State Ideology in Vulnerable Pockets of South India Feeds On Local Grievances
to Further Jihadist Agenda
Qaeda’s Master Terrorists Are Still on Facebook and YouTube
Zarif Says “Short War” With Iran Is an Illusion
Iranian Cleric: Trump Only Wants Negotiations For His Re-Election
Leads Extremist Stampede To Small Social Media Platforms after Campaigns for
Extremist Permanently Excluded From Entering UKUnited Kingdom: Parents
Nuclear Deal Must Be Upheld Not Jeopardized: France, Germany Tell US
Muslim Ban Continues To 'Devastate' Lives
Says Remains Hopeful Pakistan Will Crack Down On Islamist Militants
Rates Vary Among Religious Groups, Govt Lists Plans For Employability Of
Annual Chamliyal mela falls prey to Indo-Pak hostility, celebrated without
exchange of traditional ritual
Waqf Board promises Rs 5 lakh, job to wife of youth lynched in Jharkhand
suspects were to send IEDs to Kerala: NIA
Modi meets Saudi Prince Salman in Osaka, discusses counter-terrorism, trade
biggest threat to humanity: PM Modi at informal BRICS leaders' meeting in Osaka
& IS terrorists fight over AK-47 in J&K, one killed
Extremists at A Syrian Refugee Camp Threaten To Burn Australian Women And
Must Be In ‘Driver’s Seat’ For Syria Reconstruction: Human Rights Group
on Syria’s main rebel enclave kills 2 paramedics in their sleep as revenge for
the evacuation of eight orphans
arrest 5 ISIS sleeper cell members in Manbij, Raqqa
targets Iraqi police in Kirkuk after arrest of ISIS ‘leader’ in area: reports
of Civilians Leave US-Surrounded Camp in Al-Tanf
dead, at least 24 wounded as bombs hit buses in Iraq’s Kirkuk
storm Bahraini embassy in Iraqi capital Baghdad
raids expected after ISIS leader's capture, Yemen security official says
blow up gas export pipeline in SE Yemen
attacker shot dead by police in east Jerusalem
Erdogan says Trump may visit in July
Coalition intercepts Houthi drone in Yemeni airspace targeting Saudi Arabia
US summit in Bahrain 'abortive', 'miserable gathering'
summit in Bahrain on Palestine treacherous event: Houthi
leaders call for anti-Manama unity to continue
PM expects no political plan from US Bahrain workshop
Extremist Permanently Excluded From Entering UKUnited Kingdom: Parents
Be Stopped From Withdrawing Children from Religious Education over Islam
Lessons, Headteachers Say
MP with Muslim Brotherhood ties readmitted into Labour Party
Neo-Nazi Admits to Murder of German Politician
says he warned Iran’s Rouhani about breaking nuclear commitments
wounds 2, kills himself in attack near French mosque
grants Iran trade loophole as Tehran prepares to breach nuclear deal
Palestinians, Donald Trump’s Bahrain workshop was the farce of the century
coalition admits killing over 1300 civilians in Syria, Iraq
seeks NATO help in anti-Iran coalition
envoy Brian Hook says Iran sanctions are working
sanctions do not give Iran right to breach nuclear commitments, Brian Hook says
pledge to fulfill its investment in Pakistan doubtful: Report
Kabul agree to reboot ties
Bilawal meet Ghani, extend support for Afghan peace process
offers to play guarantor for Afghan peace deal
Sees Islamic State Resurgence In Libya Amid Tripoli Fighting
Haram Kills 20 Farmers In Borno
dead, several wounded in suicide bomber attacks in Tunisian capital
government forces retake key town from renegade general
bomb attacks in Tunisian capital kill one person, wound several
protest in Sudan demanding civilian rule
condemns twin suicide attacks in Tunis
Delegate Claims Nightmare Malaysia for Muslims as ‘Second Singapore’ With DAP
joins criticism of Mujahid following visit to Xinjiang camps
strikes back at extremists in his midst
may become last bulwark of government opposition
Secretary General Endorses Ambassador Khalilzad’s Statement Regarding Afghan
cold-blooded approach to the Rohingya crisis
to smuggle weapons to Kabul from Peshawar foiled, 2 suspects arrested
ISIS militants killed, wounded in Special Forces raid, airstrike in Nangarhar
for peace unique amid remaining challenges in Afghanistan: NATO SG
by New Age Islam News Bureau
State of India”, read the luridly-coloured sticker covering the upper half of
the headlight on Ismail Sulthan’s Bajaj Platina motorbike, advertising his
politics to anyone who was interested, as he made his rounds through the grimy
streets of Tindivanam. The 20-something scrap dealer’s Facebook page dispelled
any doubts his friends might still have had about his leanings: each day,
almost, Ismail posted Islamic State videos, calls for jihad, and ugly invective
are parts of the world where that kind of public posture would invite a
midnight raid by armed police. Tindivanam—chosen by Rajaraja Chola I to build a
magnificent temple around 1000 BC, and by no-one for anything of significance
ever since—paid not the slightest attention.
it should have: in the wake of April’s carnage in Colombo, counter-terrorism
investigators in India have been picking over Ismail’s story, and those of
multiple other Islamic State-related cases to have emerged from Tamil Nadu and
young people inspired by the same preachers and organisations as the Easter
Sunday bombers, those cases are cause for satisfaction in the National
Investigation Agency: evidence of a successful campaign of pre-emption.
they are also reasons for concern. Education, the distinctive regional cultural
milieu, and the absence of large-scale communal violence were thought by some
to make southern India relatively resistant to jihadist mobilisation. That
assumption, it’s turning out, wasn’t a sound one.
Islamic State in the Land of al-Shams might be dead—but in South India, it is
giving jihad a new, distinctively regional flavour, blending local grievances
and conflicts into its global ideology.
seconds after 19:59, local time, 25 September, 2015: from the digital
fingerprints left behind on Mohamed Naser’s spanking-new Lenovo cellphone, it’s
clear the very first thing he did when he arrived in Khartoum was text his
anxious parents in Thiruppaladurai, in Tamil Nadu’s Thanjavur district. It’s
unlikely, though, that the message did much to calm them. “I have reached the
Islamic State,” the message read. “I know it must sound kind of crazy for
[sic., throughout] you, but your son really had to take this bold step”.
for me”, Naser went on, “for I will never forget you in my prayer and it is my
hope and prayer that we meet again, if not in this world then in jannah
a distance, Naser’s life appeared to run to the kind of script middle-class
Indians dream of for their dutiful sons. In 2014, he graduated from the MNM
Jain Engineering College in Chennai, with a bachelor’s degree in information
technology. In early 2015, he moved to Dubai, and began a well-paid job with
information services firm Takmeel Global, designing web-pages.
early on, though, Naser had shown an interest in political Islam. In 2008, just
16 years old, Naser had begun attending meetings of the Tamil Nadu Tauheed
Jama’at—the organisation whose franchise in Sri Lanka was, for a time, led by
Easter Sunday bomber Zahran Hashim. In TNTJ meetings, he encountered what would
become foundational ideas: the rise of Hindutva in India was part of a global,
existential threat to Islam.
in 2004, the spectacular growth of the TNTJ—branches are now spread across the
United Kingdom, United States, France, Australia, the United Arab Emirates and
Qatar—spoke both of the growing affluence of the Tamil Muslim diaspora and the
depth of its anxieties.
TNTJ’s neo-fundamentalist ideology preached an Islam excised of the syncretic
practices which it had absorbed from the local cultural milieu—sharpening group
boundaries and forging a deeper sense of communal solidarity.
many Tamil parents, two family members told Firstpost, Naser’s father, Packeer
Mohamed, saw his son’s religious leanings as a good thing. Piety kept Naser
away from pop culture, drugs and that great nightmare of Indian boys’
Easter Sunday suicide-bomber Hashim, though, Naser found himself outgrowing the
TNTJ. He began listening, investigation records show, to the speeches of
figures like United Kingdom-based Islamic State ideologue Anjem Chowdhury. Even
as he pursued his undergraduate studies, Naser set up a website which posted
news on violence against Muslims.
government action, Naser shut down the site just as he graduated—but in Dubai,
soon joined a WhatsApp group serving pro-jihadist Indian Muslims in the
diaspora. He also made contact with Karen Aisha Hamidon, a Philippines-based
Islamic State recruiter who acquired a certain notoriety for drawing young
South Asian men to the cause.
Khartoum, Naser appears to have found the life he was looking for. “Life here
is wonderful,” he wrote in an e-mail to his parents on 5 October, 2015, after
two weeks in his new home. “I want you
all to come to Dawlah [the Islamic State]”. His pseudonymous Twitter persona,
Abu Khalid al-Hindi, had a similar message: “The way of life of Islam is back
with big blow to the kuffars [unbelievers]. The Khilafah [caliphate] has been
established. Make hijrah [the journey of exile], my brothers and sister”.
Mohamed reached out to Indian authorities for help but also continued to engage
his son. In one e-mail, he asked how much it would cost to rent a room in
Khartoum. “I’m planning to go on vacation earlier,” he explained, “so I can
convince ur mum personally though I am not going to tell her the truth about
than three months into their son’s jihadist journey, the Mohamed family’s
efforts paid off: their son was deported from paradise.
across south Indian, though, other Islamists still headed into the dystopia. In
2015, TK Mohamed Shameer, a one-time leader of the Islamist-leaning Popular
Front of India, headed to Syria along with his children Salman and Safwan. KP
Abdul Razak, Midilaj, MV Rashid, PP Abdul Manaf, Mohamed Shajil and Abdul
Khayoom followed into his wake, drawn by his descriptions of the earthly
paradise he had found. Turkish authorities deported some, including Midilaj and
MV Rashid; others have disappeared, perhaps forever into the bowels of Islamic
though the caliphate has fallen apart, the flow of those seeking utopia hasn’t
ended. Shameer’s brother-in-law, Anwar Poothappara, left in 2018 for Islamic
State-held territory in Afghanistan, along with wife Afsila, and their three
children. K Sajjad, his wife Shahina, and their two children made the same
story of Shahjahan Velluva Kandy, the Chennai-born jewellery-bag manufacturer
who eventually led Tamil Nadu investigators to Ismail Sulthan and other
jihadists in the state, tells us that the lure of paradise is not a trivial
the summer of 2016, drawn by his conversations with Shameer on Telegram, Kandy
sold his Suzuki car for Rs 4 lakh, family jewellery worth another Rs 98,000 and
withdrew Rs 1.5 lakh in savings: the price of passage to Syria for himself, his
wife Mafseena, and their two small children.
through Kuala Lumpur and Teheran—and then helped across the Turkish border by a
one-time Mumbai gangster they knew as ‘Muthu’—the family ended up in Istanbul’s
Zeytinburnu district—the gateway, they hoped, to a new life.
Turkey’s armed forces ruined their plans: though the Shajil family made it to
Syria, the Kandys were deported to India. Indian authorities, though, were
never notified the family had been planning to enter Syria—so no arrests were
spite of the experience, Kandy tried again. In early 2017, he acquired a fake
passport, paying Rs 1,10,000 to a Chennai travel agent for forged
identification papers, including a voter card, school graduation certificate
and bank statement. This time, he flew through Bangkok to Istanbul—only to be
arrested, yet again.
Kandy’s interrogation, the Intelligence Bureau learned for the first time of
the fledgeling jihad cell in Coimbatore. Like the young man with the Islamic
State sticker on his motorcycle headlights that had advertised to the world,
this group wasn’t planning to travel it. They were determined to build it over
the bodies of their enemies, beginning on the back-streets of Coimbatore.
almost every young person, Mohammad Ashiq seemed to spend more time than is
healthy staring at his mobile phone. The world on his screen, it might be
assumed, was somewhat more interesting than the one he inhabited from morning
to night, chopping cuts of meat for fly-ridden, grimy AS Noor Ahmmad Mutton
Stall, nestled deep inside in Coimbatore’s Marakadai neighbourhood. Facebook
allowed him to transcend the limitations social class had imposed on him.
his uncomfortable perch inside the shop, the butcher’s boy would bring together
an electrician, a car parts salesman, two street-food vendors, and scrap-dealer
Ismail, to plot violent revolution that would establish an Islamic State in
the summer of 2018, court records show, Ismail began battling hardline Hindutva
groups active in the area on Facebook. In response to the anti-Muslim polemic
from groups like the Hindu Makkal Kaatchhi, Ismail would post inflammatory
images of Hindu gods and goddesses, or abuse targeting local Hindu nationalist
leader Arjun Sampath.
shut down his page—but, undeterred, Ismail began sending posts through WhatsApp
to Ashiq, who happily shared them from his page. Local police watched the
polemics uneasily, but as long as no actual violence took place, there seemed
to be a point for legal action against either side.
the members of the incipient jihad cell— S Samsudedeen, S Mohammed Salauddin,
Jaffar Shadik Ali, Mohammed Husain, along with Ismail and Ashiq—all knew each
other offline, the internet gave them the sense of participating in a wider
movement. Facebook records show members of the group frequently shared
everything from posts on Islamic State ideology to Al Qaeda bomb-making
Islamist televangelist Zakir Naik, wanted in India on charges of inciting
religious hatred and financial malpractice, was among the popular ideological
sources for this new group, their social-media posts show. Tamil Nadu Police,
who discreetly monitored the fledgeling group, also encountered the speeches of
suicide-bomber Hashim for the first time—apocalyptic rants, calling of violence
against all non-believers.
Nadu Police’s discovery would lead on to a transnational operation against
Hashim and his associates, revealed by Firstpost, ending with a prescient
warning they were poised to stage suicide attacks against “popular Catholic
churches and the Indian High Commission”.
members of the group met up at a goods shed near the Variety Hall Road junction
on 31 August last year, the same surveillance showed exactly what they were up
their first operation, the Coimbatore cell’s members had decided to assassinate
the Hindutva leader Sampath, and his associate Anbumani. In Sri Lanka, similar
low-grade operations by Zahran’s group had been ignored by police and
intelligence services, allowing it to gather both sophistication and ambition.
India, the story ended in a decrepit shed.
the story almost certainly hasn’t ended. Indeed, jihadism in south India has
proved remarkably resilient. In 1998, Tamil Nadu’s al-Ummah came close to
assassinating former home minister LK Advani, in a bombing which killed 50 and
injured over 200—an act of vengeance, its cadre said, for his role in the
demolition of the Babri Masjid. Tandiyantavide Nazeer, an al-Ummah activist,
recruited five Kerala men to train with the Lashkar-e-Taiba in Kashmir back in
2008—an effort to build a fighting core of jihadists.
2016, the Base Movement, an Al Qaeda inspired jihadist group led by
Chennai-based information technology specialist Dawood Suleiman, staged
multiple bombings across the state.
Indian Mujahideen, India’s most successful urban jihadist group, also had
several figures drawn from Kerala and Karnataka. Indeed, the Indian Mujahideen
held training camps in Kerala’s Vagamon and Karnataka’s Bhatkal.
an understanding of why jihadism has proved so seductive to some, we need to
understand jihadism is embedded in the region’s culture—not a recent import.
Following the arrival of Portuguese power in Malabar after 1498 AD, the work of
the contemporary chronicler Zayn al-Din al-Ma’bari tells us, Muslims responded
to their assaults by initiating “a jihad against the worshippers of the cross”.
today, that jihad is venerated in popular culture: the Kotturpalli Malla
celebrates the martyrdom of the seaman Kunju Marakkar and records the miracles
that took place where his severed limbs washed up.
other parts of south India, too, the pre-colonial warfare led to a hardening of
religious identities—a process that is yet to be reversed. In 1325 AD, a
copper-plate recording the fall of the Kakatiya dynast lamented killings of
Brahmins by beef-eating, wine-drinking Turkic invaders. “Tortured in this way
by the demon-like Yavana soldiers”, the inscription reads, “the land of Tilinga
[Andhra] suffered terribly without hope of relief, as if it were a forest
engulfed by a rampaging fire”.
work of historian Cynthia Talbot notes that pre-colonial contestation saw new
Hindu leaders “draw on earlier Brahmin images of the struggle against demons
and the godless, while the Central Asian Turks could present their activities
within the paradigm of the Islamic jihad”.
Dale’s scholarship work shows how ideas of jihad and martyrdom defined what he
calls a cultural-ideological “Islamic frontier” along the Malabar coast. In
their imagination, the Islamic State’s southern recruits are inheritors of a
glorious tradition of resistance.
and access to opportunity—particularly in the Persian Gulf—have engendered
unprecedented affluence among south India’s Muslims. This new Muslim
middle-class, though, is yet to be integrated within its wider social milieu;
discrimination in housing and access to opportunity remain widespread.
Traditions mediating the relationships between religious communities have disintegrated—and
in their place, a kind of uneasy apartheid emerged.
Hindu nationalism could threaten their fragile, recent gains, south Indian
Muslims have responded by severing their relationship with the local, and
seeking refuge in a wider, global religious identity. The adoption of the
all-enveloping abaya; the borrowing of West Asian cultural practices and
customs; the growing influence of neo-fundamentalist televangelism: these are
all symptoms of a wider malaise.
is an ideal enabling environment for political Islam—an ideology that, at its
core, posits that the religion and a secular, democratic order are
irreconcilable. India’s politics and culture need to find a language with which
to engage—and break—this cycle of hate.
2006, Ibrahim Suleiman al-Rubaish was repatriated to Saudi Arabia from
Guantanamo Bay after he’d served more than five years as an enemy combatant for
training with al Qaeda, and fighting alongside the Taliban in Afghanistan
against the United States. Released as part of the Obama administration’s plans
to shutter the offshore prison, Rubaish was admitted to Riyadh’s rather
lackluster “deradicalization” program.
sometime in 2009, he escaped the program
and Saudi Arabia with 11 other jihadists.
They all turned up in Yemen and Rubaish soon emerged as the mufti, or
Islamic jurist, for al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) where he spent the
next six years appearing in propaganda videos for the group’s media outlet
Al-Malahem, as well as releasing a number of fatwas and articles for other al
Qaeda outlets including the English-language Inspire magazine.
was killed in a U.S. drone strike in Yemen in 2015. But his ideas and legacy live on through his
sermons and speeches, still hosted on Facebook and YouTube.
is joined in digital preservation by other leading lights in jihadist
proselytization and virtual recruitment such as Abu Mus’ab al-Suri, the
strategist behind the expansion of al Qaeda into Yemen, who helped invent
what’s now commonly known as the “lone-wolf” terror attack; Nasir al-Wuhayshi,
the leader of AQAP and the second-in command to Ayman al-Zawahiri, al Qaeda’s
global head; and Anwar al-Awlaki, the main cleric for AQAP who is considered by
counterterrorism experts to be, even from beyond the grave, one of the primary
drivers of those lone-wolf attacks.
together, Rubaish, Suri, Wuhayshi and Awlaki can still be found in 105 videos
on both social media platforms, despite corporate avowals that this stuff was
fast becoming a thing of the past. Yet we identified the videos through simple
searches in Arabic using only the names of these prominent jihadists.
a minimum, this demonstrates that Silicon Valley’s much-touted
counter-extremism policies—now being applied to fascist and neo-Nazi
content—aren’t using rigorous enough standards in classifying terrorist
indoctrination materials; or they’ve simply reached the limits of what their
algorithms or human monitors can handle in languages other than English. Or
videos we uncovered are primarily speeches given by Rubaish, Suri, Wuhayshi and
Awlaki over the last several years, all devoted to jihadist strategy and
theology, spread through individual users as well as public pages and groups.
All told, the 105 videos have garnered more than 190,000 views. Of the al Qaeda quartet only one still has a
dedicated Facebook page with 46 videos uploaded for public viewing.
yesterday, Facebook said it was looking into the videos that we highlighted on
its platform; YouTube did not respond to our queries in time for publication.
lessons in jihad, many of them recorded in the early 2000s, were focused on the
key points from his playbook, Global Islamic Resistance Call. They total some
five hours and 45 minutes of footage on the virtual shrine to him still visible
on Mark Zuckerberg’s software.
most-watched video is his half-hour history on the invasions and subsequent
injustices that the Muslim world has faced; it seems to have been recorded
somewhere in Europe, as he refers to the “Christian world here in Europe.” Suri
has Spanish citizenship and between 1994 and 1996 he lived in the London suburb
of Neasden. Following the London bombings of 2005, he released a statement
praising the selection of mass transit as a major, legitimate soft target.
is arguably al Qaeda’s foremost dialectician; Suri sought to encourage anyone
with the will and means to commits acts of terror to do so in order to
precipitate a backlash against Muslims in Europe, pushing them into the arms
of the jihadists. This strategy has
indeed succeeded, perhaps more than Suri ever anticipated.
being captured by Pakistan authorities, Suri was supposedly the “ghost
prisoner” in a secret U.S. detention facility before being rendered to Syria
and was then rumored to have been released from prison by the Assad regime
sometime in 2012. His whereabouts remain unknown.)
claimed last year to have removed 99 percent of “terror content” before it was
reported by third parties. In the first three months of 2019, YouTube said it
removed 89,968 videos that violated its violent extremism policy.
of the most prevalent results of this cull is the scraping of Awlaki content in
both Arabic and English. The name of the AQAP cleric used to yield 40,000 hits
on YouTube. Today, both Facebook and YouTube have managed to eliminate most of
them—but not all. We identified seven Awlaki speeches across both platforms, in
Arabic. One, a gauzy depiction of the afterlife, which also glorifies Awlaki’s
time on earth and his demise by American drone strike in Yemen in 2011, has
been viewed 4,400 times since January.
in the New Mexico and once platformed by U.S. authorities as an exponent of
moderate Islam, Awlaki’s message is essentially that true Islam is incapable of
being practiced or espoused in the U.S. and thus this serves as a justification
for holy war against the country and its interests. The video has been shared
23 times across the platform; the comments are wholly supportive. (Awlaki’s
also proved impossible to suppress in English. In the past two years, a number
of YouTube accounts have been posting his lectures in his native tongue via two
primary playlists, collectively composed of 174 videos. These playlists even
highlight their banned status on YouTube to excite further interest, which
seems to have worked: collectively they’ve been viewed 300,000 times.)
has traditionally been a boom business for jihadists for an obvious reason:
it’s an incredibly easy way for non-state actors to cross state boundaries in
milliseconds and radicalize and recruit new followers without even meeting
speeches were instrumental in coaxing Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab, who visited
the cleric in Yemen while still an engineering student at University College
London, to try to detonate a bomb sewn into his underwear while onboard a plane
to Detroit in 2009. Suri was linked to the 2004 Madrid train bombers, and his
work has inspired those in ISIS to call for “lone wolf” attacks in the West. Rubaish
agitated for killing anyone who insults the Prophet. AQAP later took
responsibility for operationalizing the Charlie Hebdo massacre in Paris.
that’s why Facebook and YouTube have submitted to government pressure to scrub
their sites of radical content. Yet it’s evidently easier to play Whac-A-Mole
in English than in Arabic, the lingua franca of jihad. If social media
companies are to make good on their counter-extremism policy, they’ll need a
more comprehensive—and polyglot—approach.
foreign minister said on Twitter on Thursday that US President Donald Trump’s
view that a conflict with Iran would be a “short war” was an illusion and that
his threat of “obliteration” amounted to threatening “genocide.”
crime,” Mohammad Javad Zarif said on Twitter “‘Short war’ with Iran is an
endanger peace @realDonaldTrump:
Sanctions aren't alternative to war; they ARE war
"Short war" with Iran is an illusion
Whoever begins war will not be the one ending it
Negotiations and threats are mutually exclusive
PM - Jun 27, 2019
Ads info and privacy
people are talking about this
said on Wednesday he was “not talking boots on the ground” should he take
military action against Iran, adding that “I’m just saying if something would
happen, it wouldn’t last very long.” He threatened on Tuesday to obliterate
parts of Iran if it attacked “anything American.”
negotiate means to surrender,” ultra-conservative senior Iranian cleric
Ayatollah Ahmad Khatami said on Thursday, claiming that the US President is
“desperate” to bring Iran to the negotiating table to win the next presidential
elections, semi-official Fars news agency reported.
to negotiate with America means to surrender, and the people of Iran have
proved they are not ones to surrender,” said the senior member of the Assembly
claimed that US President Donald Trump is “after votes” and knows that he has
to bring Iran to the negotiating table to get votes and show that he succeeded
in making Iran surrender.
criticized calls in favor of negotiations with the US from within Iran and
emphasized that “resistance” will result in “the defeat of the enemies,”
according to Fars.
also criticized the recent US sanctions on Iran’s Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei
and said that sanctioning Khamenei means sanctioning “the entire nation,”
adding that these sanctions will only make Iranians “more determined to pursue
resistance” and will cause more of them to chant “death to America”.
Iran’s Judiciary Chief, Ebrahim Raisi also expressed his opposition to any
Iran-US negotiations, saying that the Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei has
repeatedly explained in his speeches that “negotiations [with the US] have no
benefits for us.”
negotiate means to let go of [our] values and strengths, which we have acquired
through resistance,” said Raisi.
claimed that “the whole world today is saying that Iran has the upper hand.”
added that Iran’s position today “was not obtained through negotiations, but
on the same day, spokesman of the republic’s foreign ministry, Abbas Mousavi
said that the ministry follows an “active resistance” approach to deal with
“hostilities”, according to the Iranian Labour News Agency (ILNA).
and its allies, by simultaneously waging war, economic terrorism, and
psychological war against the people of Iran, intend to target the
forty-year-long resistance of Iranians,” said Mousavi, in a meeting with the
representative of the Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei in the province of West
added that “the foreign ministry, in line with the regime’s policy, follows the
approach of active resistance to confront the hostilities.”
the larger social media platforms step up efforts to purge extremist activity
on their sites, banned users targeted for hate speech and recruitment are
regrouping on smaller, largely unregulated platforms, say experts.
at the Terrorism and Social Media Conference at Swansea University this week
stressed that more research was needed into smaller platforms, but academics
were constrained by lack of collaboration with computer scientists who are able
to design software to effectively and quickly analyse thousands of posts and
fear of reprisals from violent, tech-savvy members of extremist groups.
Krisztina Huszti-Orban, professor of law and research fellow at the Human
Rights Centre of the University of Minnesota, says larger platforms are
struggling to keep up with changing legislation in the myriad national
jurisdictions they operate in.
is frequently impossible for them to comply with all these different
regulations in their operations,” she said.
makers and tech companies are asking: If larger platforms are having issues
keeping on top of extremism on their platforms while respecting the right to
free speech, just how are smaller ones supposed to cope?
different generations are drawn to different apps, so are extremist groups.
Far-right sympathisers and members pushed off mainstream platforms have lately
been drawn to Gab, 8Chan and 4Chan.
from Tech Against Terrorism covering 45,000 URLs since 2014 found half of the
top 50 platforms used by ISIS are small and micro platforms such as Telegram,
kik and Ask.fm. These sites are popular because they allow anonymous sharing of
content and many can host secret channels or groups which only those vetted can
be included in.
as well as being a place content is shared, can often act as a tool to share
content or messaging to a wider audience outside of the platform, said Mohammed
Al Darwish. “Fanboys” take direction from a Telegram group or channel, with
links to share and big-ticket accounts to reply to on Twitter.
will be posting on these groups saying 'let's prepare for our Twitter
...offensive or invasion’,” he said.
Fanboys need to get in touch with the administrator of this telegram channel.
By this way, then they will be given access to a ready activated, ready to use
Twitter account with passwords.”
Watkin, who analysed the migration of far-right group Britain First to Gab
following being banned from Facebook, said that although the group’s following
online has dwindled severely since the move (from 1.8 million followers on
Facebook to 11,000 on Gab), the general theme of moving to less censored
platforms is a worrying one.
need to be mindful of the migration to platforms that are less willing to
censor,” she said, “resulting in the emergence of different harmful images or
more extreme images or images targeting groups that they perhaps weren't doing
so explicitly before.”
need to find out why these [smaller] platforms are not removing this content.
Is it because of their values or is it because they have a lack of expertise
and resources? “
launched in 2016 as an alternative to Twitter, hit the headlines when the Tree
of Life synagogue shooter posted on the site just before he stormed in, killing
11. He had been an active user of the platform before his final message.
some smaller sites are working against extremism on their platforms. Tech
Against Terror cites an example of good practice in its work with JustPaste.it,
a website which became a hub for ISIS users to share content like videos,
images and the group’s magazine anonymously.
is a website run by one man, meaning keeping up with the influx of violent and
extremist content being shared through it can seem a sisyphean task. However,
help from the Global Internet Forum to Counter Terrorism, a coalition formed by
Facebook, Google, Twitter and Microsoft, has helped Mr Zurawek to remove much
of the most dangerous content using hash-sharing.
companies that are part of GIFCT collate and share a database of terrorist
content, which smaller members of the group are welcome, but not obligated to
use. The database currently has over 80,000 visually-distinct images and 8,000
other forums like 8chan and Gab have resisted calls to remove content and ban
down these sites altogether could also prove problematic, Alex
Krasodomski-Jones, director of the Centre for the Analysis of Social Media at
to knock out fringe sites will also create a never-ending game of
whack-a-mole,” he wrote in Time Magazine in May. “8chan itself was set up as a
“free-speech-friendly” alternative to 4chan, which itself grew after Reddit
banned several controversial sections.”
Quinn and Jason Wilson
prominent anti-Islamic extremist whose organisation is being investigated in
Austria over links to the Christchurch shooting suspect has apparently been
permanently excluded from entering the UK.
Sellner, the Austrian leader of Generation Identity, was being excluded on
security grounds and posed a serious threat to the UK’s interests of preventing
social harm and countering extremism, according to a Home Office letter which
has been posted online.
added that Sellner, who was stopped from entering Britain at Stansted airport
last year, was the co-founder and de facto leader of Generation Identity, “an
organisation which actively promotes anti-Islamic and anti-immigration
narratives and directly targets Islamic communities through publicity stunts”.
had been assessed that he was likely to attempt to return to the UK, the letter
stated, to provide support to Generation Identity’s UK branch and undertake
publicity stunts which directly targeted Islamic and immigrant communities.
home secretary, Sajid Javid, had authorised the exclusion order, according to
the letter, which was publicised via Generation Identity’s Telegram channel.
has been subjected to further searches by Austrian police in connection with
the Christchurch shooter, according to Austrian media reports and videos on
Sellner’s YouTube channel.
investigation, which was not mentioned in the Home Office letter, has also
reportedly widened to include Sellner’s US-based partner, Brittany Pettibone,
and her alleged connections with Blair Cottrell, an Australian far-right
Austrian newspaper Die Presse reported on 18 June that two apartments in Vienna
had been searched by the prosecutor’s office in Graz. It has been investigating
Sellner’s connections to the Australian Brenton Tarrant who is on trial for the
murder in March of 51 people in Christchurch, New Zealand.
in two German-language YouTube videos, offered his account of the
investigation. In the first, which he said was before an interview with police,
Sellner said officers had removed devices from his home, and that the reason
was a “strong suspicion of forming a terrorist organisation with Brenton
has previously been denied entry to the UK in the company of at least one other
far-right extremist as they attempted to attend a conference organised by
counterparts in Britain.
and the Hungarian Ábel Bódi were planning to attend the private Generation
Identity conference in London in April last year but were detained at Stansted
was the second time in a month that Sellner had been prevented from entering
the UK by border officials.
was also the ringleader of a “defend Europe” campaign last summer, responsible
for targeting boats attempting to rescue migrants in the Mediterranean.
29-year-old was first connected with Tarrant after it emerged the accused had
made a €1,500 (£1,300) donation to Sellner’s organisation. Die Presse reported
that prosecutors were looking for accounting records and evidence of further
donations from Tarrant to Sellner.
announced on her Twitter account last week that she had been notified she was
under investigation. Pettibone, a prominent far-right YouTube activist, and
Sellner were both refused entry to the UK when they landed at Luton airport in
March last year.
Home Office did not confirm or deny that Sellner had been excluded. A
spokesperson said: “We do not routinely comment on individual cases.”
said the home secretary may exclude an EEA national on the grounds of public
policy, public security or public health if they are considered to pose a
genuine, present and sufficiently serious threat affecting one of the
fundamental interests of society.
and Germany have asserted to the United States that a 2015 nuclear deal with
Iran, which Washington has quit, must be upheld and not jeopardized.
Defense Minister Florence Parly and his German counterpart, Ursula von der
Leyen, made the remarks to acting US Defense Secretary Mark Esper in Brussels
on Thursday, Reuters reported, citing diplomats.
has traveled to the European Union’s capital in his debut foreign trip to rally
support among Washington’s allies in the Western military alliance for the US’s
approach towards the Islamic Republic.
US’s other allies also joined the European duo to demand preservation of the
accord, which is officially known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action
(JCPOA), the diplomats noted.
deal was made between Iran and the P5+1 group of states -- the US, the UK,
France, Russia, and China plus Germany -- in Vienna in July 2015. It lifted
nuclear-related sanctions against Iran, which, in turn, limited its nuclear
though, left the deal last May. It has returned the sanctions ever since and
even begun enforcing new bans against Leader of the Islamic Revolution
Ayatollah Seyyed Ali Khamenei and the Islamic Revolution Guards Corps (IRGC),
Iran’s elite defense force.
landing in Brussels, Esper has said that he wanted to persuade other NATO
allies to force Iran to come back to the negotiating table over its nuclear
need to] have our allies and partners work with us to get Iran to come back to
the negotiating table," Esper said.
Islamic Republic has underlined that it was never the side to leave the deal,
noting that US President Donald Trump’s withdrawal from the nuclear deal
signals that he may renege again on any future talks.
Don’t bedevil NATO in a Persian Gulf war
French defense minister also cautioned the US not to involve the NATO alliance
in any military mission in the Persian Gulf, after Esper said America wanted
its allies to fall in line behind Washington.
need to internationalize this issue,” Esper had said before reaching Brussels.
also told Esper that "dialogue was better than sanctions" in dealing
other defense ministers, including Germany's, also said they would do
everything possible to avoid an escalation.
reportedly told the allies that although the US held Iran responsible for
attacks earlier this month on two tankers in the Sea of Oman, Washington did
not want tensions with Tehran to escalate.
first words were: We don't want to go to war with Iran," one diplomat
however, also said the US “could not tolerate any further incidents,” another
diplomat was cited as saying.
is about the limit [of what the United States will tolerate from Iran], that
nothing more should happen now," the diplomat noted.
this month, the Japanese-owned Kokuka Courageous and Norwegian-owned Front
Altair oil tankers were struck by explosions near the strategic Strait of
Hormuz. Japan’s government said both vessels were carrying “Japanese-related”
has roundly rejected any role in the attacks, which it called suspicious,
asking how could have the country possibly benefited from such an attack while
Japan’s Prime Minister Shinzo Abe was in the Islamic Republic on a historic
incident was followed by another incident last Thursday, when IRGC downed a
trespassing American spy drone.
Iranian forces had warned the aircraft, an RQ-4 Global Hawk, several times
before being forced to bring it down over the southern province of Hormozgan.
officials have tried to spurn numerous instances of evidence Iran has presented
showing that the aircraft was some seven kilometers (4 miles) inside the
Iranian territory when it was brought down.
claims that the drone shot down by Iran was flying over international waters
and had not violated the Iranian airspace. However, the GPS coordinates released
by Iran put the drone eight miles off the country’s coast, inside the 12
nautical miles from the shore, which is Iran's territorial waters.
Muslim ban in the U.S. continues to have a "devastating" impact on
nationals from Iran, Libya, Somalia, Syria, and Yemen, and on their families --
many of whom are U.S. citizens and Green Card holders, a new report revealed.
University’s "Muslim Ban" report was released on Wednesday amid U.S.
administration's efforts to lecture other countries on religious freedom in
U.S. State Department's International Religious Freedom Report released on June
year since the International Religious Freedom Act (IRFA) of 1998, American
officials describe the status of religious freedom in every country in a
politically motivated context, at a time when millions of its own citizens are
oppressed due to their religious choices.
Jan. 27, 2017, only one week after his inauguration, President Donald Trump
issued an executive order titled “Protecting the Nation from Foreign Terrorist
Entry into the United States”, which was immediately labelled a Muslim ban and
denounced by huge swathes of people in the U.S. and across the world.
idea was uttered by Trump for the first time during an election campaign in
December 2015, where he promised a ban on Muslim entry to the U.S., citing a
poll commissioned by a notoriously anti-Muslim organization.
University's Bridge Initiative report said the "poll was methodologically
flawed and reported inflammatory and dubious findings about Muslims in the
United States cannot, and should not, admit those who do not support the
Constitution, or those who would place violent ideologies over American law,”
said the executive order, disrespecting the faith of millions of Muslims in the
U.S., and billions around the world.
than 6 million Muslim-Americans, the second-largest faith group in the country,
who pay their taxes, serve in the army, and contribute to the U.S. economy in
different shapes and forms, were hugely disappointed by the U.S.
administration, and Supreme Court decisions.
June 26, 2018, the Supreme Court ruled 5-4 that the Muslim ban did not violate
the First Amendment of the U.S. Constitution, the president’s authority to
"impose on the entry of" or "suspend the entry of" a
"class" of people.
the justices facing national pressure from religious groups and Democrats in
the country, formalized a process whereby applicants who were denied visas --
or whose visas had been revoked -- could apply for a waiver to travel or
immigrate to the U.S.
criticized the prolonged waiver process at the end of which very few of them,
only 5.1% of the more than 60,000 legal Americans obtaining their waivers.
said the "numbers indicate that the waiver process isn’t much of a process
a sworn affidavit, former consular official Christopher Richardson said that
“there really is no waiver [process]", while another consular official
said the “waiver process is a fraud,” according to the report.
of Muslim ban
analyzing 549 cases impacted by the Muslim ban, report said the process caused
tremendous troubles for the Muslims.
to their indefinite separation, some parents have never met their children.
Some have postponed their weddings, some are prevented from starting a family,
and some have died waiting," said the report.
latest report by the U.S. State Department shows a stunning 91% decrease of all
refugees resettled in the U.S between fiscal years 2016 and 2018.
a press release, Maryland Senator Chris Van Hollen said the “data makes it
abundantly clear that the waiver process is a sham and that the ban has nothing
to do with national security.”
to the report, 38% or 1 in 3 were partners who were separated from each other,
26% or 1 in 4 were children who were separated from parents, and 33% or
approximately 1 in 3 applicants experienced at least 2 years of wait time due
to the Muslim ban.
also emphasized U.S.' role in creating instability and violence in countries it
has banned travel freedom.
bears reminding that the U.S. has intervened, militarily or otherwise, in the
Muslim-majority countries listed on Muslim Bans 1.0 to 3.0, whether currently
and/or in the very recent past," said the report.
calls into question the role of the U.S. in directly creating, or facilitating
the conditions that have led to violence and political instability in these
countries," it added.
(Reuters) - U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said during a trip to India on
Wednesday that he remained hopeful that neighboring Pakistan would chose the
"right course" in cracking down on Islamist fundamentalists.
United States and Britain have long urged Pakistan to deal with militant
groups. India alleges that Pakistan, its arch-enemy, had a hand in a suicide
bombing that nearly sparked a full-blown conflict earlier this month.
has consistently denied playing any role.
an interview with broadcaster India Today, Pompeo said he had discussed
Pakistan in his meetings in New Delhi on Wednesday.
think this administration has been very clear to Pakistan our expectation. They
cannot be supporting terror, whether that is cross-border terror between
Afghanistan or Pakistan or whether it's terror that emanates from Pakistan and
comes to this country," Pompeo said.
said the Trump administration had taken the threat from Pakistan "far more
seriously" than the administration of former president Barack Obama.
still have a lot of work to do. But as a diplomat I always remain hopeful that
Pakistan will choose the right course. I think for the Pakistani people it is
the best outcome," Pompeo added.
claimed a diplomatic victory in May when a U.N. Security Council committee
blacklisted the head of the Pakistan-based militant group Jaish-e-Mohammed
(JeM), Masood Azhar.
group claimed responsibility for a February suicide bombing that killed at
least 40 Indian paramilitary police in the Indian-controlled part of the
disputed Kashmir region, an attack that brought the nuclear-armed neighbors
close to war.
maintains that the insurgency in the disputed region is being fought by Muslim
separatists from India's side of Kashmir.
said Azhar's case had been discussed, but he declined to be drawn into
specifics on other individuals.
to say we know precisely who these bad actors are," Pompeo said.
the urban-rural and gender divides, unemployment rates vary among religious
groups. This emerges out of data in the Periodic Labour Force Survey (PLFS) for
2017-18, presented in Lok Sabha on Thursday by the Ministry for Minority
Affairs in reply to a question.
ministry tabled religion-wise figures for four major religious groups —
Hinduism, Islam, Christianity and Sikhism — for both genders and in rural and
urban India. Earlier during the ongoing budget session, the Ministry for Labour
and Employment had presented the all-India unemployment rates from the 2017-18
PLFS — 5.8% for rural male, 3.8% for rural female, 7.1% for urban male, and
10.8% for urban female.
his question Thursday, MP Prasun Banerjee also asked whether the government has
any plans for minority employment. Minority Affairs Minister Mukhtar Abbas
Naqvi replied that most of the Centre’s socio-economic and educational
empowerment programmes are meant for the poor and downtrodden sections, and the
minorities are getting equally benefited.
added that his ministry has adopted a strategy to enhance the employability of
notified minorities (Muslims, Sikhs, Christians, Buddhists, Parsis, Jains)
through various schemes aimed at educational empowerment, employment-oriented
skill development etc. His reply listed a number of these schemes.
victim to strained relations between India and Pakistan for second year in a
row, the annual Chamliyal mela on the international border in Jammu and
Kashmir’s Ramgarh sector on Thursday too, was celebrated without the exchange
of traditional Shakkar (soil) and Sharbat (water) from the shrine of Baba Dalip
Singh with the neighbouring country.
hasn’t been any formal communication between Pakistan Rangers and the BSF on
this year’s Chamliyal Mela,” said a senior BSF official. As no delegation came
from Pakistan, there was no exchange of Chhadar, Shakkar and Sharbat between
the two sides, he added.
year, while Pakistani Rangers did not bring Chhadar for the shrine of Baba
Dalip Singh, their Indian counterpart too did not send Shakkar and Sharbat to
devotees across the border. However, a nearly 70-year-old practice since 1947
partition was suspended for the first time in 2018 in the wake of tension
between the two countries following the snipping of four BSF soldiers including
an Assistant Commandant by Pakistani Rangers in the area a week before the
thousands of devotees on the Indian side paid obeisance at the shrine of Baba
Chamliyal during the day. Revered by Hindus and Muslims on both sides of the
international border, the legend is that Baba’s real name was Dalip Singh
Manhas and he lived over 300 years ago on the outskirts of a village Saidawali,
now in Pakistan. As his popularity grew, his opponents beheaded him during the
night and buried him.
partition, the place where he was killed was handed to Pakistan along with the
Saidawali village, while the place where his body was buried remained with
India. His devotees believe that the soil and water from the area around his
shrine have medicinal value and if applied can cure skin ailments.
Waqf Board chairman and AAP MLA Amanatullah Khan Thursday said the panel will
give Rs 5 lakh and a job to the wife of 24-year-old Tabrez Ansari who was
lynched in Jharkhand.
was allegedly tied to a pole and thrashed with sticks by a mob in the state’s
Seraikela-Kharsawan district last Wednesday on the suspicion of theft and he
succumbed to injuries on Saturday. He was seen in a video being forced to chant
“Jai Shri Ram” and “Jai Hanuman”. The
waqf board chairman also said they will help Ansari’s wife get legal aid.
are trying to send a cheque of Rs 5 lakh to Tabrez’s wife. I may also go there
to handover the cheque to her. We will also give her a job at the waqf board
and provide her legal help,” Khan told PTI.
The terror suspect arrested by the National Investigation Agency in
Doddaballapura on Tuesday has told interrogators that he and an accomplice were
asked by their masters to train themselves in making improvised explosive devices
(IEDs) and hand over the bombs to some individuals in Kerala, said sources in
NIA is yet to unravel the duo’s Kerala links or the ‘masters’ who were giving
them instructions. Acting on the revelations of Habibur Rehman SK alias Habibur
SK alias Sheikh alias Habibur Kabore Shaik, NIA sleuths, in coordination with Bengaluru
police, on Wednesday recovered two IEDs in a drain at Ramanagara.
to statements made by Habibur, he and co-accused Jahidul Islam were directed by
their ‘masters’ to get trained in bomb-making. NIA sleuths had arrested Jahidul
from his Ramanagara residence last August for his alleged involvement in the Bodh
Gaya blast in January 2018, which left two monks injured.
was arrested in connection with an explosion at Khagragarh in Burdwan district,
West Bengal, on October 2, 2014, that claimed lives of his two associates.
Habibur and Jahidul tried their best to prepare bombs using local material, but
failed. Their plans were thwarted when NIA arrested them from Ramanagara in
August 2018,” NIA sources said.
suspects Habibur lived in Channapatna while Jahidul was in neighbouring
Ramanagara, and the duo worked in co-ordination. After Jahidul’s arrest,
Habibur shifted his base. They believe Habibur or someone close to him may have
dumped the IEDs in the drain before leaving the spot.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Friday held bilateral talks with Crown Prince
of Saudi Arabia Mohammed bin Salman and discussed deepening cooperation in
trade and investment, energy security and counter-terrorism with the
"invaluable strategic partner" in Osaka.
who is in Japan for the G20 Summit, met with the Saudi Prince on the margins of
the summit after the informal BRICS leaders' meeting.
Arabia is India's top supplier of crude oil but the two countries have expanded
their relationship beyond energy, and their governments have agreed to build a
invaluable strategic partner. PM @narendramodi met with Crown Prince of Saudi
Arabia Mohammed bin Salman Al Saud on the margins of the #G20. Discussed
deepening cooperation in trade & investment, energy security, counter
terrorism, among other areas," External affairs ministry spokesperson
Raveesh Kumar said in a tweet.
invaluable strategic partner. PM @narendramodi met with Crown Prince of Saudi
Arabia Mohammed bin Salman Al Sa… https://t.co/HRWvCy87J1
Raveesh Kumar (@MEAIndia) 1561692195000
Prince Salman, who is also the Gulf nation's defence minister, visited India in
February on his first official visit to the country.
his visit, India strongly raised the issue of Pakistan-sponsored terrorism and
discussed deepening cooperation in counter-terrorism.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Friday said that terrorism is the biggest
threat to humanity which not only kills innocents but also severely affects the
economic development and social stability.
at the informal BRICS leaders' meeting in Osaka, Modi said that there is a need
to stop all the mediums of support to terrorism and racism.
is the biggest threat to humanity. It not only kills innocents but also
severely affects the economic development and social stability," he said.
Complete coverage of G20 Summit
Prime Minister, who is in Osaka for the G20 Summit, congratulated Jair
Bolsonaro on being elected as the President of Brazil and welcomed him in the
also congratulated Cyril Ramaphosa on his election as the President of South
Africa as the BRICS (Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa) leaders met
on the sidelines of the G20 Summit Osaka. In his remarks, Modi spoke about
strengthening the WTO, fighting protectionism, ensuring energy security and the
need to work together to fight terrorism.
I will focus on the three major challenges. First is the instability and
downfall in the global economy. Unilateralism and competitiveness are
overshadowing the rule-based mutilateral global trade systems.
of resources, there is a shortfall of almost $1.3 trillion investment in the
infrastructure," he said.
second one is to make development sustainable and all-inclusive. Fast changing
technologies like digitalisation and climate change pose a challenge to the
current as well as future generations, Modi said.
One terrorist was killed and another injured after members of Islamic State’s
J&K chapter and Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT) clashed among themselves at two
places following an altercation over an AK47 rifle in Anantnag on Wednesday.
body of IS terrorist Adil Rehman Dar was found in Sirhama village of Bijbehara
on Thursday while an injured colleague of his, Arif Bhat, was arrested from a
village in Anantnag, police said.
had joined LeT last year and he recently switched his allegiance to IS. The LeT
terrorists claimed the AK47 rifle that he was using belonged to their group,
police sources said.
extremists are threatening to burn Australian women and children alive after
eight children were rescued from Syria.
eight orphans were transported to Iraq on Sunday in a secret operation
organised by the Australian government.
around 50 Australians are still stranded at al-Hawl and are now being looked at
as traitors by Islamic State loyalists, who remain active at the refugee
suggest the remaining Australians have been intimidated and threatened with
horrific violence as a result of Sunday's evacuation, according to The
The Children international policy director Matt Tinkler told the publication:
'Since the extraction, the risks for the 50 or so children and women who remain
in the camps may have heightened.
from the camp are that those remaining are being threatened and intimidated.'
said the majority of those who remain are sick children and pregnant women who
have 'no place in a war zone'.
International is calling for more Australians to be returned because they are
starving, without water and are constantly threatened with violence in camps.
60 Australian daughters, mothers, sisters, brothers and cousins remain trapped
in this desperate part of Syria,' Amnesty's Australia refugee coordinator
Graham Thom said in a statement.
Australian government must do all in its powers to return all Australians who
remain trapped in these camps.'
the Children are also calling for the return of more families.
those recused on Sunday were three orphaned children of Sydney terrorist Khaled
Sharrouf, two of his grandchildren and three orphaned children of Yasin Rizvi.
eldest daughter Zaynab, 18, was one of those evacuated from the refugee camp,
and gave birth to a daughter on Monday night, The Australian reported.
birth comes after Zaynab and her two siblings were reunited with their
grandmother, Karen Nettleton - who travelled from her home in Sydney to Syria
earlier this year to find the children.
was married when she was just 13, and gave birth to Ayesha three years ago, who
she shares with Australian-born ISIS fighter Mohamed Elomar, her father
Khaled's best friend.
was later killed, and Zaynab went on to marry another Islamic State militant -
with whom she had a second child.
the defeat of ISIS last year, the three surviving children were taken to the
Kurdish-controlled camp in northern Syria.
most recent birth means the Sharrouf children can come back to Australia
earlier than expected, as authorities were waiting for Zaynab to have the baby
before bringing them home.
news of their return comes after their grandmother tracked down her three
surviving grandchildren to the al-Hawl refugee camp in Syria in March.
finally found her grandchildren at the squalid campground of more than 70,000
refugees after desperately trying to bring them home for five years.
won't let babies under one-week-old fly, so the family will stay in Iraq for
the time being.
three children will be DNA tested to determine she is their mother, to make
sure they're eligible Australian citizens.
her three siblings, her two daughters, and three children of Melbourne extremist
Yasin Rizvic - who travelled to Syria in 2014 - were taken out of the camp.
was a Bosnian-born ISIS fighter, who was killed along with his wife and their
in NSW and Victoria will work with the children to get them back into society.
Minister Scott Morrison on Monday said the children should not be punished for
the crimes of their parents.
Australian Federal Police will debrief the children upon their return home,
before they're settled by the Department of Family and Community Service, The
must be in ‘driver’s seat’ for Syria reconstruction: human rights group
Western donors must ensure that humanitarian aid and any future reconstruction
assistance in Syria do not fuel repression or benefit “cronies” of President
Bashar Assad, Human Rights Watch (HRW) said on Friday.
Syrian government has kept tight controls on the aid flow into the country
throughout its eight-year civil war, often depriving civilians in opposition
areas of supplies while favoring loyalists, according to New York-based HRW.
authorities have denied using starvation tactics as a weapon of war or
diverting aid to government-held areas.
Human Rights Watch, in a report based on interviews with aid workers and
experts, said that UN and other aid agencies had been forced into complicity in
selective distributions in order to access some areas.
must be in the “driver’s seat” now that Assad has all but won the war and
millions of Syrian refugees consider returning to their homeland where
one-third of the infrastructure has been destroyed, the report said.
Syrian government has proven to be “a master of manipulation when it comes to
aid,” Kenneth Roth, executive director of Human Rights Watch, told Reuters.
is an important moment...because it is a moment when the Syria government is
also begging the West for billions (of dollars) of new funds for reconstruction
aid. So, the problems that we have seen are going to recur in spades if there
is not a serious effort to address them.”
United States and European Union say they cannot provide aid for reconstruction
in Syria without a political transition and end to a war that has killed
hundreds of thousands.
economies of Syria’s main allies Russia and Iran are hurting, Roth said. “So, I
don’t see other big sources of funds. They are going to be Western funds which
gives the Western donors some leverage which we hope that they will exercise.”
— An airstrike hit an ambulance in northwest Syria on Wednesday, killing two
members of the opposition’s Syrian Civil Defense and wounding four others in
the last major rebel stronghold in the country, Civil Defense and opposition
Civil Defense, also known as White Helmets, said the attack happened in the
town of Khan Sheikhoun, which has been repeatedly attacked over the past weeks.
group said the latest deaths raise to 262 the number of Civil Defense members
who have been killed since Syria’s civil war began eight years ago.
incident comes a week after two ambulance workers were killed in the nearby
village of Maaret al-Numan.
Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said that in addition to the
two Civil Defense members, eight other civilians were killed in Idlib province.
state media reported that insurgents shelled the government-held village of
Karnaz, killing one child.
news agency SANA said government forces bombarded “positions and movements” of
al-Qaida-linked militants who control large parts of Idlib.
government forces launched an offensive against the rebel-held territory in
late April, leading to the collapse of a cease-fire negotiated by Turkey and
Russia last year.
(Kurdistan 24) – Counterterrorism units linked to the US-backed Syrian
Democratic Forces (SDF) arrested five members of the so-called Islamic State
among sleeper cells in Raqqa and Manbij, a senior official said on Wednesday.
Bali, the head of the SDF press office in northeast Syria, wrote on Twitter
that counterterrorism units had detained the five Islamic State members in “two
separate successful raids in Raqqa and Manbij countryside.”
units (YAT) arrested 5 members of Daesh’s sleeper cells in two separate
successful raids in Raqqa and Manbij countrysides.
PM - Jun 26, 2019
people are talking about this
units had also recently arrested four Islamic State sleeper cells in the
Hasakah province, including Abu Bashir, a senior Islamic State leader on June
authorities thank the citizens of the town for their cooperation and for
remaining indoors while the operation was carried out,” Bali said at the time.
SDF official called on citizens to report criminal activity in their areas to
the local Kurdish-led forces.
roadmap published by the US-led coalition for the defeat of the Islamic State
following a meeting of senior coalition officials in Paris on Tuesday also
underlined the threat of active sleeper cells.
Islamic State “has used its active cells in the region to attack our partners
and the civilian populations both in Iraq and in Syria where we have recently
seen an increase of [ISIS] attacks in the Levant,” the joint statement said.
is a major concern for the entire Coalition, as it puts at risk key military
gains and the stability necessary for recovery.”
the SDF and the US-led coalition announcing the defeat of the terror group’s
self-proclaimed caliphate on March 23, Islamic State sleeper cell attacks
continue in Arab-majority areas that were liberated from the militants.
US-led coalition confirmed that although a territorial defeat had been
achieved, “the job to ensure a lasting defeat of [ISIS] is still to be done.”
leadership in the Kurdistan Region has also warned of the Islamic State’s
continued threat in both Syria and Iraq.
a meeting on June 18 with the Commanding General for Special Forces of the
US-led coalition, Major General Patrick Roberson, Kurdistan Regional Government
(KRG) Prime Minister-designate Masrour Barzani highlighted that threat.
two underlined that although the Islamic State’s physical presence has been
reversed, it “still presents threats in Iraq and Syria and has the capacity to
A. Heras, a Fellow at the Center for a New American Security (CNAS), said the
Islamic State’s intelligence branch is following a deliberate policy of seeding
its local Syrian operatives throughout northern and eastern Syria after the
defeat of its caliphate.
ISIS strategy now is to make it very difficult for the Coalition and the SDF to
provide security, govern, and provide administration after ISIS,” Heras told
said that Islamic State agents continue to form sleeper cells that “were kept
secret even from most of the ISIS leadership.”
(Kurdistan 24) – An improvised explosive device (IED) targeted an Iraqi Federal
Police patrol unit in western Kirkuk Province on Tuesday, killing one officer
and injuring four others in the blast, local media reported.
incident occurred in the al-Rashad subdistrict of Kirkuk Province, one security
source reportedly said, adding that the police had surrounded the area and
transported the wounded personnel to the nearest hospital for medical
treatment, according to Alsumaria.
Monday, the Iraqi security communications center, Security Media Cell (SMC),
announced in a statement the arrest of an alleged leader of the Islamic State
group in central Kirkuk city, in the al-Wahda neighborhood, located about 40
kilometers northeast of the location of the bombing.
security situation in Kirkuk—a territory disputed between the Kurdistan
Regional Government (KRG) and the Iraqi government—has remained precarious
despite the territorial collapse of the Islamic State in Iraq over a year ago.
The group continues to wage an insurgency in areas with weak security and
little cooperation between security forces, threatenening the livelihoods of
with bombings and kidnappings in recent months, the region was also hit by
brush fires that engulfed agricultural lands, a significant portion of which
belong to Kurdish farmers, and for a number of which the Islamic State claimed
Arabic-language al-Watan newspaper quoted special sources as saying on Thursday
that a new group of nearly 665 civilians who had been taken hostage by the US
and its affiliated terrorists at al-Rukban were transferred to the Syrian
army-controlled regions through Jaliqam passageway in Eastern Homs.
warned of the critical conditions of the camp, saying that residents of
al-Rukban have been suffering an acute shortage of flour and formula for
infants for several weeks, adding that they can rarely find these two
commodities by paying a large amount of money.
US-backed terrorists stationed in al-Rukban prevent humanitarian convoys from
entering the camp.
a relevant development earlier this month, hundreds of civilians escaped from
al-Rukban Refugee Camp in al-Tanf region of Homs province.
500 refugees incarcerated by the US-backed militants in al-Rukban Camp in
al-Tanf region in Eastern Homs opened their way to escape from the camp,
said that tens of Syrian families most of them women and children managed to
flee al-Rukban Camp controlled by the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) for areas
under the Syrian Army control through Jaliqam crossing.
said that the exit of the civilians came after terrorists sought to block their
departure from the camp.
person was killed and at least 24 wounded when bombs hit two crowded passenger
buses in Iraq’s oil-rich city of Kirkuk on Thursday, officials said.
two devices exploded as the buses drove through the city center around 7 p.m.
(1600 GMT), police sources told Reuters.
was no immediate claim of responsibility, but Iraq’s military called the blasts
an “act of terrorism.”
has mounted a series of hit-and-run attacks aimed at undermining the
declared victory over the militants in December 2017, but they have regrouped
in the Hemrin mountain range in the northeast, which extends from Diyala
province on the border with Iran across northern Salahuddin province and into
Tuesday, four Iraqi federal policemen were killed after a bomb went off
southwest of Kirkuk, two security sources told Reuters.
have stormed the Bahraini embassy compound in Baghdad in protest against a
conference held in the Gulf nation.
Iraqi security official, who spoke on condition of anonymity in line with
regulations, said the protesters stayed in the garden on Thursday and did not
storm the offices inside the compound.
said security forces opened fire in the air to disperse the protesters and
reinforcements are on the way to Bagdad’s western neighborhood of Mansour.
two-day workshop in Bahrain that ended Wendesday was to promote the Trump
administration’s $50 billion economic support plan for the Palestinians ahead
of a Mideast peace plan to be announced later.
is home to Iran-backed militias and the embassy attack comes amid tensions
between the United States and Iran in the Middle East.
recalls Ambassador from Iraq
Bahrain Ministry of Foreign Affairs condemned the attack on the embassy
building. “The Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Kingdom of Bahrain condemns
the attack on the Embassy of the Kingdom of Bahrain to the Republic of Iraq by
the demonstrators (which) led to sabotage in the embassy building,” a statement
on the ministry's website said.
Foreign Ministry said it has decided to recall Salah Ali Al Malki, the Bahraini
Ambassador to Iraq, for consultations and to hold the Iraqi government fully
responsible for protecting the Bahraini Embassy and Consulate and all of its
employees in accordance with the 1961 Vienna Convention on diplomatic
Iraqi government condemned the protesters, and expressed “its deep regret” over
the security breach at the embassy.
Mahmood and Mina Aldroubi
capture of the ISIS leader in Yemen resulted from the arrest of an Al Qaeda
leader weeks earlier and will lead to many more similar operations, an adviser
to Yemen’s defence minister said on Wednesday.
and Yemeni special forces seized Abu Osama Al Muhajer as well as the ISIS
financial controller and other local members of the terror group in a raid on
June 3, the Arab military coalition fighting rebels in Yemen said on Tuesday.
Yahya Abu Hatem told The National the success of the operation was largely due
to the arrest of senior Al Qaeda member Bilal Muhammed Ali Al Wafi on May 18.
Wafi was captured by government forces in the mountainous area of Habashi in
the southern province of Taez. The US designated Al Wafi as a terrorist in
capture Bilal Al Wafi led to the arrest of Abu Osama Al Muhajer, especially
because he was linked to many terrorist attacks across the country,” Gen Abu
coalition did not reveal where the ISIS members were captured but Gen Abu Hatem
suspected they were seized in Al Mahrah province in south-eastern Yemen.
is confirmed is that he is a bank of information through which the Yemeni
government and the Arab coalition will be able to attack ISIS in Yemen,” he
Muhajer will be able to “reveal the people who supported ISIS, whether local or
external, the way they smuggled their weapons and the connection between the
Houthis and ISIS”, Gen Abu Hatem said. “All will be revealed in the next few
Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula, the Yemeni branch of the terror group, has been
operating in the country much longer than ISIS, which established a presence in
2014 as Yemen was descending into civil war. Both groups took advantage of the
insurgency by the Houthi rebels to expand their influence.
Arab coalition, which intervened in the war in 2015 to help the government
fight the Houthis, has also been helping to counter both terror groups.
coalition, together with Yemeni government and army, has fought terror cells in
Hadramawt, Shabwa, Lahj, Abyan provinces and will continue until Al Qaeda and
ISIS are defeated in the country, Gen Abu Hatem said.
fight against terror is not over, each of these militia groups are supporting
each other; there are many other intelligence operations that are going to
launch across the country,” he said.
strikes against ISIS in Aden, Shabwa and Hadramawt over the past two years have
led to the fracturing of the group, Yemeni political analyst AbdulKhaliq Al
Hood told The National.
has resulted in the unprecedented arrests of many of their leaders such as Al
Muhajer,” Mr Al Hood said.
has launched several deadly attacks since it was formed, including the March
2015 suicide bombings at two Shiite mosques in the capital, Sanaa, that killed
137 people. The group also assassinated the governor of the southern port city
of Aden in 2015.
Yemen, June 26 (Xinhua) -- Unknown gunmen blew up Yemen's major gas export
pipeline on Wednesday evening, a government official told Xinhua, just two days
following similar attacks on the oil pipeline in the war-torn Arab country.
government source, who asked to remain anonymous, said that the explosion
occurred in Radhum district of Shabwa province and sabotaged the pipeline
linking between Yemen's gas-producing Marib province and the export terminal of
confirmed that the explosion set up fire that could be seen from several miles
explosion came just two days after similar attacks on the oil pipeline in the
government-controlled province of Shabwa.
government forces are in charge of securing the country's main gas pipeline and
other oil pipelines in Shabwa.
last year, oil production and export were resumed in Shabwa, following years of
unrest that forced oil companies in the province to stop their operations.
groups have so far claimed responsibility for blowing up the gas pipeline, but
previous similar attacks in the region were claimed by al-Qaida militants or
boasts five sectors of crude oil production, which produces about 15,000
barrels per day.
Palestinian attacker was shot dead by police in east Jerusalem on Thursday,
according to Palestinian ministry sources.
President Donald Trump may visit Turkey in July, Turkey’s President Recep Tayip
Erdogan said in an interview in Japan where he will attend the G20 summit and
is expected to meet with his American counterpart.
have been rising between the United States and NATO ally Turkey over the
latter’s purchase of the S-400 air defense system from Russia.
could face sanctions under US law and risks losing its partnership and delivery
of F-35 fighter jets.
if he thinks he can persuade Trump not to impose sanctions on Turkey, Erdogan
told Nikkei newspaper on Thursday: “I believe my meeting with US President
Trump during the G-20 summit will be important for eliminating the deadlock in
our bilateral relations and strengthening our cooperation.”
said: “Besides, a visit by Mr. Trump to Turkey in July is being talked about.”
reiterated that Ankara would not back down from its purchase of the Russian
system and said he had not heard anything from Trump regarding sanctions.
have already paid them $1.25 billion for the F-35 project. If they do make such
a wrong move, we will take it to the international arbitration court because we
will want them to pay us back the money we have spent so far,” he told the
spokesperson of the Arab Coalition said forces were able to intercept and down
a drone in Yemeni airspace after it was launched by the Houthis north of Sanaa
toward Saudi Arabia.
Coalition spokesperson Col. Turki al-Maliki said that the interception of the
drone took place at 10:20 pm local time.
Houthi terrorists continue to launch drones to carry out hostile and terrorist
acts by targeting civilians and public facilities, and that none of their
targets have been achieved. They have been destroyed and shot down,” al-Maliki
said in a statement carried out by Saudi Press Agency.
senior Hamas official has strongly denounced President Donald Trump’s Middle
East plan, saying the US “deal of the century” conference in Bahrain was doomed
to failure from the very beginning.
Bardawil said Thursday the conference had been “an abortive" attempt and
"a miserable gathering”, which was being led by a bunch of novice US
diplomats such as Jared Kushner, Trump’s son-in-law and senior adviser.
official said the plan, which aimed at eliminating the Palestinian cause,
wouldn’t be able to harm the unshaken “political will and determination of
could such small politicians think they were able to settle the Palestinian
cause using money?” the Hamas official questioned.
also expressed anger and disappointment at some Arab rulers who were furthering
hostile US-Israeli policies against Palestinians by hosting such a summit in
the Palestinian people have already rejected the deal and boycotted the event.
The participants in the two-day meeting, however, ignored a Palestinian call to
shun the workshop.
at the opening of the workshop on Tuesday, Kushner argued that agreeing to an
economic pathway forward was “a necessary precondition” for resolving the
Trump's economic plan, $50 billion would be injected into struggling economies
in the Middle East over the next ten years. Critics say Washington is offering
financial rewards for Palestinians to accept the Israeli occupation.
the Israeli nor Palestinian officials attended the event at Manama's luxury
Four Seasons hotel, where international bureaucrats enjoyed luxury drinks and
delicate pastries, mingling with Arab businessmen sporting gold Rolex watches.
than 1,500 km away in Gaza, where over half of the enclave's two million people
live in poverty, Palestinians criticized the Arabs who attended the event and
sided with the United States and Israel.
the Israeli-occupied West Bank and the Gaza Strip, demonstrators on Wednesday
held the second day of protest rallies.
Palestinian officials say it was Trump who had inflicted further hardship on
Palestinians, cutting hundreds of millions in aid to humanitarian organizations
across the Gaza Strip and the occupied West Bank.
Palestinian negotiator Saeb Erekat said on Tuesday said the US administration
wants to close Palestinian schools and health units in the refugee camps in
Palestine, Jordan and Lebanon.
year, Washington announced an end to all US funding for the UN agency that
assists Palestinian refugees.
leader of Yemen’s Houthi Ansarullah movement has described the recent US-led
conference in Bahrain in support of President Donald Trump’s controversial
proposal for “peace” between the Israeli regime and Palestinians as a
his supporters via a televised speech broadcast live from the Yemeni capital
Sana’a on Thursday evening, Abdul-Malik al-Houthi said the two-day economic
workshop was an act of high treason against the Palestinian cause, emphasizing
that the Yemeni nation fervently supports Palestinians and their struggle for
freedom and statehood.
so-called "Peace to Prosperity" workshop opened in the Bahraini
capital Manama on June 25 and ran through June 26.
Palestinian leadership boycotted the meeting, leading critics to question the
credibility of the event.
then called on Yemenis from all walks of life to preserve unity, censuring
those who are serving the interests of the US administration and the Tel Aviv
regime at the expense of harming and trampling on the rights of innocent
also cautioned the Yemeni nation against the enemies’ plots to wrest their
control over the Arab country, urging them to prevent foes from implementing
are trying to open up rifts among the Yemeni people. They are seeking to cover
up their treason against the nation. Enemies are making use of all available
means in order to serve the interests of the Israeli regime. The Yemeni nation
avidly seeks freedom. They should put up stiff resistance against enemies,” the
Ansarullah chief pointed out.
concluded that the United States is milking certain Arab countries and
exploiting tensions in the Middle East to bolster its regional clout.
Arabia and a number of its regional allies launched a devastating campaign
against Yemen in March 2015, with the goal of bringing the government of former
Yemeni president Abd Rabbuh Mansur Hadi back to power and crushing the Houthi
US-based Armed Conflict Location and Event Data Project (ACLED), a nonprofit
conflict-research organization, estimates that the Saudi-led war has claimed
the lives of over 60,000 Yemenis since January 2016.
JERUSALEM: Palestinian officials breathed a sigh of relief as the controversial
Manama economic workshop — which they considered a failure — ended on Thursday,
but warned against complacency in its aftermath.
Bahrain workshop was an exercise in futility,” said Palestine Liberation
Organization executive committee member Hanan Ashrawi.
called for robust efforts to build on the united stand adopted by Palestinians
in opposition to the US-led conference and the economic plan it promoted, and
to seize the chance to reinvigorate the Palestinian national cause by working
with allies around the world.
need to return to our people and build on the national unity that was
accomplished, through giving the people a chance to cast their vote in general
elections,” she said.
Deputy Premier Ziad Abu Amer echoed Ashrawi’s comments by calling for serious
engagement, in particular with countries that have stood by Palestine.
were not against the economic workshop, had it been done within the context of
a political process that was focused on the two-state solution,” said Amer.
added that Palestinians must build on the unity that Gaza and the West Bank had
witnessed, and engage with the world using a proactive strategy that can
reinforce the consensus coming out of Bahrain.
workshop in Manama showed clearly that you can’t place the cart before the
horse,” he said. “All of us have been involved in track-two diplomacy and we
are convinced that it is futile unless it is a fulfilment of a political
process, and not a precursor to it.”
said that the failure of the Bahrain workshop was due in large part to the steadfastness
of Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas.
Abbas had the courage to stand up and say ‘no’ and this inspired many people
and countries to reject an American process that attempts to circumvent the
two-state solution,” he added.
met Sabastian Pinera, the president of Chile, in Ramallah on Thursday and
presented him with the Medal of Bethlehem. During a joint press conference,
Abbas said that national rights are not real estate property that can be bought
added that the correct political process will require “freedom, dignity,
independence and justice for the Palestinian people.”
he rejected the Bahrain workshop, Abbas said that Palestinians yearn for peace.
A day after the Trump administration wrapped up an international conference
meant to lay the economic foundations for Israeli-Palestinian peace, the
Palestinian premier said it was “divorced from reality” and unlikely to evolve
into a political plan.
billed the two-day workshop in Bahrain as the first stage of its broader
blueprint to resolve the Middle East conflict. US Gulf Arab allies said the
economic initiative had promise if a political settlement is reached.
Palestinian Prime Minister Mohammad Shtayyeh told Reuters on Thursday he felt
the initiative “will not really materialize and it’s not going to go anywhere.”
was just simply a terrible exercise. I think it’s an economic workshop that has
been fully and totally divorced from reality,” he said in his office in the
West Bank city of Ramallah. “(It was) no more than an intellectual exercise.”
Bahrain “Peace to Prosperityt” workshop called for a $50 billion investment
fund to stimulate the Palestinian and neighboring Arab state economies, more
than half to be spent in the Palestinian territories over 10 years.
Palestinian leaders boycotted the conference and are refusing to engage with
the White House — accusing it of pro-Israel bias after US President Donald
Trump recognized Jerusalem as Israel’s capital in 2017. The Palestinians demand
East Jerusalem as the capital of a future state.
political details of the long-delayed plan, which is spearheaded by Trump’s
son-in-law Jared Kushner, remain a secret known only to a handful of people.
and Trump’s Mideast envoy Jason Greenblatt say the political elements will be
unveiled later, possibly after a second snap Israeli election set for
Palestinians fear the Trump team may abandon the “two-state solution,” which
envisages the creation of an independent Palestinian state co-existing
haven’t seen in the paper any reference to (Israeli) occupation, to
settlements, to Palestine, to two states, to 1967 borders, to Jerusalem and so
on,” Shtayyeh said. Of the Israelis, he said: “The debate in Israel today, it’s
very unfortunate that it is not between those who want to end occupation and
those who want to maintain occupation. The debate in Israel today is between
those who want to maintain the status quo and those who want to annex certain
parts of the West Bank.”
captured the West Bank, East Jerusalem and the Gaza Strip in the 1967 Middle
East war, territories where the Palestinians now seek statehood.
before an Israeli election in April, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu pledged
to annex Jewish settlements in the West Bank if he won.
a member of Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas’s Fatah faction, was named in
March to replace Rami Al-Hamdallah, who had spearheaded reconciliation efforts
with Fatah’s principal internal rival, the Islamist Hamas, which rules Gaza.
doubt the economist Shtayyeh’s grasp of financial issues facing the Palestinian
Authority (PA), which exercises limited self-rule in the West Bank. He formerly
headed PECDAR, the Palestinian Economic Council for Development and
he inherited a government squeezed by steep US aid cuts, the crisis exacerbated
by a political dispute with Israel over the withholding of some 5 percent of
the approximately $190 million monthly tax revenues that Israel transfers to
the Palestinian Authority.
mounting financial pressures on the PA have sent its debt soaring to $3
billion, and led to a severe contraction in its estimated $13 billion GDP
economy, according to the PA’s top central banker.
said the fundamental economic problem was Israel’s continuing occupation of the
West Bank, which meant Palestinians “don’t control our borders, we don’t
control our entry points, our exit points, and we have no control of our land.”
current financial crisis, he said, had been exacerbated by the tax dispute with
said the sum it is withholding is to match stipends sent by the PA to families
of Palestinian militants in Israeli jails, payments Israel says encourage
PA has refused to accept any tax transfers until those funds are restored. The
shortfall, Shtayyeh said, had contributed to the PA — the largest employer in
the Palestinian Territories — having to cut its own civil servants salaries in
warned that this situation could soon weaken the PA security forces that work
closely with Israel’s military in the West Bank.
should not be allowed to selectively remove their children from religious
education (RE) lessons, headteachers say, as study reveals many withdrawal
requests are over the teaching of Islam.
than two in five school leaders and RE teachers have received requests for
students to be withdrawn from teaching about one religion, research from
Liverpool Hope University has revealed.
is the dominant focus of these parental withdrawal requests, according to the
study of 450 school leaders and heads of RE.
participant, who received requests for children to be withdrawn from mosque
visits said: “The students that have been removed are the ones that need to
understand different cultures the most.”
majority (71 per cent) of teachers believe a law allowing parents to withdraw
their children from RE is no longer required, according to the study in the
British Journal of Religious Education.
comes after a report from Thurrock council revealed that parents in Essex were
withdrawing their children from religious education lessons on Islam and stopping
them from visiting mosques.
Atta, director of Tell Mama, an activist group which records and measures
anti-Muslim incidents in Britain, told The Independent: “We have been hearing
about cases where parents are pulling their children out of mosque visits as
part of religious education since they do not want them to be near a mosque.
has been taking place over the last five years and shows that there are parents
who have fears or dislike Islam. This is also concerning, since what kinds of
views are their children being exposed to? It does not bode well for the future
of people and communities living together”.
right of parents to withdraw their children from RE and from collective worship
has been in enshrined in law by both the 1944 and 1988 education acts. Parents
can withdraw their children from some or all of the RE curriculum without
giving a reason.
warned in April last year that parents were increasingly abusing the right to
withdraw their children from religious education lessons due to their
of the Association of Teachers and Lecturers section of the National Education
Union called on the government to take steps to prevent parents from
selectively withdrawing youngsters from RE classes.
of parents withdrawing selectively from teaching of one religion, predominantly
Islam, were often presented by participants as representing a hostility and
intolerance to those of other faiths,” the new research says.
it concludes: “While it was true that Islam’s prominence as a target for
withdrawal implies prejudice, our findings suggest that teachers saw the
reasons for this withdrawal as misunderstanding more than prejudice.”
British MP, who gave a Muslim Brotherhood-linked organisation a platform to
speak in parliament, has been readmitted to opposition party Labour, just four
months after he was suspended over accusations of anti-Semitism.
Williamson, the parliamentary representative for Derby North, said his party,
which has been embroiled in a racism-scandal for the past two years, had been
“too apologetic” over anti-Semitism back in February.
Williamson was readmitted into the Labour Party with a formal warning after an
investigation by a panel advised by an independent barrister, a party official
said on Wednesday.
the decision to return to the party has caused outrage among some of his fellow
MPs as well as Jewish groups in the UK.
Labour MP Dame Margaret Hodge said it was “appalling, outrageous and
unacceptable” that the 62-year-old had been let back into the party.
told the BBC: “It’s a cynical move done on the day that we all got our forms to
say ‘did we want to become Labour MPs again’, and having him suspended meant
that he could not become a Labour MP.”
groups have suggested the decision to readmit Mr Williamson was because his
constituency was a marginal seat and the MP standing as an independent in a
potential snap election could split the Labour vote. Derby North was previously
held by the Conservative Party and won back by Labour in the 2017 general
seems the decision to let him off is because he represents a marginal seat and
there might be a snap election. It’s good to know that a party of anti-racists,
led by an avowed anti-racist decides it’s OK to ignore anti-Jewish racism if
there’s a vote to be won,” Chairman of the Jewish Labour Movement Mike Katz
Williamson is a long-time ally of Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn, who has
previously described proscribed group Hezbollah as “friends”. But Mr Williamson
himself is no stranger to controversy.
the time of his own suspension, it was revealed that he had booked a room in
parliament to screen a film titled Witch Hunt about former Labour member Jackie
Walker, who was suspended from the party in 2016 amid anti-Semitic accusations.
Ms Walker, who was officially expelled from Labour this year, has previously
given extensive interviews to Doha-owned news station Al Jazeera about
pro-Israel lobbying in the UK.
2018, Mr Williamson used his position as an MP to book a room on the
parliamentary estate for a seminar run by the Arab Organisation for Human
Rights (AOHR), a group with alleged ties to both Qatar and the Muslim
AOHR has been linked to the Cordoba Foundation, which was described by former
prime minister David Cameron as a “front for the Muslim Brotherhood” in the UK
and has been designated as a terrorist organisation by the UAE.
Williamson has also courted criticism over comments made about the 2018 gas
attack on Douma, Syria saying he was unsure whether Bashar Al Assad’s regime
was responsible. This came after he endorsed conspiracy theorist Vanessa
Beeley, the British blogger and vociferous supporter of Mr Assad. Ms Beeley
described former Labour MP Jo Cox, who was murdered by a member of the
far-right in 2016, as a “warmongering Blairite and Al Qaeda advocate”.
Williamson MP #GTTO
I'd like to express my heartfelt thanks for
the avalanche of goodwill messages from grassroots members. I can now focus on
representing local people in Derby Nth and working for a Corbyn-led Labour govt
to positively transform the lives of millions.
anything is possible!
PM - Jun 27, 2019
people are talking about this
Williamson took to Twitter on Thursday to say he had received an “avalanche of
goodwill messages from grassroots members”, without mentioning outrage from his
own colleagues at his readmission.
Christopher F. Schuetze
— An avowed neo-Nazi has admitted to the murder this month of a member of
Chancellor Angela Merkel’s center-right party, Walter Lübcke, who had defended
her decision to accept refugees into Germany.
45-year-old suspect, identified by officials only as Stephen E. because of
German privacy laws, confessed on Tuesday, Peter Frank, the country’s federal
prosecutor, said on Wednesday.
claims to have planned and carried out the murder of Mr. Lübcke alone,” Mr.
Frank said. But he added that his office would continue to investigate the
possibility that the suspect had had help.
our investigation will continue to focus on whether that act, or murder, is
based on a terrorist organization or whether the accused is a member of a
right-wing terrorist group,” Mr. Frank said.
Lübcke, 65, who was the director of the regional authority in Kassel in the
state of Hesse, in the western part of Germany, was shot in the head on the
terrace of his house on June 2. His adult son alerted emergency workers, who
took him to the hospital, where he was pronounced dead.
weeks after the killing, the authorities announced a political motive in the
killing, and the suspect — who has a violent past and a police record,
including a short stint as a member of the neo-Nazi N.P.D. party — was
arrested. He was detained after DNA found on the victim’s clothes was matched
in a criminal database, the authorities said.
said the suspect had led a relatively quiet life with a wife and two children
in recent years, and had been an active and vocal far-right commenter online.
As a young man, he tried to detonate a homemade explosive at an asylum center,
according to reports in the German news media.
Lübcke appeared to have attracted the ire of far-right groups for suggesting at
a town-hall-style meeting in 2015 that those who did not share the values of
Ms. Merkel when it came to accepting refugees were free to leave the country.
reports suggested that the murder suspect, Stephen E., had attended the
meeting, but Mr. Lübcke’s speech was filmed and it was widely shared on
right-wing forums. The video was recently recirculated online.
the killing of Mr. Lübcke, other regional politicians have said they have
received an increasing number of death threats.
President Emmanuel Macron warned Iran on Thursday not to quit its 2015 nuclear
deal or give signals that it intended to do so, and said he would discuss
efforts to avoid military escalation with US President Donald Trump.
allies in Europe have been alarmed by an escalation between the United States
and Iran in recent weeks, which culminated last week when Trump ordered air
strikes only to call them off minutes before impact.
which quit an agreement last year under which Iran accepted curbs on its
nuclear program in return for access to world trade, has sharply tightened
sanctions since May. Iran has responded by saying it could take steps that
would violate the nuclear deal.
crisis took on a military dimension in recent weeks, with Washington blaming
Tehran for attacks on ships in the Gulf, and Iran shooting down a US drone.
Iran denies blame for the attacks on ships and says the drone was in its air
space when it was struck. Washington says it was in international skies.
countries, which disagreed with the US decision to withdraw from the pact but
share US concerns about Iranian behavior, have been caught in the middle,
expressing increasing concern that a mistake on either side could trigger war.
Macron said he had two priorities: keeping Iran inside the nuclear deal and
avoiding military escalation.
are growing and for me, the first element is that there is no exit from the
framework. The second thing and I will discuss it with the president (Trump)
tomorrow, is to do everything to avoid a military escalation,” Macron said.
had a conversation with President (Hassan) Rouhani a couple of days ago and I
indicated that any exit from the accord would be an error and any signals in
that direction would be an error,” Macron told reporters.
said France believed the US drone was over international waters when it was
shot down, “so that was aggression which was one more step in this escalation”.
has said it intends to continue to abide by the nuclear agreement, but cannot
do so indefinitely if it receives no economic benefits. It has set a number of
deadlines in recent weeks for European countries to shield it from US sanctions
or it will take steps that could ultimately violate it.
of those deadlines expires on Thursday when Iran has said it could accumulate
more than the maximum stockpile of low-enriched uranium allowable under the
deal. Diplomats have told Reuters that Iran is still short of that threshold
but on course to reach it in coming days.
diplomats from the European powers are due to meet the US special envoy on Iran
in Paris on Thursday. Macron said officials were working on ways to improve the
says the nuclear deal, agreed under Trump’s predecessor Barack Obama, is too
weak because it is not permanent and does not cover areas outside of nuclear
activity such as Iran’s missile program and regional behavior.
unidentified gunman shot and wounded an imam and one other person Thursday in
front of a mosque in the western French city of Brest, then killed himself,
motive for the attack is unclear. France’s interior minister ordered security
tightened at places of worship around the country.
shooter fired at two people then fled the scene in a car, according to a national
police spokesman. The shooting took place in front of the Mosquée Sunna de
Brest, on France’s Atlantic Coast.
launched a manhunt, but soon found the attacker’s Renault Clio car in a nearby
neighborhood - and nearby lay the attacker, who had shot himself in the head,
the spokesman said. The manhunt was called off, as police do not suspect the
attacker had accomplices.
two wounded people were hospitalized but “are doing OK,” the police spokesman
said. He was not authorized to be publicly named.
of them was prominent imam Rachid Eljay, the police spokesman said. Authorities
released no details about the identities of the suspect or the other victim.
anti-terrorism prosecutor’s office said it is evaluating the situation and
whether there is a reason to suspect terrorist motives.
Thierry Ropars, working near the site of the attack, said he heard six or seven
states are to announce their biggest commitment yet to keeping the 2015 Iranian
nuclear deal alive through a cash injection into a new platform for trade with
Iran even as Tehran is set to breach enrichment limits in the pact.
last-gasp effort to provide credit to the Instex trade organisation is set to
be greeted by dismay in Tehran, which has seen oil sales and other exports
plunge under sanctions imposed by the United States after withdrawing from the
nuclear deal last year.
funding announcement at a meeting of the supervisory commission of the
remaining members of the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) on Friday
in Vienna is expected to be made by Federica Mogherini, the EU's foreign
is a body established and sponsored by Britain, France and Germany. The
Paris-based organisation has a mandate to barter essential goods with Iran
under a legal shelter from the US sanctions.
European countries maintain that the US sanctions are extra-territorial and
have invoked a law that European compliance with the measures is illegal. That
has not been enough to prevent dozens of European businesses from pulling out
of Iran, prioritising access to the US market.
Mogherini trailed the announcement earlier this week when she said Instex had
completed its set-up phase. "I believe that this is now ready for being
operational and I hope this is something that can help keeping Iran compliance
with the agreement as it has been so far," she said.
Iranian officials including the country’s central bank chief and leading
Iranian diplomats have said Instex may not keep the deal alive.
the balance between the Islamic Republic of Iran’s obligations and rights under
the JCPOA has been now upset, and considering the European side’s unfulfilled
pledges, there remains no reason for the implementation of Iran’s one-way
commitments,” said Abbas Araqchi, a deputy foreign minister on Thursday.
“However, Iran has kept the window of diplomacy open by gradually reducing its
Vienna meeting has loomed as a key date on the calendar since Iran gave notice
it was ready to raise uranium output beyond the set limits, in effect killing
the deal following the US withdrawal.
have resisted US efforts, spearheaded by Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, to
assemble an international coalition against Iran.
Foreign Minister Heiko Maas said the bloc would stick to a diplomacy-first
policy. "The strategy of maximum pressure can't be the right one, because
one of the consequences is that we are all talking about how serious the
situation is, and that there is a danger of war," he said.
is the time for diplomacy," he added. "We have to ensure that these
tensions are reduced, because otherwise any event without it being clear who
caused it – could lead to ... a spiral of violence that ends in a war."
Jeremy Hunt, the UK foreign secretary, said Britain was listening to the US
arguments, he added London was concerned about the situation, which has seen
Iran implicated in a series destabilising attacks around the region.
comments were echoed in Dubai by Liam Fox, the international trade secretary,
who broke ground on the British pavilion for the 2020 World Expo.
want to de-escalate the situation but we are of course extremely worried,"
Mr Fox said. "One of my ministerial colleagues was in Iran this week. We
want to find a way to de-escalate the tension before the matters worsen from
where they are today."
think it is the best way forward for the regional security, and the economic
Hook, Washington's Iran envoy, was in Paris on Thursday to reiteriate his call
for joint action.
G20 Summit in Japan is also expected to see talks about how to cope with the
Iranian threat to the region and how to safeguard the oil trade under pressure
at the Straits of Hormuz and Gulf of Oman. Speaking from Japan, President
Emmanuel Macron said he was trying to play the role of mediator to ease the
is no brief war," Mr Macron warned. "We know when it's starting, but
not when it's finishing."
has said it is prepared to break the 300kg limit for low-enriched uranium
stockpiles. Officials said it had been adding to its stores at a rate of 1kg
every 24 hours and was on course to breach its limits over the weekend. Iran
has further signalled it will up the enrichment levels of its uranium output
beyond the 3.67 per cent limit.
Foundation for the Defence of Democracy, a hawkish Washington think tank, said
this week that President Donald Trump was focused on cutting a new deal with
Iran. The American criticism of the nuclear deal is that it focused on one
issue and did not address wider Iranian concerns. The Foundation said the White
House should keep raising the pressure on Iran until it was ready to sign a
broader accord. "There are at least three domains that a comprehensive agreement
should seek to address: nuclear, missile/military, and regional
aggression/support for terrorism," its report concluded.
remains to be seen if Instex can meet Iranian expectations. One European
analyst commented that like nuclear fusion, Instex was a breakthrough that was
always just around the corner.
gathering of the rich and the powerful worthy of Davos in the Bahraini capital
this week was billed as helping the Palestinians amid all of their troubles.
But there was one condition: do not mention the occupation.
Four Seasons, a palatial 50-floor five-star hotel shaped like an ‘H’ on its
very own island in Manama’s Bahrain Bay, was a fitting venue for the vision of
prosperity laid out by the Trump administration: a grand plan adrift from the
rest of the world. That very letter could have stood for "hot air",
as that is precisely what the Palestinians believed was filling the plush venue
for the unveiling of US presidential adviser Jared Kushner’s economic plan,
which has been in the works for 30 months in a bid to strike the "ultimate
deal" for his father-in-law, US President Donald Trump.
was said, but little that dealt with the core issues of the conflict – borders,
land and rights – and the disconnect between what was being said and the
reality on the ground in the Palestinian Territories was stark.
Kushner said that President Donald Trump would create a better future for
Palestinians, he told them “this workshop is for you”. There was likely no
jubilation in Hebron, Nablus or Beit Hanina after this announcement. The Trump
administration said it held this “economic workshop” because it cared about the
Palestinians. That is after recognising Jerusalem as Israel’s capital, cutting
aid to hospitals that serve sick Palestinians and slashing funding for the
United Nations agency for Palestinian refugees.
had said it was at pains to keep the discussion around its $50 billion economic
plan, much of it re-hashed from previous initiatives, distinctly apolitical.
Yet the workshop, essentially a glorified networking opportunity of dinners,
canape hobnobbing, cocktail receptions and coffee breaks interspersed with
panels, could never truly avoid the politics; no aspect of the conflict can.
Washington’s mind, keeping this event free of politics meant no mention of two
states for two peoples – what a Palestinian might consider to be their own
vision of prosperity – but dreams of a thriving West Bank economy, Gaza as a
tourist hub and the free flow of goods and people. It was devoid of any
context, for example, that Israel prevents Gaza from having a seaport or an
airport. The small matters of more than five decades of occupation, Israel’s
deeply restrictive checkpoint system, its sprawling settlement enterprise or
its 12-year blockade of Gaza, which has squeezed the coastal enclave to the
point of collapse, were swept under the rug here.
panel moderators reiterated time and again that the talks were to only focus on
economic potential and the path to prosperity. Panellists, some who had never
been to the occupied West Bank, did not dare broach the occupation or the
settlement enterprise. They talked about property rights, not appearing to know
how Palestinians are restricted on the matter. Another panellist talked of how
film could help improve the image of Arabs. At times, the panels had almost
nothing to do with the conflict.
Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin thanked “Palestinian business leaders” for
coming to the conference. The only Palestinian speaker was a Hebron businessman
reviled by his own people for working with settlers and being supported by US
ambassador to Israel, David Friedman.
avoidance of the realities on the ground, while waxing lyrical about investment
in the territories subject to these policies, severely damaged the credibility
of the event.
reality is that very little took place at the workshop bar some discussions by
investment bankers, CEOs and a few notable names, such as former UK prime
minister Tony Blair and Fifa president Gianni Infantino, who are themselves
deeply unpopular among Palestinians. The plan had already been released and
both parties were not present. As one journalist put it, it was like going to a
wedding without the bride or groom.
went out of the window when the blame for all of the Palestinians’ ills fell on
their leadership, despite the valid basis for the criticism.
mid-level Palestinian businessman, who declined to be named for fear of
repercussions at home in the occupied West Bank, accused the Palestinian
Authority of corruption and said the delegation was in attendance to seek peace
for their people. But, even above that, he said the occupation was the biggest
problem facing Palestinians, the very issue no one would broach here.
Kushner talked of bad Palestinian governance, the Palestinian people being let
down, and his hope of violence ending in the region, appearing to point to
Palestinian attacks against Israelis in the occupied West Bank and Hamas rocket
attacks from the Gaza Strip.
for all of the Palestinian leadership’s problems, no finger was pointed at
Israel for even part of the blame in more than five decades of occupation,
declared illegal under international law, and the subsequent violence that
deeply loaded language and omission of any Israeli wrongdoing will reinforce
the view in Ramallah that the Trump administration is biased in favour of
Benjamin Netanyahu’s hard-right government, and not truly serious about peace.
member of the US delegation told The National, proudly, that even though
scepticism was as high as a Kushner construction project, this was the biggest
gathering on the conflict for decades. There seemed to be a satisfaction among
the American contingent that they had at least put on a display of trying to
give it a go, whatever the outcome, regardless of the widespread criticism, and
without the parties even being there.
in attendance that did not have a knowledge of the conflict’s history could
have been fooled into thinking it was entirely the Palestinians’ fault for not
engaging with what increasingly appears to be a mirage of a plan before any
offers of changes on the ground.
US and Israeli message of Palestinian rejectionism blocking peace will likely
continue from here, despite no concrete concessions from Washington on Israel’s
ever-tightening occupation, the true stymie of Palestinian development. The
Palestinian boycott creates a convenient path for the Israeli hard-right to
itself avoid any peace initiative without blame, continuing its journey towards
the annexation of the occupied West Bank.
concessions on the part of Israel and the US would immediately gain more
traction than any economic document that does not take into account the weaker
party’s political ambitions.
lack of any of this in the plan ultimately left both Gulf and other Arab states
in attendance without something to hang their hats on.
took more than a decade for the pretence of the Oslo Peace Accords, signed in
1993, to wear off. This time around, it is easy to believe that the facade of
the Kushner initiative will be shattered in record speed.
Palestinians said the plan would be dead on arrival, rather it is in a state of
coma, one that both Washington and Israel appear to hope it never wakes up
US-led military coalition purportedly fighting the Daesh terrorist group has
admitted killing over 1300 civilians since it started its military campaign in
Iraq and Syria nearly five years ago.
coalition conducted 34,514 strikes between August 2014 and the end of May
2019," the alliance said Thursday. During this period, it "assesses
at least 1,319 civilians have been unintentionally killed by coalition
military alliance said it was still assessing 159 additional reports of
figure is far lower than the death tolls given by groups that have monitored
the aerial raids in the two countries.
an NGO that monitors civilian casualties from air strikes worldwide, estimates
more than 8,000 civilians have been killed in US-led raids.
a report released in late April, the UK-based Amnesty International and Airwars
found that air and artillery strikes by the US and its allies killed more than
1,600 civilians just in four months in the northern Syrian city of Raqqah.
has been almost purged from entire territories it used to control in Syria and
neighboring Iraq. However, sporadic attacks by the group are still reported in
the two countries.
US and its allies have been bombarding what they call Daesh positions inside
Syria since September 2014 without any authorization from the Damascus
government or a UN mandate.
strikes have on many occasions resulted in civilian casualties and failed to
fulfill their declared aim of countering terrorism.
Syrian government has condemned the airstrikes, stressing that they have not
been authorized by the Syrian government or the UN Security Council.
November, Russia said US warplanes were using white phosphorous bombs in their
airstrikes against civilian-populated areas east of the Euphrates River in
US defense chief on Thursday pressed NATO allies to join Washington’s efforts
to squeeze Iran and ensure the safety of ships in the Gulf after a spate of
US-Iranian tensions soar, Acting Secretary of Defense Mark Esper asked NATO
countries to support Washington by publicly condemning Iran and to consider
creating a maritime coalition to protect freedom of navigation through the
President Donald Trump said any conflict with Iran “wouldn’t last very long”,
Esper stressed that the US wanted to avoid conflict and get back to the
has ratcheted up crippling economic sanctions on Tehran after the Islamic
republic’s forces shot down a US drone in the Gulf region, following a series
of attacks on tankers that Washington blames on Iran.
defence ministers discussed the crisis in Brussels, where Esper said he sought
to “internationalise” the Iran issue, after Secretary of State Mike Pompeo last
week called for a “global coalition” to deal with Tehran.
said he urged allies to “consider public statements condemning Iran’s bad
behaviour and making the point that we need to have freedom of navigation in
the Strait of Hormuz.”
also pressed them to consider creating a coalition, saying they should “look at
everything from broader maritime surveillance -- and that should include air
surveillance -- all the way up to a pickup line of ships to help protect the
international waterways and to include maybe even escorts.”
European countries have been alarmed at the Trump administration’s hawkish
approach to Iran, fearing the US policy of “maximum pressure” is
counterproductive and could lead to war.
EU has sought desperately to save the 2015 Iran nuclear deal, which Trump
withdrew from last year, with its three European signatories Britain, France
and Germany leading the efforts.
NATO involvement in the Gulf would need unanimous support from all 29 member
states, and given European uneasiness this would be extremely difficult to
NATO diplomat said: “The alliance has been careful from the start to try to
stay away from the different issues” linked to Iran.
would like to see more calm from the two actors but we really don’t want this
to become a NATO issue.”
United States special envoy to Iran said on Thursday his country’s policy of
maximum economic pressure on Tehran was working and warned that US Sanctions
did not give it the right to breach its nuclear commitments.
are dedicated to this policy of maximum economic pressure because it is
working, it is denying the regime historic levels of revenue,” Brian Hook told
Reuters ahead of a meeting with senior French, British and German diplomats in
US policy of maximum economic pressure on Tehran is working, but its sanctions
did not give Iran the right to breach its nuclear commitments, a senior US
official said on Monday.
are dedicated to this policy of maximum economic pressure because it is
working, it is denying the regime historic levels of revenue," US special
representative on Iran Brian Hook told Reuters.
Hook was speaking before a meeting with senior French, British and German
diplomats in Paris to convince them that the US policy was the best way to get
Iran back to the negotiating table.
sanctions do not give Iran the right to accelerate its nuclear programme,"
he said. "It can never get near a nuclear bomb.
are looking very closely at that so it doesn't get below the one-year nuclear
acting US defence secretary Mark Esper was seeking Nato support in Brussels for
a global effort to secure international waterways against Iran.
a closed-door session on Thursday, Mr Esper told Nato defence ministers that
the US held Iran responsible for attacks on two oil tankers in the Gulf of Oman
but did not want the situation to escalate.
first words were, 'We don’t want to go to war with Iran',” one diplomat said.
diplomat said Mr Esper made it clear that the attacks were "about the
limit" of what the US would tolerate from Iran, and that nothing more
should happen now."
important message is that the United States has so clearly stated that they
don’t want a war," Nato Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg said after the
actually said very clearly that they are ready to talk with Iran without a
week after US President Donald Trump called off air strikes on Iran at the last
minute, European defence ministers led by France sought to cool the confrontation
between Washington and Tehran, diplomats said.
Nato countries spoke after Mr Esper in the meeting. French Defence Minister
Florence Parly told him not to involve the Nato alliance in any military
mission in the Gulf.
with Germany and other European allies, France also made a plea to uphold the
2015 nuclear accord with Iran.
told Mr Esper that “dialogue was better than sanctions” with Iran, and others
including the Germany minister said they would do everything possible to avoid an
Esper said he had no firm commitments from Nato allies but would provide more
details to them next month on how the Iranian threat had escalated and how they
could work together to deter further aggression.
Iranian Foreign Minister Javad Zarif criticised US President Donald Trump on
Twitter on Thursday, saying: “Sanctions aren’t an alternative to war; they are
Zarif said Mr Trump was mistaken in thinking that a war between their countries
would not last long.
announcement to invest in Pakistan is a part of a wider Turkey-led attempt to
bring Pakistan into an Islamic alliance, according to a recent report by
Cornerstone Global Associates, a London-based strategy and management
report has summarised the geopolitical implications of the proposed Qatari
investments in Pakistan and assesses Qatar's ability to fulfil those pledges.
of Qatar Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani, who was on a recent visit to Pakistan
earlier this month, agreed to invest billions of dollars to expand
collaboration in the fields of agriculture and food, enhance in the energy
sector including LNG and LPG fields and exploration and production of oil and
was reported that Qatar has promised to invest USD 22 billion in Pakistan.
report indicated that Turkey was keen to strengthen its relations with Pakistan
and bring the South Asian nation into what Turkey sees as a Turkish-led
alliance of Muslim states, which also includes Qatar.
is home to the Afghanistan Taliban leadership and such a proposed alliance will
take this factor into account, giving the pro-Islamist government of Turkey a
greater influence in the region. Turkey will use this as a bargaining tool in
its deteriorating relationship with the United States," the report said.
risks a further deterioration in Pakistani US relations," it added.
revealing the Turkish connection behind Qatari investment in Pakistan, the
report said, "Qatar has been trying to exert political influence on countries
by pledging substantial investments. Qatar's foreign investment strategy in
Muslim countries, in particular, has focused on creating a political alliance
that would serve its own Islamic alliance, together with Turkey."
August 2018, Qatar announced it would provide economic assistance to Turkey
after the Turkish lira suffered significant falls, pledging to invest USD 15
billion in Turkey.
Qatari pledge included providing the Turkish Central Bank with a USD 3 billion
the remaining USD 12 billion investment pledge has not yet materialised.
Turkish figures have shown that Qatari investors have pulled out USD 790
million from the Istanbul Stock Exchange, reducing Qatari holdings by 31 per
Qatar's inability to fulfil previous investment pledges, including to Turkey,
it is unlikely that Qatar will be able to fulfil its pledge to Pakistan,"
said the report in its conclusion.
further stated, "The price that Qatar would expect from Pakistan is for
the latter to join the Turkish-Qatari axis, which Qatar and Turkey see as a
counter to the Saudi-led alliance. This may dent Pakistan's relations with
Saudi Arabia and ultimately affect the Saudi pledge.
Pakistan and Afghanistan on Thursday agreed to reboot their bilateral
relations, which have remained mired in mistrust for long, by developing a
‘forward-looking vision’ based on cooperation instead of political competition.
consensus was reflected in a statement issued by the Prime Minister Office
(PMO) after Prime Minister Imran Khan’s one-on-one meeting with Afghan
President Ashraf Ghani and delegation-level talks between the two sides in
which the state of relations was reviewed.
Ghani is on a two-day visit to Pakistan. The visit is aimed at strengthening
bilateral cooperation in political, trade, economic and security fields and
forging stronger and multifaceted ties. The visit is, moreover, taking place
amid hopes of progress in US-Taliban talks leading to initiation of
intra-Afghan dialogue, and ahead of Afghan presidential elections scheduled for
Minister Khan, during the meeting, called for “a qualitative transformation” in
ties, whereas President Ghani, in his speech at the Institute of Strategic
Studies Islamabad (ISSI), emphasised the need for developing “political
alignment” between the two neighbours and taking “bold steps”.
agreement on improving relations apparently flows from realisation in both
capitals that the two neighbours, who were once likened by former Afghan
president Hamid Karzai to conjoined twins, could not progress without
positively engaging with each other.
Ghani said Loya Jirga, the traditional Afghan consultative gathering, held last
month had authorised him to normalise ties with Pakistan and seek a political
settlement with the Afghan insurgents. President Ghani had on May 5, a couple
of days after the end of Loya Jirga, phoned Imran Khan. The telephonic call
paved the way for his current visit to Pakistan, which is his third while in
office, but after a break of almost four years.
Voice of America, meanwhile, quoted a Pakistani official as having said: “While
Afghanistan realises the importance of Pakistan in medium to long term,
Pakistan also feels that it is important to remain engaged with the government
of Afghanistan regardless of who heads it.”
PMO statement said the two leaders had agreed to open “a new chapter of
friendship and cooperation” based on “mutual trust and harmony” for the benefit
of their countries and advancing the cause of peace, stability and prosperity
in the region.
Khan underscored Pakistan’s respect for sovereignty and territorial integrity
of Afghanistan and said Pakistan remained committed to a peaceful, stable,
democratic and prosperous Afghanistan. He expressed his government’s desire to
have stronger political, trade, economic, and people-to-people relations with
Minister Khan reaffirmed Pakistan’s commitment to support the Afghan peace
process and underlined that an Afghan-led and Afghan-owned peace process was the
only viable option to restore pace. He said Pakistan supported a
result-oriented intra-Afghan dialogue.
to AP, the Afghan president praised Pakistan’s efforts to advance the peace
process in the region as he reached out to Islamabad for help in bringing the
Taliban to the negotiating table with the Kabul government, Pakistani officials
Ghani first had a meeting with Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi before
heading into talks with PM Khan.
Ghani in his remarks at the ISSI made it clear that presidential elections
would take place in Afghanistan later this year and there was little room for
negotiations on the constitution as it was already Islamic in character.
Afghan president also said the agenda of connectivity was not a pipedream
rather it was a pragmatic vision for future.
and Afghanistan are part of major energy connectivity projects such as the
Central Asia-South Asia (CASA 1000) electricity transmission line and the
Turkmenistan-Afghanistan-Pakistan-India (TAPI) gas pipeline. However, work on
the projects has been slow because of political, financial, security,
disruption and environmental risks.
Ghani said all these concerns would get addressed if a political alignment
between Pakistan and Afghanistan materialised.
Afghan president in his meeting with PM Khan proposed a regional task force of
leaders for taking forward the projects of regional connectivity.
two leaders expressed their commitment to work together to broaden and deepen
bilateral trade, streamline transit trade, and strengthen efforts for
connectivity. It was recognised that early completion of major energy
connectivity projects such as the CASA 1000 electricity transmission line and
the TAPI gas pipeline will bring long-term economic benefits to the countries
involved,” the PMO statement said, adding that the two sides had deliberated on
ways for strengthening trade, infrastructure and energy connectivity.
was reached at the talks to utilise the Afghanistan-Pakistan Transit Trade
Coordination Authority, the Joint Economic Commission and other similar
mechanisms to remove difficulties in transit and bilateral trade and explore
with opposition leaders
Afghan president later met with key opposition figures Pakistan Muslim
League-Nawaz president Shahbaz Sharif, Pakistan Peoples Party chairman Bilawal
Bhutto-Zardari and Jamaat-i-Islami chief Sirajul Haq. The leaders, in their
separate meetings with Mr Ghani, welcomed him to Pakistan and wished well for
the Afghan peace process.
Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) President Shehbaz Sharif and Pakistan
People’s Party (PPP) Chairman Bilawal Bhutto-Zardari separately called on
Afghan President Ashraf Ghani and expressed their support for the peace process
in the country. During the meetings, the two leaders of the opposition and
their delegations welcomed President Ghani over his arrival in Pakistan. They
also discussed matters of mutual interest during the meetings.
also condoled the death of ousted prime minister Nawaz Sharif’s wife Begum
Kulsoom Nawaz with Shehbaz Sharif.
the Afghan president landed in Islamabad on a two-day official visit to
Pakistan on Prime Minister’s Imran Khan invitation.
China has offered to serve as guarantor for a proposed peace agreement in
Afghanistan, an official statement said late on Wednesday.
offer comes on the heels of media reports suggesting that China is likely to
host an international meeting regarding the Afghan peace process, to be
attended by officials from Pakistan, US, Europe and other neighboring countries
offer was conveyed to Afghanistan’s National Security Adviser Hamdullah Mohib
by China’s Special Envoy for Afghanistan Deng Xijun during a meeting in Kabul.
Xijun briefed NSA Mohib about the Chinese efforts in the peace process, and
assured China’s readiness to offer as a guarantor role for any possible peace
accord between the government and the Taliban group,” Afghanistan’s National
Security Council said in a statement.
is ready to facilitate an Afghan-owned and Afghan-led peace talks, Ambassador
Xijun said, adding that without involvement of the Afghan government, any peace
process will go nowhere.
Mohib appreciated Chinese efforts in bringing peace and stability in
Afghanistan, saying the Afghans had rendered huge sacrifices for peace, and
those sacrifices should be honored.
envoy briefed Mohib on China’s recent efforts for peace talks, according to a
statement from the national security adviser’s office.
have been multiple signs of cautious optimism from the US and NATO about a
potential peace deal in Afghanistan this year. In the past two days, NATO chief
Jens Stoltenberg as well as US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo have said a
comprehensive peace agreement with the Taliban is within grasp.
sees Islamic State resurgence in Libya amid Tripoli fighting
Donald Trump administration is seeing a “small” resurgence in the Islamic
State’s numbers in Libya since strongman Khalifa Hifter began a bloody march on
the capital Tripoli more than two months ago, the Pentagon’s second-ranking
military official said.
Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Paul Selva said he suspects that forces
supporting the US-backed Government of National Accord in Tripoli may be able
to hold out “for weeks or months” against Hifter. The United Nations says
Hifter’s Libyan National Army has received weapons from the United Arab
Emirates and Egypt in violation of an arms embargo.
the LNA and the GNA "are keeping a lid on IS for their own individual
interests for a fair period of time,” Selva, who leaves his post at the end of
October, told a gathering of reporters in Washington earlier this month.
“Because they’re now going after one another in the capital, it’s actually
taking their attention off of IS and we’ve seen a small resurgence of those
[IS] camps in the central region.”
was not immediately clear how significant the resurgence of the Islamic State
has been since the April offensive began. Selva said that the Pentagon picked
up that IS camps in Libya’s central region and Tuaregs were “helping out the IS
militants and moving people back and forth across the border to the south.”
troops helping to fight IS in Libya left the country in April as security
conditions deteriorated. Selva said he worried about IS becoming a “third party
in the fight in Libya.”
Selva’s comments come after a series of visits from top GNA officials to
Washington to put pressure on the Trump administration to clarify its position
in the conflict, after the president reportedly appeared to greenlight Hifter’s
offensive in an April call with the strongman. The US administration had
previously insisted there was “no military solution” to the conflict.
with Al-Monitor in May, GNA-allied Ibrahim Sahad, who serves on Libya’s Higher
State Council that’s led by a former Muslim Brotherhood member, said he pushed
US officials to stop the flow of arms from the UAE and Egypt to Hifter.
Deputy Prime Minister Ahmad Maiteeq said that forces in the city had succeeded
in blunting the Eastern warlord’s momentum earlier this month, hurting the
LNA’s morale and limiting its ability to replace troops, despite Hifter’s use
of drones at night to supplement air raids during the day. Maiteeq said he told
US officials that Hifter’s attacks will only strength IS, since they have
forced the GNA to be “occupied with defending the capital.”
have our troops organized much better and we can start attacking him and
sending him back very soon,” Maiteeq told Al-Monitor earlier this month. “The
question is how far we will send him back.”
the GNA’s counteroffensive, he said, had been stalled by concerns around
civilian casualties, with the fighting concentrated around densely populated
areas in Tripoli. A former senior administration official speaking not for
attribution told Al-Monitor that Hifter has failed to recruit the tribes and
militias in Tripoli necessary to take the capital, given his “stated intentions
to eliminate all so-called ‘terrorists.’”
who visited Washington earlier this month, stirred controversy in May when he
hired Prime Policy Group to arrange meetings with administration officials
during his trip, initially prompting the office of Prime Minister Fayez
al-Sarraj to issue a statement calling on the firm to end its registration for
both sides appeared to resolve the matter, experts worry that the powerful
Misrata faction of the GNA’s armed forces could stay in Tripoli if Hifter is
expelled from the capital city and spark conflict. “The question is what will
happen if Hifter peters out in northwest Libya,” said Jalel Harchaoui, a
research fellow at the Clingendael Institute in The Hague.
former US officials aren’t convinced that Misrata-aligned forces have designs
on a takeover of the fledgling GNA army or holding the capital.
guess is that the GNA presidency council is probably not much more fractured
than it ever was,” a former senior administration official told Al-Monitor.
“But that’s also a function of how much the US is trying to hold things
together. The US has greatly diminished the degree to which it is monitoring or
actively trying to improve the situation in Libya.”
Boko Haram terrorists on Monday have slaughtered at least 20 farmers on their
farmlands in a border town close to Niger Republic, a security source said.
incident happened at Ngamgam in Mobar local government area of northern part of
to the source, the incident resulted in the exodus of people from the
settlement to Damasak town.
suicide bombers blew themselves up in separate attacks on police in the
Tunisian capital on Thursday, killing one police officer and wounding several
other people, the government said.
was not immediately known who was behind the attacks, which took place months
before an election and at the peak of a tourist season in which Tunisia is
hoping for a record number of visitors.
first targeted a police patrol in Charles de Gaulle Street in central Tunis.
One police officer was killed and at least one other officer and three
civilians were wounded, the Interior Ministry said.
afterwards, a second suicide bomber blew himself up near a police station in
al-Qarjani district. Four people were wounded, the Interior Ministry said.
police cordoned off the sites of the attacks.
has been battling militant groups operating in remote areas near the border
with Algeria since an uprising overthrew autocratic leader Zine Abidine Ben Ali
in 2011. High unemployment has also stoked unrest in recent years.
October, a woman blew herself up in the center of Tunis capital, wounding 15
people including 10 police officers in an explosion that broke period of calm
after dozens died in militant attacks in 2015.
allied to Libya's internationally-recognized government on Wednesday seized the
town of Gharyan south of Tripoli, home to the main supply base of eastern
forces attacking the capital, witnesses and Tripoli officials said.
takeover of Gharyan by Tripoli forces is a major blow to the eastern-based
Libya National Army (LNA), led by Khalifa Haftar, which on April 4 started an
offensive to take Tripoli from the internationally-recognized administration.
offensive has not advanced beyond Tripoli's southern suburbs, and the
front-line had not changed significantly for weeks.
was until Wednesday the main forward base for the LNA, where troops, weapons,
and ammunition arrived from the East. The LNA began its Tripoli campaign here.
allied to the Tripoli government, backed by airstrikes, stormed the town, some
90 km south of Tripoli, in the morning in a surprise attack, witnesses said.
took the central operations room of the LNA, which by evening had left the
town, they added. Gharyan is also home to field hospitals, and there is a
helicopter base outside the town.
Tripoli-based Presidential Council in charge of the government said in a
statement Gharyan had been fully "liberated."
of its members, Mohammed al-Ammari, warned in a separate statement against any
LNA still holds the town of Tarhouna southeast of Tripoli, its second main
position in the campaign.
is a game changer," said Tarek Megerisi, a policy fellow with the North
Africa and Middle East program at the European Council on Foreign Relations.
Haftar can't retake it quickly (which is doubtful) Tarhouna and the remaining
LNA units will be more isolated, under-resourced, and with lower morale,"
was no immediate comment from the LNA, whose spokesman Ahmed Mismari had hours
earlier said that an attack by Tripoli forces had been repelled.
and his backers say they are trying to free the capital from militias, which
they blame for destabilizing Libya since the fall of Muammar Gaddafi in a
NATO-backed uprising in 2011.
critics accuse him of trying to seize power through force and deepening a
conflict between factions based in the east and west of the sprawling North
offensive has upended United Nations-led plans to stabilize Libya after years
of conflict that have left the oil-rich nation divided and caused living
standards to plummet.
least one person has been killed and several others wounded in two separate
bomb attacks in the Tunisian capital Tunis, the government says.
to a statement by the Interior Ministry on Thursday, the first attack occurred when
a terrorist detonated his explosive vest near a police patrol in Charles de
Gaulle Street in central Tunis, killing an officer.
least another police officer and three civilians were also wounded in the
attack, it added.
second attack occurred shortly afterwards when a second bomber blew himself up
near a police station in al-Qarjani district, wounding four people.
individual or group has yet claimed responsibility for the deadly attack, but
the Daesh terrorist group is usually considered as the prime suspect in similar
Ministry spokesman Sofian Zaak was quoted by Reuters as saying that the
attackers have not yet been identified, calling on the public to show strength
and not panic.
the attacks, some 300 people gathered on the same street and held up pamphlets
saying, "We do not fear terror, Tunisia is no place for terrorism."
The demonstrators also chanted the national anthem and slogans praising the
has been hit by a number of deadly attacks by Takfiri terrorists in the past
October, a female bomber blew up her explosives outside a hotel in the center
of Tunis, leaving at least 15 people injured, including 10 police officers. The
bomb attack broke a period of relative calm after dozens died in November 2015,
when three separate attacks were carried out in Tunis and a beach in Sousse.
claimed responsibility for the three attacks.
has been plagued by violence since the 2011 uprising that ousted the country’s
dictator, Zine El Abidine Ben Ali, who was in power for over two decades.
relative calm in Tunisia has been punctured by growing instability in
neighboring Libya, which has been in chaos since former dictator Muammar
Gaddafi was toppled and later killed in 2011.
enforcement agencies fear further terror attacks in the country as an estimated
3,000 Tunisian terrorists believed to be within the ranks of Daesh in Iraq,
Syria and elsewhere could pose troubles when they return home.
few hundred protesters marched through the streets of Sudan's Omdurman on
Thursday demanding civilian rule, just days ahead of a mass demonstration
planned for June 30.
on Thursday security forces fired tear gas to disperse dozens of students
demonstrating against the ruling military council at a financial academy in the
heart of Sudan's capital Khartoum.
of lawyers had also gathered outside the main courthouse complex in Omdurman,
Khartoum's twin city, calling for civilian rule and for people to join Sunday's
in Khartoum have become rare since security forces broke up a sit-in outside
the Defence Ministry on June 3, leaving more than 100 people dead, according to
in Omdurman seemed upbeat as they marched on Thursday, playing music and waving
Sudanese flags as one protester said that the violent end to the sit-in had
"increased the people's fervour".
sit-in had become the focal point of protests against former president Omar
al-Bashir and the military council that ousted him on April 11.
has strongly condemned Thursday’s twin suicide bomb attacks in Tunisia.
least one policeman was killed and eight others were injured in the suicide
bombings that targeted the police in Tunis, the country’s capital.
strongly condemn these terror attacks. We offer our condolences to the bereaved
families of the victims, to the brotherly people and friendly Government of Tunisia
and wish a speedy recovery to the wounded,” Turkey’s Foreign Ministry said in a
written statement Thursday.
delegate claims nightmare Malaysia for Muslims as ‘second Singapore’ with DAP
June 22 — Malaysia is in danger of becoming a “second Singapore” where the
rights of Malays and other Bumiputera will be ignored, a PAS delegate from
Selangor claimed at his party’s 65th annual congress here today.
the DAP as a bogey, Roslan Shahir Mohd Shahir urged his fellow Muslims to rise
and defend their rights, claiming the party that is now a component of the
ruling Pakatan Harapan (PH) coalition is in fact a local-based entity of
Singapore’s leading People’s Action Party (PAP).
many voted for Pakatan Harapan, unaware of DAP’s insidious influence on the
other parties, especially during the last general election.
many were seemingly unaware that it is essentially a reincarnation of late
Singaporean Prime Minister Lee Kuan Yew’s party PAP.
we falter in our vigilance and become complacent, the dignity of the Malays as
well as the nation’s will be jeopardised, thereby hastening the day when we
become a second Singapore,” he said while debating PAS president Datuk Seri
Abdul Hadi Awang’s policy speech at the party’s 65th annual congress here.
urged Malaysia’s Malays to unite against this threat, saying they have a duty
to lead the rest of the country’s citizens.
Malaysia’s two largest Malay-Muslim political parties, he said PAS and Umno
must partner each other as the best solution to counter the PH coalition
Malay Muslim ummah have placed their hopes on our co-operation, awaiting to see
what the next move will be. Let us not waste these hopes.
seen in the Semenyih by-election, Malay voters unhesitatingly gave their open
support when they saw PAS and Umno alongside each other, for this is what they
have been waiting for,” Roslan said.
reiterated his belief that PAS grassroots will not hesitate to cast off their
decades of programmed hostility towards Umno if the leadership asked.
have to shoulder the duty of leading everyone, be it Malays, Chinese, Indians,
Muruts, Ibans, Orang Asal and the others. We must combine our abilities and
strengths for the future,” he said.
LUMPUR: Amnesty International Malaysia has expressed its deep disappointment
with the statement made by Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department Mujahid
Yusof Rawa on his delegation’s visit to a “vocational and training institution”
for the Uighur community in the Xinjiang province of China.
International has first-hand knowledge that the Chinese authorities have
detained Uighurs and other Turkic Muslims – outside any legal process – in
‘political education’ camps for their perceived disloyalty to the government
and Chinese Communist Party.
authorities label these camps as centres for ‘transformation-through-education’
but most people refer to them simply as ‘re-education camps’.
those camps, they are subjected to forced political indoctrination,
renunciation of their faith, mistreatment, and, in some cases, torture.
are hardly the ‘vocational and training institution’ that the minister seems to
have visited,” said executive director of Amnesty International Malaysia,
Shamini Darshni Kaliemuthu, in a statement.
sent to such camps are not put on trial, have no access to lawyers or the right
to challenge the decision. Individuals could be left to languish in detention
for months, as it is the authorities who decide when an individual has been
to Shamini, as of September 2018, the fate of an estimated one million people
is unknown and most of the detainees’ families have been kept in the dark.
recently led a government delegation to Xinjiang, following which he shared
pictures of his visit on his Facebook page.
mornng, Dr Ahmad Farouk Musa, of the Islamic Renaissance Front, questioned Mujahid’s
use of the phrase “vocational and training institution” in his Facebook post
about his recent visit to Xinjiang.
activist took to task Mujahid over his apparent acceptance of the euphemism
used by Beijing to describe its detention camp to house thousands of Muslim
critics of China’s policies in Xinjiang.
Joko Widodo’s government and Indonesia’s two largest Muslim organizations
finally appear to be mounting a united front against the danger of creeping
Islamization and its threat to the nation’s future as a secular state.
with a deepening divide between moderate and conservative regions, and the
growing penetration of the bureaucracy and institutions of higher learning by
radical Islamists, Widodo is coming to the defense of the nation’s inclusive
Pancasila state ideology.
as a guarantee of pluralism and moderation in a multi-cultural society,
Pancasila is composed of five inseparable and interrelated principles which
include belief in the one and only God, a just and civilized humanity, a
unified Indonesia, democracy and social justice for all.
revealed last week new government plans to tighten the vetting of senior civil
servants in a bid to weed out dangerous hard-line elements from key positions
and to ensure Widodo leaves behind a heathy democracy at the end of his second,
five-year term in 2024.
will entail initially stricter background checks to gauge a candidate’s
political leanings at some of the biggest ministries, including finance,
religious affairs, education, health, defense and public works, as well as at
state-owned mining, petroleum, banking, media and aviation companies.
the plan, a team of 12 officials, religious scholars and other experts will
work with the newly formed National Agency to Promote Pancasila (BPIP) and
civil society organizations to craft a new and still undefined psychological
test for upper-echelon bureaucrats before year’s end.
won’t end there. A senior government official told Asia Times that the
Religious Affairs Ministry has been tasked with taking firmer control of the
management and curriculum of the country’s 37,300 Islamic boarding schools, or
pesantren, many of which adopt their own rules and insist that students wear
10% of those religious schools are currently under state supervision, while the
rest are private institutions often run by conservative Islamic clerics whose
apparent sole aim is radical religious indoctrination.
is getting out of control,” says the official, who requested anonymity. “A lot
of five-year-old’s are being taught things which will be very difficult to
correct later on.” Concerns center on the discriminatory way children in
Islamic schools are imbued with an “us” versus “them” mentality which
encourages them to look down on other religions.
after a fraught presidential election, in which many conservative Muslims voted
against him and lethal riots erupted in Jakarta on unproven charges the polls
was rigged, Widodo is aware there will be a strong reaction to the move against
is prepared,” says the official. “He says he has nothing to lose in his second
and final term and that he has to think about what is best for the country.”
Minister Ryamizard Ryacudu and Indonesia’s ambassador to Norway, prominent
human rights lawyer Todung Mulya Lubis, warned last week that if extremist
ideas take deeper root among Indonesia’s 260 million people, religious
conflicts would erupt and lead to the sprawling archipelagic nation’s ultimate
will be destroyed, just like Syria,” Lubis warned at a seminar in Oslo to
launch the nomination of Nahdlatul Ulama and Muhammadiyah for the 2019 Nobel
Peace Prize, in recognition of their efforts to promote religious tolerance in
the world’s largest Muslim democracy.
in our history have we witnessed extremist Islam with all its brutality and
uncivility entering our political contest,” the ambassador said, apparently
referring to the unrest and violence that attended the 2017 Jakarta
gubernatorial election and, more recently, riots after the April 17
time Islamic radicals and fundamentalists seem to be insisting that (it) must
be translated into an Islamic state and sharia law,” he said.
the early stages of the country’s now 20-year flirtation with democracy,
religious and ethnic conflicts erupted in West and Central Kalimantan, Central
Sulawesi and Muluku, where the blood-letting claimed an estimated 7,000 lives
and displaced as many as 900,000 people.
observers have long been puzzled by the way Indonesia’s 88% Muslim majority has
acted as a minority, though that can largely be explained by the
disproportionate hold the ethnic Chinese-Christian minority in particular has
over the economy.
simmering resentment is never far below the surface, exacerbated by a widening
disparity between rich and poor which opposition presidential candidate Prabowo
Subianto and religious opponents unfairly blame solely on Widodo.
before Indonesia’s independence from Dutch colonial rule, NU and Muhammadiyah
are both credited with presenting a moderate face of Islam during the last 70
years of nation-building and are seen as crucial to stemming the growing tide
experts like religious scholar Azyumardi Azra say the pillars of Pancasila are
in basic conformity with fundamental Muslim teachings, he worries about the
threat radical elements pose to the moderate leaderships of two organizations
with a collective membership of 100 million adherents.
Islamists argue that Prabowo’s claims of widespread electoral fraud in the
presidential election, which the Constitutional Court will rule rejected in a
ruling announced on June 27, has undermined public faith in democracy and that
an Islamic caliphate would better address the nation’s long-term needs.
attention was apparently grabbed by a recent survey conducted by the
Jakarta-based Alvara Research Center which found that one in five of
Indonesia’s civil servants and 10% of state-owned enterprise (SOE) employees
favor the creation of an Islamic state.
survey’s findings conform with a recent Defense Ministry study which found 19%
of civil servants, 18% of private company employees, 9% of SOE workers and 3%
of the Indonesian Armed Forces (TNI) disagree that Pancasila should serve as
the country’s guiding philosophy.
same study also found that 23.3% of high school and university students share
that sentiment in a country destined to undergo a significant generational
change in 2024, when many old guard politicians are expected to leave the
just-released University of Nahdlatul Ulama study found that universities in
Jogjakarta and Central Java have been exposed to transnational Islamist
movements, including Tarbiyah, which is linked to the Muslim Brotherhood and
seeks to establish an Islamic state through the insidious penetration of
strategic social institutions.
this month, researcher Ade Armando revealed in a separate study that Tarbiyah
has also established a solid base in the directorates of student affairs,
education and human resources at the University of Indonesia, the country’s
most prestigious institution of higher learning, where the civil service does
much of its recruiting.
and irrational claims that Widodo is un-islamic and harbors communist
sympathies explain why significant elements of the military, including members
of the presidential guard, voted for Prabowo, who hardly qualifies as a devout
is fading away,” warned Ryacudu, a former army chief of staff and close ally of
ruling Indonesian Democratic Party for Struggle (PDI-P) leader Megawati
Sukarnoputri. “This might not be a big problem now, but it will be in 20-30
years if we do nothing. It will spell the end of this nation.”
signed a decree in May 2018 giving former president Megawati 112.5 million
rupiah (US$8,000) a month to fund the BPIP, whose steering committee also
includes newly elected Vice President Ma’ruf Amin, former Suharto-era vice
president Tri Sutrisno and ex-Constitutional Court chief justice Mahfud MD.
the president’s plan could face a backlash not only from Islamists, but also
from the seniority-obsessed bureaucracy and human rights activists worried that
force-feeding the populace with a diet of Pancasila harks back to Suharto’s rule,
when it was used as a test of loyalty to his military-backed New Order regime.
suppression of Islam during Suharto’s over three decades in power, during which
several persecuted hard-core Islamists sought sanctuary abroad, has contributed
to the religious revival that coincided with the birth of democracy in the late
1990s and has since gained a momentum of its own.
blame ex-president Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono for bowing to pressure from
conservatives and hardliners during his 2004-2014 two-tern presidency, which
saw the passage of draconian laws and fatwas, and an explosion of
discriminatory religious bylaws across Muslim-majority regions.
Lubis says Islamic extremists remain a serious challenge, particularly with
global networking and social media adding strength to their attempt to take
over politics and eventually the state.
Islam-based Prosperous Justice Party (PKS) has seen an increase in the votes it
has attained in the legislative election, but critics have doubted that it is
enough to keep its role as an opposition.
The religious conservative party won 8.2 percent of the vote in April,
according to the General Elections Commission (KPU), more than the 6.8 percent
it obtained five years ago, indicating that it would secure more seats at the
House of Representatives. Yet, unlike
the 2014 election, the party may not control House leadership or lead any
commissions due to the new law regulating the legislative body. According to the Legislative Institutions (
MD3 ) Law, the House speaker post and the other four House deputy speaker seats
must be filled by the five political parties with the largest number of votes
gathered in April. Among lawmakers, the House speakership...
Secretary General endorses Ambassador Khalilzad’s statement regarding Afghan
NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg endorsed the U.S. envoy Ambassador
Khalilzad’s statement regarding ongoing peace efforts in Afghanistan.
to reporters following the conclusion of NATO defense ministerial in Brussels,
Stoltenberg said he totally agrees with Ambassador Khalilzad’s statement that
nothing is agreed until everything is agreed regarding a peace deal in
further added “We are not aiming for a leave deal, we are aiming for a peace
deal. So the elements have to be in place, including Afghan reconciliation.”
also added “We have been there to protect our own interests, our own security,
but, of course, we also recognise the huge progress which has been made in
Afghanistan when it comes to social, economic progress, not least human rights,
freedom of press and the rights of women.”
Stoltenberg said “And for us, it’s important to try to preserve those gains.
And that has to be one part of the peace deal.”
Omelas, a fictional town envisioned by the science fiction author Ursula K. Le
Guin, everyone is happy, but they embrace a paradox; the prosperity of the town
is sustained at the expense of the misery of a little girl who is locked
diplomatic approach to the Rohingya crisis by Japan, one of the world’s most
prosperous liberal democracies, closely resembles the devil’s bargain of
in August 2017, the Myanmar military drove more than 730,000 Rohingya out of
Myanmar through a large-scale campaign of ethnic cleansing and crimes against
humanity. The atrocities include mass killings, sexual violence and widespread
2018, the United Nations Human Rights Council created an independent
fact-finding mission to investigate. It found that the violence inflicted on
the Rohingya, a Muslim group that has long lived in Rakhine state in Myanmar,
by the Myanmar military “rise(s) to the level of both war crimes and crimes
against humanity.” In October, the head of the fact-finding mission said that
the situation amounted to “an ongoing genocide.”
the Japanese government has been largely indifferent to the plight of the
Rohingya. Japan has abstained from all Myanmar-related resolutions at the
United Nations in recent years, while refusing to use the term “Rohingya,”
claiming that calling them “Muslims in Rakhine state” is much more “neutral.”
decision to side with the Myanmar government’s political rhetoric is
unsettling. But it is only a small part of Tokyo’s eager embrace of the Myanmar
government’s attempt to divert attention from the Rohingya crisis, and instead
to promote foreign business opportunities in war-torn Rakhine state.
this year, Japan and Myanmar co-organized the Rakhine State Investment Fair,
seeking to draw in foreign and national investors while overlooking the deadly
rights abuses and massive displacement of people there.
Maruyama, the Japanese ambassador to Myanmar, justified hosting the investment
fair by claiming that “if there is economic development … there will be no
conflict.” In late May, Maruyama also bucked global condemnation of the Myanmar
military’s atrocities in Rakhine state, saying that Japan “cannot agree to the
international community applying pressure or taking action against Myanmar
concerning the Rakhine issue. Things will become more complicated.”
de facto leader, Aung San Suu Kyi, echoed Maruyama’s sentiment at the
investment fair, saying that “for too long the international community’s
attention has been focused narrowly on negative aspects related to problems in
north Rakhine rather than on the panoramic picture that shows the immense
potential of this state for peace and prosperity.” Sadly, she continues to besmirch
her Nobel Peace Prize by continuing to deny the findings of the U.N.’s
fact-finding mission and prevent the U.N. special rapporteur on human rights in
Myanmar from visiting the country.
Japanese and Myanmar governments’ prioritization of business development is
happening as tens of thousands of refugees and displaced people suffer from
deteriorating living conditions.
Cox’s Bazar, Bangladesh, where most of the Rohingya refugees have fled, they
live in overcrowded camps, facing a heightened risk of domestic and sexual
violence, communicable diseases, community tensions, fires and landslides.
Human Rights Watch found the camps lack any sort of effective evacuation plan
in case of a natural disaster in this typhoon-prone region. Access to basic education
and medical services is severely limited, along with freedom of movement.
Myanmar, another more than 128,000 Muslims — about 125,000 Rohingyas and 3,000
ethnic Kamans — have been held for the past seven years in de facto open-air
detention camps, without access to livelihoods or adequate basic services.
Japan is going to invest in Myanmar and reap economic benefits, especially in
Rakhine state, it needs to do so while pursuing accountability for the
atrocities committed against the Rohingya people by the Myanmar military. For
starters, Japan can begin supporting Myanmar-related resolutions at the U.N.,
demand access for the U.N. special rapporteur and respect the right of the
Rohingya to self-identification.
Afghan security forces thwarted militants bid to smuggle a large quantity of
weapons and ammunition to Kabul from Peshawar.
National Directorate of Security (NDS) in a statement said the security forces
arrested two people in connection to the smuggling bid.
statement further added the two individuals had loaded the weapons and
ammunition in a trailer truck in a bid to smuggle to Kabul.
NDS said the security forces stopped the truck and confiscated the weapons and
ammunition after crossing into Afghanistan.
security forces seized 3 rockets launchers, 19 rifles, 2 silencers of the
weapons, 2 grenade launchers, 55 radio sets, 40 remote control disks, thousands
of rounds of ammunition and some other military equipment.
security forces also arrested the two suspects, Mohibullah son of Mohammad Omar
and Naseeb Shah son of Mohammad Omar.
Afghan Special Forces killed 7 ISIS militants during an operation in Nangarhar
informed military sources said Thursday that the operation was conducted in
Chaparhar district of Nangarhar.
sources further added that the Speical Forces also confiscated a small cache of
weapons during the raid.
an airstrike wounded another ISIS militant in Achin district of Nangarhar, the
NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg called the existing opportunity for
peace in Afghanistan ‘unique’ amid remaining challenges in the country.
made the remarks during a press conference after concluding a meeting with the
NATO-led Resolute Support defense ministers in Brussels.
Secretary General said “While many challenges remain in Afghanistan, we now
have a unique opportunity for peace.”
further added “Allies fully support the efforts of the US Special
Representative, Ambassador Khalilzad, to achieve a political settlement.”
Stoltenberg said NATO is strongly committed to Afghanistan.
also added “We have recently generated forces for the next rotation, throughout
said “we have confirmed our financial support for the Afghan security forces
through 2024. We will stay in Afghanistan for as long as necessary, to ensure
the country never again becomes a safe haven for international terrorists.”
New Age Islam, Islam Online,
Islamic Website, African Muslim News, Arab World News, South Asia News, Indian
Muslim News, World Muslim News, Women in Islam, Islamic Feminism, Arab Women,
Women In Arab, Islamophobia in America, Muslim Women in West, Islam Women and