congresswoman-elect Ilhan Omar of Minnesota addresses her supporters after
taking oath, at the Hilton McLean Tysons Corner in Virginia, United States on
January 04, 2019. ( Yasin Öztürk - Anadolu Agency )
Priest in Baghdad Praises Muslim Solidarity against Hatred and Divisions
Omar Vows To Make US Live Up to Religious Freedom
Mosque to Host Exhibitions on Muslims Who Rescued Jews In The Holocaust
Protest In Perlis Over Fears of Salafism in Mass Sacking of Imams
Attack Ghana Church over Pastor's Doom Prophecy
Not Shave Beards of Muslim Patients: SP Leader Writes To BMC
Arabia Facing Mounting Opposition In Occupied Parts Of Yemen
among Assad opponents escalates in northwest Syria
human rights office says Saudi Khashoggi murder trial 'not sufficient'
rights office urges Bahrain to release Nabeel Rajab
to visit Saudi Arabia, UAE during Middle East tour
Kurdish leaders seek Russian-mediated deal
New Envoy for Int'l Anti-Daesh Role
denies media report he is considering Webb for Pentagon chief
Saudi, Israel all benefit from Iran sanctions: Analyst
comments on 1979 Soviet invasion angers Kabul
Rashida Tlaib sworn in wearing Palestinian dress
say US exploring 'Arab troops' option in Syria
spent £200,000 protecting welfare of extremist Muslim hate preacher Abu Qatada
welfare payments for deported cleric
finds Malays still anxious about rights under PH govt
does the UEC jeopardise nation-building?
Uighur question: A civil society solution
Faso is a new breeding ground for religious extremism
fire tear gas to break up Sudan protests on ‘Friday of Change’
police use tear gas against protesters seeking 'peace, justice'
raids kill 6 Boko Haram militants in NE Nigeria
NSA Hamdullah Mohib briefs India on efforts aimed at ending 18-year war
Court: Appropriate bench will decide Ayodhya hearing schedule on Jan 10
BJP MLA: NIA didn’t ask me to identify voices of callers who threatened me
gets 10-day custody of Meerut man who was arrested for supplying weapons to
Islamic State-inspired terrorist group
Killed In Attack on Police Posts by Buddhist Rakhine Insurgents
Taliban And ISIS-K Militants Killed In Various Operations: Military Sources
dead, 44 wounded as gas station fire engulfs apartment building in Kabul
urges BD to hold HR violators accountable
missionary serving Muslims in Bangladesh for 43 years
Summit Proposal Being Discussed: Pak Official
UAE Finalise $6.2bn Support Package
Khan Government disowns ‘spokesman’ for criticising its policies on TV
delegation departs for FATF meeting with action plan
will struggle to reverse waning momentum, says Fitch Solutions
welcomes Pakistan’s decision to declare Gulen-backed organisation a terror
to improve health services for Afghan refugees
terrorist killed in North Waziristan operation: ISPR
trapping Pakistani rulers: Siraj
bomb explosion wounds 3 in northwest Pakistan
Exodus of Brains, Talents, Wealth from Turkey Due To Erdogan’s Policies
Government Media Raided In Hamas-Run Gaza
acts at 'military level' amid US sanctions on Iran: Netanyahu
forces injure at least 23 Palestinians in Gaza protests
Saudi-led airstrikes leave seven dead in Yemen’s Shabwah
seeks nearly 150 arrests over Gulen ties
by New Age Islam News Bureau
statements by Iraq’s Grand Mufti and the head of Iraq’s Shia movement, on
banning Christmas and New Year Greetings to Christians, have sparked outrage,
not only among Christians, but also among many Muslims. The Church, together
with some of our Muslim brothers, has strongly condemned such statements, which
do not express the spirit of brotherhood that unites us. Thousands of people
took to the streets of Baghdad on New Year's Eve - as they have done for a long
time - to celebrate the occasion, hoping for peace and quiet for all of Iraq.
with statements harmful to the dialogue and unity, for the New Year, many of
our Muslim brothers have called for the re-opening of churches shuttered years
ago because of religious extremism or Christian emigration. The latter has
affected central Baghdad as much as the suburbs and other parts of the country.
Muslims gathered in front of local churches and expressed their willingness to
clean them up. Many have posted videos on social media, expressing hope that
Christians can come home. Such a show of brotherhood is a throwback to a time,
many years ago, when everyone was united.
would very much like the Church to extend a message of thanks to these Muslims.
They represent a response to the forces of evil, which led to the seizure of
Christiane homes and assets. They are a response to the extremism that drove
Christians from their homes and churches. They are an answer to the hate speech
and intolerance that have spread and are a positive sign for those who have
been affected by a discourse that fuels divisions.
more than ever, we need every Iraqi citizen to rediscover their "original
essence", which stands against arguments based on differences, but focuses
instead on living and sharing every aspect of life with one's fellow citizen,
for better or for worse. In Iraq we need to remove the layer of rust that has
damaged the metal, which fuels trivial differences and hides personal
interests. In Iraq we need to remember the time of our childhood, when Muslim
and Christian children played together unconcerned about each other’s religion
. . . How much I miss the days of our childhood!
let me say: thank you, our Muslim brothers, who have managed to preserve that
"original essence"; thank you, because you have rejected extremism
and have not let it enter your homes. On the contrary, you have opened some
room for those who are different from you. It is us, on the occasion of this
celebration, who want to send you our greetings, who want to pray with you and
for you. Let us pray together for Iraq, and for a return to our childhood
Omar vows to make US live up to religious freedom
Safvan Allahverdi and Umar Farooq
Omar marked her first day in office by promising to make the U.S. live up to
its ideals of religious liberty, and she demanded the country reject
divisiveness and hate.
was sworn into the House of Representatives on Thursday, and joined Michigan's
Rashida Tlaib in becoming the first Muslim women in Congress. Omar is also the
body’s first Somali-American member.
am feeling very honored and really humble to represent the people of the 5th
and get this opportunity to really work on restoring our democracy and fighting
for the people," Omar told Anadolu Agency, referring to Minnesota's 5th
36-year-old Omar used her grandfather’s copy of the Quran during her
swearing-in ceremony, saying he inspired her to pursue a career in politics.
know he would have loved to be here today. But I want to bring him with me. He
was with us in spirit because I got a chance to get sworn on his Quran,"
also wore a hijab for the ceremony -- another first for Congress that
previously banned any sort of headwear.
are going to make this country one that lives up to its ideals of inclusion, of
religious liberty," Omar said to a crowd of supporters Thursday at a
celebration after her swearing in. "One that recognizes this is a land
that is stolen from indigenous people, built on the backs of black slaves, and
one, one that welcomed immigrants so many years ago.
believe in the politics of joy, and this isn't the time for tip-toe politics.
We are going to reject divisiveness. And we are going to reject hate. And we
are going to reject people who want to destroy one of the greatest governments,
one of the greatest democracies to exist on this earth."
commended the diversity in the new Congress that now has 102 women and 55 black
members. The new legislative body also sees the first Native American women as
well as two of the youngest members in history.
congresswoman reflected on her roots as well, when she came to the U.S. more
than two decades ago as a refugee.
this ban was happening 23 years ago. If the reduction of refugees being allowed
in this country was happening 23 years ago, my family and I wouldn't be here. I
wouldn't have the opportunity to get an education, start a family and now get
to represent all of you in Congress," Omar said.
only do we welcome refugees, but we send them to Washington to represent
us," she added, praising her district.
Mosque To Host Exhibitions On Muslims Who Rescued Jews In The Holocaust
mosque that was recently opened amid protests in a heavily-Jewish part of
London announced plans to host an exhibition celebrating Muslims who saved Jews
during the Holocaust.
Green Mosque is set to host the exhibition, prepared by the Yad Vashem
Holocaust museum in Israel, at the beginning of the new year, the Jewish News
of London reported Thursday.
exhibition is about Muslim Albanians who hid and protected Jews during the
Holocaust, when Albania was under fascist control.
Natan Levy, head of operations at the interfaith group Faith Forums for London,
which is helping the mosque organize the event, told The Jewish News: “The
exhibition is a powerful reminder that during the Jewish community’s darkest
hour, the Muslim community in Albania were one of the few who did not stand
idly by when the Nazis attempted to eradicate their Jewish neighbors.”
Jewish opponents to the mosque’s opening in 2017 cited traffic concerns,
whereas others said they fear it would introduce security problems, drawing
accusations of xenophobia by other Jews.
rescued about 2,000 Jews during the Holocaust.
parallel, Albanians also served in the 1st Albanian Waffen SS Division, manned
by hundreds of ethnic Albanians — many of them from Bosnia and also Kosovo,
which during the German and Italian occupations had been lumped together with
are known to have rounded up Jews who belonged to the group of at least 249
Kosovar Jews who ended up at a concentration camp in Germany.
protest in Perlis over fears of Salafism in mass sacking of imams
Some 200 people gathered outside a mosque here this afternoon to protest the
mass sacking of 25 imams in the state, in what is set to renew a long drawn
tension between traditional Sunni Muslim leaders and Islamic authorities in
Perlis who are seen promoting a strict version of Islam called Salafism.
protesters also carried banners condemning state mufti Mohd Asri Zainul Abidin,
who had said the imams were sacked due to their old age.
who defended the imams’ abrupt termination as a normal procedure, had also
accused them of indiscipline as well as making political speeches in mosques.
a spokesman for the protesters today questioned Asri’s claims.
other places, imams who are in their 70s and 80s continue to serve. Even our
prime minister is 94 years old and is still working,” Zainol Abidin Ahmad told
challenged Asri to state the real reason behind the imams’ dismissal, adding
that it had to do with the mufti’s disagreement with the practices of Shafi’i
Islam, the school of thought followed by majority Malay Muslims in the country.
rituals by Shafi’i Sunni Muslims are frowned upon by the Salafists, who claim
to be following an “austere” version of Islam.
include the formal recitation of the doa (invocation) by raising one’s hands,
as well as the “doa qunut”, an invocation performed during the Subuh or dawn
also prohibit the practice of “zikir”, or the act of singing praises of the
names of Allah and the Prophet after the five daily prayers.
must explain whether they are sacked because they mention the ‘bismillah’
phrase before the recitation of Surah Fatihah, recite the qunut during Subuh
prayers, read Surah Ya Sin every Thursday night and the zikir after every
prayer,” said Zainol.
said the protesters were not against the Perlis ruler as the state’s highest
Islamic authority, adding that Asri should not hide behind the palace in
justifying his actions.
Putrajaya and the state government have distanced themselves from the decision
to sack the imams, saying it was the prerogative of the Perlis Islamic
Religious and Malay Customs Council (MAIPs) and State Islamic Religious
attack Ghana church over pastor's doom prophecy
young Muslims attacked a charismatic church in Ghana's capital Accra after its
pastor predicted the country's chief imam would die this year, religious
leaders said on Friday.
clubs and machetes, they attacked a security guard at the entrance to the
Glorious Word and Power Ministry church then began hurling stones at its
windows and smashing up the musical instruments and furniture inside.
incident came after its celebrity pastor, Reverend Isaac Owusu-Bempah,
prophesied the deaths of Muslim spiritual leader Sheikh Osman Nuhu Sharubutu
and Ghana's Muslim vice president, Dr Mahamudu Bawumia, in a New Year's Eve
Sharubutu condemned the violence and called for calm.
has gained respect in the eyes of the world because of the peaceful
co-existence between Christians and Muslims. We're all brothers and nothing
must divide us," Sheikh Sharubutu told AFP at his residence in Accra.
must all restrain ourselves and pray for life. Ghana is all we have. Religion
is supposed to unite us and not divide us," he said, speaking through an
Ghana Pentecostal and Charismatic Council, which is the umbrella body supervising
charismatic churches, has raised red flags over the prophecy.
is the Council's considered opinion that prophecies that concern individuals
must be given to such individuals personally and privately... in order not to
create fear and panic in the entire nation," said council president
Reverend Paul Frimpong-Manso in a statement.
must be noted that whatever affects national figures, such as those whose
deaths have been predicted has the potential to affect the stability of the
entire nation," he added, saying that all member churches would rally
against the prophecy.
call upon our over 200 member churches to fast and pray to avert any such
than 70 percent of the population in the West African country identify as
Christian, while fewer than 20 percent identify themselves as Muslims,
according to the last census in 2010.
Not Shave Beards Of Muslim Patients: SP Leader Writes To BMC
Party (SP) Councillor Rais Shaikh has demanded that the beards of Muslim
patients should not be shaved off in the hospitals as it is an important part
of Islamic practice.
religious reasons, Shaikh has written a letter to the Brihanmumbai Municipal
Corporation (BMC) that beards of Muslim male patients shouldn't be shaved off
in the BMC-run hospitals during surgeries.
said, "Sporting a beard is an important part of Islam. As an Indian, I
have a right to religion guaranteed by the Constitution. In cases of
life-threatening surgeries, it can be okay but in smaller operative procedures,
consent from the patient or his family is required."
not mandatory to remove the beard. You can cover it. Government hospitals are
very insensitive about this and have made it a standard operating
procedure," Shaikh told India Today.
Rais Shaikh has become a spokesperson regarding the beard being an important
part of Islam, the Samajwadi Party leader himself doesn't sport one.
not that every Muslim keeps a beard. I am not a practicing Muslim so I don’t
have one. That doesn't mean I don’t have any right to talk about the issue. I
am speaking for the people I represent," he said.
issue stems from a hospital norm to remove facial hair for surgical procedures.
about the issue raised, Bariatric Surgeon and Gastroenterologist Dr Narendra
Nikam said, "Removing beard has certain indications and
contra-indications. In facial surgeries as well as maintaining hygiene, the
beard has to be removed. In cases of administering general anesthesia, we need
to fix a tube to the mouth and if it gets removed, it may lead to folliculitis
(an infection caused due to plucking of hair). We usually take consent before
removing the beard."
Shaikh for raising this issue, the Bharatiya Janata Party said that his demand
was based on sheer ignorance.
he discussed the issue with medical experts, he would not have dared to write
this letter. By making such statement, not only has he exposed his ignorance
but, also done damage for the Muslim community," alleged BJP Leader Manoj
NCP too called it a poor attempt to gain political brownie points.
is ill-informed about the procedures and hence trying to create an issue out of
a non-issue. Removing the beard is not mandatory, every hospital does it with
consent. He doesn't know this and even if he knows, it’s a poor attempt to
revive their party," alleged NCP spokesperson Nawab Malik.
Arabia facing mounting opposition in occupied parts of Yemen
Arabia is facing mounting opposition in areas it occupies in Yemen, leading US
daily the Wall Street Journal has reported.
view Saudi presence and its alleged development projects as a pretext for the
kingdom to entrench its control in the country by controlling Yemen's highly
vulnerable infrastructure, the paper said.
are under Saudi occupation. We don’t need the Saudis,” it quoted former deputy
governor of al-Mahra Ali bin Salem al-Huraizy, who has helped organize protests
against the Saudi presence in the past.
Arabia has taken control over the province's seaports and airports, using them
to deploy hundreds of troops in the region.
are illegitimate troops in these areas. Are there forces that belong to the
Houthis to be fought by the coalition here? The answer is a big ‘no’,” al-Mahra
and Socotra People’s General Council member Abdullah bin Issa al-Aafra said.
senior Yemeni official close to the country's Saudi-backed former president Abd
Rabbuh Mansour Hadi explained that even Saudi-allied Yemeni officials had no control
over the kingdom's expansion in the region.
are allied with the Saudi-led coalition, but we don’t accept any violation of
our sovereignty,” he said, speaking on the condition of anonymity in fear of
demonstrations have been organized against the Saudi “invaders” since April. In
November, Saudi-backed soldiers killed at least two people during a
governor of al-Mahra province Rajeh Saidbakrit claimed those killed were
terrorists who had attacked a checkpoint. Huraizy, however, rejected the
statement, saying they were ordinary protesters.
Arabia and its allies unleashed the deadly military aggression against Yemen in
March 2015 in an attempt to reinstall the country’s former Riyadh-allied regime.
efforts have gone down the drain, forcing the kingdom to push for peace with
Yemen's Houthis and their allies in the Yemeni army.
envoy for Yemen Martin Griffiths plans to visit the Yemeni capital of Sana'a on
trip will be part of a new round of talks to follow up on progress made in
Stockholm in December where both sides agreed to a prisoner exchange and a
truce in Yemen’s port city of Hudaydah.
to Yemen's Saba news agency on Tuesday, chairman of the Supreme Revolutionary
Committee of Yemen Mohammed Ali al-Houthi criticized the UN's World Food
Program (WFP) for sending "quantities of rotten food" to the country.
explained that the food was not allowed into the country for violating
"standards and regulations and is not suitable for human
also accused UN organizations of being biased in their work.
work of these organisations is mostly politicized, and their position...
confirms their work has shifted from independent to subordinate" to the
United States and Britain, he said.
Houthi movement, which runs state affairs in Sana’a in the absence of an
effective government, has been defending the nation against the Saudi
Saudi-led offensive has destroyed Yemen's infrastructure and led to famine in
the import-dependent state.
among rival Syrian rebel factions have spread across northwest Syria, rebels
and residents said on Thursday, in the latest bout of tit-for-tat fighting
between opponents of President Bashar al-Assad’s rule.
has long plagued Syria’s armed opposition since the uprising against Assad began
in 2011. Turf wars have helped the Syrian president, with his Iranian and
Russian allies, recover much of the territory previously held by rebels.
al-Sham, formerly affiliated to al-Qaeda, had launched an attack on Tuesday
against towns in the western countryside of Aleppo held by Nour al Din Zinki, a
member of the mainstream National Liberation Front (NLF), the rebels and
residents told Reuters by telephone.
group, which on Wednesday seized the town of Darat Izza, said it was
retaliating for an ambush this week that killed five of its fighters. It blamed
Nour al Din Zinki. Ideological differences divide hardline militants from
nationalist groups in the Free Syrian Army that have gathered under the banner
of the NLF, which has the backing of Syria’s neighbor Turkey.
rebel source said capturing the town of Darat Izza would strengthen the
Islamist group in secret talks with Turkey, which has a military foothold in
the northern region and wants to tighten its grip on the area to secure its
goal was to create a contiguous stretch of territory from areas they control
north of Idlib near the Turkish border to strongholds in the Aleppo
countryside, said a senior Western diplomat closely following Syria who
a further bout of tit-for-tat fighting, NLF forces who sent more deployments
and announced a call for war, attacked Tahrir al-Sham strongholds and
checkpoints in Idlib province, residents and rebels said.
hold Tahrir al-Sham responsible for the dangerous and catastrophic
repercussions that result from its escalation and call on its wise men to stop
the fighting and preserve what is left of the revolution,” the NLF said in
say the NLF has made little progress in dislodging the Islamists from Saraqeb,
one of the main cities they hold in Idlib province. Fears however grew that
fighting that has mostly avoided civilian areas could spill over into heavily
populated urban areas. Dozens have so far been killed and wounded, rebels said.
the Islamists are outnumbered by the mainstream NLF, they are the most powerful
group in Idlib and have de facto control over most of the province, the last
big rebel enclave.
of civilians in Maarat al-Numan, an NLF-controlled town, held a rally against
Tahrir al Sham on Wednesday, accusing the group and its leader Sheikh Abu
Mohammad al Golani of serving Assad by launching its latest attack.
between rebel factions have extended to Atma, a town on Idlib province’s northern
border with Turkey. The town is now home to tens of thousands of Syrians
displaced by the years of conflict and who now live in makeshift tents.
Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) says it
cannot assess the fairness of a trial underway in Saudi Arabia over the killing
of dissident journalist Jamal Khashoggi, emphasizing that in any case it is
Arabia said on Thursday that it has held an initial hearing into Khashoggi's
murder case, with the public prosecutor requesting the death penalty for five
of the suspects.
state-run Saudi Press Agency (SPA) reported that at the court session, which
was held in Riyadh, the prosecutor demanded that “proper punishments” be
imposed against the 11 defendants and that “capital punishment” sentences be
handed to five of them over their direct involvement in the killing.
response to a question about the Saudi prosecutor's demand for the suspects'
death penalty, the OHCHR Spokeswoman Ravina Shamdasani said on Friday that the
office calls for an independent investigation “with international
also reiterated the UN rights office's constant opposition to the death
a prominent critic of the Saudi crown prince and a US resident, disappeared on
October 2 after visiting the Saudi consulate in Istanbul to obtain
documentation for his forthcoming marriage.
Arabia initially claimed he had left the consulate alive, but weeks later
admitted that he was killed inside the diplomatic mission and blamed his death
on a group of Saudi operatives.
authorities believe that a 15-person “hit squad” was sent from Saudi Arabia to
Istanbul to kill the 61-yerar-old journo.
December 10, Turkey called for an international investigation into the case of
slain Saudi dissident journalist, after Riyadh refused to extradite two senior
Saudi officials suspected of planning his murder.
Altun, director of communications at the Turkish presidency, said in a
statement that the international community should seek justice for the slain
journalist under international law after Riyadh reiterated that the suspects in
the case would not be extradited for trial in Istanbul.
full translated transcript of an audio recording of Khashoggi's murder has
showed that the killing was pre-planned, refuting Riyadh’s claims.
source, who read the translated version and who has been briefed on the
investigation into Khashoggi's killing, has made the revelations to CNN.
United Nations human rights office has condemned the latest verdict on Nabeel
Rajab as "continued suppression of government critics," urging
Bahrain to release the prominent human rights activist.
Court of Cassation, whose verdicts are final, on December 31 rejected Rajab’s
appeal and upheld his prison sentence over tweets deemed critical of the Manama
regime and the deadly Saudi-led war against Yemen.
court decision brings into focus the continued suppression of government
critics in Bahrain through arbitrary arrest and detention, travel bans,
harassment, threats, revocation of citizenship and other means," UN human
rights spokeswoman Ravina Shamdasani said at a news briefing in Geneva,
February 21, Bahrain’s criminal court sentenced the distinguished human rights
activist to five years in prison for tweeting in 2015 about torture in the Jaw
Prison and censuring the Saudi-led war on Yemen.
to a court document, Rajab was found guilty of “spreading false news and rumors
in time of war,” “insulting foreign countries” and “insulting publicly the
interior ministry” in comments posted on Twitter.
pro-democracy campaigner has already served a two-year jail sentence over a
news interview in which he said Bahrain tortured political detainees. Rajab
completed this sentence in July.
human rights organizations also denounced the ruling, with Amnesty
International describing the verdict as “utterly outrageous.”
of anti-regime protesters have held demonstrations in Bahrain on an almost
daily basis ever since a popular uprising began in the kingdom in mid-February
2011. They are demanding that the Al Khalifah dynasty relinquish power and
allow a just system representing all Bahrainis to be established.
has gone to great lengths to clamp down on any sign of dissent. On March 14,
2011, troops from Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates were deployed to
assist Bahrain in its crackdown.
US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo will travel to eight Middle East capitals
next week for talks on security expected to focus on Yemen, Syria and Iran.
envoy for Yemen Martin Griffiths will also arrive in Sanaa on Saturday as
international efforts aimed at ending the war in Yemen continue.
will meet leaders of the Iran-backed Houthi rebels before traveling to Saudi
Arabia for talks in Riyadh with Yemeni President Abed Rabbo Mansour Hadi.
US National Security Adviser John Bolton is visiting Israel and Turkey. His
talks will focus on Syria and “how the US will work with allies and partners to
prevent the resurgence of Daesh, stand fast with those who fought with us
against Daesh, and counter Iranian malign behavior in the region,” his spokesman
his first Middle East visit since President Donald Trump’s announcement that he
intends to withdraw US forces from Syria, Pompeo leaves on Tuesday for an
eight-day trip to Jordan, Egypt, Bahrain, the UAE, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Oman
and Kuwait. The US hopes each country will play a significant role in a
regional strategic partnership being called an “Arab NATO.”
his second stop in Cairo he will deliver a speech on the US “commitment to
peace, prosperity, stability, and security in the Middle East,” the State
is seeking to build a consensus on how to deal with Syria and its backer Iran
in the light of the US troop withdrawal.
is also seeking a solution to the war in Yemen between the legitimate
government supported by a Saudi-led coalition and Houthi militias backed by
sides have agreed to a cease-fire in the port city of Hodeidah while UN envoy
Griffiths seeks to bring about a new round of talks.
SYRIA: Syrian Kurdish leaders aim to secure a Russian-mediated political deal
with the Bashar Assad regime regardless of US plans to withdraw from their region,
a senior Kurdish official told Reuters.
Kurdish-led administration that runs much of northern Syria presented a road
map for an agreement with Assad during recent meetings in Russia and are
awaiting Moscow’s response, Badran Jia Kurd
such a deal could be agreed, it would piece back together the two biggest
chunks of a country splintered by eight years of war and leave one corner of
the northwest in the hands of anti-Assad opposition backed by Turkey.
talks with Russia and new overtures toward Damascus underline a recalibration
of Kurdish strategy since President Donald Trump announced his decision to
withdraw US forces whose presence has stabilized the Kurdish-led region.
immediate priority is to find a way to shield the region from Turkey, which
views the Kurdish YPG militia as a national security threat.
has already sent its army into Syria twice to roll back the YPG. But it has
held off attacking the large Kurdish-controlled area of the northeast where US
forces operate. Trump, who has not set out a withdrawal timetable, said on
Wednesday the US would leave slowly “over a period of time.” He also said the
US wanted to protect Kurds, who have been vital to the US campaign against
Kurd welcomed the idea of a slow withdrawal but said the United States had not
discussed the pullout with its Syrian allies who were caught off guard by
fill the expected vacuum, they want Russia to help secure a Syrian army
deployment at the northern border. This is part of a wider effort to strike a
deal with Damascus they hope will also safeguard their regional autonomy. Jia
Kurd said Russia had agreed to mediate.
final decision is (to reach an) agreement with Damascus; we will work in this
direction regardless of the cost, even if the Americans object,” Jia Kurd said
in the northern Syrian city of Qamishli.
view is that (Russia) is trying to open new horizons with Damascus; this is
what we sensed from them.”
and the YPG have mostly avoided confrontation during the war. At times, they
have even fought common foes.
convened political talks last year in Damascus, but these broke down without
progress. Jia Kurd said the need for Damascus to enter serious dialogue was now
main aims of the road map are to protect the border from Turkey, to find a way
to integrate the governing structures of northern Syria into the constitution,
and to ensure a fair distribution of resources in northern and eastern Syria.
ball is in the court of Russia and Damascus,” Jia Kurd said. “On this basis we
can negotiate and start a dialogue.”
of the biggest challenges will be reconciling the regional autonomy demands
with Assad’s goal of exercising authority over the whole country again.
Syrian foreign minister recently said a federal Syria was unacceptable.
Kurd said “conservative” elements in Damascus wanted to ignore political
changes and to “impose their control and influence” through the kind of
agreements forced on areas where anti-Assad rebels had been defeated.
is rejected by us,” he said.
Kurds’ bargaining chips include control of dams on the Euphrates River, oil
fields and other resources. Jia Kurd said these would be one main element of
however say their bargaining position has been weakened by Trump’s
announcement, which heightened Kurdish fears of a Turkish offensive.
views the YPG militia as an extension of the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party
(PKK), which has waved a 34-year insurgency in Turkey.
believe Assad and the YPG could eventually work together against Turkey-backed
rebels in northwestern Syria.
names new envoy for int'l anti-Daesh role
James Jeffrey, the current special representative for Syria Engagement, will
take the additional role of special envoy for the U.S.-led coalition against
Daesh effective Friday, the State Department said.
McGurk, who served in post for three years, resigned Dec. 22 following Trump’s
decision to pull troops from Syria. The move also saw a resignation from
defense chief James Mattis.
this additional responsibility, Ambassador Jeffrey will lead and coordinate
U.S. Department of State relations with the Global Coalition to defeat ISIS and
Department efforts to implement President Trump’s announcement of a responsible
U.S. troop withdrawal from Syria," said Robert Palladino in a statement,
using another name for Daesh.
U.S. withdrawal comes on the eve of a possible Turkish military operation in
northeastern Syria against the YPG/PKK terrorist group.
worked under the past three U.S. administrations, becoming one of a handful of
those appointed by former U.S. President Barack Obama to keep his post under
President Donald Trump. He also served in the George W. Bush administration.
President Donald Trump said on Friday a New York Times report that he was
considering former Democratic Senator Jim Webb to be his next defense secretary
was “fake news.”
Times, citing an unnamed official, said on Thursday that Vice President Mike
Pence and acting White House Chief of Staff Mick Mulvaney had reached out to
Webb. A senior Pentagon official confirmed Webb's name had been circulating at
the White House, the Times reported.
sure he is a fine man, but I don’t know Jim, and never met him,” Trump said on
Twitter. “Patrick Shanahan, who is Acting Secretary of Defense, is doing a
great job!” he said.
Mattis stepped down from his job as defense secretary on Tuesday and Trump said
a day later he had essentially fired Mattis, a retired Marine general whose
letter of resignation was seen as a sharp rebuke to the Republican president.
resigned after Trump's surprise decisions to withdraw all US troops from Syria
and half of the 14,000-strong contingent in Afghanistan.
United States, Israel and Saudi Arabia are looking for ways to challenge Iran’s
influence and Washington’s campaign of sanctions against Tehran helps them
fulfill that objective, an American analyst says.
Preston, director of Attackthesystem.com, said the sanctions were designed to
put Iranian people under pressure and force the Islamic Republic to abandon its
made the remarks in reaction to claims by US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo
that economic bans were aimed at giving the Iranian people a chance to have
sanctions on Iran have this ultimate goal: creating an outcome where the
Iranian people can have better lives than they have today," Pompeo told
Newsmax TV on Thursday.
November 5, the administration of US President Donald Trump announced the
re-imposition of the “toughest” sanctions ever against Iran's banking and
energy sectors with the aim of cutting off its oil sales and crucial exports.
The bans had been lifted under the 2015 nuclear deal, officially known as the
Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA).
told Press TV on Friday that a lot of ordinary Americans had no idea what the
conflict between the United States and Iran was all about and that Pompeo’s
rhetoric amounts to “propaganda for public consumption.”
said the sanctions were in no way intended to improve the Iranian people’s
lives, and instead, “they were holding Iranian people hostage for the purpose
of influencing or trying to influence the Iranian government.”
real issues between the United States and Iran are rooted in the 1979 Islamic
Revolution, which “removed a puppet government of the United States” and
replaced it with a political system that resisted Washington’s policies instead,
reason that the United States has such a deep-seeded grudge against Iran is
because of that,” the analyst further explained. “It’s because of the fact that
Iran was a nation that defied the American empire.”
he argued, set an “example” that Washington didn’t want other nations to
second reason was the state of relations between Israel and the United States,
fact that Israel regards Iran as one of its most important regional competitors
in the area also intensifies the hostility of the United States towards Iran,”
said Saudi Arabia also had similar tendencies to weaken Iran and used its
"influence" on the American foreign policy to make sure the sanctions
remained in place.
Afghanistan on Friday blasted US President Donald Trump for defending Moscow’s
invasion of the country 40 years ago and urging it to get involved in the
said the former Soviet Union was right to be in Afghanistan because it was
fighting terrorists, upending decades of US foreign policy as Washington had
funded and armed the opposition during the 10-year war in the belief that
Moscow was trying to spread communism.
of thousands of Afghans lost their lives in the fighting and it paved the way
for the ongoing bloodshed in the country.
Ashraf Ghani’s office said it was seeking official clarification from
Washington over Trump’s comments.
the invasion of Afghanistan by the former Soviet Union, Afghans in a national
uprising for gaining the freedom of their holy land, began jihad (holy war),” a
statement said, adding that “after the invasion of the former Soviet, all of
the presidents of America not only denounced this invasion but remained a
added that Afghanistan’s ties with the world had been established on the basis
of common interests, and the presence of international forces in Afghanistan
was to ensure its security and global security.
is a difference in utterances and official policy of the country (America).
Therefore, we, through diplomatic channels, are seeking clarity from the USA
about a series of comments, especially about some of the policies, and expect
to share them with us in the near future.”
Afghan foreign minister slammed the invasion as a “grave violation” of the
country’s territorial integrity and national sovereignty and said that “any
other claim defies historical facts.”
was condemned by UN and the international community. Heroic resistance &
sacrifice of millions of Afghans for freedom and independence ingrained in
history,” Salahuddin Rabbani tweeted.
also blamed the Afghan war for the collapse of the former Soviet Union. “Russia
used to be the Soviet Union,” he said in a bizarre and rambling Cabinet meeting
on Wednesday. “Afghanistan made it Russia, because they went bankrupt fighting
in Afghanistan. So you take a look at other countries. Pakistan is there; they
should be fighting. But Russia should be fighting. The reason Russia was in
Afghanistan was because terrorists were going into Russia. They were right to
be there. The problem is it was a tough fight. And literally, they went
went into being called Russia again, as opposed to the Soviet Union. You know,
a lot these places you’re reading about now are no longer a part of Russia
because of Afghanistan.”
elected U.S. Congresswoman Rashida Tlaib was sworn into the House of
Representatives on Thursday wearing a traditional Palestinian thobe, or dress,
sparking a movement on social media.
she announced last month on Instagram that she would be wearing the dress,
Susan Muaddi Darraj, a fiction writer from Baltimore, Maryland, introduced the
hashtag #TweetYourThobe, which went viral on Twitter after photos and videos on
social media showed Tlaib walking around Congress wearing the traditional
women took Twitter by storm posting pictures of themselves in their own thobes.
thobe she wore featured ornate, hand-stitched embroidery known as tatreez. The
craft of tatreez is a folk art that has been practiced by Palestinian women for
centuries, according to The Institute for Middle East Understanding, which said
mothers and grandmothers used to pass down designs with different motifs and
colors associated with different Palestinian towns and villages.
congresswoman wrote in Elle magazine that she grew up watching her mother
hand-stitch these types of dresses.
my career in public service, the residents I have had the privilege of fighting
for have embraced who I am, especially my Palestinian roots," Tlaib wrote.
"This is what I want to bring to the United States Congress, an
unapologetic display of the fabric of the people in this country."
became the first Palestinian woman elected to the U.S. Congress and joined
Minnesota's Ilhan Omar in becoming the first Muslim women elected to the
congresswomen took their oaths of office on the Quran, with Tlaib using a
personal copy and Omar using her grandfather's copy.
a kid, I acted as my grandfather's translator at our caucuses, and he was the
one who first sparked my interest in politics," Omar said on Twitter.
"I wish he could be here to witness this historic moment, but he was here
in spirit as I placed my hand on his Quran for the ceremonial swearing
wore a hijab for her swearing in ceremony, which was a first for Congress
because they had previously banned any sort of headwear.
officials dismissed criticism following the news of their hasty withdrawal from
Syria, saying on Friday that there “is no timeline” for the pull-out and that
it will be a “deliberate, coordinated” process that won’t leave behind a vacuum
in the war-ravaged country.
US officials briefed reporters on Friday about the visit to the region that US
Secretary of State Mike Pompeo is set to begin next week (January 8 to 15). The
officials, who did not wish to be identified, said Washington is “exploring a
variety of options” in Syria, including dispatching Arab troops to the country.
Pompeo is set to visit all six Gulf Cooperation Council Countries (Saudi
Arabia, UAE, Bahrain, Oman, Qatar, and Kuwait) as well as Egypt and Jordan. The
US is seeking to group these same countries (GCC+2) under an umbrella
organisation dubbed Middle East Strategic Alliance (MESA) in 2019. A brief
visit to Iraq is also scheduled for January 11.
officials stressed that the US “is not leaving the Middle East.” While its
military presence in Syria (2000 troops) is "not indefinite”, there is no
fixed deadline. “We have no timeline to withdraw from Syria” one official said.
“We don’t intend to have indefinite presence in Syria…but we don’t want to
create vacuum,” he added.
comments are at odds with those issued by US President Donald Trump last month,
where he vowed to pull out in 30 days. The US President retracted this week,
telling reporters that the process would be “slow and coordinated.”
about the possibility of dispatching Arab troops to Syria and whether this
matter would be discussed by Mr Pompeo on his trip, one official said: “We are
exploring variety of options” but there is no final plan yet. "We’re
exploring a variety of options – I won’t go into details on those – but we
don’t have any plans right now to facilitate Arab forces going into Syria"
he said. Arab media have reported that the deployment of Egyptian or Moroccan
troops is one of the possibilities currently on the table.
departure of US troops from Syria, however, does not seem to be imminent.
Officials said the US intends to remain in the country until the battle against
ISIS is won and the group is fully uprooted.
officials also insisted that countering Iran will remain a primary objective of
the US’ policy in the Middle East even after it pulls out its troops from
Iranian regime is the greatest threat and most dangerous actor in the region”
one official said.
Pompeo will discuss Jordan’s security and stability while in Amman, before
travelling to Cairo “where he will meet with Egyptian leaders to discuss
critical regional issues, including Iran, Gaza, and counterterrorism, as well
as economic and energy cooperation.” “The Secretary will [also] deliver a
speech on the United States’ commitment to peace, prosperity, stability, and
security in the Middle East.”
official stressed the unique nature of the trip, which includes a stop in all
GCC countries. He said the US is still seeking to host the MESA summit in the
first quarter of 2019. The Trump administration rescheduled the summit at least
twice due to the White House’s schedule as well as delays in agreeing the MESA
concept and mechanism.
the UAE, Mr Pompeo will “discuss regional and bilateral issues, including ways
to further expand ties in areas such as trade and investment…the need for all
parties to adhere to the agreements made at the Yemen talks in Sweden,
particularly the cease-fire and redeployment of forces in Hudaydah, in support
of the efforts of the UN Special Envoy for Yemen” the statement said.
war in Yemen will also be on the agenda in Saudi Arabia, where Mr Pompeo is
expected to meet the new Saudi Foreign Minister Ibrahim Al Assaf and the Saudi
leadership. “The Secretary and Saudi leaders will discuss ways to continue
bolstering UN Special Envoy Martin Griffiths as he works toward a comprehensive
political agreement among parties to end the conflict and realise a brighter
future for Yemen” the statement read.
investigation into the murder of Jamal Khashoggi will also be on the agenda in
Riyadh, the US official said. From the US viewpoint, he noted that “the Saudi
narrative or legal process has yet to hit the threshold of credibility [and]
dialogue and GCC unity will be discussed during Mr Pompeo’s stops in Oman,
Kuwait and Qatar. “The Secretary and Omani leaders will discuss the Middle East
Strategic Alliance and the importance of a united GCC in advancing the peace,
prosperity, and security of the region” the statement said.
has spent nearly £200,000 protecting the welfare of extremist hate preacher Abu
claimed asylum in Britain in 1993, but was deported to his native Jordan in
2013 to face terrorism charges.
Theresa May was Home Secretary, she played a key role in the decade long-battle
costing more than £1.9million, to deport the cleric.
his meetings with doctors and human rights workers were funded by taxpayers for
three years, as reported by The Times.
payments were agreed by Mrs May despite her telling Parliament in 2013 that
costs relating to Qatada were 'not acceptable to the public and not acceptable
visits were to ensure Qatada was not being tortured after his removal from the
country, a freedom of information request showed.
Home Office spent £66,000 on monitoring Qatada, with the money going to the
Adaleh Centre for Human Rights Studies.
the Foreign Office spent £57, 509.92 doing the same.
Foreign Office also paid an additional sum of £67,000 a decade ago to monitor
was cleared of charges by a civilian court in Jordan in 2014.
MP Andrew Percy said: 'These payments are ridiculous. The money we have spent .
. . is an insult to the British taxpayer.'
spokesman for the government said: 'We committed to monitoring Abu Qatada for
up to three years from the date of his deportation in July 2013 . . .
final payment for this by the Home Office and the Foreign Office was made in
UK spent nearly £200,000 to protect extremist preacher Abu Qatada after he was
deported to Jordan in 2013, according to information released by the
Palestinian cleric was removed from Britain for being a threat to national
security after receiving assurances that evidence gathered under torture would
not be used at any trial.
government agreed to pay for welfare checks and monitoring that amounted to
nearly £200,000 until 2016 to ensure he was not mistreated, according to
figures obtained by The Times newspaper.
Qatada, described by officials as the spiritual leader of Al Qaeda, was first
detained in Britain in 2002 in the aftermath of the 2001 terrorist attacks on
the United States. Videos of his sermons were found in the German flat used by
some of the hijackers.
had fought a near decade-long battle to remain in Britain to avoid facing
charges in Jordan where he was accused of plotting terrorist attacks on
Americans and Israelis. He was acquitted of the charges at a trial in Jordan
the following year.
TOWN: A study involving selected focus groups of Malays in different parts of
the country has found that most Malays are worried about their special rights
under the Pakatan Harapan (PH) government.
joint study by the Penang Institute and Ilham Centre found that those in the
central region of the peninsula favoured PH while those in the southern,
northern and east coast belts favoured PAS and Umno.
also found that Malay youths are excited about having a new government and that
there is sympathy for former prime minister Najib Razak among older Malays.
found too that a section of the Malays are not happy with the appointment of
non-Malays to top posts.
findings are based on 18 focus group discussions comprising a total of 125
people, divided into three categories: “youths below 30”, “adult men” and
“women”. Individuals who were selected did not know each other. The research
was held between Oct 21 and Nov 21 last year.
Centre fellow and head of research Mohd Yusri Ibrahim said at a talk here
yesterday on the findings that the older Malays in the rural areas, in
particular, were concerned about the “erosion of Malay rights” and were still
reeling from “shock” over PH’s win.
older Malay folks in the northern, southern and east coast states are worried
about their special rights, the sanctity of Islam, the royal institution and
the use of Bahasa Malaysia under the direction of the PH government,” he said
at a talk at the Penang Institute last night.
said another major concern of the Malays are economic and cost of living
issues, with their income affected by dwindling prices of palm oil, rubber and
coconuts after May 9, 2018.
said this had led to doubts as to whether the PH government could do better
than the previous Barisan Nasional regime in improving their core agricultural
said groups interviewed were also not happy about non-Malays being appointed to
top posts, particularly that of the finance minister, the attorney-general and
the chief justice.
feel it is a threat to the Malays’ special rights and ask why capable Malays
were not selected instead.
Malays in the central region, however, find Lim Guan Eng’s appointment as
finance minister acceptable due to his stint as Penang chief minister.
they are against Tommy Thomas’ and Richard Malanjum’s appointments as they fear
it will threaten matters related to Muslim legal issues,” he said.
unhappy Chinese still can’t speak Bahasa well
said some Malays felt Lim’s use of Chinese in his statements on Facebook was
offensive to Malays and the supremacy of Bahasa Malaysia in general.
most are against English medium schools, respondents are okay with the
education minister’s call to learn a ‘third language’ such as Chinese, Tamil,
Arabic, Japanese and Javanese.
remain offended that the Chinese community remains not so fluent in Bahasa
despite being in the country for decades,” he said.
said the Malays were also jittery over the high number of non-Malay
representatives in PH and more Malay representatives in the opposition.
said the older Malays interviewed in the northern, Sabah and Sarawak regions
felt sympathetic towards Najib, saying the lawsuits brought against him are a
form of revenge by PH.
said the Malays who supported PH were in the Klang Valley and urban centres in
the central zone states such as Selangor, Kuala Lumpur and Negeri Sembilan.
Malays support PAS
said one out of five Malay voters voted for PH, while the east coast states and
rural Malays, in general, gave their full support to PAS.
said the Malays who voted for parties other than BN did so because they wanted
to oust Najib over the 1MDB issue, corruption and the Goods and Services Tax.
said his research also found that those in the central zone were the most
forgiving of the current PH government and felt it needed more time to
Malay youths across the country are excited that there is a new government at
the federal level for the first time,” he said.
said in Sarawak, the Malay Melanaus were afraid the chief minister’s post would
go to another ethnic group if PH were to win in the state polls which must be
held by Sept 2021.
the talk, Lawyers for Liberty executive director Latheefa Koya said while it
was not surprising for the Malay majority in the country to feel worried after
a PH win, people should not treat the community as ‘tribal people’.
must stop seeing Malays as unique tribal people who have no access to
information. There are good Malays and bad Malays, and there are people who
reject corruption and some who condone them. It is not different from other
communities,” she said.
said Malays, like all other races in the country, faced a problem where there
was a dearth of alternate views on a matter. She said the same experts from the
BN era were still getting their outdated views in the media.
said Malays must be supplied with a variety of views, and the PH government
must continue to do so through various channels.
said, for instance, while PKR was the pioneer in exposing corruption issues,
the party failed to reach the Malay electorate in 2013 by not having Bahasa
leaflets that explained the National Feedlot Corp issue and other issues of
said PKR did not print any Bahasa leaflets on corruption issues, but only had a
Bahasa translation of a letter written by Yusof al-Qaradawi, a religious
scholar sent to a Friday prayer congregation.
need more explainers in Bahasa so the Malay electorate can understand deeper
about the country’s issues.”
Institute’s Wong Chin Huat said it would be bad to assume that all Malays were
built from the same mould, as they, like others in the world, could be liberal
or conservative politically.
said Malays were jittery over PH’s win due to a “winner takes all” democracy,
instead of a “muafakat” or a goodwill democracy.
said most Malays today could not stand being in the opposition for fear they
would loose everything. He said this needed a rethink and must change.
was asked to appear before a task force set up by Maszlee Malik on the issue of
the Unified Examination Certificate (UEC) and its impact on nation-building.
The main concern, as I understand, is that the UEC has not been recognised as a
positive development in nation-building because it originated from the Chinese
school system which has refused any nationalisation efforts.
was a unique situation, for me to be asked for my opinion in this matter,
because I did not know much about either the UEC or the Chinese school system.
I went because of one simple reason: I think there is a huge problem with our
public schools in relation to nation-building. It is very strange, from my
point of view, that the Malays are finding fault with the UEC and the
vernacular school system and philosophy when the main problems stem directly
from the public schools themselves.
will make four arguments on how I find the public school system has jeopardised
the very foundation of our nation-building philosophy and approach. I will
speak about the culture of administration, then about the level of religious
and cultural sensitivities between races, the subject of History and the
subject of Bahasa Melayu.
the culture of administration. As Dr Mahathir Mohamad himself has said many
times, public schools in Malaysia already resemble religious or Islamic
schools. To many Malays in Umno or PAS, or even PKR and Amanah, this may be a
welcome assertion. Unlike in my days, most teachers now comprise Malays in what
is a racial imbalance in the teaching force.
we have administrators who are also mostly Malays, and they determine the
culture and value system in schools, such as the insistence on the so-called
Islamic dress code and the reading of Muslim prayers during events and
Christians once did the same at missionary schools, the Malays complained of
religious pollution in education institutions. But when the Malays do it, it
seems all right because the education ministry is full of pious Muslims.
such as Qia mu lail and Yaasin reading to ask for Allah’s help in examinations
are rife. These events are fine if conducted outside of school compounds and
hours. This kind of culturalisation frightens non-Malay and non-Muslim parents
away from public schools.
the UEC and Chinese schools introduced a non-Islamic administrative culture? I
have not heard of any Bible reading or Confucian wisdom and Buddhist meditative
practices being part and parcel of the day-to-day activities of any school.
From the administrative culture perspective, Chinese schools using the UEC have
no ethnic preference or religious impetus.
there is a proliferation of Muslim religious rituals like prayers at school,
halal canteens or stalls. Students who are not fasting must eat in the toilet,
there are halal and haram drinking glasses, issues with saris and many others.
are understandably frightened at these acts of outward religiosity and have moved
their children to private or vernacular schools. I have not heard of any
religious rituals of incense burning or processions of deities in Chinese
schools, thus I assume that such outward shows of religious piety or reverence
do not exist.
school environment of those taking the UEC seems, to me, more balanced in
respecting religious sensitivities. This would be a point in favour of
accepting the UEC as a good nation-building effort.
argument against accepting the UEC comes to a head over the subject of History.
Although the UEC has been accepted by overseas and international universities
of worth all over the world, Malaysia rejects it on grounds that its history
syllabus does not contain “adequate” local content.
accept the fact that the UEC History subject covers a more global perspective
as well as some local content, showing the idea of globalisation and
localisation at the same time. We must get used to the idea that our children
will likely not be working in Malaysia. They will spread their wings outside
the country of their birth.
learnt about Christianity and the Greeks in my day, and it was useful when I
went to the US for my architectural degrees. On the other hand, the public
school curriculum, to my mind, contains too much historical content that may be
skewed towards creating a narrative of one race over the others.
would prefer that both the UEC and the national school History curriculum
concentrate more on the history of different peoples rather than one of them
being a long-winded narrative of colonialism and the political struggle for
independence with heroes being ministers and prime ministers as well as
political leaders, most of whom were Malays.
would prefer that our children know about the rise of each people – the Chinese,
the Indians, the Orang Asli, the Kadazans, the Muruts – and their
anthropological make-up of social values and rituals in the past as well as
adaptations and innovations of the present.
I were to ask pupils about the history of Christianity or the Buddhist faith in
Malaysia, would they be able to answer? There is also the history of technology
and the rise of cities that form important aspects of history and would help us
better perceive the present social and environmental issues.
conclusion here is that both the UEC and the national curriculum are flawed in
their understanding of history in a narrow construct. Our present curriculums
fail miserably in educating our youth about the history of their own peoples.
other point of contention is the subject of Bahasa Melayu. The so-called
unacceptability of the UEC is also on grounds that curriculum expectations of
the certificate are apparently lower than those of the national curriculum. I
would like to present a totally different view of this matter.
of all, I assume that most public universities with the exception of perhaps
UKM and one or two others, require students to attend lectures and complete
assignments in English. Even UiTM, the bastion of Malay-only education,
strongly insists on this matter. So students of the UEC should steer away from
UKM and apply only to UTM, UPM, USM, UM and others which emphasise English over
is the problem here? It was not the Chinese educationists who decided on this
line of medium of instruction. It was the Malay vice-chancellors who opened up
their universities to foreigners thus dealing a death blow to Bahasa Melayu as
Bahasa Ilmu. They should close down Dewan Bahasa dan Pustaka for it no longer
has any academic relevance. The rug was pulled from under its feet by the Malay
educationists themselves, for the sake of international rankings and the idea
of a “world-class” education.
what level of Bahasa Melayu do we expect from our children? I took the Standard
Six exam and the LCE and MCE, but the level of Bahasa Melayu doubled in
complexity in my children’s time. I have been writing books, articles and even
journals using my MCE Bahasa Melayu, which is “lower” in quality than that of
my children. Can UEC students carry out a conversation with a Malay? Can they
write a simple job application letter in Bahasa Melayu? If yes, what else
should we be asking for? Do we want the Chinese to spout classical Malay or
speak in proverbs all the time, in addition to understanding the intricate
novels of Malay national laureates? Tak payah lah. I pun tak faham. I do love
the classical language of Hang Tuah and Munshi Abdullah. Such beautiful and
soft expressions, not mechanical like modern Malay. But the question remains:
what level do we or should we expect of an 18-year-old looking for a clerical
job in the public service?
the last few months, the International Movement for a Just World (JUST), like
so many other civil society groups in various parts of the world, has been
inundated with videos and articles from different sources alleging cruel
persecution and harsh oppression of the Uighur Muslim minority in Xinjiang
province in the western part of China.
is alleged that the Chinese government views the Uighur and also some other
Muslim groups, such as the Kazakhs and Kyrgyzas, as threats to national
security given their purported links to terrorism and separatist insurgency.
UN human rights panel had issued a report in August 2018 that stated that in
order to wean them away from terrorism “as many as two million people may have
been forced into a vast network of detention camps” in Xinjiang.
these camps, according to dissident Uighurs, there is a systematic effort to
brainwash the detainees. The propaganda is not just about immunising them
against militancy or separatist ideologies.
are required, it is alleged, to give up Islamic prohibitions and even to
renounce their faith. Torture is apparently common in these camps and deaths
have occurred. Some critics have gone so far as to describe the targeting of
the Uighurs as “the most brutal repression the regime has undertaken since the
Chinese authorities have denied vehemently these allegations. They reject any
suggestion that there has been forced renunciation of Islam in the camps. They
admit though that there are re-education centres but focused entirely on
combating terrorism, religious extremism and separatism.
denials have not convinced the critics, especially those from civil society in
the West and the East. They persist with their allegations and are disappointed
that governments as a whole have chosen to keep quiet about the atrocities
supposedly committed by the Chinese authorities.
attribute their silence to the governments’ fear that China, with its huge
economic might , will make things difficult for countries that have become
dependent upon Chinese investments and trade for their own economic well-being.
the same time, it is equally true that China is being attacked much more in the
media and by civil society groups today than in the past because of its
phenomenal rise as a global power. The forces that dominate the present global
system resent this since they are hell-bent on perpetuating their hegemony.
This is why they are using the media and civil society to expose flaws and
foibles in Chinese governance.
Beijing treats the Uighurs and other minorities is perhaps one of those flaws
that is susceptible to manipulation and distortion. And indeed, there has been
a great deal of exaggeration and hyperbole in the media about the plight of the
Uighurs. This does not mean however that the real challenges confronting the
Uighurs and other minorities should be glossed over.
convince everyone that the Chinese government is willing to address genuine
Uighur grievances, it should invite representatives from civil society in a
number of Muslim-majority countries to undertake a fact-finding mission to
Xinjiang, whose primary purpose would be to examine and analyse the actual
situation on the ground facing the Uighur and other alleged victims of
mission should have maximum access to the Uighur community and to the
authorities in the province. Members of the mission should have the full
freedom to visit the re-education centres and conduct interviews with detainees
past and present. The mission’s report should be submitted to not only the
authorities in Xinjiang and to the leaders of the Uighur community but also to
the government in Beijing.
countries from which the members of the mission are drawn and the world at
large should also have full access to its findings.
of all, one hopes that if the recommendations are feasible, Beijing and
Xinjiang will try to implement them with sincere trust. If that is done, it is
quite conceivable that the chapter on the Uighurs will be brought to a close.
is in Beijing’s interest to resolve the Uighur issue in such a manner that the
identity and dignity of the Uighurs and other minorities in Xinjiang are
protected and enhanced. If injustices against Uighurs, real or perceived, are
allowed to fester much longer, it may erode China’s standing among
is especially so since the Hui, Muslims among the majority Han people, it is
alleged, are also now being targeted by the authorities.
negative perceptions of the Chinese government’s treatment of the Uighurs and
other Muslims grow, there could be repercussions in the medium and long-term
for China’s Belt Road Initiative (BRI) since it involves a large number of
countries with substantial Muslim populations. China is also heavily dependent
upon the import of oil from Muslim countries.
are already civil society groups in a couple of these countries which are
unhappy about Beijing’s attitude towards the Uighurs and Muslims in general.
They are demanding action against Beijing.
the Burkinabe government declared a state of emergency in the country for the
second time in five years on December 31, thanks to the terrorist attacks by
‘jihadist’ outfits, the country became the host to a future war on terror.
Faso and its fellow west African states have long had to deal with the menace
of the African division of Al Qaeda, known as Al Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb
(AQIM). As security forces face death against the deadly terrorist
organisation, Burkina Faso might have to call upon its former colonial master
Faso is a landlocked francophone country with strong ties to France in various
aspects. Known as French Upper Volta prior to 1960, it had been a colony of the
French administered west Africa. France has listed Burkina Faso as one of their
most prioritised countries in need of development assistance. They have
assisted the Burkinabe with agriculture and food security issues, human
development, cultural cooperation and governance. But despite France’s efforts
to help, the entire west African region has largely been neglected from
economic and societal development plans. Burkina Faso turning out to be a new
breeding ground for religious fundamentalism and extremism is a result of this neglect
by the West.
President Blaise Compaoré’s 27-year-long rule came to an end in 2014, Lt. Col.
Isaac Zida, a close aide of the former president, took over political and
defence duties. The sudden end of a stern regime and an unsuccessful coup attempt
in 2015 meant Burkina Faso had let its guard down, at least temporarily. AQIM
and various other jihadist groups have capitalised on this opportunity and have
started plotting and carrying out various attacks since then. France, whose
liberal ideologies have spread throughout west Africa due to their strong
cultural and economic clout, has always been seen as a threat to the existence
and beliefs of the AQIM.
groups view France, Spain, the United States, and other western influencers in
the continent as harbingers of anti-Muslim rhetoric and have sought to dispel
them from the continent for years. The AQIM’s primary aim is to overthrow the
Algerian government and establish an Islamic Caliphate in the region. Apart
from Algeria, the AQIM launches attacks on neighbouring countries that they
deem ‘un-Islamic’. But unlike its parent organisation al-Qaeda, the AQIM views
France and, less significantly Spain, as its bigger enemy and targets local
governments to achieve their goals. The AQIM has promised to ‘reclaim’ parts of
Spain and the Iberian Peninsula, which they view as lost Muslim land. They had
declared France’s ban on the hijab in public spheres as an insult to Islam.
French intervention against AQIM in Mali in the Northern Mali conflict in 2013,
although has not led to them attacking Europe, has definitely intensified
hostilities between the two and it is just a matter of time before they begin
the terror threat on constant rise, France and the European Union have allotted
1.3 billion euros as anti-terror aid for Africa. The French have deployed their
Barkhane anti-terror force in neighbouring Mali, with training being given in
Burkina Faso. Furthermore, Paris has stationed troops in Oagadougou for years
and has sent said troops to intervene in threats to the French mission.
police fired tear gas on Friday to break up protests in the capital Khartoum
and its twin city of Omdurman, witnesses said, after Protests swept over many
Sudanese cities including the capital Khartoum following Friday’s prayers,
under the motto: “Freedom and Change”.
Thursday night, Sudanese security forces fired tear gas to disperse protesters
who were trying to deliver an anti-government petition to the local
headquarters of President Omar al-Bashir’s ruling party in Port Sudan, a
Sudanese political parties signed a memorandum on Tuesday and was sent to
al-Bashir, calling for the dissolution of the Sudanese government and
his part, Sudan’s President held a press conference on Thursday saying that the
country is being targeted by an economic war since 21 years of imposed
sanctions, warning that “protests do not mean vandalism, burning and
the demonstrations began, Bashir has appeared largely unperturbed, tempering
his talk of conspiracies against Sudan with pledges of economic reform, calls
for restraint and the announcement of a fact-finding committee - steps
dismissed by protesters as symbolic.
are committed to holding free and fair elections in 2020, and we ask that all
political powers prepare to participate,” Bashir said on Monday.
police have fired tear gas to disperse anti-government protesters in Omdurman
City, near the capital Khartoum.
took to the streets after Friday’s Muslim weekly prayer, chanting
"freedom, peace and justice," witnesses said.
forces had deployed earlier in the day across key squares in both Khartoum and
Omdurman to deter any new protests.
Omar al-Bashir late Thursday instructed police to abstain from using excessive
International said late in December that Sudan's security forces had shot dead
at least 37 protesters during the demonstrations. However, the information
ministry said at least 19 people had died, including two military personnel.
part of an ongoing crackdown to prevent the spread of demonstrations, Sudanese
security forces have arrested prominent journalist and columnist Faisal Mohamed
Salih. He was detained when he was at his office in Khartoum on Thursday, his
relatives told AFP.
has been gripped by mass protests triggered by rising prices and shortages of
food and fuel for more than two weeks. The public display of anger later
escalated into calls for President Omar al-Bashir to go.
country is mired in economic woes, including an acute foreign currency shortage
and soaring inflation, which is running at close to 70 percent.
least six Boko Haram militants were killed when Nigerian troops raided a
terrorist hideout in the northeastern Borno state, an army official said.
spokesman Sani Usman said in a statement that the troops destroyed the hideout
of Boko Haram militants in Mafa area on Thursday.
gallant patrol team also rescued three women held captive in the Boskoro
village. They were referred to the Internally Displaced Persons camp officials
at Dikwa town,” the statement read.
the search on the hideout before destruction, the troops recovered three hand
grenades, four dane guns, and 26 rounds of anti-aircraft ammunition,” it added.
National Security Adviser Hamdullah Mohib on Friday briefed his Indian
counterpart Ajit Doval on the efforts aimed at ending the 18-year war in his
country, especially US-backed moves to hold talks with the Taliban.
US special representative for Afghanistan, Zalmay Khalilzad, is working closely
with Pakistan to hold talks with the Taliban, who have persistently refused to
engage with the Kabul government. India has misgivings about this, and is
keeping a close eye on what people familiar with the matter have described as
who is on a three-day visit, and Doval had a “detailed exchange of views” on
developments in Afghanistan, the external affairs ministry said in a statement.
Mohib briefed Indian officials about the security situation, recent
parliamentary elections, scheduled presidential polls, and the Afghan
government’s efforts at peace.
made it clear India “supports all efforts for peace and reconciliation that are
Afghan-owned, Afghan-led and Afghan-controlled”, the statement said.
Afghan side conveyed its concerns about the undue haste shown by Khalilzad and
his “unrealistic agenda” in pushing through efforts to engage the Taliban,
people familiar with developments said.
Afghan side also made it clear there could be no negotiations on sustainable
peace without involving the government in Kabul, they said.
is keen on New Delhi playing a greater role in regulating developments in the
region against the backdrop of a rapidly changing regional and world order, the
met Doval two days after US President Donald Trump belittled India’s role in
Afghanistan’s reconstruction and called on New Delhi to do more in fighting the
Taliban. India responded, saying it is committed to long-term developmental
aid, but would not commit any troops.
Supreme Court will likely decide on January 10 when it will start hearing
appeals challenging the Allahabad High Court order in the Ram Janmabhoomi-Babri
matter was listed on Friday before a bench of Chief Justice of India Ranjan
Gogoi and Justice S K Kaul for fixing a date for further hearing.
bench concluded the proceedings with: “Further orders in the matter will be
passed on 10.1.2018 by the appropriate bench, as may be be constituted.” This
means the bench that would hear the matter will be in place by January 10, and
it will decide the schedule for further hearing.
court had fixed Friday’s date on October 29, 2018, declining the Uttar Pradesh
government’s request to take up the matter urgently. Hearing on the appeals,
which were filed in 2010, got delayed for various reasons. Although it came up
for consideration in 2017, the hearing dragged further — initially since the
documents had not been fully translated, and later because one of the parties
supporting the mosque questioned the findings of the SC Constitution bench in
1994 in the Dr M Ismail Faruqui etc. vs Union Of India And Others case.
was challenged was a statement in the Faruqui judgment that a mosque was not an
“essential part of the practice of the religion of Islam”.
the SC rejected this in a majority 2-1 verdict on September 27, 2018. The court
observed, “To conclude, we again make it clear that questionable observations
made in Ismail Faruqui’s case were made in context of land acquisition…(and
that) those observations were neither relevant for deciding the suits nor
relevant for deciding these appeals.”
judges added, “The observation need not be read broadly to hold that a mosque
can never be an essential part of the practice of the religion of Islam”.
of the plea to refer the matter to a larger bench cleared the way for the
beginning of the final hearing of the appeals.
September 30, 2010, the Allahabad High Court ordered a three-way division of
the disputed 2.77-acre the Ram Janmabhoomi-Babri Masjid site, giving a third
each to the Nirmohi Akhara sect, the Sunni Central Wakf Board, UP, and the
Faruqui verdict came on a plea challenging the constitutional validity of the
Acquisition of Certain Area at Ayodhya Act, 1993, under which 67.703 acres were
acquired in the Ram Janmabhoomi-Babri Masjid complex.
BJP MLA T Raja, cited as a witness by the National Investigation Agency (NIA)
in an alleged terror case after he claimed to have received threat calls in
2012, deposed before a court in Mumbai on Friday, stating that the
investigating agency had not made him identify any voice.
is named as a witness in the trial against five men, all Nanded residents, who
have been behind bars since 2012 on terror charges. The threat calls received
by Raja, however, have not been directly from the five accused, as per his
statement given to the NIA in August 2014.
to the NIA, the five accused — Mohammed Muzammil Abdul Gani, Mohammed Sadique
Mohammed Farooque, Mohammed Irfan Mohammed Gaus, Mohammed Akram Mohammed Akbar
and Mohammed Iliyas Mohammed Akbar — were found with two revolvers and live cartridges
and that they planned to influence young Muslims to join Lashkar-e-Toiba. The
accused denied the allegations and claimed the investigators had not shown any
evidence to show they were LeT members.
is correct to say that I cannot identify the voice of the person who had
called. I was not asked by the police or the NIA to identify any voice of the
callers,” Raja told the court during cross-examination by advocates Wahab Khan
and Sharif Shaikh.
said that after he received a threat call on October 10, 2012, an FIR was filed
at Mangalhatt police station in Hyderabad against unknown persons. He claimed
the caller said he was from Saudi Arabia and the call was made through the
Internet with the threat of killing him. The first arrest was made on August
30, 2012, months before this phone call. Raja told the court he had till date
received 2,000-3,000 phone calls and that he has given 200-300 complaints.
he identified a photograph claimed to have been seized by the NIA from one of
the accused to be his, during cross-examination, he contended that his photos
and speeches were available on the Internet. Raja was asked about the criminal
cases faced by him, to which he said he had 40-70 cases against him from 2010
and that three-five cases are registered against him each year, which he
claimed were “politically motivated”.
Delhi: A Delhi court on Friday granted the National Investigation Agency 10-day
custody of Naeem, arrested for allegedly providing weapons to members of a
suspected IS-inspired terrorist group busted after a multi-city swoop last
21-year-old was arrested from Meerut in western Uttar Pradesh on Thursday and
produced before a district judge on Friday, who sent the the probe agency to
Judge Rakesh Sanyal then sent Naeem to 10-day NIA custody.
the probe agency says, supplied weapons to the members of a suspected Islamic
State-inspired terror group that was arrested on 26 December.
NIA had arrested the 10 men, including a 'mufti' from Amroha, also in western
Uttar Pradesh, who it said were planning suicide attacks and serial blasts
targeting politicians and government installations in Delhi and other parts of
NIA had seized a locally made rocket launcher, material for suicide vests and
112 alarm clocks to be used as timers during its searches in Delhi and Uttar
Delhi court previously allowed the NIA 10 days' custodial interrogation of the
men after it produced them before the court on 27 December, a day after they
Killed In Attack On Police Posts By Buddhist Rakhine Insurgents
Rakhine insurgents killed 13 policemen and injured nine in attacks on four
police posts in Myanmar's Rakhine state yesterday as the country marked
Independence Day, the official news agency said.
resurged in Rakhine early last month between government forces and the rebel
Arakan Army, which wants more autonomy for the Buddhist ethnic Rakhine
was also in the restive western state that a military-led crackdown in 2017
prompted hundreds of thousands of minority Rohingya Muslims to flee westwards
to neighbouring Bangladesh.
separate conflict between the military and Arakan Army rebels forced 2,500
civilians from their homes by the end of last year, according to the United
official Myanmar News Agency said four police posts in the Buthidaung area in
northern Rakhine came under attack from hundreds of Arakan Army fighters after
policemen were killed and nine injured as police were forced to abandon two of
the posts, it said, adding that the military was now conducting a
"clearance" of the area.
the Arakan Army spokesman denied any connection between the attacks and the
are not independent yet. Today is not our Independence Day,” Khine Thu Kha
military spokesman Zaw Min Tun said earlier the insurgents had hit police
outposts in a rugged region near the border with Bangladesh.
police posts are there to protect the national races in the area so [Arakan
Army rebels] shouldn't attack them," Zaw Min Tun said, referring to mostly
Buddhist ethnic groups in the area who are, unlike Rohingya Muslims, considered
Myanmar citizens. Arakan Army spokesman Khine Thu Kha confirmed the assault and
said rebels later retrieved the corpses of seven "enemies".
said later that rebels had freed at least 12 members of the security forces it
detained in the fighting.
attacks, he added, came in response to a Myanmar military offensive against the
Arakan Army in recent weeks that had also targeted civilians.
Myanmar military last month announced a four-month halt to fighting in the
north and northeast of the country to kick-start peace talks with multiple
armed groups seeking ethnic autonomy, but that announcement excluded Rakhine
violence erupted shortly after the national flag was raised across the
Southeast Asian country to mark 71 years since independence from Britain.
August a UN report accused the Myanmar military of mass killings and rapes of
Rohingya with "genocidal intent" in 2017 in then operation that drove
more than 700,000 of them to flee to Bangladesh, according to UN agencies.
has denied the charges, saying its military launched a counter-insurgency
operation after attacks on security posts by Muslim militants.
Taliban and ISIS-K militants killed in various operations: Military Sources
military sources are saying that 52 militants belonging to Taliban group and
ISIS Khurasan (ISIS-K) have been killed in various military operations
conducted in a number of provinces of Afghanistan.
to the sources, at least 4 Taliban militants were killed and two of their
motorcycles were destroyed during a coalition airstrike in Sarobi district of
Paktika province while Afghan forces killed 13 Taliban militants and destroyed
various tunnels and weapons during an operation in Almar district of Faryab
sources further added that the Afghan forces killed 4 Taliban militants during
a clearance operation in Tarinkot district of Uruzgan while 7 Taliban were
killed in Sangin district of Helmand during a patrol of the Afghan armed
to reports, Afghan forces killed 8 Taliban militants and destroyed some small
arms cache of the militants during an operation which was conducted in Kapisa
to suppress Taliban and clear the area from landmines.
officials have confirmed that three people have died and at least 44 others
have sustained burn injuries in a fire incident in capital Kabul.
Mayar, a spokesman for the Ministry of Public Health (MoPH) confirmed that
three civilians have died in the incident.
said at least 44 others have sustained injuries and burns in the incident and
are currently undergoing treatment in the hospitals.
to Mayar, at least six people have been admitted to to the hospital with major
burns and three people have died due to severe burns.
to reports, the incident took place late on Thursday night in Abdulhaq square
of the city after an LPG station caught fire and swept through a residential
building located in the proximity of the incident.
NATIONS: The United Nations has called upon the authorities in Bangladesh to
hold accountable all those responsible for alleged human rights violations
“before, during and after” the Dec 30 elections.
a statement released in Geneva on Thursday, the spokesperson for the UN High
Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR} said: “There are credible reports of
fatalities and numerous injuries on polling day alone.”
are worrying indications that reprisals have continued to take place, notably
against the political opposition, including physical attacks and ill-treatment,
arbitrary arrests, harassment, disappearances and filing of criminal cases,”
Ravina Shamdasani, the spokesperson, said.
are reports of disproportionate “violent attacks and intimidation” by activists
of the ruling Awami League and, in some cases, with the involvement of law
enforcement Officials, the official added. “We call on the authorities to take
urgent measures to prevent further reprisals.”
Shamdasani cited reports of media intimidation and property damage, as well as
other constraints that hindered reporting on the elections. She said at least
two journalists covering the elections were arrested under the Digital Security
Act, which, according to news reports, suppresses free speech and press
Robert Terence McCahill, 81, wakes up every day at three in the morning,
recites his prayers and says Mass, and then travels to villages in search of
sick people in need of treatment.
Maryknoll missionary has been in Bangladesh for 43 years serving the poor and
disadvantaged in the Muslim majority country. When a Muslim man asked him to
become Christian, he said: "You will only have sorrow". The man
insisted: "You don’t understand Father, I want to become a
Christian". The priest said again: "In doing so, you will have great
the priest lives in Shariatpur, Dhaka Division. Born in the United States, Fr
Robert is known to everyone as Bob Bhai, or brother Bob. In 1964, two months
after he was ordained, he left for the mission in the Philippines, where he
remained for 11 years.
hearing that Bangladesh was really in need and that it was ravaged by famine
and natural disasters, I decided to work for the people of this country. Five
of us came; two are left.”
Maryknoll missionaries, Fr Robert is still the only one who works for Muslims.
"Immediately after my arrival, I realised that I did not want to be a
parish priest. I could bear witness to Christ more intensely among
mission was not simple because he decided to live among the poor like the poor.
In all, he has travelled to 12 districts all over the country. “When I realise
that people start to love me, I change places to go where I am needed the
rented bamboo houses and lived that way until the terror attack of 1 July 2016,
the day of the Dhaka bar bombing. "Since then, the police no longer allow
me to live in huts for my own safety," he explained.
his mission, life was never simple. "At first I met suspicious people.
They were not used to missionaries and foreigners among Muslims and did not
of them was Malak Islam, father of Al Amin, a six-year-old disabled child.
"The man did not want me to take his son to the hospital for treatment. He
made up his mind only after two and a half years." Malak Islam now says “I
am grateful to Brother Bob. Thanks to him, my son is improving a lot".
rising Islamic fundamentalism, the missionary has never been threatened. For
him, "We are all one human family: Christians, Hindus, Muslims. I have
never tried to convert anyone, I only show love, compassion and the good that
Jesus did in his life."
summit proposal being discussed: Pak official
Pakistan and the US are discussing plans to hold a maiden meeting between Prime
Minister Imran Khan and President Donald Trump but it hinges on the
"positive outcome" of the Pakistan-brokered talks to strike a peace
deal in Afghanistan, a senior official here said.
his first comments in 2019, President Trump on Wednesday said that he wants a
"great relationship" with Pakistan and is looking forward to meeting
the new leadership.
proposal for a summit meeting is being discussed but the final decision hinges
on the positive outcome of the ongoing efforts to strike a peace deal in
Afghanistan," a senior Pakistani official was quoted as saying by The
who took over as the Prime Minister in August, is likely to travel to the US if
"all goes well", the official said on the condition of anonymity.
told his Cabinet colleagues on Wednesday that Pakistan has not been fair to the
want to have a great relationship with Pakistan, but they house the enemy. They
take care of the enemy. We just can't do that," Trump said.
I look forward to meeting with the new leadership in Pakistan. We will be doing
that in the not too distant future. But I ended USD 1.3 billion that we paid. I
think it was water, we were just paying to Pakistan. So, I ended that."
asked to comment on the Trump's statement and whether there was any chance of
the meeting between the two leaders, Foreign Office spokesperson Muhammad
Faisal said Pakistan looked forward to "positive engagement" with the
US at the leadership level.
Trump's remarks are indeed a departure from his tweet of January 1, 2018,"
Faisal told a weekly news briefing.
blasted Pakistan in his first tweet of 2018, saying its leaders have given the
US "nothing but lies & deceit."
United States has foolishly given Pakistan more than 33 billion dollars in aid over
the last 15 years, and they have given us nothing but lies & deceit,
thinking of our leaders as fools. They give safe haven to the terrorists we
hunt in Afghanistan, with little help. No more!" he added," he had
positive vibes coming from the White House are attributed to the recent push
for seeking a peace deal in Afghanistan.
recently brokered direct talks between the Afghan Taliban and the US in the
next round is expected in Saudi Arabia, which suggests a positive movement of
the talks. "If the process moves forward in positive direction, certainly
there is a possibility of engagement between Pakistan and the US at the highest
level," another official said.
sources said that the proposal for the Khan-Trump meeting first came from
here believe that engagement at the highest level could help reduce the trust
deficit between the two countries.
between the US and Pakistan strained after Trump, while announcing his
Afghanistan and South Asia policy in August 2017, hit out at Pakistan for
providing safe havens to "agents of chaos" that kill Americans in
Afghanistan and warned Islamabad that it has "much to lose" by
November, The US suspended USD 1.66 billion in security assistance to Pakistan
and in September, the Trump administration cancelled USD 300 million in
military aid to Islamabad for not doing enough against terror groups like the
Haqqani Network and the Taliban active on its soil.
UAE finalise $6.2bn support package
Pakistan and the United Arab Emirates (UAE) have finalised the terms and
conditions of a support package of about $6.2 billion expected to be announced
by Crown Prince Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan during his visit to the
country starting on Sunday (Jan 6) to help Islamabad address its balance of
package involves $3.2bn worth of oil supplies on deferred payment, besides a
$3bn cash deposit, a cabinet member told Dawn.
said the UAE’s package was exactly of the same size and terms and conditions as
given by Saudi Arabia. The UAE package was finalised on Thursday evening, he
this, Pakistan would get a total saving of about $7.9bn on oil and gas imports
from the two friendly countries — accounting for more than 60 per cent of
annual oil import bill of about $12-13bn, he said. This includes about $3.2bn
each of oil supplies on deferred payments from the UAE and Saudi Arabia and
about $1.5bn trade finance from the International Islamic Trade Finance
total financing support from the UAE and Saudi Arabia, including the ITFC’s
trade finance, would be around $13.9-14bn when cash deposits of $3bn each from
the two countries were also included, he said.
is in addition to a deep-conversion oil refinery to be set up by Parco — a
joint venture of Pakistan and Abdu Dhabi — worth $5-6bn at Khalifa Point and an
expected petro-chemical complex by Saudi Arabia at Gwadar Oil City.
top of that, the government has also started backchannel discussions with Qatar
for some relief in terms of reduction in LNG prices or a relaxed payment
schedule, but that is now at an early stage.
reply to a question, the cabinet member said Pakistan was deepening
relationships with all three friendly Islamic nations without compromising
bilateral ties for geo-political reasons.
said the UAE crown prince would be paying a two-day visit, adding that all
arrangements had been finalised in this regard.
said Saudi Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman was expected to arrive in the
country in the first week of February and an MoU for establishing a petro-chemical
complex was still being worked out on the request of Riyadh.
has already received $2bn in cash deposit from Saudi Arabia at an interest rate
of 3.18pc while the third tranche of $1bn is due in the first week of February.
The Saudi oil facility would also start rolling out this month with an average
$274 million per month.
Khan government disowns ‘spokesman’ for criticising its policies on TV
The Imran Khan government has disowned an Islamabadbased financial analyst who
was widely known as its official spokesperson on economy and energy issues.
appointment of Dr Farrukh Saleem as government’s spokesperson was announced by
the information minister Fawad Chaudhry in October 2018. Since October 9,
Saleem attended all the official meetings headed by Prime Minister Khan. He was
introduced in media chats and TV talk shows as government’s spokesperson.
in a recent TV programme, speaking on the state of Pakistan’s economic crisis
Saleem said that the government did not know what it was doing and had no plans
to fix the economy. “We need to find an alternative solution to this rather
than taking aid from different countries. The government is not curing the
disease, but hiding the symptoms. The results of devaluing rupee are not good.
Despite a 30 per cent devaluation of the rupee, our exports are still on the
decline,” Saleem had said.
upset with his comments, the information minister went public claiming that
Saleem had never been appointed as government’s spokesperson on economy.
a tweet, he said that though the government should have appointed him as its
spokesperson on economy but later it turned out that the Prime Minister’s
Office had banned all hiring.
response to the tweet, Saleem said that he had never been informed over the
past three months that he was not a government spokesperson. “I am shocked to
find out that I was never appointed in the first place. There was no communication
of this. I attended all the meetings including the last one held on December
24, under Prime Minister Imran Khan. All the meetings happened at the Prime
Minister’s Office,” Saleem said.
disowning of a prominent economist by the government in an unceremonious manner
sparked controversy on social media, with many doubting the seriousness of
Prime Minister Khan in running the affairs of the state.
Pakistan on Friday dispatched a Terror Financing Risk Assessment Report
electronically to the Financial Action Task Force (FATF) followed by a
12-member team to explain the action plan that the government intends to follow
to come into compliance with international obligations and secure an exit from
the grey list of the Paris-based watchdog.
senior government official told Dawn that the high-level delegation led by
Secretary Finance Arif Ahmed Khan left for Sydney, Australia to attend a
three-day meeting of the FATF. The delegation comprised representatives of the
State Bank of Pakistan (SBP), National Counter Terrorism Authority (NACTA),
Federal Investigation Agency (FIA), Federal Board of Revenue (FBR) and
Financial Monitoring Unit.
official said the delegation will address questions and observations of the
FATF on the basis of risk assessment report already transmitted to the global
anti-terror financing watchdog. The report highlights the implementation status
of plans for various agencies of the government on the FATF’s recommendations.
said a total of 4,643 suspected transactions relating to terror financing and
money laundering had been identified and blocked since 2015, including 3,677
suspected transaction reports and 966 financial intelligence reports. A total
of 1,167 transactions were captured during 2018 alone, including 975 STRs and
210 financial intelligence reports.
report identified some key routes of the terror financing and money laundering,
saying Pak-Afghan and Pak-Iran borders were two key routes of such flows.
address the challenge, checking and security systems at Pak-Afghan border had
been strengthened with improved technology and vigilance while security had
also been beefed up at Pak-Iran border.
report said that the long coastal belt was also a source of smuggling and
security was being tightened through law enforcement agencies, including
through marine and coast guards. It said Afghan Transit Trade was also a source
of such unregistered financial flows. All these channels were also being
misused by foreign agencies to support terror-related activities.
tools being used for financial transaction for terrorism included donations,
cash smuggling, natural resources, drugs, non-governmental organisations and
foreign agencies. The report said the FBR identified about 1,185 illegal
transactions since 2015, followed by 1,049 by the SBP and about 1,295 by the
official said that no amendment to the law was required for further
proscription of organisations. The Foreign Office has given new guidelines, for
regulators and law enforcement agencies, so once MOFAP will issue an SRO, the
relevant agencies and regulators will move for swift action on that basis.
the May and September meetings later this year, regulators and law enforcement
agencies will be expected to demonstrate results in the form of investigations,
prosecutions, convictions, supervisory actions, sanctions with resulting
impacts on compliance by financial institutions, implementing cross-border
currency and border controls and enforcement of regulatory regime at the
borders. NACTA will be expected to enhance coordination with LEAs and CTDs
coupled with effective implementation on UNSCR Sanctions.
June 2018, Pakistan made a high-level political commitment to work with the
FATF and APG to strengthen its AML/CFT regime and to address its strategic
counter-terrorism financing-related deficiencies by implementing a 10-point
action plan to accomplish these objectives. The successful implementation of
the action plan and its physical verification by the APG will lead the FATF to
clear Pakistan out of its grey list or else move into the black list by
September 2019. In August, the APG as part of the pre-site mutual evaluation
identified a series of deficiencies in Pakistan’s anti-money
laundering/counter-terror financing laws and mechanisms.
Political headwinds are growing in Pakistan, warns Fitch Solutions - the macro
research arm of the global credit rating agency - in a report issued on Friday.
government will struggle to deliver results given growing downside risks to
policy-making stemming from a growing opposition and rising influence of
religious hardliners, as well as deteriorating foreign relations with the
west,” said the report.
at Fitch Solutions believe that the government would need to deliver tangible
economic improvement if its still-high popularity is to continue through the
parliamentary term,” the authors state.
economy is faced with growing challenges that will adversely hit the lives of
the common citizens. As one example, the CPI-based inflation has reached a
four-year high at 6.78 per cent in Oct, 2018 before easing to 6.2pc in
December. The rising inflation has come on the back of around 25pc depreciation
in the Rupee against the greenback during last year coupled with high
international oil prices during the first half of 2018.
investor confidence has declined significantly in the past six months mainly
due to the economic mismanagement of the government visible in the ad hoc
mini-budgets, energy crisis affecting the industry, exchange rate volatility
and high interest rates.
authors of the report say that the PTI will have a hard time facing these
economic challenges as the political headwinds grow in ferocity. The report
maintains Pakistan’s short-term political risk index score at 48.2 out of 100,
described by the authors as “poor”.
authors see a galvanised opposition that is “gaining momentum” after the
by-elections in 11 national assembly and 24 provincial assembly seats held in
October. “The polls served as a barometer for Khan’s approval rating and
popularity” the report says, and the outcome “saw the opposition PML-N ... make
report adds that in its first half year, Prime Minister Imran Khan’s office was
“dominated by a series of high profile anti-graft and blasphemy sagas
distracting from early attempts at economic reforms.”
anti-graft saga itself, the authors note, has been marred by allegations of
being “politically motivated”, and notes with concern that the PML-N has
“promised political reprisals with a pledge to frustrate the PTIs agenda”
following the jailing of their leadership.
our view, it will be important to observe to what extent the PML-N will carry
out these threats over the coming months and to what degree they are
successful” the report says.
report notes that the government “led by Khan also appears to be struggling
with the rising influence of Islamic hardliners, having to give in to their
demands on several occasions.” It cites the cases of Aasia Bibi and the
government’s decision to drop Atif Mian from the Economic Advisory Council as
remains in “pole position” but is increasingly “losing momentum” as it has had
to backtrack on its campaign promises of never going to the International
Monetary Fund (IMF) or seek financial help from other countries after PM Khan
had to personally visit friendly countries to gather funds in order to avoid a
potential default on its liabilities.
forward, “a united opposition poses downside risks to policy-making and
enactment in the country” since the PTI does not have a “simple majority in the
national assembly” and is “reliant on smaller parties to form the majority
coalition partners [who] could leverage a stronger opposition to gain political
concessions,” warns the report.
addition to the internal pressures, the government found itself in “a difficult
situation” after the US President Donald Trump and PM Khan traded barbs against
each other on social media.
President Recep Tayyip Erdogan on Friday welcomed Pakistan's decision to hand
over schools affiliated with cleric Fethullah Gulen to a Turkish government
foundation and declare Pak-Turk International Cag Education Foundation (PTICEF)
a proscribed organisation.
said this while addressing a joint press conference following his meeting with
Prime Minister Imran Khan at the Presidential Palace in Ankara.
a joint declaration issued following the meeting, both the countries
"underlined their abiding commitment for fighting the menace of terrorism
in all its forms and manifestations" and reiterated their resolve to
"fight against the Fethullah Gulen Terrorist Organisation (FETO)".
the meeting, the leaders discussed enhancing of relations and strengthening of
economic ties between Pakistan and Turkey, and decided to further augment people-to-people
contacts through increased exchanges and cooperation in the areas of education,
culture, tourism and youth.
at the joint press conference, Imran Khan highlighted that the roots of
Turkish-Pakistan relationship go back to a very long time and wished to take
this affiliation to a much higher level — “a level that so far has not been
premier said Pakistan wanted to strengthen its bond with Turkey, not just in
trade ties but also in "foreign relations, in our various attitudes to
said Turkey had built over 2 million houses in the last six or seven years
which Pakistan would learn from, as it was the first time in Pakistan that
"such an ambitious plan has been undertaken".
prime minister was referring to the Naya Pakistan Housing Programme launched by
the federal government for low-income individuals in the country.
Khan also talked about the health reforms of Turkey and the insurance coverage
of the underprivileged population, who all had access to quality healthcare,
which the premier believed was "probably one of the most important aspects
of a civilised society".
speaking at the occasion, President Erdogan said he hoped 2019 will be a year
when Turkey and Pakistan would take important steps; whether it be high-level
strategic council meetings, or the Afghanistan-Pakistan-Turkey Trilateral
Istanbul Summit. "The steps that we are going to take within this
framework are very important to me," he maintained.
between our delegations focused on defence industry cooperation, social and
cultural issues, and especially [the] fight against Fethullah [Gulen's]
Terrorist Organisation," the Turkish president said.
expressed gratitude over the Supreme Court of Pakistan’s decision where it termed
the organisation running the Pak-Turk schools a terrorist outfit.
accuses Gulen of being behind a long-running campaign to overthrow the state
through the infiltration of Turkish institutions, particularly the military,
police, and judiciary.
Turkish president further said his country will host the leaders of Pakistan
and Afghanistan for a meeting geared toward bringing peace to Afghanistan. The
trilateral meeting would take place in Istanbul after Turkey's March local
election, he said.
Khan told reporters he hoped the meeting would bring “badly needed peace” to
prime minister is accompanied on the trip by Minister for Foreign Affairs Shah
Mehmood Qureshi, Finance Minister Asad Umar, Minister for Planning, Development
and Reforms Makhdoom Khusro Bakhtyar, Adviser to the PM on Commerce, Textile,
Industry and Production Razak Dawood and Special Assistant to the PM on
Overseas Pakistanis Zulfikar Abbas Bukhari.
to Turkish daily Yeni Şafak, the premier in a meeting with Turkish Health
Minister Fahrettin Koca and ministry officials said that Pakistan and Turkey
have agreed to cooperate in the field of health by setting up a task force.
premier also visited the mausoleum of Mustafa Kemal Ataturk — founder of modern
Turkey — where he laid a wreath and signed a formal guest book, Yeni Safak
per the report, in his message Prime Minister Khan wrote that Quaid-i-Azam
Mohammad Ali Jinnah had described Ataturk as "one of the greatest men who
has ever lived".
in the day, the prime minister met with a delegation of the Turkey-Pakistan
Business Council of the Foreign Economic Relations Board of Turkey.
addressing the delegation, the premier said that Pakistan in the 1970s
"went wrong because we had a socialist mindset which became a deterrent to
premier continued that though the socialist regime stepped down in the
subsequent decades, the mindset prevailed among the bureaucracy. He added that
the PTI-led government, however, supports investments and is taking measures to
create money-making opportunities.
assured the Turkish business leaders of an investor-friendly environment in
Pakistan under the PTI government. "We, as a government, are now making
every effort to remove impediments in the way of investments," he said,
adding that a separate cell has been established at the Prime Minister
Secretariat to monitor the process.
have already discussed the issues being faced by Turkish investors in
Pakistan," he said, adding that the current government's top priority was
the export sector.
prime minister referred to the Chinese model as his inspiration for governance.
"They [China] have taken 700 million people out of poverty in the last 30
years. Our main concern is also to take people out of poverty."
is expected that the prime minister’s visit to Turkey will bring some respite
in the prevailing economic crunch in Pakistan as some memoranda of
understanding on trade and investment are likely to be inked between the two
a late-night address on Thursday to the Turkish business fraternity in Ankara,
Prime Minister Khan invited Turkish businessmen and investors to invest in
various fields and industries in Pakistan, including construction, tourism and
exploration of natural resources.
said that his government had streamlined the governance system and removed
red-tapism and hurdles in Pakistan to facilitate foreign investors. “We want to
provide ease of doing business to the businessmen and investors for wealth and
jobs creation,” he said.
prime minister invited Turkish investors and construction firms to invest in
his government’s five-year plan of building five million houses.
the prime minister and his delegation arrived in Konya.
Minister for National Health Services, Regulations and Coordination, Aamer
Mehmood Kiani on Friday has pledged to support all residents of the country,
including Afghan refugees to have access to better health services.
said that the provision of standard health facilities and reforms in public
sector health institutions was the top priority of the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf
are committed to providing better healthcare facilities to everyone irrespective
of their backgrounds,” he said this in a meeting at UNHCR office. The meeting
also discussed various issues pertaining to the well-being of Afghan Refugees.
minister said that Afghan refugees both men and women were also trained as
paramedics at relevant Islamabad based institutions. He added that it will
provide livelihood opportunities for the paramedics and allow refugees
communities to benefit from their services.
minister said, “We will ensure that refugees’ health is reflected on the agenda
of various thematic months.”
Nation Representative for Pakistan Ruvendrini Menikdiwela said UNHCR has been
providing health assistance to refugees and their Pakistani host communities
for around four decades. “In the past five years, we have contributed US$ 38
million to support healthcare for both refugees and refugee-hosting
communities,” she said.
said, “We will invest resources in the government’s healthcare system to
enhance quality and coverage of primary, secondary and tertiary care health
services in districts hosting refugees,” she said.
One terrorist was killed by the security forces during an intelligence-based
operation in the Spinwam tehsil of North Waziristan, Inter-Service Public
Relations (ISPR) said on Friday.
grenades, SMGs, spare magazines, and communication equipment were recovered
during the operation, the military’s media wing added.
the ISPR said that terrorist activity was foiled in Balochistan’s Qilla
Saifullah and Kahan districts. Weapons and ammunition were also recovered from
the terrorists, ISPR added.
another incident, the Frontier Corps conducted an operation in the suburbs of
Qila Saifullah and Kahan and foiled terrorist activities aimed to “sabotage
peace” in Balochistan. Arms and ammunition were recovered during the operation.
week, four security officials were martyred and many others were wounded while
staving off a terrorist attack on a training centre of a paramilitary force in
Jamaat-e-Islami Ameer Senator Sirajul Haq has said US President Trump has once
again laid a trap for Pakistani rulers by saying that Washington wanted
improved relations with Islamabad.
the rulers believed him (trump), it would be the height of their imprudence, he
said while delivering Friday sermon at Mansoora Masjid and later addressing a
meeting of JI Shoora. The JI chief said if the government ignored Trump and
switched over to the Islamic economic system, all of its worries would be over
Haq said the US and Trump were totally unreliable. As and when they needed
Pakistan’s services, they announced working hand in hand with Islamabad upon
which the rulers of Pakistan felt elated, he said. However, after its agenda
was service, the US soon began to hurl threats on Pakistan. He said this game
had been going on for about half a century and the Pakistani rulers were
deceived by Washington every time. He said it was high time the rulers walked
out of this self deception. He said, unfortunately, the present rulers were
also getting dictation from IMF and World Bank, and were following their
policies due to which the country’s economy had worsened. Sirajul Haq said the
JI’s drive against corruption was continuing. He said that time was not far
when this campaign would bear fruit. He asked the JI workers to establish the
system of Salat ( prayers). He said that, in fact, this was the job of the
government but none of the governments had given any attention to it. Sirajul
Haq said that politics was the service of the people and it implied reforms. He
said that politics aiming at establishing the supremacy of Islam was
permissible in Islam, whereas, the politics aiming at establishing the rule of
a party or an individual was prohibited.
Pakistani police say a car bomb has exploded in a Peshawar neighborhood
wounding three people and damaging several shops.
Dost Mohammad says the explosion Saturday took place outside a mosque in the
Kali Bari area of the city. He says a woman was among the wounded, who were
rushed to a nearby hospital.
said the area was nearly deserted at the time of the early morning blast.
one immediately claimed responsibility for the attack.
capital of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province, is surrounded by lawless tribal regions
that have served as a sanctuary for Islamic militants for decades. Militants
have targeted the city for years.
Exodus of brains, talents, wealth from Turkey due to Erdogan’s policies
report by published The New York Times on January 3 has highlighted the anguish
of the Turkish people who are leaving the country in large numbers due to
President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s policies, especially after the failed 2016
to the report, for 17 years, Erdogan won elections by offering voters a vision
of restoring the glories of Turkey’s Ottoman past, but after the 2016 he
embarked on a sweeping crackdown.
the deteriorating economy, which has led to the Turkish currency plunging, has
made Turks take a different approach by leaving the country in droves and
taking talent and capital with them, in a way that indicates a broad and
alarming loss of confidence in Erdogan’s vision, according to government
statistics and analysts.
than a quarter of a million Turks emigrated in 2017, according to the Turkish
Institute of Statistics, an increase of 42 percent over 2016, when nearly
178,000 citizens left the country.
least 12,000 of Turkey’s millionaires — around 12 percent of the country’s
wealthy class — moved their assets out of the country in 2016 and 2017,
according to the Global Wealth Migration Review, an annual report produced by
has seen waves of students and teachers leave before, but this exodus looks
like a more permanent reordering of the society and threatens to set Turkey
back decades, said Ibrahim Sirkeci, director of transnational studies at
Regent’s University in London, and other analysts.
brain drain is real,” Sirkeci said. According to The New York Times, the flight
of people, talent and capital is being driven by a powerful combination of
factors that have come to define life under Erdogan and that his opponents
increasingly despair is here to stay.
include fear of political persecution, terrorism, a deepening distrust of the
judiciary and the arbitrariness of the rule of law, and a deteriorating
business climate, accelerated by worries that Erdogan is unsoundly manipulating
management of the economy to benefit himself and his inner circle.
result is that, for the first time since the republic was founded nearly a
century ago, many from the old moneyed class, in particular the secular elite
who have dominated Turkey’s cultural and business life for decades, are moving
away and the new rich close to Erdogan and his governing party are taking their
of them moved to Europe or the United Arab Emirates, the report said. Turkey’s
largest business center, Istanbul, was listed among the top seven cities
worldwide experiencing an exodus of wealthy people. Erdogan has reviled as
traitors businesspeople who have moved their assets abroad as the Turkish
economy began to falter.
us, we do not forgive,” he warned in a speech at the Foreign Economic Relations
Board, a business association in Istanbul in April. “The hands of our nation
would be on their collars both in this world and in the afterlife.” “Behavior
like this cannot have a valid explanation,” Erdogan added.
comments came amid reports that some of Turkey’s largest companies were
divesting in Turkey. Several such companies have made significant transfers of
capital abroad, amid fears they would be targeted in the post-coup crackdown or
as the economy began to contract.
is the Turkish food giant Yildiz Holding, which came under fire on social media
as being linked to US-based cleric Fethullah Gulen’s movement.
after, Yildiz rescheduled $7 billion of debt and sold shares of its Turkish
biscuit maker, Ulker, to its London-based holding company, essentially
transferring the family’s majority holding of Ulker out of reach of Turkish
courts, The New York Times report says.
government media raided in Hamas-run Gaza
men raided the headquarters of Palestinian Authority media in the Hamas-run
Gaza Strip on Friday, station staff said, causing damage to equipment.
was no immediate claim of responsibility for the incident, though the staff and
a PA official said they held Hamas responsible.
armed men entered the offices of the Palestinian Broadcasting Corporation in
Gaza City, official Palestinian news agency WAFA reported.
organization is funded by the West Bank-based Palestinian government, which has
a longstanding dispute with the Islamist Hamas movement, and the building
houses offices for Palestine TV and the Voice of Palestine radio station.
the raid workers were assaulted and equipment destroyed, WAFA reported.
least five people broke into the building, broke the radio door and completely
destroyed the main studio, including cameras, equipment, furniture and broadcasting
equipment,” a staffer at the radio station said.
correspondents at the scene found a number of video cameras and computers badly
damaged, with chairs and doors destroyed.
hold the Hamas authorities fully responsible for this crime of breaking into
the headquarters and destroying them,” Ahmed Assaf, the PA general supervisor
for official media said in a statement.
is an attack against our people in Gaza,” he added.
Maarouf, director of the Hamas-run media office, said in a statement it
condemned the “unacceptable behaviour” and called for the perpetrators to be
seized control of Gaza from the West Bank-based government in a 2007 near civil
war, and multiple attempts at reconciliation have failed.
PM Benjamin Netanyahu says he had “insisted” that the US reimpose sanctions on
Iran, adding Tel Aviv complements economic pressures with its own actions
"at the military level.”
President Donald Trump “is acting against Iran at the economic level and we
here in Israel are acting against Iran at the military level,” Netanyahu said
in an address to Israeli military cadets on Thursday.
military actions, Netanyahu apparently meant airstrikes against what Israel
calls Iranian positions in Syria. Damascus says the attacks are part of Israel's
efforts to prop up terrorists in the face of army advances.
week, an Israeli intelligence website refuted Tel Aviv's claims that a recent
aerial raid in Syria had targeted Iranian military advisers and Hezbollah
fighters, saying the attack actually hit Syrian army positions.
said Israel was “surrounded by enemies on a couple of fronts,” and it was
“acting determinedly against anyone seeking to endanger us.”
comments came a day after Trump said Iran “can do what they want” in Syria following
his decision to withdraw US troops operating there, a move that sparked
consternation in Israel.
is no longer the same country,” Trump said. “Iran is pulling people out of
Syria. They can do what they want there, frankly, but they’re pulling people
out. They’re pulling people out of Yemen. Iran wants to survive now,” he
an apparent bid to soothe Israel, US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said on
Tuesday Washington would continue to work closely with Israel over Syria and
in a meeting with Netanyahu in Brazil, the top US diplomat said Trump’s
announcement of pulling out troops from Syria “in no way changes anything that
this administration is working on alongside Israel.”
said US commitment to counter what he called Iranian aggression and "the
protection of Israel continues in the same way it did before" Trump made
has been offering advisory military assistance to the Syrian government in its
counter-terrorism battle at the request of Damascus.
US, Israel, France, Britain and their regional allies such as Saudi Arabia, the
UAE, Turkey and Qatar, instead, have been sponsoring terrorists in Syria since
2011 which has left the Arab country in ruins.
forces have attacked anti-occupation protests along the border between the
besieged Gaza Strip and the occupied territories, leaving at least 23
al-Qedra, the spokesman for the Gaza Health Ministry, said Israeli forces used
gunfire and tear gas against the protesters east of the coastal enclave on
to the report, 14 protesters were injured during the clashes in addition to
seven medics and a journalist.
have been running high near the fence separating Gaza from the occupied
territories since March 30, which marked the start of the protests.
protesters demand the right to return for those driven out of their homeland.
clashes in Gaza reached their peak on May 14, the eve of the 70th anniversary
of Nakba Day, or the Day of Catastrophe, which coincided this year with
Washington's relocation of the US embassy from Tel Aviv to occupied Jerusalem
than 240 Palestinians have so far been killed and over 20,000 others wounded in
the renewed Gaza clashes, according to the latest figures released by the Gaza
least seven people have been killed when Saudi-led military aircraft carried
out airstrikes against a residential area in Yemen's southern province of
Shabwah as the Riyadh regime and its regional allies press ahead with their
atrocious military campaign against the impoverished Arab country.
local source, speaking on condition of anonymity, told Arabic-language
al-Wahdah news agency that militiamen loyal to the United Arab Emirates (UAE)
attacked the Markhah area on Friday, and engaged in fierce armed confrontations
with scores of Sada tribesmen.
skirmishes lasted for several hours, before an Emirati Boeing AH-64 Apache
attack helicopter fired several missiles at a number of houses in the area,
killing seven people.
in the day, Yemeni army soldiers and allied fighters from Popular Committees
fired eight domestically-developed Zelzal-1 (Earthquake-1) ballistic missile at
the positions of Saudi troopers in Akefah military camp in the kingdom’s
southern border region of Najran, killing and injuring a number of them.
forces and their allies also launched a barrage of artillery rounds at the
gatherings of Saudi-backed militiamen loyal to Yemen's former president Abd
Rabbuh Mansur Hadi in Hamad base of the same Saudi region, leaving scores of
the mercenaries killed and injured in the process.
Arabia and a number of its regional allies launched a devastating military
campaign against Yemen in March 2015, with the aim of bringing the government
of Hadi back to power and crushing the Ansarullah movement.
to a new report by the Armed Conflict Location and Event Data Project (ACLED),
a nonprofit conflict-research organization, the Saudi-led war has so far
claimed the lives of around 56,000 Yemenis.
Saudi-led war has also taken a heavy toll on the country’s infrastructure,
destroying hospitals, schools, and factories. The UN has already said that a
record 22.2 million Yemenis are in dire need of food, including 8.4 million
threatened by severe hunger. According to the world body, Yemen is suffering
from the most severe famine in more than 100 years.
Turkish police on Friday launched nationwide raids to detain nearly 150 people,
including military personnel, suspected of ties to the group blamed for the
2016 attempted coup, local media reported.
in Istanbul, Konya and Ankara issued arrest warrants for 137 people as part of
different investigations into followers of US-based Muslim preacher Fethullah
Gulen, state news agency Anadolu and NTV broadcaster reported.
has claimed that Gulen ordered the coup attempt against President Recep Tayyip
Erdogan on July 15, 2016 — a charge he vehemently denies.
raids were spread across more than 30 provinces including Ankara where the
public prosecutor issued detention warrants for 35 non-commissioned officers in
the navy including 10 still in active duty.
of thousands of people have been arrested over alleged links to Gulen since
2016 while over 100,000 have been sacked or suspended from the public sector.
Ankara has been criticized by human rights defenders and its Western allies
over the scale of the crackdown, the nationwide raids have continued in recent
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