers by 10
per cent only, while the major tariff rise was for the wealthy people using
higher units of gas, he elaborated while briefing the media about the meetings.
PM was briefed about the use of technology, investment and judicious use of
human resources at the meetings which were held to discuss Punjab’s
administrative and financial capacity as well as police reforms.
a briefing by economist Dr Salman Shah, measures to strengthen and promote
agriculture, industry, energy, infrastructure and skilled human resources were
also discussed at the meeting.
sources said the prime minister discussed development plan for Punjab’s 50
cities and 36 districts and agreed to declare at least 15 cities in the
province economic hub.
prime minister granted approval to launch Punjab Spatial Strategy, the sources
said, adding that the federal government would extend its complete support to
it. They said the spatial planning approach was used to assess and prioritise
economic, social and environmental objectives besides offering a framework for
rationalising and sequencing public investments.
to a question about governance and police reforms, the information minister
said that major administrative reforms would be introduced in the governance
and police systems in Punjab. He said a follow-up meeting on the subjects had
been called at PM Office on Monday (today) and added that further details would
be shared later. “It was PTI’s promise to the people of Pakistan that it will
bring changes and reform age-old governance and police systems,” he remarked.
Sarwar in a separate one-on-one meeting with PM Khan briefed him about
political issues, development projects in Punjab and the need to establish a
water authority in the province. Mr Khan gave his nod for the establishment of
an authority to ensure provision of clean drinking water to the people, the
said the prime minister also pledged to expedite work on the legislation to
form the water authority.
Khan directed a media strategy committee to publicise and highlight development
projects being initiated by the Punjab government besides promoting the ruling
Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf-led government in an effective manner in the media. He
asked the Punjab government to strengthen its relations with the media.
federal information minister said the media strategy committee acknowledged the
financial crisis being faced by journalists and media workers. He said the
prime minister directed the committee to hold a “meeting with the owners of
media organisations to understand the reality” behind the crisis. Mr Khan also
ordered revival of the PTI’s social media wing, he added.
regard to the reservations of a ruling coalition partner with the PTI, the
information minister said the Chaudhrys of Gujrat were still PTI’s allies and
there was nothing serious when certain differences surfaced. “We need to put
differences on the backburner and work hand-in-hand in the best interest of the
country,” he said.
minister also announced the launch of ‘health card’ on Monday, explaining that
the card holders would be entitled to get annual medical treatment up to Rs0.9
said the meetings held to review Punjab ministers’ performance was “an ongoing
strategy to keep them on their toes”.
PM also chaired a meeting of task force on housing and was briefed about
progress in the Naya Pakistan Housing Programme.
upon his arrival in Lahore, the affectees of Eden Housing society gathered
outside Mr Khan’s private residence in Zaman Park, blocked the Canal Road and
chanted slogans demanding relief.
of opposition party leaders About leaders of two major opposition parties, Mr
Chaudhry said the only suspense left about their future was whether Nawaz
Sharif and Asif Zardari would spend the last days of their life in jail or in
should be a matter of shame for both the leaders that they ruled the country
several times but were looking for options to get medical treatment abroad, the
workers race to batten down Rohingya refugee camp with no sign of crisis ending
BAZAR, Bangladesh (Thomson Reuters Foundation) - In hotels and restaurants near
the beach at Cox’s Bazar in southeast Bangladesh, international and local aid
workers sent to help the Rohingya in the world’s largest refugee settlement
talk nervously of the major challenge ahead - the weather.
Bazar was mainly known as Bangladesh’s top local tourism spot, famed for the
world’s longest natural sea beach, until the 2017 arrival of more than 730,000
Rohingya fleeing persecution in Myanmar in a human exodus of unprecedented
thousands of Rohingya Muslims already in Cox’s Bazar, they cleared forests and
built shelters from mud and bamboo to create a sprawling mass of camps that now
house more than 900,000 people, of which 80 percent are women and children.
18 months the Bangladesh government, with thousands of staff from about 145
non-government organizations (NGOs) and aid agencies, have brought order to the
chaos, building more stable shelters, roads, sanitation and setting up
while life in the settlement has started to stabilize, aid workers said they
were rushing to secure the camps for the longer term with no sign of the crisis
ending and one factor hanging over them - the monsoon in May then cyclone
is not an easy place to work because we are constantly worrying about things
over which we have no control,” said Nayana Bose, spokeswoman for the Inter
Sector Coordination Group (ISCG) that coordinates the humanitarian agencies’
challenging in terms of terrain, weather, and population,” she said, adding
this made it harder than other refugee crises and Bangladesh’s biggest ever
workers recalled how the early months of the crisis were focused on life-saving
work, such as building shelters and latrines, food supplies, and dealing with
worked around the clock in the camps located about 40 km (25 miles) south of
Cox’s Bazar – a 1.5 hour drive that can take much longer depending on traffic
on the pot-holed roads where aid agencies’ four-wheel drives vie with auto
IN, FLY OUT
international staff came for three month stints but as time went on were
replaced by staff on six month and one year contracts, working eight week
shifts before flying out for one week of rest and recreation and to visit their
activities are limited in Cox’s Bazar, with alcohol in Muslim Bangladesh only
available at some international hotels, so some aid staff set up yoga classes
and book clubs.
must be dressed conservatively so swimming is not an option, although some aid
workers value beach walks, and international workers are told not to leave
hotels after 10 pm.
Al-Khateeb, a spokesman for the U.N.’s refugee agency UNHCR, said he had worked
with refugees in five other countries but the Rohingya crisis was more
there was the sheer numbers involved, then language problems as most Rohingya
are illiterate, complicating awareness campaigns about risks in the camps, and
also the fact the Rohingya are not recognized by Myanmar and have nowhere to
of the crisis ending soon are remote. Bangladesh’s government has vowed not to
repatriate anyone unwillingly, garnering global praise for Prime Minister
Sheikh Hasina who just won a third term despite reports of poll irregularities.
special rapporteur on human rights in Myanmar, Yanghee Lee, said on Jan. 25 it
was clear the Rohingya cannot return “in the near future” with the situation
unchanged and Myanmar still denying all accusations of persecution.
Rohingya are stateless and had been suffering back home. Some talk about the
freedom they have here,” said Al-Khateeb, whose organization is frequently quoted
saying the average length of stay in a refugee camp is around 15-20 years.
he added that the weather was a major problem, with efforts now underway to
make the camps as secure as possible in case of a severe monsoon or cyclone
season. Last year the Cox’s Bazar area was not badly hit.
Nahed Chowdhury, a project manager with Christian Aid working on disaster risk
reduction with BRAC, Bangladesh’s largest NGO, is focused on strengthening
bamboo for shelters, digging ditches, landslide protection, and building brick
must be ready for the monsoon season and we are much better prepared this year.
If the cyclones had been bad last year it would have been a disaster,” she
life in the camps is becoming normalized, the Rohingya are not allowed to
formally work as this could impact local jobs, but they can earn about $5 a day
on NGO projects in camps.
this they can trade with each other at stalls that line the main roads winding
through the camps that sell food, plastic toys and clothes as stray dogs and
cows wander past.
Snowdon, a spokeswoman for the World Food Programme, said food in the camps was
also changing to a longer-term plan.
first they handed out rice, lentils and oil but now they are supplying people
with cards with monthly amounts based on family size with which they can buy
fresh food, dried fish and eggs from stores set up by local retailers in the
program, run by the U.N.’s Food and Agricultural Organization (FAO),
International Organization for Migrants (IOM) and WFP, is supplying all
households with stoves and a monthly canister of LPG to reduce pollution and
loss of forest has been a key source of tension with some local people, who are
now outnumbered two to one by the Rohingya, and lost some traditional income
from the forest.
other locals, like Theotonius Gomes who runs the Mag Darin restaurant, have
welcomed the influx of aid workers which has boosted businesses and prompted
the government to start work on an international airport terminal and extended
all the aid work comes at a cost.
year U.N. agencies and NGOs launched a $950.8 million appeal to provide
essential humanitarian assistance, including to nearly 400,000 Bangladeshis in
nearby communities, some of whom are as poor as the Rohingya, in a bid to
new funding plan will be launched later this month, with initial drafts of the
proposal, seen by the Thomson Reuters Foundation, showing the target will be
about $920 million.
groups are well aware raising funds could get harder as the crisis rolls on and
new emergencies hit the headlines.
this emergency is not over yet. Still the Rohingyas need our help and support,”
The Taliban said on Sunday they would send a delegation to Russia for a rare
meeting with Afghan opposition leaders, just days after peace talks with the
United States that excluded the Kabul government.
two-day sit-down in Moscow, starting on Tuesday, will be attended by some of
President Ashraf Ghani’s chief political rivals, but none of the government
envoys tasked with Taliban negotiations.
has appealed to the insurgents to talk after being frozen out of six days of
discussions between the Taliban and the United States in Doha last month that
sealed the outlines of a peace deal.
the Taliban, who refuse to recognise Ghani’s government, will sit down in
Moscow with some of the president’s main opponents to discuss the country’s
future — stirring frustrations in Kabul.
shows the peak of depression and begging to terrorists,” said Amrullah Saleh,
who is running as vice-president on Ghani’s ticket in elections slated for
July. “A smile to the enemy is a blow to the national spirit,” he posted on his
Facebook page on Sunday.
those who have confirmed their attendance in Moscow is Haneef Atmar, who is
running against Ghani in the presidential elections, former warlord Atta
Muhammad Noor and former Afghan president Hamid Karzai — both Ghani rivals —
are also attending.
on Sunday said the meeting was “a pathway towards strengthening the peace
efforts led by the US” while Atmar described it as “an important step towards
intra-Afghan peace talks”. A government-appointed council tasked with Taliban
engagement said on Sunday it was not invited to Moscow.
senior Taliban official said they would send a delegation, but described the
meeting as non-political and “arranged by some organisations based in Moscow”.
Russian Embassy in Kabul issued a statement late on Saturday on behalf of the
“Afghan Society of Russia”. The group said it had invited “influential figures”
to the dialogue in the President Hotel in Moscow. “We are ready to play our
role in bringing peace to Afghanistan,” the statement read.
Chief Executive of Jamiat-e-Islami party Ata Mohammad Noor has said that the
Moscow dialogue will strengthen peace efforts in Afghanistan.
his participation in the summit, Noor said in a statement “I alongside few
prominent #Afghan leaders will be attending the intra-Afghan dialogue in Moscow
which we firmly believe will be a pathway towards strengthening of the peace
efforts led by the US and facilitated by other countries involved in the
further added “At the meeting in Moscow, we will be observing our national
interests & the people’s will towards an enduring peace. At the meeting, I
will also support the peace efforts led by US & will discuss solutions to
bolster the efforts underway that will serve interests of our people.”
Moscow Summit will be organized on 5th and 6th of February in the capital city
local leader of the Taliban group has been killed together with 7 other
militants during the operations of the Afghan National Defense and Security
Forces in southern Helmand province.
Ministry of Interior (MoI) in a statement said the Taliban leader Qari Janan
was killed in Highway 601 in Balochan area located in the outskirts of the
statement further added that five militants also sustained injuries during the
least eight hideouts were also destroyed and some improvised explosive devices
which were planted by the militants in Balochan, Gul Agha, Asadullah and
Kochian areas were discovered and defused, the statement by the Ministry of
former National Security Adviser and presidential runner for July 20 elections
Mohammad Haneef Atmar has confirmed that he is participating in Moscow summit
together with a number of other political leaders.
a statement posted via his official Twitter account, Atmar has said that he
considers the summit an important step towards the revival of inclusive and
has also vowed that he will defend the joint achievements and legacies of the
nation in the summit which include constitutional values, Islamic Republic
system, and safety of institutions.
also added that he will emphasize on an inclusive intra-Afghan peace negotiations
to include the Afghan government as well.
other parts of his statement Atmar urged the government not view the peace
process from the perspective of the government only and to respect the role of
political sect and the nation in reconciliation efforts.
cops uncover 'love scam' syndicate misusing Islam to fleece victims
TERENGGANU (Bernama): Police here have detected a "love scam"
syndicate in the state misusing Islam to fleece their victims.
police chief Datuk Aidi Ismail said they had received several complaints from
victims who claimed they had transferred money to syndicate members to help
them to learn more about Islam.
members will persuade the victims to deposit a sum of money, sometimes up to
hundreds of thousands of ringgit, even if they only know each other
online," he told reporters here on Sunday (Feb 3).
Comm Aidi witnessed the handover of duties between Terengganu Criminal
Investigation Department (CID) chief ACP Fazlisyam Abdul Majid and CID deputy
chief (Investigations/Legal) Supt Suffian Santong; Integrity and Standard
Compliance Department chief DSP Amran Mohd Ghani and his deputy ASP Nurul Isma
Khairuddin, and ACP Abdul Rahim Mat Din who will assume his new post as Kuala
Terengganu district police chief.
Aidi said 53 fraud cases involving "love scams" were reported in the
state last year with losses amounting to RM12mil. – Bernama
worldwide protest China's Uyghurs policy
human rights violations against Turkic Uyghur minority in Xinjiang Uyghur
Autonomous Region -- also referred to as East Turkestan --have been protested
across the Chinese Consulates worldwide.
Islamic Community National View (IGMG), one of Germany’s largest Muslim-Turkish
associations, gathered before the Chinese Consulate in Dusseldorf for protests.
organization's head Kemal Ergun made a statement and slammed China for human
rights violations, religious oppression and so-called training camps.
children and public servants are not allowed to go to mosques, or pray even at
their homes. The public servants can't even fast in Ramadan," he said.
went on to say that the forced-training camps taught the ideology of the
Chinese Communist Party, humiliated Islam. He alleged that those refusing the
humiliation against Islam were tortured.
that there were thousands of Uyghurs who were arrested and never heard of
again, he said that those looking for their arrested relatives could also be
arrested and there wasn't a process in which these people could defend
themselves through judicial methods.
security units systematically carry out tortures, any attempt to protest the
unjust practices of the administration is regarded as uprising or riot. Those
attending protests are executed," he said.
called on the UN to step into action and impose sanctions on the Chinese
government during the organization, which was participated by some 500 people
despite the rain.
protests in Germany's capital Berlin were attended by several NGOs, and the
crowd dispersed after reading a statement calling on China to put an end to the
violations against Turkic Uyghurs.
protest near the Chinese Consulate in Frankfurt city was attended by some 350
protest organized by Denmark Islamic Community in capital Copenhagen in front
of the Chinese Embassy was attended by hundreds of people and representatives
of the Turkish associations operating in the country.
250 people were present at the protests held in the Netherland's Den Haag city
near the Chinese Consulate.
Islamic Community National's England branch also protested the Chinese policy
on the Uyghurs.
demonstrators gathered in front of the Chinese Embassy in Austria's capital
Vienna and protested the human rights violations in Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous
carried banners saying: "Freedom for Uyghur", "Stop cruelty
against Uyghur", "End massacres in Uyghur!".
protests will continue until February 5th and are held in Australia's
Melbourne, the U.S.' New York, Germany's Berlin, Dusseldorf, Hamburg,
Frankfurt, Munich; Belgium's Brussels, Bosnia and Herzegovina's Sarajevo,
Denmark's Copenhagen, the Netherlands' Den Haag, Norway's Oslo, Austria's
Vienna, England's London, France's Paris, Lyon, Marseille, Strasbourg;
Switzerland's Zurich and Sweden's Stockholm cities.
August, the UN Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination, in a
meeting held in Geneva, stated that the Uyghur individuals, who the local
administrators accuse of having unfavorable political thought, in China’s
Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region were held in political training centers.
UN body’s representatives stated that up to 3 million people have been detained
without any judicial decisions.
alumni of Canisius College in Jakarta have declared support for the Joko
“Jokowi” Widodo-Ma’ruf Amin pair and vowed to fight against the spread of
hoaxes and fake news in campaigning for the incumbent president and his running
the alumni are Ginandjar Kartasasmita, Airlangga Hartarto, Wimar Witoelar, Agus
Gumiwang Kartasasmita, Prof. Harijono Djojodiharjo, Akbar Tanjung, Sofyan
Wanandi and J. Wishenda.
declaration event was held at Gedung Joeang 45 museum in Central Jakarta on
Sunday. It was also attended by senior members of the Jokowi campaign such as
Indonesian Democratic Party of Struggle (PDI-P) secretary-general Hasto
from other Jakarta schools, such as Pangudi Luhur, SMAN 7 high school, SMAN 3
high school, De Britto College and SMAN 6 high school, also attended the
leaders who can serve the people are able to advance Indonesia further. And Pak
Jokowi has proven his ability to do that," said Irlan Suud, the head of
the declaration committee.
reason [voters] should vote for Jokowi is that we are already experienced.
Kanisius alumni like Agus Gumiwang and I participate in the control of the government,
so it is only natural [for us to choose Jokowi]," said Airlangga, the
current industry minister and Golkar party chairman.
help Jokowi win the election in the capital, the group introduced the slogan
#JokowikanJakarta (#MakeJakartaJokowi) and vowed to combat fake news targeting
the sitting President.
are won in the ballot box, not with noise and fake news,” said Kanisius College
alumnus Wimar Witoelar.
is the founder of Intermatrix Communications and former spokesperson during the
Abdurrahman “Gus Dur” Wahid era.
said voters should maintain a “sane mind” and focus on the quality of the
candidates instead of the hoaxes revolving around them.
Jokowi claimed he had been a victim of hoaxes and smear campaigns targeting his
faith, his background and policies after he was elected president in 2014.
has often been portrayed as anti-Islam and being connected to the now-defunct
Indonesian Communist Party (PKI). The President has repeatedly denied the
this year, the General Elections Commission (KPU) reported several people for
spreading false online information that seven containers of ballots from China
had been found in Tanjung Priok, North Jakarta. The ballots, they falsely
claimed, had been pierced for Jokowi.
2018 study by IT news portal Daily Social indicated that 57 percent of
Indonesian internet users received false information via messenger
applications, prompting Facebook and WhatsApp to use encryptions and limit the
forwarding of messages.
Shazwan Mustafa Kamal
LUMPUR, Feb 4 — With Pakatan Harapan (PH) still reeling from its loss to
Barisan Nasional (BN) in the Cameron Highlands by-election, eyes are turning to
the March 2 Semenyih poll and what a victory would mean for either coalition.
the state seat was won in the 14th general election by the late Bakhtiar Mohd
Nor from Parti Pribumi Bersatu Malaysia (PPBM), it had been held by Umno for
two terms before that.
by its Cameron Highlands win, Umno-BN will be looking to see if its alliance
with PAS in the parliamentary by-election can be replicated in Semenyih. At the
same time, PH is grappling with an increasingly impatient electorate demanding
the ruling coalition fulfil all of their electoral pledges.
67.71 per cent Malay voters in Semenyih compared to 16.69 per cent Chinese and
13.73 per cent Indians there, Umno and PAS will no doubt be using a pro-Malay
narrative to drive what it believes to be an increasing distrust towards PH
parties (especially DAP) and win.
Youth chief Datuk Asyraf Wajdi Dusuki believes that many Malay voters are
slowly becoming aware of the message that his party has been trying to convey:
that the rights of the country’s majority race are being undermined by a ruling
coalition allegedly being “controlled” by the DAP.
we say we want to strengthen Islam, it does not mean we are mistreating other
races. Malay-Muslims have been strong under BN since independence, but no
single other race has been undermined or discriminated against.
now, with DAP in control, Malays are split,” he told Malay Mail when contacted.
the Umno Youth chief said, is one of the messages his party hopes to get across
to voters in during the course of the upcoming campaign for the Semenyih
long as DAP remains chauvinistic, upholding their so-called principals of
wanting all races to be equal, it indirectly sends a message that they are
undermining the country’s social contract,” Asyraf claimed.
former deputy minister says that the Cameron Highlands by-election was a boost
for Umno and BN, and that they have “admitted” their mistakes in the past and
had been “punished” for it in GE14.
importantly, Asyraf stressed that the Semenyih by-election will showcase a more
“concrete” partnership between Umno and PAS, something which many Malay voters
PAS is still the parties in which Malays look up to. In Cameron Highlands, PAS
and Umno’s machinery worked hand in hand, a formula which is close to the
aspirations of the people. People are really hoping Umno and PAS can forge a
strong cooperation “Let Pakatan have their grand ceramah circuits... we will
have small focus programmes and door-to-door campaigns, with our leaders who
each have their own strengths,” he said.
strategist Datuk Rais Hussin conceded that the Semenyih by-election will be a
sort of “vote by the Malays” due to the percentage of voters there, but added
that the by-election will also be a chance for people to share their messages
are lessons which have been learnt in Cameron Highlands which have been spoken
by many, maybe it was the choice of candidate, or how the campaign was
approached, or perhaps the strategic communications team was not able to
sufficiently deliver PH’s message.
coming back to Semenyih...we need to address cost of living, job issues, and we
need to show some very concrete items, actions, not just for Semenyih, but
nationwide,” he said.
said that while BN will undoubtedly use the issue of race and religion to garner
support, PH should focus on explaining to voters on a more pressing issue: the
coalition’s GE14 pledges and why some of them have yet to be fulfilled.
pointed out that PH needs to stop making excuses on why some promises cannot be
delivered, and instead work on a “recalibration” of their manifesto — an
updated version on which promises have been delivered, which promises will be
delivered, and which will be delayed.
need to explain why, and recalibrate the manifesto to reflect the current political
landscape. Issues like food prices, and PTPTN... whoever is responsible for
PTPTN must stop doing anything else and focus on that,” he said.
is the Malay abbreviation of the loans by the National Higher Education Fund
Corporation, which has become a hot potato in recent years because of the
government’s ever-changing payback conditions on its graduate borrowers after
entering the employment market on depressed wages.
Bangi MP Ong Kian Ming said that the current national narrative with regards to
PH is a coalition which has somehow “lost” its direction since being in federal
is at stake is whether PH can turn the larger national narrative that we have
someone ‘lost’ our direction in governing since GE14. With a victory in Semenyih,
this narrative can be reversed,” he said.
cautioned that a loss in Semenyih for PH would be a “serious” blow in terms of
an indicator for GE15.
stakes are much higher for PH in Semenyih compared to for BN given that
Selangor is PH’s stronghold,” he said — even though Semenyih is a seat which
was held by Umno in GE13 and GE12.
hoping for a straight fight between PPBM and Umno may be disappointed, as the
Semenyih by-election is fast shaping up to be a possible multi-cornered race.
Sosialis Malaysia (PSM) and Gerakan have both expressed interest in contesting
the seat, with the former stating that a decision on the matter will be made
member S. Arutchelvan who contested the seat in GE14 said as a political party,
PSM needs to make a decision to contest in by-elections from time to time.
PSM has some strict rules for standing in elections. A branch which has a
service centre, and a candidate who has done work minimum two years and has
units in 50 per cent of the constituency is allowed to propose a candidate.
the Semenyih branch has endorsed that we stand in by-election as we fulfil
these criteria. The neighbouring branches in Kajang, Bangi, Dengkil and Mantin
have also have proposed that we stand. Now the matter is being discussed with
the central committee,” he told Malay Mail.
garnered 1,293 votes in GE14 for Semenyih. PPBM won the seat with a 8,964-vote
majority (23,428) against Umno’s 14,464 votes. PAS had also contested, and
managed to win 6,966 votes back then.
Rais says an announcement on the Semenyih seat will likely be made just before
Nomination Day on February 16.
Langat Umno chief and former two-term Semenyih assemblyman Datuk Johan Abdul
Aziz told Malay Mail that the party division has already sent in who they would
like to see representing the party in the state by-election.
may get a clearer picture next week, the national BN is looking at our
proposal,” he told Malay Mail.
confirmed that he will not be contesting the seat, and that it was time for
other “capable” people to take over.
Oh Ei Sun, a senior fellow at the Singapore Institute of International Affairs
predicts that PH will retain the seat in the by-election, despite an Umno-PAS
said the concern would be “minor parties” like PSM splitting PH votes by
throwing their hat in the Semenyih race.
would especially be so if other minor parties bow to political reality instead
of narrowly throwing the seat to the increasingly regressive religio-racialist
opposition pact by splitting PH votes,” he told Malay Mail.
A senior Abu Sayyaf operative and four members of the militant group believed
to be behind the deadly bombing of a church in the southern Philippines
surrendered to authorities over the weekend, the national police chief said on
Pae, whom authorities believe to have aided an Indonesian couple in the January
27 suicide attack, gave himself up to government troops, Oscar Albayalde said.
was forced to surrender,” Albayalde told a media briefing. “He probably didn’t
want to die during the military offensive.”
troops killed three suspected Abu Sayyaf militants and suffered five fatalities
in a firefight on Saturday in Patikul, a town in the province of Sulu as troops
pursued those behind the church attack.
said Kammah denied involvement in the twin bombings at the Jolo cathedral that
killed 23 people, including civilians and soldiers, but eyewitnesses’ accounts
showed he escorted the Indonesian couple.
forces also retrieved an improvised explosive device and components from his
home, Albayalde added.
five suspects will face multiple murder charges, among others, Albayalde said.
the investigation into the church bombing in Sulu, a known stronghold of the
Abu Sayyaf group, is “far from over,” he added.
Sayyaf is a militant organization notorious for kidnappings and extremist
factions and has pledged allegiance to Daesh.
are more pieces of evidence that need to carefully examined,” Albayalde said.
Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte suggested on Tuesday that the twin
explosions may have been a suicide attack, military and police said the bombs
within and outside the church appeared to have been detonated remotely.
few days later, Duterte’s interior minister, Eduardo Ano, said that suicide
attack was carried out by an Indonesian couple with the help of Abu Sayyaf.
Dispatches from a nomad: Kenya falls victim to ISIS-al Shabaab supremacy wars
sources say a silent competition between Somalia's two rival militant groups,
ISIS and al Shabaab, is believed to have prompted the recent terror attacks in
deep desire from the two groups to outwit the other and show their relevance
has pushed them to export their terror outside Somalia to capture international
has unfortunately fallen victim to Daesh and al Shabaab competition to remain
relevant in the region. Al Shabaab took advantage of its Kenyan Muslim reverts
to attack their own country and people. There are so many Kenyans in al
Shabaab, including very senior commanders," the source, who declined to be
Shabaab, is the oldest gang of the two and was quick to claim the two Nairobi
attacks. Its multi-national membership believed to include many Kenyans among
its ranks proved vital in aiding al Shabaab to silently execute the attacks
under the radar. The two sides are sworn
enemies, who have fought each other before in what is shaping up into a
supremacy war for control of millions of US Dollars up for grabs from extortion
rackets, the control of the lucrative charcoal business for export to the
Middle East, drug smuggling routes and local kingpin in Somalia for whoever
outwits the other.
compete on who is more ruthless and such competition keeps them on tabs to plan
more attacks and kill more innocent people. Sadly, this is their main line of
business just like contract killers. The more people they kill the more money
is comprised of mostly foreign and diaspora jihadists who export their terror
campaigns by recruiting unsuspecting young Muslims through deep web social
media, where they also train their agents of terror through online classes.
They are the high-tech savvy terrorists using technology to advance their
misplaced ideology. Talk of dot COM terrorists!
Shabaab, on the other hand, has set itself as a local player comprised of
mostly regional members from Somalia, Kenya, Ethiopia, Sudan, Tanzania, Uganda,
Comoros and Burundi. It has extensively recruited from those countries. Unlike
their main competitors ISIS, al Shabaab physically trains its members inside
Somalia in secret facilities.
morphed out of the once powerful Islamic Courts Union, which controlled much of
Somalia in 2006. It was originally the ICU military wing headed by Afghanistan
trained Somali militants with direct link to al Qaeda. When the brains behind al Shabaab started
recruiting Kenya youth back then, little did we know their rationale. Even in
Somalia, the group mostly recruited from minority tribes and clans including
Somali Bantu or Jereerweyne.
your information, the Jareers are the genetic causins of Kenyan Bantu. This
makes the Kenyan recruits feel at home because some of the Bajuni and Jareers
in Southern Somalia bordering Kenya speak Swahili. For intergration purposes
this is vital giving al Shabaab an edge over ISIS. Al Shabaab has a tendency of planning for an
attack for years.
2007, the group confiscated white UN armoured vehicles from central Somalia.
Two years later in November 2009, they used the same vehicles to access and
attack Amisom peacekeepers in the main UN base in Mogadishu's airport using
polished young militants speaking the Queen's language.
hoodwinked Ugandan peacekeepers who saluted them and waved them into the UN
compound without detecting the improvised bombs planted in the armoured UN marked
cars. That particular attack killed at least nine AU peacekeepers, including
former Amisom deputy commander from Burundi Major General Juvenal
group has mastered the art of deception and deep under cover operations by
established governmental agencies such as the CIA, Mosad and KGB. Sometimes
you'd assume they read and use the same guidebook or protocols. If you have ever seen those riveting and
suspense filled Hollywood espionage thriller action movies depicting mass
murders and full of angry terrorists who simply love to kill, then you probably
know what am talking about.
is behind the al Shabaab and ISIS doctrine has a long term plan to simply
is high time for Kenya, Somalia and other regional countries to unite and come
up with their own locally thought and executed plan to deal with the murderous
militants, who cut across nationalities and ethnicity as witnessed in the
recent sad events in Nairobi.
the efforts of the global community to counter the menace of ISIS or the
Islamic State, the terror group has expanded its footprints beyond the Middle
Eastern countries of Iraq and Syria and spread its outreach to West Africa.
This was once again highlighted when on January 15 2019, the Islamic State
released a new video highlighting the growing strength and capability of its
forces in West Africa.
glorification of the territorial success of ISIS in Iraq and Syria, the video
highlighted the ‘challenges’ faced by the group in West Africa, and stressed
this factor as the need for an organised recruitment cell in the region. The
half hour video was titled “Hijrah [migration] and qital [fighting]” and was
narrated in Arabic. The video focussed on how ISIS fighters were gaining
strength in Nigeria and successfully waging a war against the hostile Nigerian
soldiers. In turn, these successes were used to try to persuade others, both
inside and outside Africa, to join the fight.
video opened by declaring the ideological motives of ISIS, which was
“implementing the rule of the Lord of the two worlds,” something that involved
“establishing the religion” and “protecting against idolatry:”
of Iraq and Syria shot in 2015 and 2016 showing the proto-state operations of
ISIS – “idolatrous” monuments being destroyed, gay men being thrown off
buildings, thieves having their hands cut off, children rushing into school
classrooms, markets bustling with people, and patrols of the hisbah [the
Islamic State’s religious morality police]- were shown.
may be mentioned here that these were previously unseen footages and whosoever
made this video had privileged access to a centralised media archive. Then, the
video showed how a global coalition had emerged against ISIS. The message was
clear. Those opposing ISIS were the enemies of Islam.
next part of the video consisted of a generalised recruitment call to Muslims
all over the world. It called the Muslims to embody the jihadist doctrine of
al-wala’ wa-l-bara’ (loyalty and disavowal) and abandon their lives in the
“abode of disbelief”. The video showed an Islamic State fighter in West Africa
who was identified as Abu Hamzah al-Ifriqi. Addressing would-be recruits, he
said: “Allah stated that it is upon us [the Muslim community] to commit to
jihad and make hijrah [migrate] to the abode of Islam. The video then showcased
the growing strength of ISIS in West Africa and intensively idealised the idea
of fighting for it.
video documented a series of attacks and ambushes by ISIS against the
“coalition of enemies” in Nigeria. Using news reports from Western media that
highlighted the threat of Jihadist in the region, the video intended to show
that its strength was being acknowledged by the enemy as well. The remainder of
this part of the video consisted of more footage of Islamic State incursions,
backed by speeches from leaders and key ideologues. Again, the “soldiers of the
caliphate” were shown engaging in fierce fighting, their enemies fleeing from
the battlefield and leaving their wounded for dead.
last sequence of “Hijrah and qital” consisted of a monologue by an Islamic State
fighter Abu Malik al-Sukutawi. He started by saying that it was mandatory for
Muslims to “improve your lives, fulfil what is required of you by your faith,
and achieve the greatness you deserve”.
only way to do this, he said, was to migrate to the Islamic State in West
Africa. He finished by issuing a warning to the enemies of the Islamic State.
At this point, the video cut to stylised footage of a large column of Islamic
State soldiers walking through the bush, and it came to a close.
timing, as well as the content of the video, should not be undermined. At an
ideological level. the concepts of “Hijrah and qital” are a significant
addition to the Islamic State propaganda roster.
elevated the caliphate’s affiliate in West Africa to a hitherto unprecedented
level, showing it to be fundamental to its global project and not some marginal
ally located more than two and half thousand miles away from the caliphate
heartlands – as has been the case for much of the past few years.
prime minister on Saturday appeared to soften the official stance on
anti-government protests that have been ongoing for more than a month,
describing demonstrators’ calls for better living conditions as “legitimate.”
activists and other protesters have held almost daily demonstrations across
Sudan since Dec. 19, calling for an end to economic hardships and mounting a
sustained challenge to President Omar al-Bashir’s three decades in power.
groups say at least 45 people have been killed in the protests, while the
government puts the death toll at 30, including two security personnel.
the latest unrest-related death, a school teacher died in detention after being
arrested in connection with protests in the east of the country, members of his
family said on Saturday.
has shown no sign of being prepared to concede any power and has blamed the
protests on foreign agents, challenging his rivals to seek power through the
Prime Minister Moataz Moussa took a softer tone, saying some of the demands of
the protesters were legitimate and must be respected.
are problems and we are working on solving them,” he told reporters, referring
to Sudan’s economic troubles and lack of services.
is a voice that must be heard and must be respected, despite the presence of
political parties. There are legitimate demands and demands that must be
has been rapidly expanding its money supply in an attempt to finance its budget
deficit. But that has caused spiraling inflation and a steep decline in the
value of the country’s currency on foreign exchange markets.
information ministry said on Tuesday Sudan’s intelligence and security chief
had ordered the release of all those detained during the protests. However, the
next day security forces detained the daughter of opposition leader Sadiq
al-Mahdi, her family said.
is wanted by the International Criminal Court over charges, which he denies, of
masterminding genocide in the Darfur region. He has been lobbying to have Sudan
removed from a list of countries, along with Syria, Iran and North Korea, that
Washington considers state sponsors of terrorism.
peace accord between the Central African Republic government and 14 armed
groups will be initialed in Khartoum on Tuesday, and signed in full at a later
date, the government in Sudan, which hosted the peace talks, announced.
African President Faustin Archange Touadera would attend the ceremony to
initial the document, originally scheduled for Sunday, Sudanese foreign
ministry spokesman Babikir al-Siddiq said in a statement on Sunday.
did not specify where it would take place.
breakthrough was announced on Saturday at the conclusion of talks in Khartoum,
backed by the United Nations and the African Union, which started on January 24
in a bid to end years of fighting that has killed thousands of people.
details of the agreement have been released. But one of the main points in
dispute during the talks had been the question of an amnesty for the rebels.
Western pressure, Bangui has always refused pardons for warlords, several of
whom are under UN sanctions or cited for human rights violations in UN reports.
Saturday, African Union Commissioner for Peace and Security Smail Chergui said
a deal had been struck though some details still had to be ironed out.
agreement is the seventh since 2012 in a country that has suffered years of conflict.
All the previous pacts broke down.
African Republic is rich in mineral resources but remains one of the world's
has struggled to recover from a 2013 civil war that erupted when President
Francois Bozize, a Christian, was overthrown by mainly Muslim Seleka rebels.
response, Christians, who account for about 80 percent of the population,
organized vigilante units dubbed "anti-Balaka" in reference to the
Balaka machetes used by Seleka rebels.
of people have died in the violence, 700,000 have been internally displaced,
and another 570,000 have fled abroad.
least 13 fighters, part of the armed al-Shabaab group, have been killed in an
airstrike outside the Somali capital, Mogadishu, the US army said.
airstrike happened in Gandarshe, 48km south of Mogadishu, on Friday, US Africom
said in a statement on Saturday.
support the Federal Government of Somalia's continued efforts to degrade
al-Shabaab, US Africa Command conducted an airstrike targeting al-Shabaab
fighters in the vicinity of Gandarshe, Lower Shebelle Region, Somalia, on
February 1, 2019," the statement said.
Africa Command currently assesses this airstrike killed thirteen (13)
militants. At this time, it was assessed no civilians were injured or killed in
is the 10th US airstrike this year in the Horn of Africa country. Last year, it
carried out at least 48 strikes in Somalia, killing more than 330 fighters,
according to The Bureau of Investigative Journalism.
is an al-Qaeda-linked armed group fighting to overthrow the country's
group regularly stages attacks against the Somali military and against troops
from the African Union-mandated peacekeeping force Amisom.
Thursday, an airstrike by the US army killed 24 al-Shabaab fighters in
neighbouring Hiran region.
New Age Islam, Islam Online, Islamic Website, African
Muslim News, Arab
World News, South
Asia News, Indian
Muslim News, World
Muslim News, Women
in Islam, Islamic
In Arab, Islamophobia
in America, Muslim
Women in West, Islam
Women and Feminism