Objects To India in Anti-Graft Grouping
Says Peace Deal Should Guarantee No Place for Terrorism after Kabul Attack
ISIS Is Rising In the Philippines As It Dwindles In the Middle East
Rejects Foreign Forces Deployment, Military Bases On Its Territory: Shia Cleric
Hits Gaza against Hamas Sites in Response To ‘Projectile’
Council of Foreign Relations Member Condemns Ilhan Omar For Anti-Semitism
Begum Baby Death a 'Stain On The Conscience' Of UK Government
Protests US Criticism of Policies On Religion
deports six Egyptians despite concerns over torture, rights abuses
afraid, ex-MP tells Malays as Umno and PAS talk ties
tells politicians to stop playing the race card
Oppose Sri Sri’s Name, Muslim Litigants Welcome SC’s Mediation Move in Ayodhya Dispute
Asks Pakistan for Concrete Crackdown on Terror Groups
Geelani summoned by NIA to Delhi tomorrow
fuelling tensions between India, Pakistan: CENTCOM chief
Masjid Arbitration: Shri Shri Ravi Shankar’s open letter goes viral
religion whether Hindu, Muslim, Christian preaches terror: Naidu
was then BJP govt which released Masood Azhar: Rahul Gandhi
over Pakistan’s 'use and loss of F-16' lands US in awkward spot
eases as envoys return to Islamabad, Delhi
to hear petition seeking Imran Khan's disqualification on March 11
calls upon Pakistan to take ‘decisive’ action against militants
Chief continuously monitoring Pak-India situation’
politicians condemn Houthi targeting of Saudi civilians
Commander Involved In High Profile Attacks, Assassinations Has Been Killed In
police killed in attack in Myanmar's Rakhine: police
went wrong with the BNP, Bangladesh's main opposition party?
twisted Menon’s speech: WP
than 60 Taliban militants killed in Special Forces operations and airstrikes
Special Forces kill mastermind of ISIS attack on a construction firm in
Israeli Weapons Discovered From Terrorists' Former Positions Near Damascus
Spokesman: US Fails in All Plots against Iraq
Terrorists Killed in Foiled Attack on Syrian Army in Hama
MP: US Bases Training Terrorists in 3 Iraqi Provinces
urges Damascus to grant it full access to returnees
ploy halts final assault on ‘caliphate’
ancient Aleppo souk poised to regain its bustle
accuses Palestinians of manufacturing crisis over tax transfer
urges Pakistan's decisive action against anti-Iran terrorists
forces discover US, Israeli-made munitions in militant redoubts
launches fresh Gaza airstrikes, targets Palestinian boat
to Get China’s Support On Listing Masood Azhar: U.S. Official
man behind Quebec mosque massacre appeals sentence
protesters demand ‘regime change’ in Iran
Democrats Break America’s Biggest Taboo – Criticism of Israel: Writer
says Turkish naval ship at Port Sudan to boost ‘security’
loyal to Libya's Haftar eyeing Tripoli
fear showdown as eastern commander eyes capital
Tripoli airport closed due to unidentified drone
dead in an attack by Boko Haram in southeastern Niger: Sources
by New Age Islam News Bureau
ISIS is rising in the Philippines as it dwindles in the Middle East
the islands of the southern Philippines, the black flag of the Islamic State is
flying over what the group considers its East Asia province.
in the jungle, two oceans away from the arid birthplace of the Islamic State,
are taking the terrorist brand name into new battles.
worshippers gathered in January for Sunday Mass at a Catholic cathedral, two
bombs ripped through the church compound, killing 23 people. The Islamic State
claimed a pair of its suicide bombers had caused the carnage.
illustration circulated days later on Islamic State chat groups, showing
President Rodrigo Duterte of the Philippines kneeling on a pile of skulls and a
militant standing over him with a dagger. The caption on the picture sounded a
warning: “The fighting has just begun.”
Islamic State’s territory in Iraq and Syria, once the size of Britain, has
shriveled after four years of U.S.-backed bombing and ground combat by Kurdish
and Shiite militia fighters. What is left is a tiny village in southeast Syria
that could fall any day.
far from defeated, the movement has sprouted elsewhere. And here in the
Mindanao island group of the southern Philippines, long a haven for insurgents
because of dense wilderness and weak policing, the Islamic State has attracted
a range of militant jihadis.
has a lot of power,” said Motondan Indama, a former child fighter on the island
of Basilan and cousin of Furuji Indama, a militant leader who has pledged
fealty to the group. “I don’t know why my cousin joined, but it’s happening all
group first made a big push for southern Philippines recruitment in 2016,
circulating videos online beckoning militants who could not travel to its
self-proclaimed caliphate in Iraq and Syria. Hundreds of fighters poured in
from as far away as Chechnya, Somalia and Yemen, intelligence officials said.
next year, militants who had pledged allegiance to the Islamic State took over
the city of Marawi in Mindanao. By the time the army prevailed five months
later, the largest Muslim-majority city in the country lay in ruins. At least
900 insurgents were killed, including foreign fighters and Isnilon Hapilon, the
Islamic State’s East Asia emir.
declared victory over the Islamic State. But his triumphalism apparently has
not deterred its loyalists from regrouping.
has money coming into the Philippines, and they are recruiting fighters,” said
Rommel Banlaoi, chairman of the Philippine Institute for Peace, Violence and
Terrorism Research. “ISIS is the most complicated, evolving problem for the
Philippines today, and we should not pretend that it doesn’t exist because we
don’t want it to exist.”
the Jan. 27 cathedral bombing on the island of Jolo, the Philippine military
has responded with airstrikes and 10,000 soldiers in Jolo, according to Col.
Gerry Besana, spokesman for the regional military command in the city of
surveillance drones monitor the southern Philippine archipelago, where the
nation’s Muslim minority is concentrated and local insurgencies have long
battled the Christian-majority state.
even as the military offensive intensifies, the government avoids conceding
that the Philippines is in the global slipstream of Islamic extremism. Top
officials have played down incidents in which the Islamic State has sent
foreign fighters and financing to the Philippines for deadly attacks. The
violence, they often say, is squabbling between Muslim clans, or common
a week of the Jolo cathedral bombing, police declared the case solved, blaming
a local militant group, Abu Sayyaf, with scant acknowledgment of how many of
its insurgents have partnered with the Islamic State.
the Jolo cathedral, Our Lady of Mount Carmel, Duterte and his entourage trampled
over evidence, church officials said. Forensic investigators were kept from the
crime scene for days. Dogs gnawed on body parts.
are asking for an independent investigation because it was too quick, too soon
to say it’s a closed case,” said Jefferson Nadua, a parish priest. “This is a
serious matter that needs to be looked at more deeply because the threat is not
just local. It’s maybe coming from outside, from ISIS.”
decades, local insurgencies like Abu Sayyaf, which launched a campaign of bombings
and beheadings, have thrived in the lawless wilderness and seas stretching
toward Malaysia and Indonesia.
the 1990s, after Filipinos returned from the mujahedeen battlefields in
Afghanistan and hard-line madrassas in Yemen and Saudi Arabia, local grievances
fused with global calls for jihad. In a crescent-shaped swath of Southeast
Asia, militants dreamed of a caliphate free of secular governance.
Islamiyah, the Qaida offshoot that killed more than 200 people in a Bali
nightclub in 2002, trained recruits in Philippine jungles.
as the Islamic State constructed its caliphate in the Middle East, it connected
disparate militants in the Philippines under one ideological banner, said
Sidney Jones, the director of the Institute for Policy Analysis of Conflict in
government didn’t recognize its strength in attracting everyone from
university-educated students to Abu Sayyaf kids in the jungle,” Jones said.
“Whatever happens to the pro-ISIS coalition in Mindanao, it has left behind the
idea of an Islamic state as a desirable alternative to corrupt democracy.”
officials say the island is now safe from the Abu Sayyaf separatists who began
their fight in 1991. No foreign fighters are hiding in the jungles, the local authorities
insist, and they claim that the rebels have been reduced to about 20 trapped
Besana puts the overall number of militants on Basilan at perhaps 200, and
their leader has pledged allegiance to the Islamic State.
the former fighter who says he left Abu Sayyaf last year because he rejected
the Islamic State’s ideology, claimed he saw foreign operatives in the Basilan
idea that no overseas fighters have stolen onto Basilan was shattered last July
when it was the site of the first suicide bombing in the Philippines.
Islamic State claimed that the attack, which killed 11 people, had been the
work of a Moroccan recruit. Philippine authorities initially denied the attack
had been by a suicide bomber, much less a foreigner. Weeks later, they admitted
it had been carried out by a German-Moroccan suicide bomber.
year, a Spaniard was arrested in Basilan with bomb-making materials. An
Egyptian carrying $19,000 in cash was also stopped on his way to Basilan, according
to Mujiv Hataman, the governor of the autonomous Muslim region of the
who travels by armored convoy, expressed worry that if the bombing raids
intensify in Jolo, militants will slip undetected into Basilan via small boats.
Already, they travel among Indonesia, Malaysia and the Philippines over poorly
problem goes away and another starts,” Hataman said.
Secretary Eduardo Año has blamed the Jolo attack on an Indonesian couple,
although Indonesian investigators say there is little evidence.
acknowledged that a number of foreign fighters were hiding in the Jolo hills,
under the command of Hatib Hajan Sawadjaan, who is believed to have replaced
Hapilon as the regional Islamic State emir.
Islamic State’s lure seems never far from the surface in the southern
Philippines. At a government ceremony in Basilan where houses were awarded to
former Abu Sayyaf rebels under a long-gestating peace deal to bring autonomy to
the Muslim south, security was so heavy that they were outnumbered by
Habing, 22, a former Abu Sayyaf fighter who said he had joined at age 11, like
many children in his village, seemed noncommittal when asked if he might
convinced me that if you die in battle, you will be rewarded in the hereafter,”
he said. “They said it was the right path.”
oppose Sri Sri’s name, Muslim litigants welcome SC’s mediation move in Ayodhya
Dixit/M Tariq Khan
as the UP Sunni Central Waqf Board and the All-India Muslim Personal Law Board
(AIMPLB) on Friday welcomed the apex court’s initiative for mediation, the
decision evoked a lukewarm response from saints in Ayodhya.
Supreme Court on Friday constituted a three-member committee for mediation in
the Ayodhya dispute. Justice Kalifulla (retd) will head the committee which will
have Sri Sri Ravi Shanker and senior advocate Sriram Panchu as its members.
committee will carry out its mediation in Ayodhya. Starting within a week, the
court has set a deadline of four weeks for the committee to complete its work.
than a dozen efforts have been made to resolve the Ayodhya dispute through
mediation. All of them failed due to stubborn approach of Muslim litigants,”
said Mahant Nritya Gopal Das, head of the Ram Janmabhoomi Nyas, the supreme
body of saints that has been spearheading the temple movement across the
am not optimistic that the Supreme Court appointed mediation committee will be
able to do much on the issue. The committee does not have any local resident of
Ayodhya,” said the Mahant.
Sharma, regional spokesperson of VHP, also termed the decision a futile
exercise. “This will only delay resolution of the issue through court’s
verdict,” said Sharma.
Hindu Mahasabha and the saints’ community of Ayodhya voiced their opposition
over Sri Sri Ravi Shankar’s inclusion in the mediation committee.
Dhinendra Das of the Nirmohi Akhara welcomed the court’s decision. “The Nirmohi
Akhara has no objection on the inclusion of Sri Sri Ravi Shankar’s name in the
committee,” he said.
Nath Pandey, a representative of Ram Lalla (the child deity Lord Ram), said: “I
am against any form of mediation in the case at this stage. All previous
efforts for an out-of-court settlement through mediation have failed.”
saints also questioned the absence of any saint in the committee.
litigants who are opposed to mediation plan consider Sri Sri Ravi Shankar as
rank-outsider on the Ram Mandir issue. Earlier too, the Ayodhya saints had
boycotted Sri Sri whenever he had tried to mediate on the dispute.
UP Sunni Central Waqf Board and the All-India Muslim Personal Law Board
(AIMPLB) welcomed the initiative saying they had never said no to talks on the
only discordant note was struck by AIMIM chief Asaduddin Owaisi.
Sri had threatened that India would become like Syria if Ram Mandir isn’t
built. He has asked Muslims to give up their legal claim over the title of
‘Babri Masjid’. How will he be a neutral mediator?” Owaisi tweeted soon after
the apex court’s order. AIMPLB secretary and counsel for Babri Masjid Action
Committee Zafaryab Jilani said, “In the past, we have participated in
negotiations and are again ready for talks but I would not like to say anything
more at this stage.”
Board chairman Zufar Ahmed Faruqi, who has already given his consent in writing
to join the mediation process in person to the apex court, said other
representatives of Muslim parties in the case may also join them.
Khalid Rashid Farangi Mahli, the Imam of Lucknow Eidgah and an AIMPLB member,
welcomed the court’s decision saying he was hopeful that the mediation would
yield some positive outcome.
a title suit, not a faith-related case. We accepted the mediation proposal
honouring the Supreme Court. Our stance on Babri Masjid has not changed at all,”
said Maulana Umrain Rahmani, secretary, AIMPB.
litigant Iqbal Ansari welcomed the apex court’s decision but questioned the
absence of any local representative in the three-member core committee.
Supreme Court move is in the right direction to resolve the Ayodhya dispute. If
the temple issue is resolved by this committee then nothing could be more
beneficial for the country,” said Ansari.
objects to India in Anti-Graft Grouping
Pakistan has objected to India’s inclusion in the Financial Action Task Force
(FATF)’s Asia-Pacific Group (APG) on money laundering, citing New Delhi’s
animosity towards Islamabad as a reason for its objection.
finance ministry issued a statement on Saturday, stating that finance minister
Asad Umar has written to FATF’s president asking him to appoint any other
member country besides India as co-chair of the APG to ensure that “the FATF process
is fair, unbiased and objective”.
APG is a FATF-style regional body for Asia-Pacific region, comprising 41 member
jurisdictions, a number of observer jurisdictions and international or regional
finance minister has cited India’s animosity towards Pakistan, which he said
was well known, as the reason for the request. The minister called attention to
the recent violation of Pakistan’s airspace and dropping of bombs inside
Pakistani territory which he said was another manifestation of India’s hostile
attitude” the ministry of finance said.
letter referred to Indian finance minister’s statement regarding efforts for
global isolation of Pakistan and the Indian call for blacklisting of Pakistan
during the International Cooperation Review Group (ICRG) meeting on February
18, 2019, which demonstrated Indian intentions to hurt Pakistan’s economic
interests,” the statement read.
to the statement, the finance minister sought to reason that given this, Indian
presence among the evaluators and as co-chair of the joint group would
undermine the impartiality and spirit of the peer review process, which lies at
the heart of FATF’s methodology and objective assessment.
says peace deal should guarantee no place for terrorism after Kabul attack
U.S. Special Envoy for Afghanistan Reconciliation Ambassador Zalmay Khalilzad
has said that peace deal should guarantee no place for terrorism after a
coordinated attack targeted a commemoration ceremony in Kabul on Thursday.
ISIS-K attack on civilians gathered to commemorate an Afghan leader
demonstrates once again, that a comprehensive #peace agreement must guarantee
that terrorism has no place in #Afghanistan’s future,” Ambassador Khalizad said
in a Twitter post.
comes as a group of insurgents targeted a ceremony in Kabul on Thursday which
was organized to mark the24th anniversary of the assassination of Abdul Ali
ISIS Khurasan group claimed responsibility for the attack which left at least
the Ministry of Interior in a statement said Friday that the Taliban group was
involved in the attack.
rejects foreign forces deployment, military bases on its territory: Shia cleric
Shia cleric and the leader of the National Wisdom Movement says his fellow
countrymen and women reject both a permanent foreign military base on Iraq’s
territory and the deployment of foreign combat forces to the Arab country.
is a sovereign state, not a subordinate or subjugated one. In this sense, we
say no to foreign military bases, to foreign combat forces, to foreign
missions, to unilateral provocations, or to attacks on neighboring countries
from the Iraqi territory and airspace,” Ammar al-Hakim said during a Saturday
ceremony marking the 16th death anniversary of senior Iraqi Shia Muslim cleric
and political leader Ayatollah Mohammad Baqir al-Hakim, who was assassinated in
2003 in the city of Najaf.
added, “There is an attitude that wants Iraq to be entrenched and a prisoner of
interests and narrow ideas.”
there is another that wants the country to perform its natural role in the
(Middle East) region and decide its own fate. This will not come true unless we
build a strong and independent state plus efficient institutions in accordance
with a unified national strategy,” he added.
us work together to build a strong and capable state, an independent, stable
and prosperous Iraq. Let us work together to develop the existing political
system. Systems that do not respond to reforms are doomed to failure,” Hakim
a meeting with Jeanine Hennis- Plasschaert, the special UN chief’s
representative for Iraq and the head of the UN Assistance Mission for Iraq
(UNAMI), in Najaf on February 6, Iraq's top Shia cleric Grand Ayatollah Ali
al-Sistani fiercely criticized a statement by US President Donald Trump that
American forces must remain in Iraq so Washington can keep a close eye on
Sistani said Iraq rejected serving as a launching pad to harm any other
noted that Iraq aspired to have good and balanced relations with all
neighboring countries, without interference in their internal affairs.
remarks came a day after Iraqi Prime Minister Adil Abdul-Mahdi strongly
condemned Trump’s comments, stressing that his country would not accept being
used for any acts of aggression against other states.
Iraqi President Barham Salih had hit back at the US president, saying, “The
Iraqi constitution rejects the use of Iraq as a base for hitting or attacking a
said Trump had not asked Iraq's permission for US troops stationed there to
an interview with CBS television network broadcast on February 3, Trump
highlighted the importance of a military base in Iraq, saying it was crucial to
the surveillance of Iran’s activities.
spent a fortune on building this incredible base, we might as well keep it. And
one of the reasons I want to keep it is because I want to be looking a little
bit at Iran” he said in an apparent reference to Ayn al-Asad Airbase in western
Iraq, which he visited during an unannounced trip to the country last December.
asked whether he planned to use US forces in Iraq to “strike” Iran, Trump
responded, “No… all I want to do is be able to watch.”
hits Gaza against Hamas sites in response to ‘projectile’
forces said on Saturday they had launched several strikes against Hamas sites
in Gaza in response to a projectile launched from the besieged coastal
territory the night before.
fighter jets and aircraft struck several military targets in a Hamas compound
in the southern Gaza Strip and underground structures in the northern Gaza
Strip,” it said in a statement.
strike was conducted in response to the projectile that was launched from the
Gaza Strip at Israeli territory” as well as the “balloons carrying explosive
devices” into Israel and attempts to damage “security infrastructure”, it said.
officials in Gaza said the strikes had not caused any casualties.
Palestinian was killed and at least 45 others wounded in Israeli firing on
Friday in new protests and clashes along the Gaza border, the enclave’s health
Israeli army spokesman said around 8,400 demonstrators had gathered along a
barrier between the blockaded territory and Israel, throwing explosive devices
and rocks and setting fire to tires.
Gaza Strip has been the scene of mass protests and clashes since late March
have been calling for Palestinian refugees and their descendants to be allowed
to return to former homes now inside Israel.
Qanta Ahmed, a member of the Council of Foreign Relations, a United States
based-think tank, appeared on Fox and Friends this week to discuss her op-ed in
which she claims that Minnesota Rep. Ilhan Omar is "proving to be an
enormous liability to America's Muslim's."
her remarks, she has branded every Muslim in America as an antisemite, and this
is absolutely unacceptable and un-Islamic," Ahmed said.
of the interview focused on the comments Ilhan Omar made about AIPAC, in which
she hinted that American politicians are paid off or bribed for their support
of Israel. Ahmed further explained that there is an "incredible bias that
is disturbing," and that Omar fails to mention that Muslim nations such as
Saudi Arabia and Qatar spend "tens of millions of dollars more on lobbying
than AIPAC does" to push their agenda within the US government each year.
said she believed that Omar should be ejected from the House of Foreign Affairs
Committee immediately because anything that the Minnesota Representative now
proposes can be "interpreted through the lens of antisemitism."
very concerned, I am, that she is affiliated with the Boycott, Divestment and
Sanction movement, which is legitimizing and normalizing antisemitism. It's a
movement that calls for the eradication of the State of Israel, which is
unacceptable. It's disguised as a human rights movement, but it's actually
antisemitism," Ahmed explained.
added that this this the new form of antisemitism, and that this bias is
infecting the Islamic community, She quoted a Washington Post op-ed, which
claimed that antisemitism is carried through Islam whether Muslims like it or not.
Ahmed said that this is anti-ethical to true Islamic belief
Omar since apologized for the antisemitic comments she made.
is real and I am grateful for Jewish allies and colleagues who are educating me
on the painful history of antisemitic tropes,” she wrote. “My intention is
never to offend my constituents or Jewish Americans as a whole. At the same
time, I reaffirm the problematic role of lobbyists in our politics, whether it
be AIPAC, the NRA or the fossil fuel industry.”
Ahmed believes that this apology is "hollow" and still concerning.
She said that there is no room or justification for antisemitic speech, and
that lobbying is a part of liberal democracy and should not be an excuse for
the rhetoric used.
is not only hate speech, it is genocidal speech. Antisemitism is the only
vilification and prejudice of people that leads directly to genocide,"
teaches us to treasure and revere the Torah, Moses, just as it does Jesus and
the bible. [This rhetoric] is not coming from Islam, this is de nova, this is a
20th century construction that has been adopted in the modern Arab world and is
causing strife against Muslim's who don't have that critical thinking and who
see maybe the success of Israel or maybe the intelligence of the Jewish
community with resentment and with animus, and I don't accept that this is a
means to advocate for the Palestinian people." Ahmed concluded.
Begum baby death a 'stain on the conscience' of UK government
decision by Britain to strip a teenage girl of her citizenship after she joined
ISIS in Syria was described as a "stain on the conscience" of the
government on Saturday after her three-week old baby died.
Begum was stripped of her citizenship on security grounds last month, leaving
her in a detention camp in Syria where her baby died, the third of the
19-year-old's infant children to die since she travelled to Syria in 2015.
opposition Labour party said the move to leave an innocent child in a refugee
camp, where infant mortality rates are high, was morally reprehensible. A
lawmaker in the ruling Conservative party said it smacked of populism over
tragic death of Shamima Begum's baby, Jarrah, is a stain on the conscience of
this government," Diane Abbott, the opposition home affairs spokeswoman
Home Secretary [Sajid Javid] failed this British child and he has a lot to
in a refugee camp in February, an unrepentant Begum sparked a debate in Britain
and other European capitals as to whether a teenager with a ISIS fighter's
child should be left in a war zone to fend for herself.
broadly it has shown the predicament that governments face when weighing the
ethical, legal and security ramifications of allowing militants and their
families to return.
left London aged 15 with two other schoolgirls to join Islamic State. She
married Yago Riedijk, a Dutch IS fighter who is being held in a Kurdish
detention centre in northeastern Syria.
giving interviews to the media in which she said she did not regret travelling
to Syria and had not been fazed by the sight of severed heads, she asked to be
able to return to London to bring up her baby.
Mr Javid withdrew Begum's citizenship, saying his priority was the safety and
security of Britain and the people who lived there.
Friday, Switzerland said it will not help bring home adult citizens who joined
ISIS in Syria and Iraq, insisting national security was paramount.
government will not block the return of the around 20 such Swiss men, women and
children in the conflict zone, but will take no active measures to repatriate
the adults, the cabinet said in a statement. Only children might get help to
the government, the ultimate goal is clear: Switzerland's security and the
protection of its population are top priorities," it said. They would also
try to prevent the extremists from slipping back into Switzerland.
Austria said on Wednesday it would not help repatriate any citizens who fought
for ISIS and other militant groups, as countries across the West wrestle with
how to deal with returning militants.
of people are believed to have left Europe to fight for ISIS in Syria and Iraq.
With the militant group down to its last shred of territory, some have asked to
justice minister had said last month she would prefer to have citizens who
fought for ISIS tried on the spot rather than be brought home to face criminal
charges, a stance the government has now reaffirmed
protests US criticism of policies on religion
has issued a protest over remarks made by the US ambassador-at-large for
international religious freedom criticising Beijing's policies toward Muslim
and Tibetan Buddhist minorities.
foreign ministry's office in Hong Kong said a speech Sam Brownback gave on
Saturday "slandered" China's religious policies. It said it had
registered its dissatisfaction with the US Consulate in the semi-autonomous
Chinese region, where the speech was given.
officials and UN experts say China is believed to be holding 1 million Uighurs,
Muslims and members of other majority Muslim ethnic groups in political
education camps in Xinjiang.
government says those camps are vocational training centres designed to rid the
region of extremism.
said China's government "is at war with faith," and called for the
release of those being held over religion.
LUMPUR (Reuters) - Malaysia has deported six Egyptians and a Tunisian suspected
of being linked to Islamist militant groups abroad, despite protests from human
suspects include five people who allegedly confessed to being part of Egypt's
banned Muslim Brotherhood, Inspector-General of Police Mohamad Fuzi Harun said
in a statement on Sunday.
groups say that members of the group face possible torture and persecution in
Egypt, which brands them as terrorists.
Tunisian and one of the Egyptians deported were members of Ansar al-Sharia
al-Tunisia, which is listed as a terrorist group by the United Nations, Mohamad
two, both in their early 20s, had previously been detained for attempting to enter
another country illegally in 2016. They allegedly used fake passports to enter
Malaysia with the intention of travelling to and launching an attack in a third
country, police said.
of this terror group are suspected of being involved in plans to carry out
large-scale attacks in other countries," Mohamad Fuzi said.
other five Egyptians confessed to being members of the Muslim Brotherhood, and
are accused of providing shelter, transport and employment for the two linked
to Ansar al-Sharia.
the presence of these foreigners constitute a security risk, all suspects have
been deported to their native country and... recommendations have been made to
blacklist them from entering Malaysia for life," Mohamad Fuzi said, adding
that two Malaysians were detained in the counter-terror operation.
International Malaysia said the Egyptians deported were now at risk of enforced
disappearance, torture, prolonged detention and unfair trials.
urge the Malaysian government to respect the principle of non-refoulement and
ensure that those at risk of persecution or risk of irreparable harm in another
country, including torture, are not deported,” said the group's executive
director Shamini Darshni Kaliemuthu.
has arrested hundreds of people in the past few years for suspected links to
militant groups, after gunmen allied with the Islamic State carried out a
series of attacks in Jakarta, the capital of neighbouring Indonesia, in January
LUMPUR: Well-known social worker and PSM politician Dr Michael Jeyakumar today
warned that any formal political cooperation between Umno and PAS should worry
Malay Muslims, saying both parties represent a conservative ideology that is
not in tune with the times.
former Sungai Siput MP said Malaysian Muslims should view with concern any
attempt to take Malaysia to religious conservatism.
and Muslims should be afraid, because if Umno-PAS is in control of the federal
government, what kind of ideology will they use for the Malay and Muslim
communities?” he said when met at a labour forum here today.
PAS and Umno alliance is likely to be formalised, with leaders from both
parties negotiating their terms of engagement in a special joint committee
and Umno are the two largest Malay-based parties, but lost to the multiracial
Pakatan Harapan coalition in the general election last year.
currently rules Kelantan and Terengganu, while Umno has been relegated to
Perlis and Pahang following its loss of federal power.
said although PSM has differences with PH, the socialist party was more
comfortable with the image of Islam brought by the coalition’s leaders.
feel more at ease with the ways of Mujahid Yusof Rawa and Dzulkefly Ahmad,” he
said, referring to the two Amanah leaders who are part of the Cabinet.
said PSM still prefers PH to be in charge.
PH loses and Umno-PAS takes over, for Malaysians, it is a backward move,” he
MCA expressed its familiar reservations over a possible Umno-PAS alliance,
while MIC said it had no problem working with the Islamist party.
acting president Mohamad Hasan has several times assured that the union with
PAS would not threaten non-Malays.
Mohamad reportedly said that both parties were in talks to form unity
governments in the four states they govern.
said PH should work hard to convince the Malays who fear the coalition is not
able to defend the community.
said the government should find economic solutions to issues affecting Malays.
LUMPUR, March 9 — A group representing security personnel has chastised
political leaders for engaging in racism and racial politicking, urging them
not to exercise parochialism lest the country and society descend into
Patriot Kebangsaan president Brigadier General (Rtd) Datuk Mohamed Arshad Raji
said the last few by-elections have left them worried.
made racially charged speeches aimed to incite hatred just to secure votes,
culminating in the ridiculous statement that non-Malays should not be appointed
as chief justice, attorney-general, and finance minister,” he said in a
the latest development of asking MCA and MIC to leave BN as “mischievous and
bewildering”, Arshad said this goes against the historical grain of
strengthening unity among the three major ethnic groups in Malaya.
further indicates politics has rolled back into pure racism. Historically it
was pragmatic then for race-based political parties to be formed.
like-mindedness, understanding and the willingness to strengthen the bond of
brotherliness and friendship among the various races that our founding fathers
had carved out for this nation is now being threatened by selfish and
self-centred politicians, particularly by those who formerly held powerful
positions in government,” he said.
decried both Umno and PAS as having become “one-issue parties” by harping on
Malay supremacy and Malay-Muslim unity against others, which has also led
certain PH politicians to propagate policies of the Malay agenda.
said that political parties that are not race-based were one way to start
getting rid of racism.
urges all parties to move towards achieving that purpose in sync with the
multi-racial nature of our Malaysian society.
cannot remain parochial in its outlook any longer after six decades of
independence. We ought to be more inclusive and symbiotic in facing the
challenges of our country as truly one Malaysian people,” he said.
that Patriot is fed up with the politics of building obstacles instead of building
bridges, enough of politics of “them versus us”, and enough of politics of
exclusivity and not inclusivity, Arshad said such sentiments are dark clouds
shielding the glorious proverbial Malaysian sun.
and understanding were thrashed and replaced with championing racial hatred.
The propagation of race and religion now takes centre stage and if this is
allowed to fester, there is little hope of ever seeing a united Malaysian
asks Pakistan for concrete crackdown on terror groups
on Saturday demanded that Pakistan take concrete steps against terrorists
operating from its territory, while at the same time returning its top diplomat
to Islamabad amid an easing of tensions between the nuclear rivals.
announced earlier this week that its high commissioner to India was returning
to New Delhi, weeks after the two countries recalled their top diplomats for
consultations as tensions flared after the suicide attack on a convoy of Indian
paramilitary soldiers in the Indian-held Kashmir that killed 40 soldiers.
blamed that attack on a Pakistan-based militant group, Jaish-e-Mohammed, and
launched a retaliatory airstrike inside Pakistan.
External Affairs Ministry spokesman Raveesh Kumar said on Saturday that a
reported Pakistani crackdown this week on seminaries, mosques, and hospitals
belonging to outlawed groups and arrest of dozens of people was not enough.
said Pakistan should take concrete steps “against terrorists and terror
infrastructure” on its territory.
said a recent United Nations statement also called for “perpetrators,
organizers, financiers, and sponsors of terrorism to be held accountable and
brought to justice.”
accused Pakistan of failing to take any credible action against
Jaish-e-Mohammed and other terrorist organizations, which he said continued to
operate with impunity from Pakistan.
widespread presence of terrorist camps in Pakistan is a public knowledge within
and outside Pakistan,” he said.
says it has arrested 44 people, including the brother of Jaish-e-Mohammed chief
Masood Azhar who was apparently named in a dossier given to Islamabad by New
Delhi. It also says shut a number of facilities and frozen assets of several
Information Minister Fawad Chaudhry said on Saturday that his country was
acting against the banned militant outfits and it would not allow anyone to
“use the Pakistani land for terrorism against any country.”
also said Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan had asked India to send evidence
it has against anybody.
hasn’t shared yet any actionable information and proof against anybody,” he
also said Khan has invited India to take part in a joint investigation and
negotiations, but there had been no response from the Indian side.
Delhi’s retaliatory strike in the northwest Pakistan town of Balakot last
month, sent tensions spiraling.
said its air force hit a terrorist training camp and killed “a very large
number” of militants. Pakistan said the strike only damaged three trees in a
responded by shooting down two Indian warplanes and capturing a pilot, who was
later returned to India as a peace gesture. India said it lost only one
then, the two sides have exercised restraint amid calls from the international
community to avoid war.
National Investigative Agency (NIA) on Saturday summoned Hurriyat chairman
Mirwaiz Umar Farooq and Syed Naseem Geelani, son of hardline Hurriyat leader
Syed Ali Shah Geelani, to Delhi on Monday for questioning in connection with a
terror funding case. Farooq’s secretary, Syed Rehman Shamas, confirmed
receiving the summons. “Yes, NIA has summoned Mirwaiz Umar Farooq to Delhi,” he
February 26, the NIA carried out searches at seven locations, including the
residences of Farooq, Geelani, JKLF leader Yaseen Malik, Shabir Shah, Ashraf
Sehrai and Zaffar Bhat in connection with the same case.
NIA spokesperson said officials recovered incriminating documents, including
property papers, financial transactions receipts and bank account details
during the raids. Electronic devices, including laptops, e-tablets, mobile
phones, pen drives, communication system and DVRs, were also seized, he added.
operating out of Pakistan and Afghanistan are fuelling tensions between New
Delhi and Islamabad according to Chief of US Central Command or CENTCOM General
operating out of Pakistan and Afghanistan continue to threaten Afghan stability
as well as stoke tensions between Pakistan and India,” the general said on
Thursday afternoon, reported Dawn.
security assistance to Pakistan remained suspended, but some military
cooperation activities continued, demonstrating the importance of military
cooperation, despite challenges in the bilateral relationship,” said General
Votel, who also supervises Washington’s military strategy for the Pak-Afghan
remarks come in the wake of tensions between India and Pakistan. A day after
India launched a strike against JeM in Pakistan’s Balakot, the fighter jets of
the two countries engaged in a dogfight in the skies of Jammu and Kashmir after
Pakistani F-16 planes transgressed into the Indian air space.
US had supported India’s decision to take action against Jaish-e-Mohammad (JeM)
terror camp on the Pakistani soil on Tuesday.
the Indian strikes, the US Secretary of State Pompeo had said, “I spoke to
Pakistani Foreign Minister Qureshi to underscore the priority of de-escalating
current tensions by avoiding military action, and the urgency of Pakistan
taking meaningful action against terrorist groups operating on its soil.”
Delhi: Supreme Court of India nominated Shri Shri Ravi Shankar as one of the
member of the three member Babri Masjid arbitration committee.
his open letter which was written earlier, Shri Shri Ravi Shankar had appealed
to the Muslim community to be magnanimous to surrender the claim of Babri
his letter, he said that this step will go a long way in creating communal
harmony in the country. If the Muslims withdraw their claim, Hindu community
will also come forward not only to locate another piece of land but also help
construct a beautiful masjid.
Jose [Costa Rica], Mar 10 (ANI): Vice President Venkaiah Naidu, on Saturday,
reinforced that terrorism has no religion while interacting with the Indian
community here during his official three-day visit.
isn't an issue for India alone. It's an international issue. Even America that
never used to understand our pain are now understanding. Terrorism is the enemy
of humanity, terror has no religion. No religion whether Hindu, Muslim, Christian
preaches terror," the Vice President said.
also made an apparent reference to Pakistan during his speech. "We're a peace-loving
country. All time Dick and Harry came and attacked us, ruled us, ruined us,
cheated us...But we never attacked anyone because we believe in the philosophy
that the entire world is one family...But we have a neighbour who is aiding,
training, funding terrorists," he said.
about the recent anti-terror strikes, he said: "Our neighbour is aiding terrorists,
open secret. Recently after Pulwama attack where 40 security personnel lost
their lives, four of our Indian Air Force aircraft went to Pakistan, targeted
that training camp, destroyed it and came back without any problem within 21
the interaction, Naidu embarked for his journey back to New Delhi, wrapping up
his first two-nation, five-day visit to Costa Rica and Paraguay.
la próxima! After a productive visit to Costa Rica, the last leg of the
twonation tour of Latin America, VP @MVenkaiahNaidu emplanes for a long ride home.
This historic visit has fortified relations with two important countries of the
region," Ministry of External Affairs Spokesperson Raveesh Kumar tweeted on
pushed for closer trade ties between India and Costa Rica during India's first
VVIP visit to the Central American country.
Thursday, Naidu was conferred with an Honorary Doctorate by the University for
Peace founded by the United Nations Organisations (UNO) for his contribution
"to the Rule of Law, democracy and sustainable development in India".
Holding the BJP directly responsible for Pulwama terror attack, Congress
president Rahul Gandhi said if the BJP government led by late Prime Minister
Atal Bihari Vajpayee had not released the Jaish-eMohammad chief Maulana Masood
Azhar, the terror attack would not have happened.
a strong audience of over 75,000 at his maiden poll rally at Haveri’s municipal
grounds here on Saturday, Congress chief launched a scathing attack on BJP over
Pulwama terror attack. He said BJP was responsible for Pulwama attack, it was
the BJP who released the terrorist after Kandahar hijacking episode.
said his party would never bow before the terrorists and has the capacity to
deal with terrorism. “Prime Minister Modi has forgotten that it was his party
when it was in power had released the most wanted terrorist, he should explain
it to the nation,” he said.
Gandhi in his 46-minute long speech highlighted the failure of NDA government
led by Prime Minister Modi, he accused him of dividing the nation into two
parts, one is for rich and affluent and another one was for poor, dalits,
women, downtrodden, who are being neglected in second India. He promised ‘ek
Hindustan’, by cleaning the line between two India.
promised that if the Congress forms the next government in the centre, he would
implement a minimum income guarantee scheme for poor. The model was announced
in Chhattisgarh already, he said.
the scheme, poor would get minimum income directly to their accounts. The BJP
has stolen the money from poor, taxpayers and middle class and offered it to
Anil Ambani, Adani, Nirav Modi, Mehul Choksi, Vijay Mallya and others. BJP
helped the thieves but the Congress would help the poor, he promised.
also assured that Congress would first implement Women Reservation Bill if
voted to power. “Women should be involved in major decision making; they are
required in the prime elected representative bodies. The Congress party would
provide you with that opportunity,” he said.
said if the Congress voted to power, they would make the Goods and Service Tax
(GST) into more simple by bringing rigorous reforms into it. “ I know the pain
of the small vendors, small and medium entrepreneurs who went through lots of hardship
because of this ‘Gabbar Singh Tax’ and demonetisation implemented by this
government,” he said.
upon Rafale issue, Rahul questioned why Modi is not answering the nation as to
why Anil Ambani’s Reliance Defence was selected as a partner instead of
Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL). Modi facilitated loot around Rs 35,000
crore in Rafale deal by making Ambani as a partner in the deal.
India is asking the Trump administration to examine the possible misuse of
US-made F-16s by Pakistan during its attempted air incursion across the Line of
Control in Jammu and Kashmir, saying Islamabad may have violated Washington's
terms and conditions of the sale.
Delhi has presented extensive testimony by American officials to the US
Congress in which they assured lawmakers that Washington has a ''very enhanced
end-use monitoring program'' of Pakistan’s F-16s, which has long been a symbol
of pride and machismo for the Pakistan Air Force, even though it is now largely
US commitment was made in a June 2006 hearing by John Hillen, US assistant
secretary of state for politico-military affairs in the state department, in
response to concerns from the House International Relations Committee about the
possible misuse of the fighter jet by Pakistan.
the assurances provided by Hillen was that Pakistan must comply with approved
security plans for their F-16-related bases and facilities before the US would
release any systems in the sale.
will have a US presence to monitor compliance with the security plan
requirements, a very enhanced end-use monitoring program,'' Hillen told the
committee, outlining ''semi-annual inventories of all F-16 aircraft equipment
and munitions, including related technical data, and more frequent inventories
for other systems."
pledged a "two-man rule, so to speak, for access to this equipment and
restricted areas, and F-16 flights outside of Pakistan or participation in
exercises and operations with third nations must be approved in advance by the
United States government."
US also mandated that the F-16 maintenance and parts storage must be in
dedicated facilities as part of the overall surveillance plan, and there
"will be no delivery of F-16 aircraft equipment and munitions until
Pakistan is fully compliant with the security plan requirements."
assurances suggest Washington can easily determine if Pakistan used the F16s in
its air attack on India with the possible loss of one F16 that New Delhi says
was shot down by the MiG-21 Bison. After initial reports that F-16 jets were
involved in the attack, Pakistan has quickly backed down and claimed only its
China-developed JF-17 aircraft was used.
New Delhi’s presentation of parts of an Amraam missile discharged on its
territory has put Pakistan in a spot.
of the use of Amraam Missile, which can only be deployed on the F-16 with
Pakistan, has also been shown to the media. We have asked the United States to
also examine whether the use of F16 against India is in accordance with the
terms and conditions of sale," India’s external affairs ministry said in a
statement on Saturday.
statement also said Pakistan should explain why it continues to deny that its
F-16 aircraft has been shot down when there are eye-witness accounts and
electronic evidence, and if, as Pakistan claims, a second Indian aircraft was
shot down, why it has not shown the fuselage or produced the pilot of that aircraft.
initially claimed to have shot down two Indian jets, and some videos posted
online showed two pilots bailing out.
reports spoke of one of them being the pilot of a Pakistani F-16 who was beaten
to death by a mob that mistook him for an Indian pilot.
were also fervid stories in the Pakistani media that Israel was involved in the
attack and an Israeli pilot had been captured by Pakistan.
Trump administration has not addressed the issue of the F-16 use or loss by
Pakistan beyond saying it is looking into the matter.
fourth-generation fighter jet made by Lockheed Martin has long been the
mainstay of the Pakistan Air Force (and many other air forces across the
world), and the company has in recent years offered to shift the entire
manufacturing line to India to keep it extant.
dogfight over F16 use/misuse came even as US officials and military commanders
trod a delicate line on Pakistan’s continued patronage of terrorism in view of
Islamabad’s role in bringing the Taliban to the table to enable an American
exit from Afghanistan.
US Centcom Commander Gen Joseph Votel told American lawmakers last week that
"Pakistan based groups like Lashkare-Tayyiba threaten India and carry out
attacks that jeopardize regional stability and US strategic interests" but
said Pakistan presents both challenges and opportunities and its cooperation is
"imperative for the success of our South Asia strategy."
US South Asia strategy essentially gives India primacy in the region.
The recent Pakistan-India crisis eased significantly on Saturday as high
commissioners of both countries returned to their places of posting to resume
their diplomatic work and New Delhi claimed to have “achieved its objectives”.
commissioners Sohail Mahmood and Ajay Bisaria returned to New Delhi and
Islamabad, respectively, 11 days after the tensions between their countries
peaked with Indian aircraft intruding into Pakistani airspace on Feb 26 and
claiming to have hit alleged terror bases.
a look: Truth about Pulwama will be buried if citizens don't hold the Modi
crisis had started after the Feb 14 bombing of a bus belonging to the Central
Reserve Police Force, an Indian security force, in Pulwama (Occupied Kashmir)
in which over 44 Indian security personnel were killed. Delhi called back HC
Bisaria on Feb 15 for consultations, whereas HC Mahmood was asked by the
Foreign Office to return to Islamabad on Feb 18.
began to defuse after intervention by influential world capitals when they saw
the escalation rapidly moving on a dangerous track.
a day the Pakistan Air Force bombed an open space across Line of Control (LoC)
to demonstrate its will, capability and resolve to respond to Indian aggression
and later downed two Indian fighter jets, and Indian Army further turned up the
heat by intensifying shelling along the LoC targeting civilians in addition to,
according to Pakistani authorities, planning a missile attack on Pakistan with
BrahMos cruise missiles, the diplomatic efforts stepped into top gear to
prevent the situation from aggravating further. The United States, China, Saudi
Arabia and the European Union all claimed to have contributed to de-escalation.
after the initiation of high level diplomacy, shared with Pakistan a dossier on
Pulwama attack, containing what it claimed to be proof of banned outfit
Jasih-e-Mohammad’s involvement in the incident although it had turned down an
earlier offer by Prime Minister Imran Khan for Pakistan’s cooperation in
investigations. “If you have any actionable intelligence that a Pakistani was
involved, give that information to us. I guarantee that I will take action. We
won’t take this action because we feel pressured, we’ll do this because such
persons would be enemies of Pakistan,” PM Khan had said on Feb 19 while
pledging punishment for the guilty. His offer had come exactly a week before
the crisis peaked.
sharing of the dossier was the first indication of flexibility in India’s
position. Islamabad on that occasion announced the release of Indian Air Force
pilot Abhinandan, who had been captured after the downing of his aircraft on
Pakistan unilaterally took the initiative of announcing the return of its high
commissioner to Delhi on March 5, besides reaffirming its commitment to
continuing negotiations on proposed Kartarpur Corridor agreement and resuming
military hotline communication between the operations directorates at the level
of directors general. India took four days to reciprocate and on Friday night announced
that its high commissioner Bisaria too would be returning to Pakistan.
maintained its ascendency in military sphere throughout the crisis. The only
area of weakness with respect to the country was its narrative on its
commitment to act against militant organisations. The National Security
Committee that met on February 21 had directed law enforcement agencies to
expedite ground action against proscribed groups and Jamaat-ud-Dawa and its
charity wing Falah-i-Insaaniat were downgraded from the list of under
observation entities to banned category. The action on proscribed groups was
attributed to the process at the Financial Action Task Force.
return of the high commissioners marks the resumption of direct contacts at the
highest level of the high commissions of the two countries in each other’s
to HC Mahmood prior to his return, Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi had
emphasised direct contacts with India. Better relations between India and
Pakistan would ensure regional peace and stability, Mr Qureshi had told him.
Ministry of External Affairs spokesman Raveesh Kumar, in a statement issued
from Delhi on Saturday, said: “Our non-military counter terrorism strike of 26
February achieved the intended objective. It has demonstrated our firm resolve
to take decisive action against cross-border terrorism.”
believe that India could not have closed the crisis while accepting failure of
the dangerous mission it undertook though it suffered massive military setbacks.
Therefore, this claim of attainment of objectives, irrespective of it being
contrary to ground realities, means India has finally drawn a line under the
Lahore High Court on Saturday accepted for hearing a petition seeking Prime
Minister Imran Khan's disqualification on the basis of Articles 62 and 63 of
appeal, which will be heard on March 11, claims that Khan had concealed the
alleged parentage of Tyrian Jade Khan White in his nomination papers for the
While is the daughter of Ana-Luisa (Sita) White, the daughter of the late Lord
Gordon White. It has often been alleged that Tyrian is Imran Khan's daughter.
Khan did not mention White as one of his dependants in his nomination papers,
and thus he does not measure up to Article 62 and 63 of the Constitution,"
the petition read. Articles 62 and 63, set the precondition for a member of
parliament to be "sadiq and ameen" (honest and righteous).
petitioner demands that Imran Khan be disqualified by the Lahore High Court.
this year, on January 21, the Islamabad High Court had also thrown out a
similar petition terming it non-maintainable as it involved personal matters.
petitioner had sought to argue that Prime Minister Khan should be disqualified
for 'concealing' his alleged parentage of Tyrian Jade Khan White in his
nomination papers for the 2018 election.
President Hassan Rouhani on Saturday called for ‘decisive’ action by Pakistan
against a militant group behind a deadly suicide attack in a border area, and
said inaction by Islamabad could jeopardise relations between the neighbours.
state news agency IRNA said Rouhani’s remarks came in a telephone conversation
with Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan, who said he would soon have ‘good
news’ for Iran, according to the agency.
suicide bomber killed 27 members of Iran’s elite Revolutionary Guards in
mid-February in a southeastern region where security forces are facing a rise
in attacks by militants from the country’s Sunni Muslim minority.
Sunni group Jaish al Adl (Army of Justice), which says it seeks greater rights
and better living conditions for the ethnic minority Baluchis, claimed
responsibility for the attack.
are awaiting your decisive operations against these terrorists,” IRNA quoted
Rouhani as telling Khan. “We should not allow decades of friendship and
fraternity between the two countries to be affected by the actions of small
terrorist groups, the source of whose financing and arms is known to both of
us,” Rouhani said.
has blamed its regional rival Saudi Arabia and arch-enemies Israel and the
United States for the attack and other cross-border raids, an accusation
rejected by the countries.
is in Pakistan’s own interest not to allow our territory to be used by
terrorist groups, and the Pakistani army is prepared to confront the terrorists
more decisively with the information provided by Iran,” IRNA quoted Imran Khan
as saying. Khan said Pakistani forces have come close to the terrorists’
hideout and there would soon be ‘good news’ for Iran, IRNA reported.
to a statement issued by the PM Office in Islamabad, Prime Minister Imran Khan
had a telephonic conversation with President of Iran Hassan Rouhani as part of
his contacts to brief important regional countries and their leadership about
the regional situation. Both leaders reiterated the importance of strengthening
bilateral relations, the statement said.
sides looked forward to the visit of Prime Minister Imran Khan to Iran in the
near future. They agreed that the visit would help deepen bilateral
coordination and cooperation.
Minister Imran khan expressed his heartfelt condolences on the recent terrorist
attack in which 27 Iranian guards were killed. The two leaders agreed on the
need for closer cooperation among the two intelligence agencies in combating
Minister Khan also briefed the Iranian president about the latest situation
vis-a-vis India, and Pakistan’s untiring efforts to defuse the situation
through dialogue and improve bilateral relations with India. He underscored the
role of important brotherly countries like Iran to help in this situation.
prime minister thanked the Iranian leadership for their consistent and
principled support for the people of Jammu and Kashmir.
Secretary General, Antonio Guterres, is ‘continually’ monitoring the situation
between Pakistan and India, and his office remains available to both countries,
as relayed by his spokesperson on Saturday.
spokesperson for the Secretary-General, Stephane Dujarric, was asked by
reporters in New York if Guterres had spoken with the two prime ministers to
de-escalate tensions between the nuclear-armed neighbours. He assured, “The
secretary-general and members of his staff are in touch…have been in touch with
the parties at various levels.”
continually monitor the situation and (are) available to the parties,” Dujarric
claimed that the UN chief was continuously keeping an eye on the political
UN Human Rights chief, Michelle Bachelet, had slammed India on March 7 over its
“divisive policies” for extensively marginalising Muslims among its other minorities.
remarked while presenting her annual report to the UN Human Rights Council in
Geneva, “India’s narrow political agendas are marginalising Muslims and other
minorities in an already unequal society.”
further added that the global peacemaking body was hearing reports of
increasing harassment and targeting of minorities, especially Muslims and
people from historically disadvantaged and marginalised groups, including
Dalits and Adivasis.
Pakistan’s major political parties on Saturday condemned a Houthi attempt to
target civilians in the southwest Saudi city of Abha, a day after the Royal Air
Defense Force shot down a Houthi drone 230 km north of the Yemen border.
Sarfraz Cheema, the ruling party’s central information secretary, told Arab
News: “Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf strongly condemns this incident, as it is
against international law and the UN charter to target civilians in any
said that Prime Minister Imran Khan had already urged the Houthis to engage in
“meaningful dialogue” with Saudi Arabia to resolve the conflict.
is a divisive issue for the whole Muslim world and should be resolved through
negotiations,” he said.
civil war in Yemen has pitted the Houthis against the government of Abed Rabbo
Mansour Hadi since 2014, and the Saudi-led coalition intervened on the
government’s side the following year, accusing Iran of supplying the Houthis
with arms, including drones and missiles.
the beginning of the four-year conflict, the Houthis have fired dozens of
missiles into Saudi Arabia with most intercepted by the Saudi military. In
recent weeks, tensions between warring parties rose after the stalling of a
UN-led peace deal.
attempted attack has been met with unified condemnation across all party lines
Mohammed Zafarul Haq, of the PML-N and leader of the opposition in the Senate,
said that Houthi rebels were trying to undermine the territorial integrity of
Saudi Arabia “with the complicity of some other countries.”
Chaudhry, a senior leader of the Pakistan Peoples’ Party, said Houthi rebels
should understand the human cost of the conflict and abide by recent UN
is better if the conflict is resolved at the OIC level to the satisfaction of
all relevant stakeholders,” he said. “It is a historic fact that Pakistan has
always stood by the Kingdom and will continue to do so to protect the
sovereignty of Saudi Arabia.”
foreign office has in the past condemned the Houthis for their missile and
rocket attacks on Saudi territory, reiterating full support and solidarity to protect
the territorial integrity of Saudi Arabia and its two holy cities.
commander involved in high profile attacks, assassinations has been killed in
top Taliban commander who was involved in high profile attacks and
assassinations has been killed in an airstrike in central Maidan Wardak
to the informed military sources, the Taliban leader Ubaid was killed in
sources further added “An air strike in Sayyidabad district of Wardak province
killed Taliban Commander Ubaida, a high profile attack and assassination
is believed to have been responsible for facilitating, ordering and conducting
several assassinations on government employees and other non-combatants,” the
anti-government armed militant groups including Taliban have not commented
regarding the report so far.
is among the relatively volatile provinces in central parts of Afghanistan.
Taliban and other groups are active in some of its districts and often attempt
to carry out attacks against the government and security institutions.
policemen have been killed in a militant attack in Myanmar's western Rakhine
state, police said on Sunday, as tensions ratchet up in a state riven by ethnic
and religious conflict.
bloody military crackdown in 2017 forced some 740,000 Rohingya Muslims over the
border into Bangladesh in violence UN investigators have said warrants the
prosecution of top generals for genocide and crimes against humanity.
the armed forces are now waging a war against a militant group claiming to
represent the state's ethnic Rakhine Buddhists, a population that also stands
accused of aiding soldiers in their expulsion of the Rohingya.
Arakan Army (AA) has in recent months mounted several attacks on security
forces and officials in its struggle for more autonomy and rights for Rakhine
attack late on Saturday took place in Yoetayoke village, just an hour north of
Rakhine state's capital Sittwe.
seen by AFP showed bodies lying on the ground, covered in blankets with a pool
of blood soaking into the dust in the grounds of the ramshackle police station.
police were killed, one was injured and another one is missing," a senior
police officer told AFP, not wanting to be named.
leaked police report said weapons were also taken from the police post.
group has yet claimed responsibility and the AA could not immediately be
reached for comment.
local administrator confirmed investigations are under way.
Rakhine state is inaccessible outside of carefully government-chaperoned trips
and information is difficult to verify independently.
swathes of the state's north are once again engulfed in conflict.
military has brought in thousands of reinforcements and is bombarding AA
positions with heavy artillery.
thousand people have been forced from their homes by the violence.
there is widespread support for the AA's cause across much of Rakhine, one of
the poorest states in the country, where many feel they have suffered decades
of discrimination by the state.
100 local administrators submitted their resignation en masse this month
calling for the release of four colleagues reportedly arrested for having links
with the AA.
verdict in a treason trial against a popular Rakhine politician is also
expected in the coming days and could prove to be a further flashpoint.
Maung stands accused of treason after allegedly inciting Rakhine people in a
speech last year to take arms and rise up against the country's ethnic-Bamar
AA has expanded its ranks since its formation in 2009 and is now believed to
have several thousand recruits.
group ramped up operations at the end of last year, but it was a deadly attack
on four police posts on Independence Day early January that focused the
country's attention and triggered the military's swift retaliation.
police officers were killed in the brazen attack and in an unprecedented move
the civilian government instructed the military to crack down on the
came just a couple of weeks after the military declared a unilateral ceasefire
against ethnic armed groups on the other side of Myanmar, allowing the army to
concentrate its efforts in Rakhine.
restive borderlands have been plagued by conflict since independence from
British colonial rule 70 years ago.
Mubashar Hasan & Arild Engelsen
December 31, 2018, Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina secured her third consecutive
term with a landslide victory in Bangladesh's national election, raising
concerns that the south Asian country of some 160 million may be turning into a
Hasina's party, the Awami League (AL), and its allies won almost all the 300
parliamentary seats contested in its best ever result. The main opposition
alliance, led by the Bangladesh Nationalist Party (BNP), on the other hand,
managed to secure only seven seats.
BNP's disappointing result in last year's election caused many Bangladesh
watchers to question whether the former ruling party, which won four national
and two presidential elections since its formation in 1978 but has not been in
power since 2006, will ever regain its position as a major political force in
a BNP resurgence in Bangladesh seems unlikely for three main reasons.
the public's support
the BNP no longer commands popular support.
party's Chairperson Khaleda Zia is in jail for corruption charges and her son
and the party's Acting Chairman Tarique Rahman has been living in exile in
London for more than 10 years. In October 2018, a Bangladeshi court also
sentenced Tarique to life in prison over a 2004 assassination attempt on Sheikh
Hasina, which killed 24 people and injured many others. Many of the party's
other leaders and prominent supporters are also either in jail, exile or hiding
and the rest is trying to keep a low profile. The party categorically denies
any wrongdoing by any of its leaders and says all charges are politically
motivated. Nevertheless, it has lost a significant number of supporters as a
result of these accusations.
in 2013 the BNP, supported by its ally, the Jamaat-e-Islami, sought to change
the election law through general strikes and street protests and announced its
intention to boycott the upcoming 2014 general election citing unfair
conditions. Sheikh Hasina's government went ahead with the election despite the
boycott and easily won a new term in power. In response, the BNP continued the
unrest - buses were burned, bombs were thrown, and major disruptions were
caused to public life. This caused the public to turn against the main
2018, the BNP agreed to peacefully participate in the general election, yet
failed to regain popular support. With most of its leaders and activists either
in hiding or in jail, the party was almost invisible during the campaign and on
the day of the vote. In spite of the obvious state bias against it, there was
no outpouring of public sympathy for the BNP.
is not to say that the BNP had no chance of winning the election, or at least
making substantial gains, if the vote was completely free and fair. However,
the public's apparent disinterest in the injustices facing the BNP and its
leaders clearly demonstrated that any gain by the BNP would have been the
result of their anger at the incumbent government, not their support for the
to remain relevant
the BNP has failed to integrate itself into influential public mobilisations in
the last few years.
February 2013, a huge popular protest erupted in Dhaka's Shahbag district,
demanding the Bangladeshi state to abide by the secular principles it was built
on. A few months later, the Hifazat-e Islam - a coalition of a dozen or so
Islamist organisations - started a counterprotest movement aiming to alter the
country's secular political culture. Hundreds of thousands of Bangladeshis took
to the streets in favour of these two conflicting movements and ignited a major
national debate on the very core values and principles of the state.
the BNP failed to find its place in this major national conversation. The
Shahbag youth kept it at arm's length, while Hefazat ignored BNP's support
because it was already strong - a coalition of organisations based at more than
25,000 religious schools across Bangladesh.
2015, there have been three more significant youth mobilisations: the "No
VAT on Education" movement against a government tax on private university
education, the quota reform movement for broader intake to government jobs, and
the road safety movement. The BNP was neither able to play a role in any of
these protests nor was it able to position itself in the debates.
a clear agenda
the BNP lacks a clear agenda.
eyes of the Bangladeshi public, the BNP wants to be in power but offers no
explanation as to what exactly it would do - or change - once it forms a
is healthy for a country to have the ruling elite change regularly, but when
the main alternative fails to bring an attractive proposition to the table,
change for the sake of change becomes a less attractive option for the people.
the BNP does not appear to follow a particular ideology, and this makes it an
even less attractive opposition force. While most Bangladeshi political parties
and groups are mostly clientelist, they still have a kernel of ideology. Even
the ruling AL appears to have a (nationalist) ideology, however malleable,
derived from the pre-eminent role it played in the war of liberation.
BNP, on the other hand, has not been built on a legacy that it can transform
into a coherent and attractive ideology. From the outset, it was a hotchpotch
of elements - leftists dissatisfied with the AL's nationalism, rightists hankering
for an Islamist revival, opportunists, and Pakistan-era establishment figures
sidelined by the new rulers after Bangladesh's independence.
main two campaign pledges of the BNP in the run-up to the 2018 election were to
free its jailed leader Khaleda Zia from prison and to reform the election
system. Apparently, very few people in Bangladesh care much about Khaleda Zia's
imprisonment. She is a politician, and all politicians are corrupt, seems to be
the general sentiment.
for reforming the electoral system, many believe the BNP has exhausted its
chances. Of course, free and fair elections are desirable in the eyes of most
voters. Yet following its botched attempts to bring about election reform in
2013-2014, which caused major suffering and disruption, many Bangladeshis
believe the BNP is not capable of doing much to fix the country's problematic
free and fair election might bring the BNP to power, but for most voters that
would only mean giving power to people who have not proven particularly
competent in the past. This is why, when faced with a choice between the BNP
and the ruling AL, most Bangladeshis ask themselves "What could the BNP do
that the Awami League isn't already doing?"
AL is not invincible
now what? The AL has successfully established a firm grip on the state and
destabilised the traditional two-party structure of Bangladeshi politics.
Moreover, the country is doing quite well on a range of indexes, including
economic growth and human development. Has the opposition no chance of
regaining the favour of the public and topple the all-powerful AL?
is still a country with a lopsided industry, growing inequality, high figures
of unemployment or partial employment, a homespun "terrorist" threat,
a refugee crisis, a border problem, and a mounting pollution issue.
is reason to believe the support of the forces that really matter - the army,
bureaucracy, police and the "deep state" - for the ruling party is
conditional on its successful performance. An economic hiccup or a major
political faux-pas can easily cause Sheikh Hasina's party to fall out of favour
and lose its grip on power.
the public's support for the ruling party is equally apprehensive. Most voters
choose the AL not because they believe the party represents all their beliefs
and offers solutions to all their grievances, but because they view the ruling
party as the best of a bad bunch.
is a huge country with a 160 million-strong population. It has leftists,
conservatives, city dwellers and millions living in rural areas. There are
nationalists, socialists, Islamists and minorities. There are people concerned
with environmental problems, there are women's rights activists. None of these
groups has specific political representation in the country at this point in
time - as a result, many of them vote for the AL.
dissipate orientations cannot for long be kept under one umbrella, especially
as state resources are limited. There is also a general disenchantment with the
political class, a lack of state legitimacy, huge corruption, a brain-drain,
poor infrastructure, and a capital city weighed down by its own enormity.
is ample chance for an opposition movement to underline the shortcomings of the
ruling party, offer some real solutions to the deep-rooted grievances of the
public, and carve itself an influential space in Bangladesh's electoral map or
even topple the government - despite the ruling party's relentless grip on
power. A youthful, focused and goal-oriented opposition force, using
imagination and political skill, can easily mobilise the unrepresented but
politically sensitive masses in Bangladesh and facilitate change.
the BNP is unlikely to be that opposition force.
main opposition party has not been unsuccessful in last year's elections only
because it was repressed and silenced by the incumbent government. It failed
because of its old and unimaginative leadership, its inability to present an
inspiring agenda and carve out a new path for the country.
still is a chance for change in Bangladesh - but it is unlikely to be
facilitated by the BNP.
Workers Party of Bangladesh on Saturday said that Hefazat-e-Islam Bangladesh
and some other Islamist organisations twisted party president Rashed Khan
Menon’s statement made in Jatiya Sangsad on March 3.
politburo of the party in a statement said that the groups started staging
protests demanding steps against Menon bringing allegation about things which
he did not mention in his speech in parliament.
proceeding of parliament kept record of his speech and Menon did not say
anything criticising Islam.
Islamist groups, including Hefazat, held protest rallies in Dhaka and elsewhere
in on Friday demanding that Menon must apologise for criticising Hefazat in
also demanded that Menon’s March 3 speech be expunged from parliamentary
proceedings and membership in parliament be cancelled.
Menon for supporting Ahamadiyya Muslim Jamaat, they said that those who did not
thought Ahamadiyyas to be Kafirs were Kafirs.
country was moving to establish a non-communal democratic Bangladesh, Islamist
groups were trying to stop the advancements of the country, the Workers Party
in 1992, the politburo claimed, these groups demanded punishment of Menon,
branding him to be a ‘murtad’ (apostate).
than 60 Taliban militants were killed during separate operations of the Afghan
Special Forces and airstrikes which were conducted in the past 24 hours in
various provinces of the country.
to the informed military sources, at least 29 Taliban militants were killed,
one of their commanders was wounded, and vehicle-borne Improvised Explosive
Device was destroyed during the operations of Special Force and airstrikes
which were conducted in Baraki Barak and Charkh districts of Logar and
Sayyidabad district of Wardak province.
sources further added that similar operations and airstrike were carried out in
Nowzad and Musa Qal’ah districts of Helmand, and Tarink city of Uruzgan
province laving 12 militants dead and destroying one Taliban radio tower and an
Improvised Explosive Device.
Afghan Special Forces also conducted a search operation of a suspected weapons
cache in Ahmadabad district of Paktika province and discovered 1 magnetic mine
and 16 mine controllers. The bomb making material was removed from the site and
destroyed to prevent it from being used in the surrounding village and wounding
non-combatants,” the sources said, adding that Afghan Special Forces conducted
a separate operation along the highway in Samangan killing 4 Taliban fighters
and wounding 3 others.
Special Forces of National Directorate of Security (NDS) have killed the
mastermind of a coordinated attack on construction firm in Nangarhar province.
governor’s spokesman Ataullah Khogyani said the NDS Special Forces conducted a
raid in Momandara district of Nangarhar province last night which resulted into
killing of a key ISIS group memeber Subhan.
further added that Subhan was the main mastermind of a coordinated attack which
targeted a private construction firm in Behsud area of Nangarhar last week.
also added that a number of other suspects were also arrested during the same
operation and some weapons, munitions, and explosives were destroyed.
local officials said last week that the attack on EBE construction firm left at
least 11 workers of the company dead while 9 others were wounded.
Syrian Army's engineering units came across a massive ammunition and arms depot
containing US anti-tank and TOW missiles as well as Israeli missiles and some
Syrian Army troops also discovered different types of rifles, ammunition,
canon, mortar rounds and hand-grenades made in Israel and the US.
a relevant development in late February, the Syrian army discovered a large
number of US, Western, Israeli and Saudi weapons and equipment near Damascus
engineering units of the Syrian army found a cache of weapons, including
US-made anti-tank missiles and a large number of West-made guns and heavy
machine-guns as well as different types of ammunition, during purging
operations in Southwestern Damascus and Quneitra.
also discovered and seized several US and western communications systems,
medical equipment and a large amount of Israeli, Jordanian and Saudi drugs.
in another development last week, the Syrian army discovered a large amount of
weapons and military equipment, including US and Israeli missiles, in mop-up
operation near Damascus.
Damascus Army's engineering units continued their cleansing operations around
Damascus and retrieved large amount of weapons, ammunition and military
equipment, including hundreds of Grad missiles, US-made anti-tank missiles and
128-Caliber missiles made in Israel.
army troops also discovered an arms cache packed with large amounts of
weaponry, ammunition, canons, mortar rounds and rocket-propelled grenades.
US is exerting political, economic and military pressure on the resistance
front but they have failed so far," al-Mousavi told reporters in a press
conference at FNA in Tehran on Saturday.
underlined that the resistance groups will not retreat in confrontation against
any foreign troops planning to violate the country's sovereignty. "History
will record how we forced the US to retreat and defeated it."
said that US President Donald Trump's secret visit to Iraq indicated that
Washington has been defeated in Iraq, adding, "The US has failed to
materialize any of its occupying goals in Iraq."
about the US sanctions against al-Nujaba, he said, "We were not surprised.
These sanctions show that our measures have been painful for them and we will
continue this path and their sanctions against al-Nujaba are worthless in
Al-Nujaba Movement had also earlier announced that it would double its efforts
to stand against Washington's plots in the region after it was designated by
the US State Department as a terrorist group.
in the Islamic Resistance are proud that we are always standing in the
forefront of confronting the American terrorism against the oppressed
nations," Deputy Secretary-General of al-Nujaba Movement Nasr al-Shamri
told the Arabic-language Baghdad al-Youm.
are the ones who confront the terrorists and destructive occupation of Iraq and
their (the Americans') al-Qaeda and ISIL terrorism," he added.
underlined that al-Nujaba would confront all US plots in the region, adding
that the State Department move would strengthen their determination to insist
on their position.
US added al-Nujaba Movement and its leader Akram Abbas al-Ka'abi, to its sanctions
list, the State Department said.
Department of State has designated the Iranian proxy group Harakat al-Nujaba
(HAN) and its leader, Akram 'Abbas al-Kabi, as Specially Designated Global
Terrorists under Executive Order 13224," the State Department said in a
statement last Tuesday.
Damascus Army units engaged in heavy clashes with militants of Ansar al-Tawhid
terrorist group who intended to attack the Syrian Army's military positions in
Tale Shir Sahab from al-Sarmanieh Foro in Sahl al-Ghab in Northwestern Hama.
the 18 Ansar al-Tawhid terrorists invading the government troops were killed in
fierce clashes in Sahl al-Ghab region.
the Syrian Army's missile and artillery units hit the terrorists' communication
lines in Jisr al-Shoghour region in Western Idlib, inflicting heavy losses and
casualties on them.
Southern Idlib, the Syrian Army heavily pounded the movements and contact lines
of Tahrir al-Sham al-Hay'at (the Levant Liberation Board or the Al-Nusra Front)
in Eastern al-Deir, Khan al-Sabal, Ma'arat Shomarin, Khan Sheikhoun and near
Sakik village in Southeastern Idlib, killing and injuring a number of them.
Syrian Army's missile units also pounded the gathering of Tahrir al-Sham
terrorists in al-Tah town Southeast of Idlib, killing several terrorists and
destroying their military vehicle.
the terrorist groups stationed in Southern Idlib pounded Mahradeh town and its
surrounding areas in Northern Hama with nine missiles which caused destruction
of a number of houses.
relevant development on Thursday, the Syrian army repelled militants' attacks
from the demilitarized zone on Northern Hama and Southern Idlib, destroying the
terrorists' positions and killing 3 of their commanders.
Syrian army units launched missile and artillery attacks against the
terrorists' moves near the village of al-Zakat and Kafr Zita, al-Arbaeen,
al-Latamineh and Qal'at al-Maziq regions in Northern Hama, smashing several
military vehicles as well as the terrorists' missile platform, and killing a
number of militants, including two commanders of Ansar al-Tawhid namely Abu
al-Farouq and Ibrahim Hamadi.
army forces also pounded the positions and moves of several groups of Tahrir
al-Sham al-Hay'at (the Levant Liberation Board or the Al-Nusra Front)
terrorists from the villages of al-Shariah and al-Jamasah as well as Sahl
al-Qab region towards the army-controlled areas in Northwestern Hama,
destroying a number of their hideouts and killing several terrorists.
al-Mohammadawi was quoted as saying by the Arabic-language al-Ma'aloumeh news
website that the US forces are training and arming the terrorists at their
bases in al-Anbar, Kirkuk and Erbil provinces without the Iraqi government's
added that a large number of terrorists are being trained in Ain al-Assad base
in al-Anbar province, K1 base in Kirkuk and a base in Erbil, noting that the
main goal behind the move is decreasing the role of Hashd al-Shaabi (Iraqi
popular forces) and making them withdraw from the Western provinces because
their presence is not in line with the US interests.
reports said in February that the US army troops stationed in al-Anbar were
plotting to prevent Hashd al-Shaabi forces from getting close to the country's
US troops in Ain al-Assad are looking for a way to drive out Hashd al-Shaabi
forces from Western Iraqi provinces, including al-Anbar province,"
al-Maloumeh quoted member of Iraqi Parliament's Security and Defense Committee
Ali Jabbar as saying.
reiterated that the US plot for driving Hashd al-Shaabi forces from bases and
regions under their control in al-Anbar, Nineveh and Salaheddin is while the US
troops are worried about their confrontation with Hashd al-Shaabi and people's
uprising against the illegal presence of the US Army troops in Iraq.
United Nation’s refugee agency said Saturday it has urged Syria’s government to
allow it access to all parts of the war-torn country where externally displaced
people have returned.
is very important that in areas of return, organizations like mine... are
present,” said Filippo Grandi, who heads the UN’s refugee agency UNHCR.
is the very strong message that I have passed to the Syrian government,” he
told reporters in Beirut, after earlier this week undertaking a three-day visit
should be present so they “can observe the returns... have access to the
returnees and help them address some of the problems that they face,” he said.
the war in Syria winding down, neighboring Lebanon has been eager to encourage
some of the 1.5 million Syrians it says it hosts to return.
visited the central provinces of Homs and Hama this week, he said, but access
to the Damascus countryside is more difficult. Tens of thousands have returned,
according to the Lebanese authorities, but many more have been wary of crossing
back over the border.
full access to the UN and other organizations, “there is an element of
confidence that is missing” among potential returnees, Grandi said.
home is not attractive for many refugees living in camps in Lebanon, due to
high unemployment and poor basic services, as well as continued clashes on
several fronts. But for young men above 18 years old, the chief fear is that
they will be conscripted into President Bashar al-Assad’s army.
to welcome Syrians back, Damascus has said it will allow returnees a grace
period of six months before they are drafted.
Syria: Kurdish forces and international aid organizations admitted on Saturday
they have no idea how many civilians remain inside the last sliver of Daesh
territory in northeast Syria.
Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) paused military operations against Daesh
militants holed up in Baghouz on the banks of the Euphrates as more women and
children emerged from the village, days after it was thought only a few hundred
foreign fighters remained.
coming from underground... they’re never-ending,” said one SDF official.
than 62,000 people have flooded Al-Hol refugee camp in northern Syria, and
thousands more are expected, the UN said. The International Rescue Committee
said Al-Hol was at “breaking point.”
one could have guessed that such a large number of women and children were
still living in Baghouz,” spokeswoman Misty Buswell said.
of the refugees, Umm Aboud, a mother of four from the northern Syrian city of
Al-Bab, said: “There’s still more. You see how many people have come out in the
past few days, there’s that many still inside.”
experts believe Daesh is merely trying to delay the final destruction of its
so-called “caliphate,” while others believe it may be something more sinister.
have been regularly “releasing certain numbers of people, including fighters,
in controlled amounts” in an attempt to buy time, said analyst Mutlu Civiroglu,
on the ground in eastern Syria.
they really wanted to surrender, they would have ... and if they wanted to
fight again, they could have,” he said. The delay was “a deliberate effort,
maybe to prepare for something else ... what that is, though, is unclear.”
Iraq, Daesh have gone to ground, staging waves of killings and kidnappings. In
Syria, they hold out in remote desert areas and have carried out bombings in
areas controlled by the SDF.
said on Saturday they had carried out a suicide car bomb attack near the Syrian
town of Manbij to signal to foreign troops that they were not safe in the
country. Manbij is controlled by a Kurdish militia allied to the SDF.
the SDF confirmed on Saturday that a baby boy born in a refugee camp to a
London teenager who ran away from home to join Daesh in Syria had died.
On the domed roof of a historical market in the northern Syrian city of Aleppo,
architect Bassel Al-Daher moves between workers painstakingly working to erase
the scars of war.
wearing vests and helmets repair parts of the roof still bearing visible traces
of the four-year-long battle for the former rebel stronghold.
cover its charred surface with a fresh coat of white paint as part of a wider
effort to rehabilitate the Saqatiya market, or souk in Arabic.
in the old quarters of Syria’s second city, the market dates back to the
feel like I’m redrawing history by restoring this souk,” says Daher, 42, one of
six architects overseeing its revival as the country’s conflict marks its
eighth year next week.
me, it’s the project of a lifetime.”
Saqatiya souk covers an area of more than 1,500 square meters (16,000 square
feet) and used to house more than 50 shops before Syria’s conflict landed in
Aleppo in 2012.
is located near other landmarks of Aleppo’s Old City, a UNESCO-listed World
Heritage Site that served as a frontline during clashes that ended in 2016.
regime forces that year retook control of the eastern side of the city, much of
which remains in ruins.
celebrated citadel, a jewel of medieval architecture whose surrounding wall was
damaged by a blast in July 2015, is visible from the market’s roof.
Umayyad mosque, an ancient site that dates back to the 11th century, is within
in April 2013 reduced the mosque’s minaret to an unrecognizable pile of blocks.
estimates that as much as 60 percent of the Old City was severely damaged.
market fared better than most, with 30 percent battered during the fighting,
shows signs of major damage but no sign of collapse, Syria’s antiquities
authority said in a report last month.
works began on November 1 after Syrian authorities signed a partnership
agreement with the Aga Khan Foundation in Syria.
are expected to be completed in July, according to Daher.
are focusing on erasing all “signs of war” from the market and correct old
broader aim is to bring merchants back to their shops,” he says.
market is one of around 37 souks surrounding the Aleppo citadel, the oldest of
their kind in the world.
stretch from the western part of the Old City to the gates of the citadel in
the east, covering an area of around 160,000 square meters.
centuries, they were the commercial heart of the ancient city and served as a
key trading hub between the East and the West, says Alaa Al-Sayyed, a historian
and specialist on the Old City.
expert, who is also overseeing the restoration, says “they are more than 2,000
are the longest and oldest covered markets in the world,” he says.
consist of dozens of shops, schools, mosques and bathhouses.
their long history, this is not the first time the markets have had to be
two millennia, they have weathered numerous earthquakes and conquests, but
“every time they were rebuilt,” he says.
Al-Issa, 38, wears a white helmet and uniform as he works on renovating a
massive gate in the market.
is one of around 60 men involved in restoration works.
the conflict, Issa used to work in renovation and maintenance of the city’s
today are nothing like those we used to carry out in the past,” he says.
used to restore stones affected by moisture, wind and time,” he says.
today we are treating stones that have been charred and damaged by shrapnel,
and we are rebuilding some domes that have been completely destroyed.”
hopes the souk can be restored in a way that does not alter its historical
character or dispense with too may of the original materials.
colleague, Mohammed Baqiya, 47, is looking forward to the market coming back to
stone will be restored,” he says.
United States accused the Palestinians on Friday of manufacturing a crisis by
rejecting the first 2019 monthly tax transfer from Israel because it slashed a
portion designated for financial support to families of militants jailed in
United Nations Security Council met behind closed doors to discuss the issue at
the request of Kuwait and Indonesia. US President Donald Trump’s Middle East
peace envoy Jason Greenblatt represented Washington at the meeting.
is entirely inappropriate to focus on Israel as the source of this crisis. It
is the Palestinian Authority that has chosen to manufacture the current
crisis,” Greenblatt told the 15-member council, according to UN diplomats in
US mission to the United Nations declined to comment on Greenblatt’s remarks.
The Palestinians have condemned the Israeli decision as “piracy.”
and White House adviser Jared Kushner have been working on a plan to mediate
peace between Israel and the Palestinians. UN diplomats said Greenblatt gave no
details of the plan on Friday.
the Palestinian Authority
have refused to discuss any peace blueprint with the United States in the wake
of Trump’s recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital in 2017.
Palestinian decision on the tax transfer came despite increasing cash flow
troubles, caused in part by US aid cuts, which could destabilize the
Palestinian Authority, an interim self-government body set up following the
1993 Oslo accords between the Palestinians and Israel.
the interim accords, Israel collects taxes on imports into the Israeli-occupied
West Bank and in the Gaza Strip and makes monthly transfers of the proceeds to
tax transfers make up about half of the PA’s budget, according to Palestinian
Finance Ministry data. On February 17, Israel announced a freeze on about 5
percent of that money affecting stipends the PA pays to families of Palestinian
militants killed or jailed by Israel.
a unilateral decision in violation of existing bilateral agreement,” Kuwait’s
UN Ambassador Mansour al-Otaibi told reporters after the Security Council
to diplomats, Greenblatt said the Palestinian payments to militants’ families
“creates incentives for further acts of terrorism.” The United States passed
legislation last year to reduce aid to the PA unless it stopped the pay-outs.
called on other council members to join the United States in urging the
Palestinian Authority to end the payments, diplomats said.
President Hassan Rouhani urges Pakistan to take firm action in dealing with
terrorists acting against the Islamic Republic.
a phone conversation with Pakistan's Prime Minister Imran Khan on Saturday, the
Iranian president said that Tehran and Islamabad should not allow "a bunch
of terrorists," who are tools in the hands of other countries, to affect
their decades-long cordial ties.
said the Iranian and Pakistani nations enjoyed "exemplary and
historical" relations, calling on senior officials of the two countries to
help promote bilateral ties.
should not allow any third party to impact Iran-Pakistan relations through
their measures," Rouhani said.
to last month’s terrorist bomb attack in Iran’s southeastern province of Sistan
and Baluchestan, Rouhani said Tehran knows well where the terrorist groups that
use Pakistan's soil to carry out attacks against the Iranian nation were based,
adding, "We are awaiting your (Pakistan’s) decisive action against these
are fully ready to cooperate with the Pakistani army and government to
eradicate these terrorists whose presence is not in favor of us, you or the
region," he added.
Iranian president emphasized that Tehran sought to keep friendly relations with
February 13, an explosives-laden car rammed into a bus carrying a number of the
Islamic Revolution Guards Corps (IRGC) forces on a road between the cities of
Zahedan and Khash, leaving 27 of them dead and 13 others wounded.
so-called Jaish ul-Adl terrorist group, which is linked to al-Qaeda, claimed
responsibility for the bombing.
of the Islamic Revolution Ayatollah Seyyed Ali Khamenei denounced the bloody
terrorist attack, saying the spy agencies of certain regional and
extra-regional countries certainly had a hand in this crime.
is certain that the perpetrators of this crime were linked to spy agencies of
certain regional and extra-regional countries and the country’s relevant
organizations must focus on that and seriously pursue it,” the Leader said in a
Pakistani prime minister, for his part, said his country's army and government
would make their utmost efforts to eliminate terrorists.
added that Islamabad would not allow terrorists to use Pakistan’s soil against
neighboring countries, particularly Iran.
government forces have carried out a major clean-up operation in the country’s
southwestern province of Rif Dimashq, discovering a considerable amount of
US-built and Israeli-made munitions from terrorist hideouts.
unnamed field commander told Syria’s official news agency SANA that Syrian
soldiers launched the operation in the town of Yalda, which lies on the southern
outskirts of the capital Damascus, on Saturday to clear the area of hidden
explosive devices and ordnance left behind by the militants.
commander added that the munitions included American BGM-71 TOW anti-tank
missiles, Israeli-made M72 LAW anti-tank weapons, mortar launchers,
various-caliber mortars, hand grenades as well as rocket-propelled grenades.
Syrian army units foiled an attack by Takfiri terrorists on a military post in
the country's west-central province of Hama.
Syrian military source, speaking on condition of anonymity, said Syrian troops
engaged in a heavy exchange of gunfire with the extremists in al-Suqaylabiyah
city, killing and injuring a number of them in the process.
reports indicate that a number of Syrian soldiers lost their lives or sustained
gunshot wounds during the clash.
concerns’ over health of 65,000 refugees in al-Hol camp
United Nations spokesman Stephane Dujarric said on Friday that international
humanitarian agencies had “grave concerns over the fragile health of residents”
of al-Hol camp in Syria’s northeastern province of Hasakah.
said that more than 3,000 people, mostly women and children, had reached the
camp from Daesh-held areas in the eastern province of Dayr al-Zawr the previous
night, bringing the total population of al-Hol camp to more than 65,000.
funding is needed to ramp up the response, especially in the areas of shelter,
water, sanitation and hygiene, health and protection services,” the UN spokesman
are grave concerns over the fragile health of the camp's residents, with nearly
100 people having died since early last December en route to the site (or)
shortly after arrival or referral,” he pointed out.
further noted that two-thirds of the people who had died were children under
the age of five, with hypothermia, pneumonia, dehydration and complications
from malnutrition being the main causes of death.
least 243 unaccompanied and separated children have been identified in the
camp, of whom 41 have been reunited with their families,” he said.
warplanes have conducted fresh air raids on the Gaza Strip in yet another act
of aggression against the besieged Palestinian territory.
a statement released on Saturday, the Israeli army said that its jets had struck
several targets allegedly belonging to the Palestinian resistance movement
Hamas in the southern and northern Gaza the night before.
Aviv claimed that the aerial assault came "in response to the projectile
that was launched from the Gaza Strip" as well as "balloons carrying
explosive devices" and attempts to damage "security
infrastructure" in the occupied territories.
security officials said the Israeli strikes had not caused any casualties.
attacks, however, damaged Palestinian houses and farming land, according to
Wafa news agency.
on Saturday, the Israeli navy opened fire at a fishing boat near off the
northern Gaza. Palestinian media reported that the incident had no casualties.
Tel Aviv regime carries out regular attacks on the blockaded coastal sliver
under the pretext of hitting positions belonging to Hamas, the movement which
runs the Palestinian territory.
coastal sliver has been under a crippling land, air and sea Israeli blockade
since 2007 and witnessed three wars since 2008.
has also witnessed a fresh wave of tensions since March 30, which marked the
start of “The Great March of Return” protests.
far, at least 253 Palestinians have been killed by Israeli fire during the
weekly anti-occupation rallies in Gaza.
clashes near the Gaza fence left a Palestinian dead and at least 45 others
to get China’s support on listing Masood Azhar: U.S. official
United States is working to convince China to allow the listing of
Jaish-e-Mohammad (JeM) Chief Masood Azhar by the UNSC 1267 Committee, a senior
administration official, who did not want to be named, said, speaking
exclusively to The Hindu.
are working hard to convince China. It is not in China’s interest to shield
terrorist groups operating in Pakistan, and as a responsible global power,
China should take a clear stand against terrorism. So we expect China to join
in designating Masood Azhar as a terrorist,” the official said.
official said that the U.S. felt India’s frustration and that Pakistan has been
isolated over the February 14 Pulwama attack and its aftermath. The U.S. was
looking for permanent action by Pakistan to end its support for terror.
had, last week reportedly detained more than 120 individuals connected to
terror groups, taken over madrasas and seized assets of terror groups including
those of Jamat-ud-Dawa (JuD) — a sister organisation of militant outfit
Lakshar-e-Taiba (LeT) and its charity arm, Falah –e-Insaniyat Foundation (FIF)
both organisations of Hafiz Saeed, a U.N. designated terrorists, wanted by
India in connection with the 2008 Mumbai attack. Nevertheless, Saeed and Azhar
have both been detained by Pakistan before and subsequently released.
are not going to be satisfied with half-measures or temporary steps like we’ve
seen in the past. I do think Pakistan has to consider the reaction of the
international community, the senior administration official said in Washington.
“There has been a lot of solidarity with India and a lot of frustration with
the fact that that Pakistan has still not cracked down on these groups.
Pakistan has been pretty isolated over this situation,” the official said.
U.S. and other world powers have been quick to step forward to help de-escalate
the situation between the two nuclear powers.
there are crises like these between India and Pakistan, there is a great deal
of concern because these are nuclear states. So there is the instinct to
de-escalate the situation. But there is also less patience with Pakistan’s
support for these groups and more of a sense of sharing India’s frustration
over these groups’ ability to operate freely inside Pakistan,” the official
said, characterising the U.S. reaction to the India-Pakistan situation.
Secretary of State Michael Pompeo met with British National Security Advisor
Mark Sedwill on Friday and “support for reducing tension between India and
Pakistan” was part of their discussion, the U.S. State Department spokesperson
Robert Palladino said.
Canadian man sentenced to 40 years in prison without the possibility of parole
for the killing of six worshippers at a Quebec mosque in January 2017 has
launched an appeal, local media reported Friday.
Bissonnette was convicted on February 8 to life imprisonment for the murders,
the deadliest attack on a Muslim place of worship in the West.
Jan. 29, 2017, Bissonette opened fire on around 40 men and four children who
were chatting after prayers in the grand hall of the ground floor, killing six
men and seriously wounding five others.
their appeal at the Quebec courthouse, Bisonnette’s lawyers argued that Judge
Francois Hout had imposed “an illegal punishment, manifestly unreasonable and
not indicated in ordering 40 years imprisonment before being eligible for
parole,” according to the public Radio-Canada.
verdict, preventing Bissonnette from applying for parole before his 67th
birthday, was considered too lenient by the president of the mosque, Boufeldja
of people turned out in Washington Friday demanding regime change in Iran and
denouncing “atrocity toward the people” under Tehran’s regime.
waved Iranian flags as they chanted for “regime change now” – with some holding
portraits of Maryam Rajavi, leader of the People’s Mujahedin, an Iranian
opposition group banned in the country.
regime inside Iran is doing so much atrocity toward the people. Iran in whole
has been destroyed by this regime,” said Michael Passi, an Iranian-American
are a lot of executions, a lot of tortures and a lot of export of terrorism by
this regime,” he alleged.
want separation of religion and the state,” added Mina Entezari, an
Arizona-based designer who was a political prisoner in Iran for seven years.
“We want freedom for people.”
administration of US President Donald Trump consistently blasts a lack of
freedoms in Iran and its “destabilizing” influence on the Middle East.
Democrats break America’s biggest taboo – criticism of Israel: Writer
Democratic stars like Tulsi Gabbard, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and Ilhan Omar have
broken America’s biggest taboo - calling out Israel for its oppression of
Palestinians - according to Eric S. Margolis, an American journalist and
anything negative about Israel has long been the third rail of US politics and
media. Israel is our nation’s most sacred cow. Any questioning of its behavior
brings furious charges of anti-Semitism and professional oblivion,” Margolis
added that a number of US senators and congressmen “lost their positions after
rebuking Israel for its mistreatment of Palestinians or daring to suggest that
Israel had far too much influence in the US.”
analyst pointed out that “journalists were not even allowed to write there was
an ‘Israel lobby.’”
young Democratic stars Tulsi Gabbard, Kamala Harris, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez
and a feisty congresswoman from Minnesota, Ilhan Omar, have suddenly broken the
taboo and said what dared not be said: there is too much rightwing Israeli
influence and there must be justice for Palestine,” he wrote.
candidates Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren have come to the defense of
Ilhan Omar against the usual charges that she is anti-Semitic. So have black
groups and smaller liberal Jewish groups,” he noted.
Democratic Party, that once received half its financial support from Jewish
sources, is badly split over the Palestine crisis,” he revealed.
a newly elected Democrat Congresswoman from Minnesota, has sparked a firestorm
on Capitol Hill over repeated criticisms of Israel and the powerful pro-Israel
lobby in Washington that exerts great influence in US politics.
US House of Representatives on Thursday passed a resolution condemning bigotry
and hate after backlash from a number of factions across the Democratic Party
forced changes to a bill that originally focused on anti-Semitism and remarks
about Israel by Omar, whose legitimate criticism of Israel has been deemed
anti-Semitic by some colleagues and exposed deep fault lines among Democrats.
of Representative Speaker Nancy Pelosi unveiled the resolution, which she
called the "strongest possible opposition" to anti-Semitism,
Islamophobia, and white supremacist bigotry.
joined the two other Muslims in Congress, Rashida Tlaib and Andre Carson, in
praising the measure's passage.
the first time we have voted on a resolution condemning Anti-Muslim bigotry in
our nation's history," they said, noting the worrying rise of extremism in
resolution was initially pushed by Zionist organizations and some Jewish
members of Congress to rebuke Omar for condemning the Israel lobby, but there
was a heated backlash from fellow Democrats who said she was being unfairly
singled out by the leadership.
Turkish military ship has been moored near Port Sudan for a three-day stay in
the African country purportedly aimed at boosting “security and safety” in the
Red Sea region, as Sudan has been the scene of months of protests against
President Omar al-Bashir’s 30-year rule.
to a statement released by the Sudanese military, the Turkish ship, Gojka Ada,
arrived at the port, the capital city of Red Sea province, on Saturday morning.
The stay will last until March 11.
visit reflects the cooperation between the two armed forces and is also part of
a diplomatic initiative,” said Sudanese General Mousa Ahmed Mousa, adding, “It
will also enhance the security and safety of the Red Sea.”
between Ankara and Khartoum has witnessed a boost since Turkish President Recep
Tayyip Erdogan paid a visit to the African nation in late 2017 as part of a
perceived plan to secure a strategic foothold in Africa.
visit, which was the first by a Turkish president to the east African country,
led to sealing a number of deals between the two sides.
the time, the Turkish leader said Sudan had agreed to allow Turkey to restore the
Red Sea port of Suakin Island.
used to be considered the height of medieval luxury on the Red Sea, was Sudan’s
major port when it was ruled by the Ottoman Empire, but fell into disuse over
the last century following the construction of Port Sudan, 60 kilometers to the
deal aroused concern in Saudi Arabia, a neighbor situated across from the Red
Sea in the east, and Egypt, a neighbor to the north. They fear that Turkey is
attempting to extend influence in the region to their detriment.
a bid to alleviate the concern, Erdogan stressed at the time that Ankara had no
plan whatsoever to build a military base at Suakin. He emphasized that the
renovated island would be used instead to attract Hajj-bound pilgrims to
Suakin, in turn strengthening the region’s tourism.
is struggling with months of persisting protests. On December 17, an
anti-government campaign erupted over price hikes and shortages of food and
fuel. The demonstrations first erupted in the farming town of Atbara after cash-strapped
Khartoum cut a vital subsidy on bread and tripled its prices.
move infuriated people and triggered protests, which swiftly mushroomed into
nationwide anti-government rallies, particularly in the capital and its twin
city of Omdurman. That initial public display of anger quickly spiraled into
calls for Bashir, who took power in 1989 through a military coup, to step down.
country’s National Intelligence and Security Service (NISS) has reportedly been
carrying out a crackdown on protesters, opposition leaders, activists, and
reporters in an attempt to prevent the spread of the rallies, which are viewed
as the biggest threat to Bashir’s decades-long rule.
figures say 31 people, including some security agents, have lost their lives
since the onset of the rallies. Some rights groups, including Human Rights
Watch, say at least 51 people have died so far.
however, has so far remained defiant, addressing loyalists at a number of
rallies across the country and seeking support from regional allies.
African nation has been suffering from a worsening economic crisis, including a
serious shortage of foreign currency. The cost of some commodities, including
medicines, has more than doubled and inflation has hit 70 percent. A growing lack
of food and fuel has also been regularly reported across several cities,
loyal to Libya’s strongman Khalifa Haftar are pushing through the country,
threatening to ruin efforts made by the United Nations to resolve the power
vacuum there via democratic elections.
reported on Saturday that forces loyal to the 75-year-old commander had swept
through the south and took control of its oilfields in recent weeks.
Haftar’s forces are signaling their intention to take the capital Tripoli, from
which in nearby Zawiya the country's oil gets exported abroad.
UN, in an effort to rescue elections planned for later this year, is scrambling
to mediate between Haftar and the Tripoli-based unity Government of National
Accord (GNA) led by 59-year-old Prime Minister Fayez al-Serraj.
UN is hopeful that Libya will hold national elections by June.
two main rivaling governments, one in the east and another in the west, are
each backed by an array of rival militia factions.
is backed by Western countries, and the UN recognizes it as the official
government of Libya.
other government, known as the House of Representatives, is based in the
eastern city of Tobruk, and is run by Haftar's Libya National Army (LNA).
Haftar is backed by Russia, Egypt and the United Arab Emirates.
the overthrow of Muammar Gaddafi in 2011 after a NATO military intervention,
the UN fears that without free and fair elections there is no chance to end the
unrest and violence resulting from rivaling powers running the country.
Forces from eastern Libya who have swept through the south and taken control of
remaining oilfields in recent weeks have now reinforced a base in the centre of
the country and signalled to the capital Tripoli that it may be next.
United Nations, stunned by the southern advance, is scrambling to mediate
between eastern commander Khalifa Haftar and Tripoli's
internationally-recognised government led by Prime Minister Fayez al-Serraj,
Western diplomats say.
fear it may be the last UN attempt to unify the rival administrations and end
the chaos that followed the overthrow of Muammar Gaddafi in 2011 with free
a 75-year-old former general, is increasingly taking the situation into his own
hands, backed by the United Arab Emirates and Egypt, which see him as a bulwark
against Islamists and the man to restore order.
has not said whether he wants to march on Tripoli, which would dramatically
escalate tensions. But his Libyan National Army (LNA) has hinted heavily that
it might do so -- if Haftar is not recognised as the country's overall military
commander, his aim since he began assembling the force in 2014.
military sources say the LNA will move towards Tripoli after the announcement
that the south has been secured," read an item on an LNA website.
same sources said there is coordination with some units inside Tripoli and its
suburbs for the army to enter Tripoli."
LNA spokesman said a purported order from Haftar for troops to move, seen by
Reuters and publicised by his supporters, was not genuine.
the capital has been rife with rumours of invasion and residents have reported
seeing young people driving around playing loud songs praising Haftar from
their car radios.
several LNA units returned this month to Benghazi, Haftar's power base, some
units went to Jufra, a city in the desert straddling east and west, LNA sources
there they could go home, or -- the implied threat according to diplomats --
move northwest towards Tripoli, should talks over power sharing and elections
taps into fatigue among Libyans yearning for electricity, petrol and banknotes
scarce in a country which once enjoyed some of highest living standards in the
many, especially in the east, the general is the only one who can end fighting
by myriad groups with ever-changing names. For his enemies in western cities
and Islamists who were oppressed under the old regime, he is a new Gaddafi.
took the southern El Sharara and El Feel oilfields last month, completing a
campaign which has given him effective control of the country's crude output of
around one million barrels a day.
does not, as yet, have the means to profit from them because oil exports are
managed by the state oil firm NOC in Tripoli, which is working with Serraj.
the situation on the ground is changing fast.
envoy Ghassan Salame visited the main southern city Sabha just one day before
some 80 LNA vehicles drove in through the desert from the east, and Haftar's
growing clout was on show again this week.
NOC agreed to reopen El Sharara, closed since rogue guards and tribesmen seized
it in December, after the UAE called two meetings. The first was with Serraj
and NOC chairman Mustafa Sanalla to agree on a security plan and the second was
between the Tripoli premier and Haftar.
while some communities in western Libya have signalled support for the LNA, it
is far from clear whether Haftar would be able to muster enough.
LNA says it has 85,000 men but this includes soldiers paid by the central
government who it hopes to inherit. Its elite force, Saiqa (Lightning) numbers
some 3,500, while Haftar's sons also have well-equipped troops, LNA sources
say much of the LNA is an umbrella of less trained ex-Gaddafi soldiers,
tribesmen and Salafists as well as Sudanese and Chadian fighters; the LNA
to covert UAE and Egyptian support documented by the U.N., Haftar has gradually
built up superiority since 2014, allowing him to stop Tripoli flying in
reinforcements during his southern campaign and pressure the NOC by closing
airstrips on oilfields.
has no real troops -- depending on armed groups who control many of the
buildings his ministers work in and who, Tripoli residents say, regularly
demand business contracts.
only asset is his official title and access to state funds, though Western
powers have increasingly embraced Haftar - with Italy, for example, addressing
him as (Field) Marshal, his official title.
has been some Western support for Haftar. French special forces in conjunction
with Britain and the United States had been advising the LNA during the
Monday, Serraj unexpectedly praised cooperation with Haftar, saying they needed
to work together, in a speech to western mayors just after rumours of
approaching LNA troops first surfaced.
and Serraj could agree to a new transitional government, which would help the
commander steadily entrench his power without invading Tripoli.
it is unclear whether Haftar's supporters would agree to putting him under
civilian control as proposed by Western and UN mediators.
is no reconciliation with Serraj for power because talks are not with him but
with people behind him who do not want Haftar," said Hamad Bandaq, a
lawmaker in the eastern parliament.
biggest obstacle for Haftar is Misrata, a western city home to forces which
could at least partly match LNA ground troops, analysts say.
city is known for a spirit of resisting old regime figures, developed during
2011 when Gaddafi forces besieged it for three months.
after Haftar started his Benghazi campaign in 2014 Misrata forces moved on
Tripoli, expelling a government allied to a Haftar partner in one-month battle
that split Libya. The main motive was fear of a Haftar coup.
have been belligerent comments from Misrata residents in recent days but it is
unclear whether they would fight.
mix of conflict fatigue, cautiousness and internal divide has so far
forestalled a military mobilisation," said Emad Badi, a Libya researcher.
"However that could change very quickly."
Megerisi, a policy fellow at the European Council, said Serraj and Haftar could
agree on a transitional government, with the commander steadily entrenching his
power without actually invading Tripoli.
and the UAE have put out feelers to Tripoli forces, and diplomats hope Haftar
will agree to negotiate as he needs access to NOC cash after stretching his
resources to the limit with his sweep of the south.
LNA used massive force in the three-year battle over Benghazi but applied a
different tactic in the south.
The airport in the Libyan capital Tripoli was closed on Saturday due to an
unidentified drone flying in the area, the airport’s director said.
have repeatedly spotted drones flying over Tripoli in the past few days but the
reason is not clear.
from Tripoli’s Matiga airport have been halted until further notice, said its
director Lutfi Al-Tayeb.
in the capital have been on edge due to rumors that the eastern-based Libya
National Army (LNA) loyal to Khalifa Haftar might seek to take it after gaining
control of much of the south.
has not said he wants to march on Tripoli but a LNA website carried an
unsourced report this week saying it could happen, adding that the LNA was
working with people inside the city.
Several people have died in an attack by the jihadist group Boko Haram in
southeastern Niger, local sources said on Saturday. "There have been
deaths, including police, and also some wounded, in this attack by Boko
Haram," an official in Diffa, a region of Niger close to the birthplace of
Boko Haram in neighbouring northeastern Nigeria.
attack by "heavily armed" assailants travelling in a dozen or so
vehicles on Friday targeted a military position near Gueskerou in the Diffa
region, according to unconfirmed social media posts by residents.
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