perform at Saznawaz Sufiana Training Institute in Srinagar.
Un-Islamic For both Men and Women, Says Latest Darul Uloom Deoband Fatwa
Artistes Strive To Keep Dying Sufi Music Alive
Muslims Who View Islam as Non-Political Matter Are Deviants
Reminder of the Salafi Jihadis' War with the World
Pakistan Should Engage In ‘Meaningful Dialogue’ To Resolve Issues: UN Chief
Hasina for Solving Problems among Muslim Countries through Dialogue
Declares ‘ISIS Is Defeated’ Hours after Attack Kills Americans in Syria
Erdogan Wind Up Alone After Alienating Arabs?
Granted To Raheel for Heading Saudi-Led Military Coalition
hits out Pakistan for saying that New Delhi has no role to play in Afghanistan
throw grenade at police station in Pulwama, a third in a day
module’ case: Delhi court extends theology teacher’s remand
hits out at Pakistan for saying New Delhi has no role to play in Afghanistan
corridor: Access mode for Indian devotees yet to be decided
calls local terrorists 'sons of soil', asks Centre to engage J&K militant
step Mishal Mohammed takes helps save 74 lives
Invites Islamic Country Envoys to Visit Muslim Internment Camps
to release suspected Bali bomb mastermind from prison
to release suspected Bali bomb mastermind Bashir from prison
confused over UIAM and UIM, says Guan Eng
cleric behind Bali bombing to be freed from prison
100 Nigerian soldiers killed in Takfiri attacks
suspects in court over Nairobi hotel attack
Attack Shows That Al-Shabaab Is Still a Potent Threat to Kenya
of Nigerian refugees fleeing Boko Haram forced back by Cameroon
Haram: Rann not accessible by road, air – UN humanitarian coordinator
days of clashes near Libya capital leave 10 dead
Blair: UK Muslim Activist Groups Promote ‘Extremist World View’
called in after Scout group run from mosque is linked to Islamic extremist and
court rejects case brought by mother of Daesh ‘Beatle’ held in Syria
calls for restraint in renewed Myanmar violence
activist hacked to death 'with axe' in Hamburg
Rohingya camps face growing chickenpox outbreak
Asian meeting in Thailand to discuss Rohingya return
held in KSA begin hunger strike
army kills 13 rebels in Rakhine clashes’
bomb kill Taliban local commander in Kunar province
key Taliban commanders among several dead in Baghlan and Sar-e-Pul operations
airstrike target Taliban IED planters in Nangarhar leaving 5 dead
of Taliban killed in Afghan and Coalition Forces operations in Kandahar
Unfounded Tweet Stoking Fears about Muslim “Prayer Rugs,” Explained
giving ‘new life’ to Daesh, former envoy says
scrapped Afghan trip after Trump ‘leaked’ details
has legitimate reasons for leaving Syria: Ex-general
US anti-ISIS envoy: Turkey 'not a reliable partner' in Syria
experts: Fuel from Iran is financing Yemen’s Houthis
urges Romania to move embassy to Jerusalem
monitors biased toward Saudi Arabia: Yemen's Houthis
militia ‘must respect neutrality of aid workers’
fire wounds 14 as thousands of Palestinians protest at Gaza border
sentences detained judge who won human rights award to 10 years
massacre survivor awarded for anti-extremism work
raises Kashmir issue during talks with UNGA president
lodges strong protest with Pakistan over court order on Gilgit-Baltistan
vocals to replace soft music on Pakistan International Airlines flights
plane escapes being hit by mysterious drone
likely to host Taliban talks in Islamabad
Republican Sajid Tarar discuss Muslim community’s role in US
courts needed by nation, not army: ISPR
Arabia Pumps Money into Restive Shi'ite Quarter of Awamiya It Once Flattened
Khalid: Saudi Arabia Strongly Condemns Targeting Of UN Team by Houthis
Syrian Civilians Killed As New US-Led Airstrikes Target Dayr Al-Zawr
artists draw inspiration from Islam
Manbij attack victims include daughter of US police official
overshadow Lebanon’s Arab summit as few leaders come to Beirut
court gives prison sentences to three more anti-regime activists, revokes their
activist dies in Saudi prison
FM calls on Arab League to restore Syria’s membership
Syria, Iraq, Yemen dominate Arab ministers’ meeting
Houthis imposed war on Arab coalition: Saudi FM Al-Jubeir
by New Age Islam News Bureau
Darul Uloom Deoband has said taking selfie is un-Islamic for both men and
women. Darul Ifta, the online fatwa department of the renowned seminary,
replying to a query by a Pakistani youth, said that since mostly selfies are
taken to be posted on social media, it gives rise to ‘behayaee’
Asad Kasmi, a Deoband-based cleric, said, “We fully agree with Darul as every
fatwa issued by the seminary is in the light of religious scriptures. Selfie is
a new craze among youths which is not only bad in the eyes of Islam but also
contributes to a large number of accidents leading to loss of lives.”
is not the first time that that the seminary has issued such directions. In
January last year, the department had in a fatwa had asked Muslims not to marry
those working in banking sector as “money earned through interest is
illegitimate in the eyes of Islam”.
days before that a fatwa had asked women not to wear designer burqas or
body-hugging outfits in order to avoid “prying eyes of men”.
another fatwa recommended Muslims not to buy insurance policies as, “Life and
death are in the hands of Allah and no insurance company can guarantee a man
November last year, the seminary had also stated that applying of nail paint
renders namaz incomplete. “It is mandatory to conduct vazu (washing of hands
and feet) before offering namaz. And since nail polish leads to the application
of a chemical layer on the nail, water is not able to reach where is should and
if vazu is incomplete, namaz automatically remains incomplete,” it had stated.
artistes strive to keep dying Sufi music alive
cherished for its divine and soul-stirring mystic tunes, Kashmir valley’s
‘sufiyana mausiqi’ (music of Sufis) does not find many takers nowadays. Though
a good number of youngsters get attracted to other forms of music, a small
handful of them are striving to keep alive the famed music of the Sufis.
music genres are everywhere, but it is a challenge to keep alive something that
is rare and special. Unfortunately, we have only five to six Sufi music groups
here at present even as Kashmir has produced many great artistes of this form
in the past. Youngsters do not adopt this field anymore,” said Rayees Wathori,
an artiste who plays sitar in a ‘sufiyana mausiqi’ troupe.
said the music was first adopted by Kashmiri ‘Bhand-e-Peather’ (folk theatre)
artistes after it was brought to the Valley by Central Asian and Persian Sufis
in the 14th century.
artistes were the first to adopt it. We have been trying to rope in children to
take up Sufi music, but it is hard to attract youth,” said Wathori.
a Sufi musician and national award winner, said there was a need for setting up
a ‘sufiyana mausiqi’ school. He said the government should generate employment
opportunities for the purpose.
have fine arts and music as subjects in universities, but ‘sufiyana mausiqi’ is
nowhere in the curriculum. Late Mufti Mohammad Sayeed (former chief minister)
had said ‘Shamas Fakeer Sufiyana Mausiqi School’ will be set up in the state,
but nothing has been done in this regard. As a young artiste, I would love to
see being offered in some schools and colleges,” said Haq.
Kashmir used to have ‘sufiyana mausiqi’ staff artistes, but after their
retirement, nobody was recruited. As there are no employment opportunities
available in this form of music, youngsters do not get attracted to it,” he
Muslims who view Islam as non-political matter are deviants
Syed Jaymal Zahiid
Jan 19 — PAS president Datuk Seri Abdul Hadi Awang today chastised Muslims who
view faith as a private non-political matter as deviants, declaring the aim for
Islamic political power as integral of the faith.
made the assertion at a seminar on the party's history here this morning, where
he sought to affirm the founding of PAS as divine sanction and a continuation
of the “prophetic” tradition.
Marang MP said any Islamic movement, like his own party, must be viewed as a
continuation of the “prophecy”.
cannot be an exercise of Islam that is incomplete or imperfect; the religion is
all-encompassing,” Hadi said in his opening speech.
Muslims who think Islam is not political is deviant.”
has in the past dispense similar criticism against Muslims and political rivals
who oppose the party's push for an Islamic state.
were especially aimed at those who support secularism, which he labelled as a
failed “man-made ideology” inherited from colonial rule.
the PAS president said Islam does not permit for separation of religion from
the political sphere.
of Islam's key teachings is do no evil, prevent evil. Establishing (Islamic)
political rule is the ultimate manifestation of this teaching.
it's not political it's not Islam,” he declared.
reminder of the Salafi jihadis' war with the world
attack on the DusitD2 hotel in Nairobi, Kenya, reminds us of Salafi jihadis'
war with the world. Paying heed to its atrocities matters for two reasons.
off, these kind of attacks speak volumes about the Salafi jihadis' ideology and
intent. In this attack by the Somalia-based al Shabab on a five-star hotel, the
terrorists were clearly focused on three targets: international visitors,
wealthy or influential Kenyans, and symbols. Mixing wealthier Kenyans and
business persons from abroad, top hotels reflect a physical and symbolic center
of power in Nairobi.
them thus gives al Shabab guaranteed media attention and the corollary
opportunity to undercut the Kenyan government's policy interest in attracting
more foreign investment. And with dark emotion being a constant driver of
Salafi jihadi recruitment and propaganda, this attack will be seen by al Shabab
followers as a valiant strike at the enemy's heart. The attackers who entered
the hotel complex knew they were almost certainly going to die, but they didn't
care. They cared only about spreading Kenyan fear and political discomfort as a
means of weakening Kenya's broader democratic stability. That question of
stability is of instrumental importance here. With Kenya beset by continuing
political, religious, and ethnic tensions, attacks such as this one risk
overreactions by government security forces that al Shabab hopes will drive
Kenyan Muslims into its ranks. That expansion of ranks and relevance is al
Shabab's focal goal here. Although the group claims it is resisting Kenyan
military operations against its forces in Somalia, its ultimate ambition is
that of all transnationally focused Salafi jihadi groups: the destruction of
civil society and its replacement by a totalitarian caliphate a la the Islamic
State. Innocent people, such as those killed at the hotel on Tuesday, are the tools
of this effort.
course, that pernicious calculus of innocents as tools of empire is also the
great vulnerability of al Shabab and its ideological comrades. Because it shows
that, at their core, these terrorists have nothing to offer but totalitarianism
via the barrel of a gun.
that evident evil, we find the rest of the world's motivation to unify against
them. That's particularly relevant to Kenya. After all, it is striking that the
police response here was more rapid, coordinated, and aggressive than in
previous incidents. In large part that is likely a consequence of the years of
training that Kenyan SWAT units have received from the British military.
Britain operates a number of military facilities in Kenya, and at least one
British SBS or SAS operator appears to have been photographed supporting rescue
operations at the hotel. Alongside reciprocal intelligence operations and U.S.
military pressure on al Shabab in Somalia, Kenya is in a far better position to
resist terrorists. While the death toll today was obviously too high — it
always is in any terrorist attack — it would likely have been far higher
without the alliances that al Shabab now finds arrayed against it.
yes, our attention to attacks like Tuesday's matter. But not simply for our
recognition of the enemy — also for proof of how counterterrorism alliances can
save and/or mitigate the loss of life.
Pakistan should engage in ‘meaningful dialogue’ to resolve issues: UN chief
Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres on Friday hoped that India and
Pakistan will engage in a “meaningful dialogue” to resolve their issues.
UN chief also said he has been offering his “good offices in relation to the
dialogue between the two countries that, until now, had no conditions of
was speaking to reporters at the UN headquarters in New York.
hope that the importance of both India and Pakistan is such in international
affairs, I hope that the two countries will be able to engage in a meaningful
dialogue,” he said.
UN chief was responding to a question on his repeated urging of dialogue
between the two South Asian neighbours.
relation to the human rights situation, the Office of the High Commissioner for
Human Rights has produced recently a very detailed report. So, the UN has
clearly done its job in that regard,” Guterres said to a question by a Pakistan
journalist on the situation in Kashmir.
Hasina For Solving Problems Among Muslim Countries Through Dialogue
Hasina added that the people suffer most from conflict among Muslim countries
the necessity for unity among Muslim countries, Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina
said Muslim countries should solve their problems, if any, through dialogue.
prime minister made the statement when the newly-appointed Iranian Ambassador
Mohammad Reza Nafar met with her at her office on Wednesday, reports UNB.
Muslim Ummah should remain together…if there is any problem among them, it can
be solved through discussion," she said.
Hasina’s press secretary Ihsanul Karim briefed reporters after the meeting.
said the prime minister mentioned that the people suffer most when a conflict
occurs among Muslim countries.
Hasina said the government has reduced the poverty level in Bangladesh to 21%
and has a target to reduce it by 4-5% more in the near future.
said the development policy of her government focuses on rural areas.
about the existing religious harmony of the country, Hasina said people of Bangladesh
get along with others, despite their diverse religious faiths, as every person
participates in all religious festivals.
Iranian citizens courageous, she praised their economic progress.
the new Iranian Ambassador to Bangladesh, she assured him of her all-out
cooperation during his tenure in the country.
prime minister also conveyed her regards to the Iranian President through the
Ambassador and recalled her visits to Iran in 1997 and 2012.
Mohammad Reza Nafar offered his felicitations to Sheikh Hasina on the landslide
victory of Awami League in the recent general election and described her as a
wise and prudent prime minister of Bangladesh.
people of Iran are very fond of her, he added.
praised the balanced policy in Bangladesh’s socioeconomic areas and
congratulated the prime minister for the country’s graduation from the LDC to
developing country group of nations.
mentioned that the religious and cultural bonds between Bangladesh and Iran are
outstanding and hoped to enhance the bonds during his tenure in Bangladesh.
cooperation at the regional and international level is very good; cultural
relations are excellent, political relations are at a good level," Nafar
he emphasized the need to increase the level of trade, which is currently at
$135 million. He said: “It is not satisfactory at the moment.”
Ambassador added that Iran is moving forward despite sanctions imposed by
continued that the Iranian government is working to reduce tensions in the
are not a war-mongering country…we would like to have the best of relations
with the countries in the Gulf," he said.
stated that they will welcome an initiative taken by Bangladesh’s prime
minister to reduce tensions in the region.
Secretary to the prime minister M Nojibur Rahman and Secretary of the Prime
Minister's office (PMO) Sajjadul Hassan were also present.
declares ‘ISIS is defeated’ hours after attack kills Americans in Syria
President Pence told U.S. diplomats Wednesday that the Islamic State caliphate
has collapsed in Syria, but he made no mention of the U.S. military personnel
confirmed killed in the country shortly before he spoke.
remarks filled with praise for the leadership of President Trump, Pence told
the Global Chiefs of Mission Conference at the State Department that some of
the most heinous enemies of the United States are in retreat.
to the leadership of this commander in chief and the courage and sacrifice of
our armed forces, we are now actually able to begin to hand off the fight
against ISIS in Syria to our coalition partners,” he said, using a common
acronym for the Islamic State, prompting applause from the 184 diplomats in the
audience. “And we are bringing our troops home. The caliphate has crumbled, and
ISIS has been defeated.”
month, Trump also claimed the military group had been defeated, leading him to
announce the withdrawal of about 2,000 U.S. troops there, though the timeline
has wavered. Other administration officials have acknowledged that Islamic
State fighters remain active in a small area of the country.
about the same time as Pence arrived on stage in an auditorium at the State
Department to military marching music, his press secretary tweeted that Pence
had been notified of the troops’ deaths earlier Wednesday. The Islamic State
claimed credit for the suicide bombing that took their lives.
has been briefed on the situation in Syria. He and @POTUS are monitoring the
situation. Our hearts go out to the loved ones of the fallen,” tweeted Alyssa
later, the vice president’s office issued a statement acknowledging the
American fatalities and expressing sympathy to the service members’ families.
Trump and I condemn the terrorist attack in Syria that claimed American lives
and our hearts are with the loved ones of the fallen. We honor their memory and
we will never forget their service and sacrifice,” it says.
to the courage of our Armed Forces, we have crushed the ISIS caliphate and
devastated its capabilities. As we begin to bring our troops home, the American
people can be assured, for the sake of our soldiers, their families, and our
nation, we will never allow the remnants of ISIS to reestablish their evil and
murderous caliphate — not now, not ever.”
has a son, Michael, who is an officer in the Marine Corps.
officials told The Washington Post that initial reports suggested four
Americans may have died. In addition, at least three Americans are believed to
have been wounded, one of them critically, according to a person familiar with
the situation who spoke on the condition of anonymity about the still-evolving
conditions on the ground.
of the combat deaths prompted a far different response from Republicans on
Lindsey O. Graham (R-S.C.) said Wednesday that the troop withdrawal announced
by Trump has emboldened the militant group.
concern by the statements made by President Trump is that you have set in
motion enthusiasm by the enemy we’re fighting,” Graham said during a Senate
Judiciary Committee hearing. “So I would hope the president would look long and
hard of where he’s headed in Syria.”
compared Syria to Iraq and said the United States needs to maintain its
commitment to forces fighting the Islamic State and its ideology, which cannot
be as easily wiped out.
American wants our troops to come home, but I now think all of us want to make
sure that when they do come home, we’re safe,” he said. “I know people are
frustrated. But we’re never going to be safe here unless we’re willing to help
people over there who will stand against this radical ideology.”
the House Foreign Affairs Committee, Rep. Michael McCaul (R-Tex.), urged Trump
to reverse the decision to pull troops from Syria.
deadly bombing targeting our troops in Syria is a reminder that ISIS still has
the capacity to carry out attacks,” he said.
following several rounds of applause, said the fight against militants in Syria
remains a priority for the administration.
will stay in the region, and we’ll stay in the fight, to be sure that ISIS does
not rear its ugly head,” he said. “We will protect the gains that our soldiers
and our coalition partners have secured. This president has often spoken about
his desire to bring an end to endless wars. And the ability to bring our troops
home. And bring them home in an orderly and effective way.”
annual conference brought together 184 ambassadors and chiefs of mission from
embassies and consulates around the world to discuss foreign-policy issues the
envoys are expected to raise. The travel money was spent before the partial
government shutdown began. A State Department official said the conference went
ahead because it is considered “essential to the conduct of foreign affairs
essential to national security.
Pence’s speech, State Department employees who helped organize the conference
but are not receiving pay during the almost four-week-old shutdown stood lining
the steps alongside the wall. Pence did not mention the shutdown.
Erdogan wind up alone after alienating Arabs?
President Donald Trump’s decision Dec. 19 to pull US troops out of Syria,
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has intensified his rhetoric against
some states that he accuses of supporting terrorist groups. Although Erdogan
refrains from naming these states, most pro-government media have interpreted
his words to mean the United States.
US-bashing may be paying off as Turkey's municipal election campaign
intensifies, Ankara’s worries extend beyond US support for the People’s
Protection Units (YPG) — which Turkey considers a terrorist group — and other
Kurdish militias in Syria. Indeed, Ankara is deeply concerned about its
fast-approaching isolation after years of clumsy efforts to be a game-changer
in the region. Ankara’s rhetoric had presented Turkey as a main player in the
region, and positioned it against Israel and Western powers.
Dec. 16, the Arab League has shown signs of re-embracing the regime of Syrian
President Bashar al-Assad. Not only states in the Levant, but also Gulf states,
are re-establishing relations with Damascus. In the first years of the Syrian
civil war, which began in 2011, Saudi Arabia and Turkey were on the same side
in supporting the toppling of the Baathist government. For example, between
2014 and 2017, Saudi Arabia was the country Erdogan visited most often.
the mainstream Turkish press (which is heavily censored) is publishing reports
criticizing the role of Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) states in Syria. Most
commentators refrain from directly criticizing Saudi Arabia's funding of Syrian
reconstruction projects, or the Saudi-led boycott of Turkish goods. The
Turkish-Saudi feud, which peaked with the murder of journalist Jamal Khashoggi
in October, springs from multiple issues and is likely to worsen in the near
future. But Turkish enmity in the region isn't limited to Gulf countries
(though it has supported GCC-shunned Qatar), but also includes Egypt, Jordan
and others. A senior Western diplomat in Ankara said, “Turkey couldn't even
sustain a limited free-trade agreement with Jordan. Its military agreements
with Somalia and Qatar are on shaky ground at best. It's not possible to
establish good relations with many Arab states if you are quarreling with Saudi
disappointment in Ankara is deeper than meets the eye. Establishing friendly
relations with all Muslim countries, particularly those in the Middle East, and
bonding with Sunni Arabs have been among Erdogan’s major foreign policy goals.
It's been a tradition for Erdogan to greet several Arab cities during his
election victory speeches. Through different agencies, such as the Turkish
Cooperation and Coordination Agency and the Religious Affairs Directorate
(Diyanet), governments under the Justice and Development Party (AKP) have spent
billions of dollars in different parts of the Arab world. But Erdogan’s
policies of embracing Arab Muslims have utterly failed. In the words of a
senior Turkish diplomat in Ankara, “We lost the Middle East.”
New York Times op-ed Jan. 7 also signals that the Turkish government is having
a difficult time adjusting to the fast-changing realities of the region.
did Turkey’s relations with the Arab world go sour?
the government’s efforts to establish friendly relations with Arab states have
not found much support in Turkey. The uncontrolled influx of refugees,
particularly from Syria, hasn't helped. In addition, the AKP government’s
alliance with the Nationalist Movement Party, also known as the Gray Wolves,
has brought about a simultaneous rise in nationalistic fervor. Inadequate
planning has made Syrian refugees' integration into Turkish society all the
more difficult. Anti-Syrian racism is expected to grow along with deepening
economic problems in Turkey.
Ankara is concerned that the 4 million Syrian refugees in Turkey are possibly
being influenced by radical Salafi ideologies. A theology professor from a
university in Ankara who asked to remain anonymous told Al-Monitor, “Diyanet
has been trying to keep the Syrians in Syria in its orbit, but Syrians inside
Turkey rarely attend Diyanet mosques. Some are attending established religious
orders' ceremonies, but most are setting up their own religious establishments.
Initially, the government thought, 'These are Sunni brothers,' but now there is
desperation about how to control their activities. It's an open secret that
Turkish intelligence doesn't have sufficient Arabic speakers to monitor their
activities. If they fall under the influence of the Saudi version of Islam
[strict Sunni Wahhabism], how can the government restrain them?”
has to carefully handle its relations with the Arab world now that it hosts a
sizable Arab diaspora that may not be willing or able to assimilate smoothly.
is the Turkish government’s alliance with the Muslim Brotherhood. In 2011,
Ankara celebrated Arab Spring uprisings and worked to see the Brotherhood gain
more strength in Egypt, Tunisia, Yemen and Syria. Since then, Turkey has been
deeply disappointed. Erdogan’s reluctance to acknowledge the Assad regime’s
apparent victory after almost eight years is particularly telling. Erdogan
hasn't, at least publicly, accepted the need to normalize relations with
Damascus. Other regimes that have been adamantly anti-Assad have adjusted to
the new reality, but not Erdogan. Now, the much-anticipated return of Syria to
the Arab League will only make Turkish isolation more noticeable.
retired general told Al-Monitor, “The Erdogan and Assad families were friends
vacationing together in 2008. ... Syria minimized its support for the PKK [the
Kurdistan Workers Party, which Turkey considers a terrorist group]. We had
waived visas [with Syria], increased trade and were conducting joint military
in 2009-2010, Turkey and Syria even had joint ministerial meetings on a range
Erdogan single-handedly took a turn, siding with GCC states and positioning
Turkey as the archenemy of the Assad regime," added the general.
"Other countries have jumped off this boat and one way or another are
trying to normalize their relations with Damascus. We are neighbors and still
acting as if the Assad regime will end soon. Even [Erdogan's NYT op-ed] is
written as if the Assad regime doesn't exist. This is a dangerous game for
failure to establish better relations with Arab countries is a strong blow to
its soft-power dreams. Erdogan’s Rabia hand gesture, which he shows in support
of the Arab Spring, was even shunned in Tunisia during his last visit, in
December 2017. Yet Erdogan campaigns in Turkey with the sign, indicating he
still can't accept the political changes. And as Erdogan continues to express
his wishes to deepen relations with Qatar, US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo
appears in the news struggling to mend bridges between the GCC and Qatar.
far, there are no efforts to help Turkey improve relations with the Arab world.
To make matters worse, news of increased communications between Israel and Gulf
states is contributing to Turkey’s deepening fears of isolation. For instance,
an unverified article published Jan. 8 alleged that officials from Egypt, Saudi
Arabia and the United Arab Emirates met secretly last month with Israeli Mossad
Director Yossi Cohen. The Middle East Eye story, citing undisclosed sources,
said the officials discussed how to "welcome [Assad] back into the Arab
League to marginalize the regional influence of Turkey and Iran."
decades, Turkish Islamists have blamed the secular establishment for being too
timid to establish better relations with the Arab world. For example, Turkey's
presidential spokesman, Ibrahim Kalin, acknowledged in 2017 that for years the
republic has fostered enmity toward Arabs. Kalin said that, in turn, the Arab
world harbors anti-Turkish sentiment. However, neither Kalin nor others in
Erdogan’s 16 years in national government have come up with effective solutions
to these bitter perceptions.
have AKP’s efforts made Turkey’s place in the Arab world any better today?
Looking at Ankara’s nervousness about the YPG and other Kurdish militias in
Syria, it's difficult to appreciate the AKP’s efforts as effective or even
promising. Even the talk of gradual US withdrawal from Syria was sufficient to
reveal the long-brewing anti-Turkey anger in the region. Can Erdogan survive
his shrinking neo-Ottoman dreams? This is the question now being put on the
table by Ankara suits.
granted to Raheel for heading Saudi-led military coalition
The government has issued a no-objection certificate (NOC) regarding
appointment of former army chief retired Gen Raheel Sharif as head of a Saudi
Arabia-led military alliance comprising personnel from 41 Muslim countries.
NOC has been issued in view of an approval that was granted by the federal
cabinet during its meeting held on Jan 10, according to a source.
Information Minister Fawad Chaudhry on Friday confirmed that the NOC had indeed
been issued after approval by the federal cabinet.
issue was not on the normal agenda of the federal cabinet’s meeting but it was
approved through circulation,” the minister said while talking to Dawn.
Sharif retired in November 2016 and joined the Muslim countries’ counterterrorism
coalition in April 2017 amid controversy that he could not go for any job,
especially abroad, within two years of his retirement from Pakistan Army.
it remained unclear whether the-then Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N)
government had issued any NOC to the general. But former defence minister
Khawaja Mohammad Asif in 2017 revealed that Gen Sharif had applied for an NOC
and that it was approved by the Ministry of Defence after due process.
the Supreme Court later directed the Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI) government
to issue a fresh NOC that was needed by the general for employment abroad
during the two-year period when he was not supposed to be employed.
information minister said the government had submitted the NOC to the Supreme
the PTI had opposed the issuance of an NOC and questioned the decision to allow
Gen Sharif to lead the Muslim countries’ military coalition without knowing its
terms of reference, and aims and objectives.
PTI was one of the parties that remained vocal on the issue in the days of the
defence minister Khawaja Asif had informed the National Assembly in April 2017
that the Saudi government would hold a meeting soon in which it would unveil
the TOR of the alliance.
Chaudhry had presented the PTI’s point of view on the issue and said: “We
strongly oppose this decision and will soon bring the issue to parliament.”
party was of the view that all parliamentary parties had decided that Pakistan
should be neutral in the Middle East crisis. The decision to issue an NOC to
Gen Sharif was contrary to the parliament’s decision.
Chaudhry had then said the PML-N government’s decision could widen the schism
that already existed between Sunnis and Shias in Pakistan.
military coalition was reportedly envisaged to serve as a platform for security
cooperation, including a provision for training and equipping of troops, and
involvement of religious scholars for dealing with extremism.
DELHI: India on Friday slammed Pakistan's comments that New Delhi has no role
to play in Afghanistan, saying Islamabad cannot decide on behalf of an
independent and sovereign country.
in the ministry of external affairs Raveesh Kumar said it was not for Pakistan
to decide as to what role another country has in regional or global affairs.
also cannot decide on behalf of an independent and sovereign country
Afghanistan and dictate them as to how to conduct their foreign policy,"
Thursday, Pakistan foreign office spokesperson Mohammad Faisal said India has
no role to play in Afghanistan, adding Islamabad played a key role in arranging
direct talks between the Taliban and the US to find a peaceful solution to the
should first and foremost introspect its own role and responsibility in the
precarious situation in Afghanistan; put an end to all kind of support to cross
border terrorism from territories under Pakistan's control, and join
international efforts to bring inclusive peace to Afghanistan," Kumar
remarks contradict Pakistan's foreign minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi's earlier
statement in which he acknowledged that India had stakes in Afghanistan and its
cooperation was necessary for the peace process.
has been a key stakeholder in the peace and reconciliation process in
Afghanistan and has committed aid worth $3 billion to the war-ravaged country.
sent two former diplomats in "non official" capacity to a conference
on Afghan peace process in Moscow in November which was attended by a
high-level Taliban delegation.
Delhi has been pressing for an Afghan-owned and Afghan-led peace initiative to
bring peace and stability in the warravaged country.
Terrorist attacked a police station in Pulwama district with a grenade on
Friday. This was the third such attack in the Valley today.
incident took place at Kakapora police station in the evening. "The grenade
exploded in the compound of the police station without causing any harm",
sentry at the guard post fired some shots in the air after the explosion.
today, terrorist hurled a grenade at a police camp in south Kashmir's Shopian
district which also exploded without causing any damage.
another grenade attack terrorist targeted a paramilitary vehicle at city centre
Lal Chowk in Srinagar.
grenade missed the target exploding on the road near the Clock Tower in the
city centre. Window panes of some shops were shattered due to the explosion.
Patiala House Court in Delhi Friday extended the remand of Muhammad Absar, who
was arrested by the National Investigation Agency (NIA) in connection with the
ISIS-inspired Harkut-ul-Harb-e-Islam module, reported news agency ANI. The
24-year-old who was arrested from Meerut in Uttar Pradesh last week was
produced before the court today after his six-day custody ended.
theology teacher at Jamia Husania Abul Hassan in Hapur, Absar had travelled to
Kashmir thrice to procure weapons and meet militants, according to NIA. The NIA
said that the group was led by Delhi preacher Mufti Sohail with civil engineering
student Mohammed Anas, Zubair and Zaid — all of them under arrest — being part
of the core group.
interrogation revealed that Iftekhar wanted to start a new group and it was in
this connection that they had gone to Kashmir and met a Maulvi in Tral. The
Maulvi helped them meet another person for contacts with militants who Iftekhar
wanted to meet for training of his men. All these people have been questioned.
It is from here that the clue about Ludhiana Maulvi being part of the group
came,” an NIA officer said.
December 26, NIA arrested 10 people from Delhi’s Jaffarabad and Uttar Pradesh’s
Amroha for allegedly being part of a group called Harkat-ul-Harb-e-Islam. The
agency alleged that the group owed allegiance to the IS and was being handled
by an online entity by the name of Abu Malik Peshawari.
NIA claimed that the ISIS-inspired group was allegedly planning suicide attacks
and serial blasts, that would target politicians and government installations
in Delhi and other parts of north India.
group had allegedly also purchased remote control cars and wireless doorbells
to use in circuits while assembling remote-controlled improvised explosive
on Friday slammed Pakistan’s comments that New Delhi has no role to play in
Afghanistan, saying Islamabad cannot decide on behalf of an independent and
of External Affairs’ official spokesperson Raveesh Kumar said it was not for
Pakistan to decide as to what role another country has in regional or global
also cannot decide on behalf of an independent and sovereign country
Afghanistan and dictate them as to how to conduct their foreign policy,” he
Thursday, Pakistan Foreign Office spokesperson Mohammad Faisal said India has
no role to play in Afghanistan, adding Islamabad played a key role in arranging
direct talks between the Taliban and the US to find a peaceful solution to the
should first and foremost introspect its own role and responsibility in the
precarious situation in Afghanistan; put an end to all kind of support to cross
border terrorism from territories under Pakistan’s control, and join
international efforts to bring inclusive peace to Afghanistan,” Kumar said.
remarks contradict Pakistan’s Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi’s earlier
statement in which he acknowledged that India had stakes in Afghanistan and its
cooperation was necessary for the peace process.
has been a key stakeholder in the peace and reconciliation process in Afghanistan
and has committed aid worth USD 3 billion to the war-ravaged country.
sent two former diplomats in “non-official” capacity to a conference on Afghan
peace process in Moscow in November which was attended by a high-level Taliban
minister Hardeep Singh Puri said Friday the mode of access for Indian devotees
headed for Kartarpur Sahib Gurudwara in Pakistan, is yet to be decided by the
access will be given to them by using passport as a travel document or VISA
will be applied, are issues that are to be discussed bilaterally between the
two countries. It is yet to be finalised,” Puri told reporters.
said that a decision has been taken that access from the Indian side — the main
road which goes up to Kartarpur Sahib will be completed in a time-bound manner.
the Cabinet decision on November 22, 2018, a number of steps have been taken
and one of them is to open the Kartarpur corridor, he said.
have so far decided that the access from our side — the main road which goes up
there (Kartarpur Sahib), and the specific corridor, we will complete in a
four-km corridor will connect Dera Baba Nanak in India’s Gurdaspur district
with Gurdwara Kartarpur Sahib in Narowal in Pakistan. It will provide access to
Indian Sikh pilgrims to the historic shrine in the neighbouring country.
Nanak Dev, the founder of Sikhism, is believed to have spent more than 18 years
of his life there. The Kartarpur Sahib Gurdwara is located on the banks of Ravi
river, about three-four kilometres from the Indo-Pak border.
lamented that the cartographer who drew the boundary between India and Pakistan
after separation, must have been “insensitive” as he carved out the place
belonging to Guru Nanak from India.
ground-breaking ceremony for the corridor was performed by Pakistan’s Prime
Minister Imran Khan, in November last year.
Terming local terrorists as "sons of soil", PDP chief Mehbooba Mufti
on Tuesday said efforts should be made to save them, adding the Centre should initiate
dialogue with the militant leadership in Jammu and Kashmir to end the "gun
now, talks should be held with Pakistan and separatists. Similarly, the
militant leadership should also be talked to as it is they who have the guns
and only they can end the gun culture," she told reporters in Anantnag
after a party function.
believe at some stage, talks will have to be held with Hurriyat Conference and
terrorists as well," she said.
former chief minister, however, said it was "too early (for talks with
said local terrorists should be prevented from walking on the path of violence.
from the time I came into politics in 1996, I have been saying that local
terrorists are sons of the soil and our maximum efforts should be to save them
because they are assets."
an encounter breaks out, the two people (terrorists and security forces) come
face to face and no one can do anything about it then," she said.
PDP president had on Monday questioned the timing of filing of chargesheet in
the 2016 JNU sedition case, in which seven Kashmiris have been named, saying
the students were being used to score political points ahead of Lok Sabha elections.
surprises here. We are months away from the 2019 general election and like
always, using Kashmiris to score extra political points with the Indian
electorate has become somewhat of a pre-requisite," she had said in a
series of tweets.
Save more money, travel to new places, wake up early, eat healthy - while New Year resolutions for
the majority of us were about making our own lives better, for Mishal Mohammed,
it was about saving the lives of 74 children. So, carrying a collection bucket
and a poster with the message ‘Save 74 Lives’, this 19-year-old student of Government
Medical College, Kozhikode, walked around 15 km on the second day of the New
Year to support children suffering from Thalassemia, Diabetes and Wilson’s
disease. The effort taken by the second-year MBBS student has now garnered
attention on social media platforms, under the hashtag #newyearrevolution.
to Mishal, the ‘revolution’ has been launched as part of the Imprints project
of the College Union Society under which medical aid and treatment are provided
throughout the year to 74 children suffering from the disease. "Nearly a
year ago, I had conducted a solo trip to the Western and Northern parts of the
country. I was stranded in the Himalayas without cash for a couple of days and
had to walk several kilometres for help. However, the experience gave me an
impetus to explore my own city on foot, “ said Mishal.
back in Kozhikode, Mishal decided to put his walking experiment for a better
cause. “The entire cost of medical aid for children under the Imprints project
comes up to nearly Rs one lakh per month. Since many are unaware of the
initiative, I wondered why not use a novel method, walk around the city and
raise funds for these children,” he said.
the past one week, Mishal has gained supporters from his college and on online platforms.
He has been able to cover a total distance of 38 km on foot to JDT Islam
College, Focus Mall and Kozhikode Beach and has raised a sum of Rs 30,000 for
the project. “So far I have received only positive responses from people.
Around Rs 5,000 was collected from online supporters," said the
invited representatives from 12 neighboring, mostly Muslim-majority countries
to tour some of the internment camps built in Xinjiang province to
indoctrinate, torture, and exploit the labor of Chinese Muslims, a report
report in the People’s Daily on Friday, the official newspaper of the Chinese
Communist Party, claimed that the envoys were extremely impressed by the
success of the “vocational centers,” as Beijing calls them, in helping incorporate
members of the Uighur, Kazakh, and Kyrgyz ethnic minorities into the Chinese
from a variety of news outlets and human rights NGOs suggest that China has
built as many as 1,200 internment camps for Muslims, housing between 1 and 2
million people. Those who have survived the camps say they have experienced
extreme torture, indoctrination, and been forced to work for free. One woman
said in her testimony that Chinese police killed one of her triplet infants and
repeatedly subjected her to electroshock torture. Others have said they are
forced to learn Mandarin, pledge allegiance to Communist Party leader Xi
Jinping, and memorize communist songs or go without food.
People’s Daily recap of the Xinjiang tour surfaced little more than a week
after the Epoch Times, a U.S.-based newspaper affiliated with the persecuted
Falun Gong spiritual movement, revealed that Chinese authorities had begun
preparing the camps for international “inspections,” hiding evidence of torture
and indoctrination and making them look more like the education centers Beijing
alleges they are.
to Chinese state media, which did not quote any of the envoys directly, the
representatives were surprised to find that the internment camps were “opposite
to some Western media reports” and actually a successful way to combat radical
Islamic terrorism and poverty. During their tour, the envoys reportedly
witnessed prisoners “learning Putonghua [Mandarin], national laws and
regulations, and vocational skills.” Some played ping-pong with the prisoners,
the report claims, and watched a dance performance by those interned there.
diplomats there represented the nations of “Russia, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan,
Uzbekistan, Tajikistan, India, Pakistan, Indonesia, Malaysia, Afghanistan,
Thailand, and Kuwait,” the People’s Daily claimed.
Ambassador to China Djauhari Oratmangun said that the education centers in
Xinjiang have impressed him and trainees can learn national laws and the Uyghur
culture,” the report continued. Another diplomat from Kazakhstan “said that he
saw the Chinese government and regional government in Xinjiang have created
good conditions for trainees and they have rich food as well as time for
visits reportedly occurred in December and also included stops in Urumqi, the
capital of Xinjiang, which observers have noted has been turned into a
near-complete police state with unceasing surveillance of every citizen. China
still allows mosques to operate, but has decorated them with large images of Xi
Jinping and flooded them with posters carrying pro-communist slogans. Imams
must follow a strict regimen in their sermons and teach only loyalty to the
only other reports on the international visit to Xinjiang that have appeared at
press time online appear to rely exclusively on the Chinese interpretation of
appears to have chosen to invite representatives from countries that rely
heavily on China’s economic support to survive but, given their large Muslim
populations, have begun to feel pressure to condemn China’s abuse of its Muslim
citizens. Pakistan, for example, is run by an Islamist government that
typically bends to the will of radical Islamic groups who threaten to riot and
shut down the nation’s major cities if they disagree with any government
policy. Pakistani Muslims, particularly men married to Uighur women who have
disappeared into China, have increasingly demanded Islamabad take a stand and
support freedom for Muslims in China.
Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan, who was willing to illegally accept an
appeal over a Supreme Court decision to placate Islamists radicals, has refused
to stand up for Muslims in China.
do not know much about the situation. … The Chinese have been extremely helpful
to us… I would never talk about it [Uighurs concentration camps] in public,”
Khan said when asked about the Uighur internment camps last week. Pakistani
Foreign Ministry spokesman Mohammad Faisal similarly said last month, “some
section of foreign media are trying to sensationalize the matter by spreading
false information,” without addressing the reality.
government is economically destitute and has largely relied on China
incorporating it into its predatory Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) for cash on hand.
Indonesia has seen protests attracting thousands of Muslims calling for their
government to challenge China on its abuse of Muslims. In December, Jakarta saw
about 1,000 people, organized by local Islamic groups, congregate outside of
the Chinese embassy in the capital demanding freedom for Uighurs and other
Chinese Muslims, chanting slogans like “stop violence and oppression against
Uyghurs” and “get rid of communists from Indonesia,” according to Radio Free
Kazakhstan and Kyrgyzstan, Muslim countries whose ethnic relatives in China
have been swept into camps along with Uighurs, groups have also demanded
action, particularly those who have experienced the disappearances of loved
ones into Xinjiang. To placate the concern, China has let about 2,000 ethnic
Kazakhs move to Kazakhstan.
first reason is humanitarian. He is elderly and his health is also a
consideration,” Mr. Widodo told reporters, according to a statement from the
social affairs ministry.
Bakar Bashir, the radical Muslim cleric and alleged mastermind of the 2002 Bali
bombings, will be granted early release from jail on humanitarian grounds,
Indonesia's president said on Friday.
(81), who is considered the spiritual leader of the Islamist group Jemaah
Islamiah (JI), was convicted in 2010 under anti-terrorism laws for links to
militant training camps in Aceh province and jailed for 15 years.
Joko Widodo, who is seeking re-election in April, has been criticised by
opponents who question his Islamic credentials and accuse him of backing the
“criminalisation” of clerics.
Widodo also cited security concerns, but he did not elaborate.
legal adviser in Mr. Widodo's campaign team, Yusril Mahendra, said he had
lobbied the president for Bashir's release.
shows to the public that it is not correct that Jokowi persecutes or
criminalises clerics,” Mahendra was quoted by Indonesia media as saying. Jokowi
is the president's nickname.
of the more than 200 people killed in the 2002 bombings of Bali nightclubs were
Australian and Canberra has previously urged against leniency for Bashir.
Prime Minister Scott Morrison said on Saturday that he has been in contact with
the Indonesian government.
position on this matter has not changed, we've always expressed the deepest of
reservations,” Mr. Morrison told reporters in Melbourne.
Bali attack spurred Indonesia to set up its now elite anti-terrorism squad
Densus 88 or Detachment 88, which received funds and training from Australia
and the United States.
was not immediately clear when Bashir would be released from prison in Bogor, a
satellite city near the capital Jakarta, or what the terms of his release would
lawyers said he was eligible for early release because he had served more than
a third of his sentence, but he had refused to sign documents detailing the
requirements for his probation.
Abu Bakar Bashir, the radical Muslim cleric and alleged mastermind of the 2002
Bali bombings, will be granted early release from jail on humanitarian grounds,
Indonesia’s president said on Friday.
81, who is considered the spiritual leader of the Islamist group Jemaah
Islamiah (JI), was convicted in 2010 under anti-terrorism laws for links to
militant training camps in Aceh province and jailed for 15 years.
Joko Widodo, who is seeking re-election in April, has been criticized by
opponents who question his Islamic credentials and accuse him of backing the
“criminalisation” of clerics.
first reason is humanitarian. He is elderly and his health is also a
consideration,” Widodo told reporters, according to a statement from the social
also cited security concerns, but he did not elaborate.
legal adviser in Widodo’s campaign team, Yusril Mahendra, said he had lobbied
the president for Bashir’s release.
shows to the public that it is not correct that Jokowi persecutes or
criminalises clerics,” Mahendra was quoted by Indonesia media as saying. Jokowi
is the president’s nickname.
large number of the more than 200 people killed in the 2002 bombings of Bali
nightclubs were Australian and Canberra has previously urged against leniency
attack spurred Indonesia to set up its now elite anti-terrorism squad Densus 88
or Detachment 88, which received funds and training from Australia and the
lawyers said he was eligible for early release because he had served more than
a third of his sentence, but he had refused to sign documents detailing the
requirements for his probation.
LUMPUR, Jan 19 — Finance Minister Lim Guan Eng today described former prime
minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak as a confused person for not knowing the
difference between University Islam Malaysia (UIM) and University Islam
had recently criticised Lim’s defence of a RM6 million allocation to New Era
College, Southern University College and Han Chiang College.
also questioned Lim’s comparison of those colleges to the RM15 million allocation
to UIAM as nonsensical and pointed out that the three were private institutions
while UIAM was a public university.
Lim said he never referred to UIAM and that the RM15 million was for UIM, which
is also a private entity.
is regrettable that he (Najib) does not know the difference between UIM and
UIAM although he had been in office for so long and served in Putrajaya for
more than 20 years.
impossible for a former Prime Minister not to know about the existence of such
a historic institution, or maybe he pretended not to know just to politicise
the issue?” he said in a statement.
Eng then questioned whether Najib read carefully his statement before making
who is the person that has been making ridiculous statement? Najib should
apologise for his mistake but I’m sure he will not do that because he cannot do
anything wrong,” he said.
said this was similar to Najib’s insistence that he had not done any wrong in
the 1MDB scandal.
Goldman Sachs has apologised but Najib is still being stubborn and insists that
he had not done anything wrong and refused to apologise,” he said.
this week Solomon apologised to Malaysians for former banker Tim Leissner’s
role in the 1MDB scandal, but said the bank had conducted due diligence before
Jan 18 A radical cleric thought to be the spiritual leader of the Bali bombers
will be released from prison on medical grounds, Indonesia's president said
Bakar Bashir, 80, is believed to have been a key figure in terror network
Jemaah Islamiyah (JI), which was blamed for the 2002 bombings on the holiday
island which killed more than 200 people, mostly foreign tourists.
was Indonesia's deadliest militant attack and prompted Jakarta to beef up
anti-terror cooperation with the US and Australia, which has previously opposed
clemency for Bashir.
leader Joko Widodo said on Friday that he had agreed to order the ailing
preacher's release from a prison on the outskirts of the capital.
first reason is humanitarian," Widodo told reporters.
is old... and his health condition was also part of the consideration." In
2011, the firebrand preacher -- once synonymous with militant Islam in
Indonesia -- was sentenced to 15 years in jail for helping fund a paramilitary
group training in the conservative Islamic province of Aceh.
the co-founder of an infamous Islamic boarding school known for producing
militants, was jailed after authorities in the world's biggest Muslim majority
country broke up the camp.
militants convicted over their involvement in the Bali bombings have been
executed while two others, including Malaysian Noordin Mohammed Top, were
killed in police raids in 2009 and 2010.
who has repeatedly denied involvement in terror attacks, was also previously
jailed over the Bali bombings but that conviction was quashed on appeal.
JI was founded by a handful of exiled Indonesian militants in Malaysia in the
1980s, and grew to include cells across Southeast Asia.
well as the 2002 Bali bombings, the radical group was blamed for a deadly 2003
car bomb at the JW Marriott hotel in Jakarta and a suicide car bomb the
following year outside the Australian embassy.
anti-terror crackdown weakened some of Indonesia's most dangerous networks,
including Jemaah Islamiyah.
Islamic State (IS) group proved to be a potent rallying cry for Indonesia's
radicals, with hundreds travelling to the Middle East to join the jihadists.
year, a wave of deadly suicide bombings at churches and a police post rocked
Indonesia's second biggest city Surabaya.
groups have killed more than 100 soldiers and captured a huge stock of weapons
in clashes in northeast Nigeria since December 26, a report by a group of aid
agencies said on Friday.
had intensified over the past few weeks and forced thousands of people to flee
to safer areas in Nigeria and over the border to neighboring Chad, the report
surge has occurred in the run-up to an election on February 16 in which
President Muhammadu Buhari is seeking a second term, turning security into a
attacks have mostly been carried out by a Takfiri-allied faction of militant
group Boko Haram.
defense ministry and military spokesmen did not immediately respond to requests
by Reuters for comment.
report by the Global Protection Cluster in Chad, a group of aid agencies led by
the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, said: "Raids against
the Nigerian army have killed more than 100 Nigerian soldiers. According to the
information available, the armed groups captured a huge stock of weapons."
report said attacks in the Baga-Kawa area of northeast Nigeria on December 26
caused more than 6,357 people to flee into Chad and some 20,000 others to flee
to safety within Nigeria.
month, a Daesh-related group, which split from Boko Haram in 2016, seized the
town of Baga, where a multi-national force fighting the militants is based.
Troops later regained Baga.
Five suspects, including a Canadian citizen, appeared in a Kenyan court Friday
in connection with a militant attack on a Nairobi hotel complex that left 21
magistrate granted a request from the prosecution to detain the four men and
one woman for 30 days while investigations continue.
suspects are accused of “possible involvement in the almost 20-hour siege of
the DusitD2 hotel and office complex by a suicide bomber and four gunmen who
were all killed by security forces,” a court document said.
investigations into this matter are complex and transnational and would
therefore require sufficient time and resources to uncover the entire criminal
syndicate,” a statement from Director of Public Prosecutions Noordin Hajji said.
total of 11 suspects were arrested after Tuesday’s attack, however
investigations into the others were still ongoing.
who appeared in court include Joel Ng’ang’a Wainaina, a taxi driver who ferried
the attackers around on several occasions, and Oliver Kanyango Muthee, a taxi
driver who drove one of the assailants to the scene of the attack.
Kaari Justus is being investigated over the transfer of money while Guleid
Abdihakim — who holds Canadian citizenship — is being probed over suspicious
other suspect Osman Ibrahim is alleged to have met with one of the attackers on
suspects yet to appear in court, Ali Salim Gichunge and Violet Kemunto Omwoyo
possessed SIM cards that were in “constant communication” with numbers in
Somalia, court documents revealed.
attack was claimed by Somali militant group Al-Shabab, an affiliate of Al-Qaeda
which has repeatedly targeted Kenya over the presence of its troops in Somalia.
Stig Jarle Hansen, Norwegian University of Life Sciences
terror attack in Nairobi was a tragedy. But also, to some extent, unexpected.
Kenya suffered relatively frequent attacks between 2013 and 2016 - Westgate in
2013, the Mpeketoni attack and the Gikomba attack in 2014, the Garissa
university attack in 2016. Since then there's been a break in larger attacks.
And since the earlier Gikomba attack, Nairobi has been spared, and Kenyan
authorities have scored some successes in dismantling al-Shabaab networks in
the country. They also thwarted a larger operation in Nairobi last year.
has done a great deal to prevent attacks, and to manage post-attack scenarios
better. Its successes so far include: improved coordination, dismantling local
radical networks in contact with the al-Shabaab and curtailing channels for
have been two other areas of progress that has been, for the most part,
spearheaded by civil society. The first is the implementation of
deradicalisation programmes. These aim to integrate former al-Shabaab fighters
into society. The second has been efforts at countering violent extremism by
introducing programmes designed to prevent young people from being radicalised.
there are still huge problems that need to be addressed. One is the fact that
young Muslims have very low trust in the Kenyan police, and many remain
sympathetic to al-Shabaab. These problems are hard to address because of high
levels of joblessness among young people which has created fertile recruiting
grounds for al-Shabaab.
Kenya has made considerable progress this week's attack shows that al-Shabaab
is still strong, viable and able to take advantage of Kenyan weaknesses.
role in Somalia
role in Somalia has made it an important target for al-Shabaab.
type of attack is planned inside Somalia and carried out by people trained by
al-Shabaab in Somalia. They believe these units don't draw on older affiliated
groups inside Kenya, which is seen as unprofessional, but develop their own
well planned ad-hoc support solutions instead, usually based out of Somalia.
intervention in Somalia, although slow moving at the start, was a watershed in
forcing the al-Shabaab to give up large territories, and crucial for the
decline al-Shabaab between 2011 and 2015. Kenya is still crucial on the ground
inside Somalia, where its forces serve as a buffer against territories that are
still fully controlled by al-Shabaab.
Kenyan forces will play a crucial role in new plans being made for offensives
against these territories.
means that al-Shabaab will continue to target Kenya.
are other factors at play too. Traditionally, Kenya, which is a more open
society than neighbouring Ethiopia, Tanzania and Uganda, has been an easier
target than the other countries in the region, and has, until now, had weaker
intelligence capacities than, for example, Ethiopia and Tanzania.
are areas, however, in which Kenya has upped its game, particularly when it
comes to dealing with a post-attack emergency.
the most recent attack it soon became clear that Kenya's security forces are
more efficient than in the past. Coordination between the services was much
better, and, wisely, it appears that the recce squadron (and thus the police)
were left in charge. This meant that embarrassing situations, such as fire
exchanges between the police and the army during the Westgate attack, were
have been complaints that people took a long time to clear the building
complex. But it's large and not easy to clear, a situation comparable to the
In-Amenas compound attacked in Algeria in 2013, when the Algerians had to clear
a large oil refinery. Clearing operations like this will take time. That it
happened as quickly as it did this time shows Kenya has developed the
professionalism and ability to plan fast.
death rate also seems less than Westgate, although the casualty rate reported
by the al-Shabaab (59) (radio statement) is much higher than the one reported
by Kenyan authorities (21).
were just as great in the Westgate and Mepketoni attacks. In both al-Shabaab's
reports proved to be much more accurate than the information provided by the
is understandable: Kenyan officials would naturally want to play down the
attack in a bid to calm potential tourists thinking about travelling to the
country. Tourism is vitally important for the Kenyan economy.
was one very legitimate criticism of the handling of the attack - the presence
of armed non-police and non army/police security personnel at the scene. This
made it much harder for the Kenyan police and army to know who to fight.
an encouraging development is that the Kenyan parliament has announced that it
will be reviewing the attack. Hopefully, this will be covered.
handling of this attack shows the progress has been made in its anti-terrorist
measures. But it also illustrates what problems remain in place. One includes
providing erroneous information.
United Nations said on Friday it was “extremely alarmed” by the forced return
by Cameroon of thousands of refugees to north-east Nigeria, where Boko Haram
Islamists pose a continuing threat to civilians.
action was totally unexpected and puts lives of thousands of refugees at risk,”
the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), Filippo Grandi, said in a
forced “several thousand” refugees back to Nigeria this week, including 267 on
Wednesday, the UN agency said.
am appealing to Cameroon to continue its open door and hospitable policy,”
Grandi said, while calling on the government to immediately halt any more
returns and meet its obligations under international law.
has 370,000 refugees, 100,000 of whom are Nigerians, according to the UNHCR.
this month, more than 9,000 people fled to Cameroon after an attack on a
military base and aid buildings in the town of Rann in north-east Nigeria’s
attack was blamed on the Islamic State West Africa Province (ISWAP) faction of
Boko Haram, which has carried out similar raids against troops since July last
United Nations Humanitarian Coordinator in Nigeria, Mr Edward Kallon, has
expressed grave concern over the interruption of aid delivery to tens of
thousands of internally displaced people in Rann.
is a town in eastern Borno State and about 10 kilometres from the border with
Cameroon, which had experienced deadly attacks by Boko Haram.
statement by the UN body reveals that the interruption in the delivery of
humanitarian assistance to Rann is the direct result of an attack that started
at dusk on 14 January, 2019 on the military base, and continued into the next
the time of the attack, an estimated 76,000 internally displaced people were
living in Rann.
medical clinic, warehouses with humanitarian supplies and accommodation for aid
workers were looted and/or destroyed in the attack, and the market and shelters
in the camp were burned down by the attackers.
civilian fatalities have also been reported, although the total number is not
yet known, and thousands are reported to have fled to Cameroon.
addition, 14 aid workers, who were in Rann during the attack and able to hide,
were withdrawn the day after by helicopter. At present, Rann is inaccessible to
international humanitarian organisations both by road and by air.
attacks on Rann, that are increasingly frequent, are having a devastating
impact on the civilians taking refuge in this isolated town and severely affecting
our ability to deliver life-saving aid to women, men and children in need,”
said Mr. Kallon.
attack has spread fear among an already vulnerable population, and humanitarian
assets were also targeted. I urge the Government of Nigeria to protect
civilians, including aid workers,” Mr. Kallon concluded.
conflict in north-east Nigeria, now in its tenth year, has triggered massive
displacement and caused a severe humanitarian crisis with more than 7 million
people in need.
addition to the attack in Rann, clashes in Kukawa and Monguno local government
areas in northern Borno State have forced more than 43,000 people to flee their
homes since November, with more than 32,000 taking refuge in Maiduguri, the
Borno State capital.
days of clashes between rival militias near Libya’s capital Tripoli have left
10 people dead and 41 wounded, the health ministry said Thursday. Fighting
between armed groups erupted Wednesday despite a truce deal four months ago
that had halted deadly battles in the city.
medical source told AFP that fierce clashes hit an area some 50 kilometers
south of Tripoli on Thursday, after fighting around an airport 25 kilometers
from the capital the previous day.
violence has pitted the Tripoli Protection Force, an alliance of militias from
the city, against the Seventh Brigade group from the town of Tarhuna. The
health ministry said that there were women and children among the wounded.
was plagued by militia clashes that killed at least 117 people and wounded more
than 400 between late August and late September.
United Nations mission in Libya on Wednesday condemned a “military
mobilization” in southern Tripoli and warned groups not to break a ceasefire
agreement it brokered in September.
Seventh Brigade has maintained its positions around Tripoli since the accord
was reached, a move that has angered rival militias. Libya has been torn
between rival administrations and a myriad of militias since the overthrow and
killing of dictator Muammar Qaddafi in 2011.
main armed groups in Tripoli say they are loyal to the internationally backed
Government of National Accord (GNA), but officials have struggled to exert real
control over the fighters.
GNA announced security reforms in the wake of the bloodshed last year, aimed at
curbing the power of militias in the capital.
Blair: UK Muslim activist groups promote ‘extremist world view’
Former British prime minister Tony Blair has accused some Muslim organizations
in Britain of spreading views that often mirror those of extremists.
they are non-violent, such groups stir up resentment by portraying Muslims in
Britain as victims, alienated from British society and in constant conflict
with the non-Muslim world.
disturbingly, they “promote a worldview that significantly overlaps with that
of a proscribed Islamist extremist organisation, Al-Muhajiroun” - a banned
group which does espouse violence.
allegations appear in a report from the Tony Blair Institute for Global Change
- the think tank Blair founded after leaving office - and names four groups:
CAGE, Hizb ut-Tahrir Britain, the Muslim Public Affairs Committee UK and
Islamic Human Rights Commission.
report identifies six “key themes” shared by all four groups: Victimization,
opposition between “good” and “bad” Muslims, opposition between Islam and the
West, a delegitimization of the government, making Islam central to national
politics and justification of violence.
is a range of views on these six themes, with differing degrees of severity
from mainstream to extreme,” the report says. Of the four, Hizb ut-Tahrir comes
close to sharing Al-Muhajiroun’s stance on violence.
since 2000, Al-Muhajiroun notoriously dubbed those behind the Sept. 11 attacks “the Magnificent
19” and several of the group’s adherents have perpetrated other atrocities.
report warns that such a “corrosive narrative” promoting divisiveness between
Muslims and non-Muslims can only embolden the far right and calls on the UK
government to establish “a working definition of extremism” by identifying the
key ideas that would “flag up” potential danger.
ideas about the place of Muslims in the West are threatening social cohesion in
Britain today,” said the former prime minister, who went on to serve as a
special Middle East envoy.
and recognizing this is an essential part of fighting extremism because - let
us be clear - there is nothing incompatible between being British and being
Muslim. But too many people, Muslims and non-Muslims, actively push messages
that suggest otherwise.”
The result, he said, was a “skewed discourse”
in which fringe views dominate because moderate voices are afraid to speak out.
Blair also accused UK politicians of
giving up on the discussion.
Muslims in the UK hear more from divisive groups about how there is a security
state set up to oppress them than they hear from our national leaders about how
communities and policymakers can work together to build a thriving, inclusive
Britain,” he said.
when people think of this challenge, they focus entirely on violent, jihadi
groups. Yet, as this report shows, many of the central ideas that British
Muslims are hearing today from some activist groups are worryingly similar to
the ideology of violent extremist groups.”
Home Office (interior ministry) of the UK government describes Hizb ut-Tahrir
as a “radical, but to date non-violent Islamist group” that “holds
anti-semitic, anti-western and homophobic views.” Almost all the articles on
the Hizb ut-Tahrir website portray Muslims as oppressed and bullied. Some
articles are clearly anti-Saudi in tone and content.
was founded as an advocacy service to raise awareness of the plight of
detainees held at Guantanamo Bay during and after the War on Terror. Its
outreach director, Moazzam Beg was himself held in Guantanamo Bay for two years
before being released without charge. However critics have labelled CAGE
“apologists for terrorism,” a “terrorism advocacy group,” propagators of a
“myth of Muslim persecution” and “a front for Taliban enthusiasts and Al-Qaeda
devotees that fraudulently presents itself as a human rights group.”
British-born Daesh extremist Mohammed Emwazi, nicknamed Jihadi John, who was
filmed beheading hostages had been in contact with CAGE while in the UK,
complaining that he was being harassed by British intelligence agencies.
to the Blair Institute report, CAGE called it “an academically flawed attempt
to remould Islamic belief and silence Muslim voices that challenge repressive
state policies,” and dismissed the former prime minister as “commonly known for
being funded by despots.”
research director Asim Qureshi said: “It’s unsurprising, considering Tony
Blair’s penchant for misinformation that his organization would use seriously
flawed methodology in order to draw false conclusions.”
Human Rights Commission (IHRC) has held consultative status with the United
Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs since 2007. However it has
also been described as “a radical Islamist organisation that uses the language
of human rights to promote an extremist agenda including the adoption of sharia
law” and “neo-Khomeinist.”
Muslim Public Affairs Committee UK encourages tactical voting in elections to
dislodge members of parliament who support policies which it considers not be
in Muslims’ interest. In 2005, the MPACUK targeted Lorna Fitzsimmons, a Labour
MP for Rochdale, a town in north-west England with a large Muslim population,
printing leaflets that claimed she had done nothing to help the Palestinian
cause because she was Jewish. She is not and the group later apologized.
home secretary Jack Straw, whose parliamentary seat in Blackburn also has a
large Muslim population, called the group “egregious” after it campaigned for
Muslims to oust him.
Siddique, policy adviser at the Tony Blair Institute, said: “The groups studied
in this report don’t represent what most British Muslims think…This isn’t about
violent extremism but about sowing division. This ‘us versus them’ rhetoric is
becomingly increasingly visible across our society, including from the far
right. Policymakers and civil society must start to challenge rhetoric that
falls into this grey space between activism and extremism so that we can tackle
the increasingly toxic climate that is feeding into extremism.”
News asked the three other UK groups to comment on the report but none of them
scout group run from a mosque is being investigated by police after a Telegraph
investigation linked it to an Islamic extremist and a man associated with
Scout Association raised the alarm after the Telegraph found the Lewisham
Islamic Centre had been segregating groups by gender, despite the Scout’s own
commitment to mixed-sex groups.
investigation also found girls as young as five in the group have been
encouraged to record videos advocating wearing the hijab and that contrary to
the Scouts own commitment to ‘British Values', the group’s leader Ahammed
Hussain has admitted to encouraging the members to be ‘Muslims first’.
The mother of one of the British Daesh militants suspected of murdering western
hostages, lost a legal challenge on Friday that it was wrong for Britain to
assist a US investigation which could lead to them facing the death penalty.
El Shafee Elsheikh and Alexanda Kotey — two of a notorious group of British
fighters nicknamed “The Beatles” — are being held by Kurdish militia after
being captured in Syria last year.
United States wants to extradite them and Britain has said it will not stand in
the way of any future US prosecution that would seek the death penalty, waiving
a long-standing objection to executions.
mother, Maha El Gizouli, had sought a judicial review, saying it was unlawful
for Britain’s interior minister to provide mutual legal assistance in a case
which could lead to prosecutions for offenses which carried the death penalty.
lawyers said the minister’s actions were flawed, inconsistent with Britain’s
unequivocal opposition to the death penalty and violated her son’s human
rights. However, London’s High Court disagreed and dismissed her claim.
priority has always been to ensure we deliver justice for the victims’ families
and that the individuals suspected of these sickening crimes face prosecution
as quickly as possible,” Home Secretary Sajid Javid said.
long-standing opposition to the death penalty has not changed. Any evidence
shared with the US in this case must be for the express purpose of progressing
a federal prosecution.”
most notorious of the four of the so-called Beatles was Mohammed Emwazi, known
as “Jihadi John,” who is believed to have been killed in a US-British missile
strike in 2015.
became a public face of Daesh and appeared in videos showing the murders of US
journalists Steven Sotloff and James Foley, US aid worker Abdul-Rahman Kassig,
British aid workers David Haines and Alan Henning, Japanese journalist Kenji
Goto and other hostages.
group of terrorists is associated with some of the most barbaric crimes
committed during the conflict in Syria,” Graeme Biggar, Director of National
Security at Britain’s interior ministry, said in a written statement to the
has said it does not want the men repatriated to the United Kingdom and their
British citizenship has been withdrawn.
prosecutors concluded they did not have the evidence to launch their own case
against the men but US officials then expressed frustration with the British
stance of seeking an assurance that US prosecutors would not call for the death
penalty, court documents showed.
last June, British ministers and senior officials decided the best way of
ensuring a prosecution and to protect US relations was to seek no such
assurance in this case.
Ahmet Gurhan Kartal
on Friday raised concerns over the escalation of violence in Myanmar’s Rakhine
Field, minister of state for Asia and the Pacific, said he was “deeply
concerned by the escalation of violence in Rakhine State".
said in a statement “the U.K. calls on all sides involved in the conflict to
sides have a duty to ensure that the safety of civilians is guaranteed and to
respect international law,” he said.
western Rakhine State is home to Rohingya Muslim community, described by the UN
as the world's most persecuted people.
to Amnesty International, more than 750,000 Rohingya refugees, mostly children
and women, have fled Myanmar and crossed into Bangladesh after Myanmar forces
launched a crackdown on the minority Muslim community in August 2017.
Aug. 25, 2017, nearly 24,000 Rohingya Muslims have been killed by Myanmar’s
state forces, according to the Ontario International Development Agency (OIDA).
than 34,000 Rohingya were also thrown into fires, while over 114,000 others
were beaten, the OIDA report said, adding that 17,718 (±780) Rohingya women and
girls were raped by Myanmar’s army and police. Over 115,000 Rohingya houses
were also burned down and 113,000 others vandalized, it added.
a report, the UN Refugee Agency said nearly 170,000 people fled Myanmar in 2012
critic of Syria’s leader Bashar al Assad has died after being attacked with an
item thought to be an axe, German newspapers report.
Joune, 48, led the organisation Union of Syrians Abroad and lived in Germany.
He was seen on Tuesday evening falling out of the doorway of a building in the
city of Hamburg before collapsing due to a head and upper body wounds. He died
soon after arriving at a local hospital.
attacker also removed one of Mr Joune’s fingers, local news services reported.
Joune was found on Lüneburger Strasse where he is thought to have owned and let
out property although his day job was as a pharmacist. The police have said one
thread they are investigating is whether Mr Joune was attacked when entering or
trying to enter this property, which some have suggested was being squatted in.
is thought to be married with two children.
friend who wished to remain anonymous told the Bild newspaper that he believed
the Assad regime was behind the murder, saying he has met Mr Joune earlier in
the day to discuss a protest marking the eighth anniversary of the Syrian
is most likely that Mohamed was killed because of his political activities,” he
spread of a chickenpox outbreak threatens more people in refugee camps in
Bangladesh, as the number of infected Rohingya refugees keeps increasing
despite efforts to curtail the spread of the disease and prevent any
than 800 Rohingya refugees living in squalid makeshift camps in Bangladesh's
Cox's Bazar district have been infected with chickenpox since last December,
but residents of the camps expect the figure to surpass 1,000. As of Jan. 13,
832 Rohingya refugees in the camps had been confirmed with chickenpox, the
World Health Organization (WHO) said in a statement on Jan. 15.
three-year-old Rohingya child with chicken pox reportedly died during that
period. The chickenpox outbreak started in some areas of the refugee camp in
Ukhiya and Teknaf last month.
to an outbreak of chickenpox in the Rohingya camps, health sector partners led
by the Ministry of Health [in Bangladesh] and the WHO has stepped up
surveillance and initiated measures," the statement added.
"Surveillance has been further beefed up in the Rohingya camps," said
Dr. Bardan Jung Rana, WHO representative to Bangladesh. But Rohingya refugees
living in the camps expect the number to rise further.
Ali, 34, who was chosen by the Bangladesh government to help maintain law and
order in his camp, told Anadolu Agency (AA) that mostly women and children are
being affected. "I know some in our camp [Kutupalang] who are suffering
from this disease and have taken normal medicine," he said, referring to
the standard tablet or capsule for fever or headache and saline for dysentery
that are normally distributed to the refugees. An estimated 700,000 Rohingya
have fled over the border to Bangladesh since an army crackdown was launched in
Rakhine State in August. Myanmar blames Rohingya militants for an Aug. 25
strike on security posts in Rakhine State that triggered a fierce army
crackdown. At least 9,000 Rohingya were killed in Rakhine State from Aug. 25 to
Sept. 24, according to Doctors without Borders. In a report last December, the
global humanitarian group said the deaths of 71.7 percent, or 6,700 Rohingya,
were caused by violence. The death toll includes 730 children below the age of
stateless Rohingya have been the target of communal violence and vicious
anti-Muslim sentiment in mainly Buddhist Myanmar for years. Myanmar has denied
citizenship to Rohingya since 1982 and excludes them from the 135 ethnic groups
it officially recognizes, which effectively renders them stateless. The
Rohingya trace their presence in Rakhine back centuries. But most people in
majority-Buddhist Myanmar consider them to be unwanted Muslim immigrants from
ministers of southeast Asian countries meeting in Thailand on Friday are set to
discuss the Rohingya issue, local media reported.
Association for Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) meeting will reportedly endorse
a plan to send another needs-assessment mission to Myanmar in the near future
to facilitate the repatriation of the oppressed Rohingya.
meeting, held in the mountainous city of Chiang Mai, follows up on ASEAN’s
visit last November to Myanmar, local daily The Bangkok Post reported.
Indonesia-based ASEAN Secretariat and ASEAN Coordinating Centre for
Humanitarian Assistance on Disaster Management sent a joint team to Myanmar
late last year.
believes that the refugees should be able to return voluntarily and “in a safe,
secure, and dignified manner.”
ASEAN representatives are also supposed to discuss the South China Sea
situation, including negotiations between ASEAN and China on “crafting a code
of conduct to manage tensions” in the disputed waters.
on agenda of the meeting is East Timor's bid to join ASEAN, for which the
multi-nation group will send a “fact-finding mission” to Dili, its capital, to
“gauge its preparedness.”
Rohingya, described by the UN as the world's most persecuted people, have faced
heightened fears of attack since dozens were killed in communal violence in
to Amnesty International, more than 750,000 Rohingya refugees, mostly women and
children, have fled Myanmar and crossed into Bangladesh after Myanmar forces
launched a crackdown on the minority Muslim community in August 2017.
Aug. 25, 2017, nearly 24,000 Rohingya Muslims have been killed by Myanmar’s
state forces, according to a report by the Ontario International Development
than 34,000 Rohingya were also thrown into fires, while over 114,000 others
were beaten, said the OIDA report, titled "Forced Migration of Rohingya:
The Untold Experience."
18,000 Rohingya women and girls were raped by Myanmar’s army and police and
over 115,000 Rohingya homes were burned down and 113,000 others vandalized, it
of Rohingya detainees inside Shumaisi detention centre in Jeddah of Saudi
Arabia have begun a hunger strike to stop the Gulf kingdom from deporting them
to Bangladesh, reported Middle East Eye, a news outlet published from UK, on
detainees said they had "no alternative" but to start the strike for
the second time in the last four months as many of them were forcibly deported
to Bangladesh during that period.
and videos sent to the Middle East Eye (MEE) showed detainees were refusing to
take their daily food rations in protest of their possible deportation.
(not his real name), a Rohingya refugee in the detention centre, said they had
organised the hunger strike via Whatsapp and other messaging apps.
we started the hunger strike, there were three hundred of us, and gradually
more people began to join us," he told the MEE via voice notes.
old man, who took part in the hunger strike, has already been taken to the
hospital," Zahid said.
don't know how many more days we can last. They are pressuring us to eat.
Please pray for us."
detainee, Rafeed (not his real name) said Saudi authorities had promised to set
them free if they withdrew their last hunger strike.
they didn't keep their promise,” he added.
RECORDING” OF WITNESS STATEMENTS
Nina Tavakoli, a barrister at Red Lion Chambers, who visited the Rohingya
refugee camps in Bangladesh at the end of 2017, warned on Wednesday that there
was little coordination between actors documenting the crimes against the
is a risk of repeat interviewing. That's bad for witnesses… [with] survivor
fatigue, people might stop talking,” she said, reports Law Gazette, a British
legal weekly magazine.
said prosecutions for crimes committed during the forced displacement of
727,000 Rohingya from Rakhine State in Myanmar may fail because of a casual and
uncoordinated approach of taking witness statements.
lawyers are critical of [the approach] human rights actors,” she said at a
panel discussion on 'challenges to international accountability' organised by
Red Lion Chambers and hosted by international firm Hogan Lovells.
between security forces and the Arakan Army, an ethnic armed group seeking
greater autonomy for Rakhine, has forced some 5,000 civilians to flee their
homes since early December
army has killed 13 rebel fighters in the western Rakhine State, a military
spokesman said on Friday, as government troops battle to contain a new
insurgency in the troubled region.
between security forces and the Arakan Army, an ethnic armed group seeking
greater autonomy for Rakhine, has forced some 5,000 civilians to flee their
homes since early December, according to the United Nations.
violence has brought fresh turmoil to the region, the site of a massive
crackdown on the Rohingya Muslim minority in 2017, and represents another
setback for the Buddhist-majority country’s embattled peace process.
January 5 and 16, 2019, there were eight clashes and five landmine
explosions," said Major General Tun Tun Nyi, speaking at a rare press
conference in the capital, Naypyitaw.
enemy bodies and three weapons were seized, and some soldiers died and were
injured on our side," he said.
declined to elaborate on the number of government troops killed, saying it was
"not necessary" to give the figures.
Arakan Army could not be immediately reached for comment, but a spokesman
outside Myanmar previously told Reuters five bodies seized by the military did
not belong to their fighters.
recent surge of violence began after insurgents killed 13 police and wounded
nine in attacks on four police posts on January 4, as Myanmar celebrated
Independence Day, state media reported.
Lee, UN special rapporteur for human rights in Myanmar, voiced alarm at the
"escalating violence" in Rakhine and urged both sides to show
restraint and protect civilians.
condemned the January 4 attack by the Arakan Army and the Myanmar military's
"disproportionate response", citing reports that heavy weapons,
artillery, and helicopters had been used in civilian areas, leading to civilian
am also seriously concerned about the dangerous rhetoric being used by the
government. The ethnic Rakhine population must not be demonized and targeted by
the military on suspicion of association with the AA," Lee said in a
was no immediate response from the Myanmar authorities to her remarks.
civilian administration last week called on the military to "crush"
the rebels, according to a government spokesman.
Friday, the military said Aung San Suu Kyi, who runs the country as state counsellor,
personally ordered the crackdown, stating that the Arakan Army, which recruits
from among the mainly Buddhist Rakhine ethnic group, should face the same
treatment as Rohingya insurgents.
military onslaught against the Rohingya in 2017, which the UN and Western
nations have called ethnic cleansing, was preceded by attacks on security
forces by fighters calling themselves the Arakan Rohingya Salvation Army. The
government denies the charge of ethnic cleansing.
negotiations at the president’s house on January 9, state counsellor Daw Aung
San Suu Kyi said AA were terrorists and instructed to crack down
effectively," Tun Tun Nyi said.
not, others would point out that ARSA was cracked down on because it’s from a
different religion and AA was not because it is an ethnic group," he said.
government spokesman did not answer calls seeking comment.
conflict is the latest crisis facing Nobel laureate Suu Kyi’s administration,
which swept to power in 2015 promising to bring an end to the country’s myriad
local commander of the Taliban group was killed in an explosion triggered by an
Improvised Explosive Device in eastern Kunar province of Afghanistan.
Afghan Military in the East confirmed in a statement that Mawlavi Saeedullah
was killed in an explosion in Manogi district on Friday.
statement further added that the IED was planted was by militants affiliated
with the ISIS Khurasan (ISIS-K) militants in Bist area.
anti-government armed militant groups including Taliban have not commented
regarding the incident so far.
Taliban militants including two of their key commanders have been killed during
separate operations conducted in northern Baghlan and Sar-e-Pul provinces of
209th Shaheen Corps of the Afghan Military in the North in a statement said at
least 19 Taliban militants including two of their key commanders were killed
during the operations in Sayad district of Sar-e-Pul province during the past
statement further added that the two key Taliban commanders killed during the
operations have been identified as Qari Karim and Mawlavi Yaqoub.
209th Shaheen Corps in a separate statement said at least 6 Taliban militants
have been killed and 4 others have sustained injuries since the launch of
Pamir-10 operations in Baghlan province.
coalition airstrike targeted a group of Taliban insurgents who were planting
Improvised Explosive Device on a roadside in eastern Nangarhar province of
Afghanistan leaving at least five militants dead.
to the informed military sources “A coalition air strike killed 5 Taliban
fighters as they were attempting to bury an IED in a road in Nangarhar.”
Afghan Special Operations Forces conducted a raid in Hisarak district of
Nangarhar province killing 11 Taliban fighters and confiscating several
another operation of the Afghan Special Operations Forces in Nadir Shah Kot
district of Khost province 1 Taliban fighter was killed and bomb-making
material was destroyed.
Afghan and Coalition Forces conducted operations against the Taliban militants
in southern Kandahar province of Afghanistan leaving scores of militants dead.
to the informed military sources “In the past 24hrs, 28 Taliban have been
killed in combined Afghan and coalition ground operations and airstrikes in
Maiwand District and Nesh District in Kandahar.”
sources further added “Additionally, during ground raids in Maiwand, insurgent
vehicles and a weapons cache has been destroyed.”
latest operations in Kandahar province have been conducted as the
anti-government armed elements are attempting to destabilize the security
situation in Kandahar province.
unfounded tweet stoking fears about Muslim “prayer rugs,” explained
Donald Trump on Friday posted an extremely dubious tweet alleging people from
Muslim-majority countries are crossing the border with bad intentions, and
leaving prayer rugs behind.
a report that hinged on one anonymous source, Trump tweeted: “Border rancher:
‘We’ve found prayer rugs out here. It’s unreal.’ Washington Examiner.”
coming across the Southern Border from many countries, some of which would be a
big surprise,” he added.
was indeed the headline of a Washington Examiner article published on Wednesday,
but the story itself presents no evidence for its central claim beyond one
anonymous account — and even if it were true, prayer rugs themselves pose no
threat to national security.
clear Trump was using the story to stoke fears about Muslims and shore up
support for his proposed wall along the southern border, something he has said
he is proud to shut down the government over. The partial shutdown began on
December 22, and Trump hasn’t budged from the $5.7 billion for the wall he is
flimsy basis of the Examiner’s story
Washington Examiner’s piece is centered on a single, anonymous rancher who
presents no evidence for the claim that prayer rugs are being found along the
a lot of people coming in not just from Mexico,” the woman is quoted as saying
in the piece. “People, the general public, just don’t get the terrorist threats
of that. That’s what’s really scary. You don’t know what’s coming across. We’ve
found prayer rugs out here. It’s unreal. It’s not just Mexican nationals that
are coming across.”
prayer rugs were indeed found, you might expect the article to include a photo
of one of them. But it doesn’t. Instead, the rancher — who admits in a video
accompanying the piece that she’s never seen “Middle Easterners” crossing the
border — is photographed holding a bottle.
response to widespread criticism of the article, Susan Ferrechio, the
Washington Examiner’s chief congressional correspondent, simply criticized the
way others pointed out its flimsy sourcing.
unexplained by the article is why Muslims who presumably traveled through
Mexico to cross the border would carry their prayer rugs with them for hundreds
or thousands of miles, just to leave them behind in Texas.
little evidence would-be terrorists are trying to enter the country through the
from Customs and Border Protection (CBP) indicates that people from
Muslim-majority countries are apprehended crossing the southern border between
ports of entry at vanishingly small rates.
2017, for instance, six Syrians, 10 Jordanians, and 14 Saudis were apprehended
trying to cross the border — compared to 16,000 Guatemalans.
of course, just because a person is from the Middle East or a Muslim who uses a
prayer rug does not mean that they’re a terrorist.
2017 State Department report found that there is “no credible evidence
terrorist groups sent operatives via Mexico into the United States.” A recent
Cato Institute study found that there were zero cases of people being injured or
killed on US soil by people who entered the country illegally from 1975 through
the end of 2017.
have a long history of making unfounded claims about prayer rugs
have a storied history of using dubious stories about prayer rugs to stoke
fears about Muslims entering the country through the southern border.
July 2014, Breitbart published a piece with the screaming headline, “MUSLIM
PRAYER RUG FOUND ON ARIZONA BORDER BY INDEPENDENT AMERICAN SECURITY
CONTRACTORS.” The piece was accompanied with a photo of the purported “prayer
rug.” But there was just one problem — close examination revealed that the
object in question was in fact an Adidas soccer jersey.
the 2014 Values Voters Summit a couple months later, then-Texas Lieutenant
Governor David Dewhurst claimed that “prayer rugs have recently been found on
the Texas side of the border in the brush.” But Dewhurst presented no evidence
for his claim, which Politifact ultimately rated “Pants on Fire.”
times, desperate tweets
month, Trump decided to shut down the government instead of supporting
bipartisan legislation that would’ve kept it open, but not funded his border
a month later, polling indicates that a majority of Americans don’t like the
shutdown and are blaming Trump for it. Separate polling indicates that Trump’s
wall remains as unpopular as ever, despite the president’s efforts to convince
people that the situation along the border is a crisis.
far, Trump has shown little willingness to negotiate and has been trying to
tweet his way out of it. Tweets like the prayer rug one suggest that Trump —
who has a long history of making baseless, fear-mongering claims about Muslims
— is resorting to increasingly desperate measures.
President Donald Trump’s decision to pull US troops from Syria was made without
deliberation, left allies “bewildered” and has rejuvenated Daesh, the official
formerly in charge of fighting the militants said Friday.
McGurk, who quit as America’s envoy to the anti-Daesh coalition after Trump
declared victory over the group last month, warned a US withdrawal would shore
up President Bashar Assad and lessen America’s leverage with Russia and Iran.
“the Islamic State and other extremist groups will fill the void opened by our
departure, regenerating their capacity to threaten our friends in Europe — as
they did throughout 2016 — and ultimately our own homeland,” McGurk wrote in an
opinion piece in The Washington Post, referring to another name for Daesh.
a Barack Obama-era appointee whom Trump kept on, said he was in the US embassy
in Baghdad on December 17 when he got an urgent call from Secretary of State
Mike Pompeo informing him of Trump’s decision.
days later, Trump tweeted, “We have defeated Daesh in Syria,” referring to
another acronym for Daesh.
that was not true, and we have continued to conduct airstrikes against the
Islamic State,” McGurk said.
decision came just days after National Security Adviser John Bolton had
suggested an indefinite US troop presence in Syria, and as McGurk and then
defense secretary Jim Mattis met coalition partners to confirm commitments for
at least the next year.
counterparts in coalition capitals were bewildered,” McGurk said.
president’s decision to leave Syria was made without deliberation, consultation
with allies or Congress, assessment of risk, or appreciation of facts.”
quit after Trump’s decision.
said Trump had made his decision after a phone call with Turkish President
Recep Tayyip Erdogan, who had said Istanbul would lead the fight against Daesh
remnants in Syria.
Turkey has also vowed to take action against US-backed Syrian Kurds who have
conducted the fight against Daesh and lost thousands of troops as they slowly
wrested territory from the militants.
irony is that defeating the Islamic State is what the president said from the
beginning was his goal,” McGurk said.
recent choices, unfortunately, are already giving the Islamic State — and other
American adversaries — new life.”
one month after Trump declared victory over Daesh, the militants claimed responsibility
for a brutal attack in Syria this week.
Americans, including two services personnel, were among those killed when a
suicide bomber hit a restaurant in the key city of Manbij in Syria’s north —
the deadliest attack against US forces since they first deployed in the
war-torn nation four years ago.
Pentagon on Friday identified three of those killed.
US House Speaker Nancy Pelosi on Friday excoriated her political nemesis,
President Donald Trump, for “outing” her commercial trip to Afghanistan after
barring her from using a military aircraft, forcing her to scrap it entirely
over security concerns.
brawl between the no-nonsense Republican leader and the take-no-prisoners
Democrat — who is now just two heartbeats away from the presidency — is the
latest round in their shutdown showdown.
federal government has been shuttered for four weeks over Trump’s insistence
that a wider budget measure include billions of dollars for a wall on the
border with Mexico — and Pelosi’s refusal to do so.
spat spilled into the diplomatic arena on Thursday when, after Pelosi suggested
that Trump postpone his State of the Union address until the government
reopens, the president grounded her military flight.
accused Trump of being “very irresponsible” in breaching security protocol.
had a report from Afghanistan that the president outing our trip had made the
scene on the ground much more dangerous because it’s just a signal to the bad
actors that we’re coming,” she told reporters.
administration strongly denies that it “leaked” any plans about the trip to a
idea we would leak anything that would put the safety and security of any
American at risk is a flat-out lie,” a senior White House official said.
US government shutdown, which has left about 800,000 federal workers without a
paycheck, is now the longest in the country’s history — and there is no sign of
Office of Management and Budget reportedly issued a memorandum saying that
“under no circumstance during a government shutdown” can a congressional
delegation use government aircraft for travel.
Republican Representative Lee Zeldin led a delegation to Iraq and other
countries since the shutdown began.
office sounded off on the administration’s handling of her trip, which had not
been announced for security reasons.
State Department released an updated assessment stressing that Trump’s
announcement of the Pelosi travel “had significantly increased the danger to
the delegation and to the troops,” her spokesman Drew Hammill said.
morning, we learned that the administration had leaked the commercial travel
plans as well.”
lawmakers have expressed outrage.
a former member of the Intelligence Committee who has traveled to Iraq and
Afghanistan, disclosing ANY Members’ travel into a war zone is disgraceful and
dangerous,” tweeted House Democrat Jan Schakowsky.
lashed out at Pelosi once again on Twitter, asking why she and other Democrats
would leave the country “on a seven day excursion when 800,000 great people are
not getting paid.”
then his re-election campaign team released a tongue-in-cheek shutdown-related
campaign fundraising request.
U.S. has legitimate reasons for deciding to withdraw its troops from Syria, a
former brigadier general said Friday.
Kimmitt, who also served as a top defense official under former President
George W. Bush, spoke at a panel discussion hosted by the Foundation for
Political, Economic and Social Research (SETA), a think tank based in
remain legitimate reasons, and overwhelmingly positive reasons, for the U.S. to
be getting out of Syria rather than staying in it," said Kimmitt.
month, U.S. President Donald Trump surprised many, including his own cabinet,
when he announced plans to withdraw all American forces from Syria.
decision came during a phone call with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan
in which the two leaders agreed on the need for more effective coordination
over the civil war-torn country.
laid out the reasons for defending the decision, saying that for one thing, the
Daesh terrorist group is no longer a threat to the U.S.
may not be defeated. [But] it is certainly degraded. The caliphate is
gone," said Kimmitt, using another name for the Daesh. "They are not
an existential threat to the United States."
comments by U.S. Special Representative to Syria James Jeffrey, the former
defense official also noted that the nature of the U.S. alliance with the
YPG/PKK terrorist group was "temporary, transactional, and tactical".
notion that somehow the YPG are brave, democratic-seeking allies of the United
States, I think, needs to be questioned," he added.
its more than 30-year terror campaign against Turkey, the PKK -- listed as a
terrorist organization by Turkey, the U.S. and the European Union -- has been
responsible for the deaths of some 40,000 people. The YPG is the group's Syrian
also said the U.S. did not want to get into a confrontation with Turkey, a NATO
three weeks ago, Brett McGurk was leading US efforts against ISIS as the
special envoy to the anti-ISIS coalition. But soon after resigning, the former
official is accusing Donald Trump of reckless decision making in both its
abrupt withdrawal from Syria and depending on Turkey as a “reliable partner”.
McGurk, who resigned on December 22 in protest against Donald Trump’s Syria
withdrawal, described in a Washington Post column a callous and chaotic process
behind the decision. He details receiving a call from US Secretary of State
Mike Pompeo on December 17, three days after Mr Trump called his Turkish
counterpart Recep Tayyip Erdogan and two days before making the decision
that call, and while the former envoy was in Iraq, Mr Pompeo “informed us that
there had been a sudden change in plans: President Trump, after a phone
conversation with his Turkish counterpart, planned to declare victory over the
Islamic State and direct our forces to withdraw from Syria.”
his attempt to fix matters with coalition members, Mr McGurk writes he
discovered US “counterparts in coalition capitals were bewildered. Our fighting
partners in the SDF (Syrian Democratic Forces), whom I had visited regularly on
the ground in Syria, expressed shock and then denial” and hoped that Mr Trump
would change his mind.
that reversal never materialised, leading to Mr McGurk’s exit just days after
the resignation of US Secretary of Defence James Mattis. Mr McGurk, who served
three US Presidents, said Mr Trump’s decision to leave Syria “was made without
deliberation, consultation with allies or Congress, assessment of risk, or
appreciation of facts”.
pointed to inaccuracies in Mr Trump's reasoning behind the withdrawal such as
declaring the defeat of ISIS in Syria and claiming that Saudi Arabia had “now
agreed to spend the necessary money needed to help rebuild Syria.” CNN reported
that US military leaders had informed Mr Trump that ISIS was not defeated in
Syria; the group carried out its most vicious attack killing four US troops on
worst of all, according to Mr McGurk, is that the US President “made this snap
decision after a phone call with [the] Turkish President.” “He bought Mr
Erdogan’s proposal that Turkey take on the fight against the Islamic State deep
inside Syria," he wrote.
former envoy wrote: “Turkey can’t operate hundreds of miles from its border in
hostile territory without substantial US military support.” He also called the
20-mile safe zone that Mr Trump has agreed with Mr Erdogan as another seemingly
rushed decision “with no process or analysis.”
McGurk criticised Turkey harshly, writing “the Syrian opposition forces it
backs are marbled with extremists and number too few to constitute an effective
challenge to Assad or a plausible alternative to the SDF.” Idlib, one area
where Turkey enjoys influence in Northern Syria, has in recent weeks seen a
rise in Al Qaeda (HTS) influence against the more moderate groups.
former envoy also warned that the more “Turkey expands its reach in Syria, the
faster our Arab partners in the region move toward Damascus."
a damning conclusion, Mr McGurk. who is now a fellow at the Freeman Spogli
Institute for International Studies at Stanford University, said Mr Trump’s
decisions “are already giving the Islamic State - and other American
adversaries - new life.”
Itani, a scholar who studies Syria at the Atlantic Council, called Mr McGurk’s
op-ed “well-argued and is right in outlining that ISIS has not been defeated
yet, Assad is staying, and a US withdrawal would bring a great deal of
uncertainty and competition to northeast Syria that may undermine the gains
against ISIS.” But Mr Itani also singled out problems with Mr McGurk's
analysis, beginning with its sympathy to the controversial Kurdish party, the
Democratic Union Party (PYD).
is not self-evident that the PYD is clearly preferable to all other candidates
for controlling this territory, and therefore not self-evident that the US
should remain in Syria to ensure its dominance” Mr Itani told The National.
is being shipped illegally from Iran to Houthi militias in Yemen to finance
their war against the government, according to a report by a UN panel of
experts seen by AFP.
findings are expected to again raise questions about Iran's support for the
Houthis in the war.
its final report for 2018, the panel said it had "identified a small
number of companies, both within Yemen and outside, which operated as front
companies," using fake documents to conceal fuel donations.
fuel was "for the benefit of a listed individual" who is on a UN
sanctions blacklist, it added.
revenue from the sale of this fuel was used to finance the Houthi war
effort," said the 85-page report sent to the Security Council.
panel found that the "fuel was loaded from ports in the Islamic Republic
of Iran under false documentation" to avoid UN inspections of the cargo,
experts have in past reports pointed to a possible Iranian link to missiles
fired by Houthi rebels at Saudi Arabia, after they traveled to Riyadh to
examine weapons debris.
a previous report, the experts said they were investigating monthly fuel
donations from Iran valued at $30 million.
has repeatedly denied that it is providing military support to the Houthis.
experts also said the Arab Coalition backing Yemen’s government made
“significant progress” against the Houthis in 2018.
the same time, the experts said “the Houthi leadership has continued to consolidate
its hold over government and non-government institutions.”
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu urged Romania and other EU countries on
Friday to follow Washington’s lead and move their embassies to the disputed
city of Jerusalem.
made the call during talks in Jerusalem with Romanian Prime Minister, Viorica
Dancila, who took this month over the six-month rotating presidency of the
hope you will act to stop the bad resolutions against Israel in the EU, and
also of course to move your embassy and other embassies to Jerusalem,”
Netanyahu told Dancila in comments relayed by the Israeli premier’s office. “We
wait for you in Jerusalem.”
year the Romanian government, supported by the speaker of its parliament,
adopted a draft proposal to move the country’s embassy from Tel Aviv to
came after US President Donald Trump recognized the city as capital of Israel
in May and moved Washington’s embassy there, breaking with decades of
diplomatic convention that the final status of the city should be the outcome
of peace negotiations between Israelis and Palestinians.
Romanian President Klaus Iohannis, who has frequently clashed with the
government, opposed the Romanian move in the absence of an Israeli-Palestinian
peace deal, and called for Dancila’s resignation.
a visit to Jerusalem in April 2018, Dancila said she favored moving the embassy
but had insufficient domestic support to do so.
was the first country to follow in America’s footsteps, and Brazil’s far-right
President Jair Bolsonaro, who took office on January 1, has said his country
will also move its embassy to Jerusalem.
December, Australia recognized west Jerusalem as Israel’s capital, but said it
would not shift its embassy from Tel Aviv until a peace settlement is signed.
status of the city, holy to Muslims, Christians, and Jews is one of the
thorniest of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
officials have voiced concern over a UN mission’s ignorance of Saudi violations
of the Hudaydah truce deal.
Supreme Revolutionary Committee head Mohammed Ali al-Houthi highlighted the
failure of the UN mission to support the Hudaydah Agreement (UNMHA) to hold the
Saudis accountable after one of its own vehicles was targeted in the port city
of Hudaydah. The attack, which happened earlier on Thursday, caused no
casualties. The UN declined to identify the party behind the shooting.
believes Saudi-led forces were responsible for the attack and the UN's silence
may indicate the monitoring mission is not prepared to carry out its duties
suggested that the silence was more probably a case of the UN's intentional
bias in favor of the Saudi-led forces.
Political Council member Mohammed al-Bukhaiti also echoed al-Houthi's comments,
adding that the UNMHA chief monitor Patrick Cammaert has "sought to see the
Stockholm agreement fail" ever since he was appointed to the mission.
will not accept dialogue around increasing the number of international monitors
until the problem of Patrick Cammaert is resolved," said al-Bukhaiti.
on Thursday, seven Yemeni army personnel were killed following two Saudi
airstrikes north of Hudaydah, according to Yemen's Armed Forces spokesman
Brigadier General Yahya Saree.
described the attacks as a blatant violation of the truce and urged UN monitors
to hold the coalition accountable for the attack.
further highlighted that vague responses from the UN only impeded the Yemeni
military's right to retaliate.
warring parting withdrew forces from strategic port city of Hudaydah following
a peace deal signed in the Swedish capital of Stockholm on December 13.
a lifeline for millions of Yemenis, has seen some of the heaviest fighting in
the Saudi-led war, which Riyadh began in March 2015.
war initially consisted of an aerial campaign, but was later coupled with a
naval blockade and the deployment of ground mercenaries to Yemen.
the onset of the aggression, Yemeni forces, backed by Popular Committees
fighters, have defended the impoverished nation.
YORK: UN experts monitoring sanctions against Yemen are recommending that the
Security Council urge the Houthis to respect the neutrality and independence of
Associated Press has obtained the nine recommendations the panel of experts
made in their latest report to the council.
recommendations came as UN monitors try to strengthen a cease-fire in the port
of Hodeidah, key to the delivery of 70 percent of Yemen’s imports and
humanitarian aid, and arrange a withdrawal of rival forces from the area agreed
to by the government and the Houthis on Dec. 13.
the agreement in Stockholm was limited, if fully implemented it could offer a
potential breakthrough in Yemen’s four-year civil war.
experts asked the Security Council committee monitoring sanctions against Yemen
to engage with Secretary-General Antonio Guterres’s office, Yemen’s government
and donors to “enhance” the UN mission inspecting vessels heading to ports in
Yemen for illegal arms so it can “identify networks using false documentation
to evade inspection.”
also suggested that Guterres organize a conference with the International
Monetary Fund and World Bank as well as other “key actors to best manage cash
flows and imports of goods,” using the principles of the UN Global Compact on
how companies should conduct business.
the experts recommended that the secretary-general ask the UN inspection
mission and monitors at the port of Hodeidah “to share information on potential
cases of acts that threaten the peace, stability and security of Yemen,”
including violations of international human rights and humanitarian law, the UN
arms embargo, and obstructions of humanitarian assistance.
experts also asked the sanctions committee to consider sending three letters.
One would be to Abu Al-Abbas, a militia commander in the flashpoint city of
Taiz, asking him to transfer artifacts and items from the Taiz National Museum
in his custody to Yemen’s government.
second would be to alert the International Maritime Organization to “the risks
posed by anti-ship cruise missiles and water-borne improvised explosive devices
in the Red Sea and to encourage it to discuss these threats with the commercial
shipping industry with the aim of developing suitable precautions and
CITY: Thousands of Palestinians have gathered for a weekly protest along the
fence between Gaza and Israel.
Palestinian Health Ministry says that Israeli gunfire wounded 14 Palestinians
and that three medics suffered from a barrage of tear gas that targeted their
protest appeared subdued compared to last week’s violence, in which one woman
was killed and more than two dozen Palestinians and an Israeli soldier were
wounded, prompting retaliatory Israeli air strikes.
Israeli newspaper Haaretz reported that Israel would decide whether to allow
the latest delivery of economic aid from Qatar to flow into Gaza based on the
level of escalation Friday.
has been allowing Qatar to transfer batches of $15 million in aid, intended for
the salaries of Gaza’s civil servants, directly to Hamas since November. But
the shipment was delayed earlier this month after a rocket was fired from Gaza
that caused no casualties but threatened to spike tensions between the bitter
Hamas rulers have orchestrated the weekly protests, in part to call for the
lifting of a crippling Israeli and Egyptian blockade imposed when the group
seized power in 2007. The blockade has devastated the local economy in Gaza,
where unemployment exceeds 50 percent.
forces have killed more than 185 Palestinians and wounded thousands since the
demonstrations began last spring. An Israeli soldier was killed in July.
Friday, Israeli forces demolished the family home of a Palestinian charged with
fatally stabbing an American-Israeli settler several months ago.
soldiers surrounded Khalil Jabarin’s home in the southern West Bank village of
Yatta and destroyed the apartment with explosives after his family cleared out.
17, was accused of killing the US-born settler activist Ari Fuld at a mall near
a West Bank settlement in September. Footage showed Fuld firing at his attacker
military says dozens of Palestinians protesting the demolition hurled rocks
toward the forces, who responded with “riot dispersal means,” which usually
refers to rubber-tipped bullets and tear gas.
A Turkish court sentenced a judge who previously won an award for human rights
to 10 years in prison over links to the network Ankara says orchestrated an
attempted coup in 2016, the state-owned Anadolu news agency said on Friday.
Arslan, who has been detained for 22 months, was convicted of membership in an
armed terrorist organization, after prosecutors charged him with use of the
encrypted messaging app ByLock, Anadolu said.
has denied the charges and said any evidence that he had used the app was
“fabricated,” Anadolu said.
government says the outlawed app was widely used by followers of the US-based
cleric Fethullah Gulen, whom it blames for the attempted coup that saw rogue
soldiers commandeer tanks and aircraft, attacking parliament and killing some
250 unarmed civilians.
a former ally of President Tayyip Erdogan who has lived in self-imposed exile
in the United States since 1999, has condemned the coup and denied any
involvement with it.
Council of Europe human rights body in 2017 gave Arslan, who was detained at
the time, the Vaclav Havel Human Rights Prize, a decision that prompted Turkey
to say it would cut back its funding to the body.
was the former head of Turkey’s Judges and Prosecutors Union, a civil legal
association that was shut down by government decree in the wide crackdown that
followed the coup attempt.
the failed coup, authorities have formally arrested some 77,000 people and
sacked or suspended more than 150,000 soldiers, civil servants and more over
alleged links to the coup attempt, including alleged users of ByLock.
groups and Turkey’s Western allies have voiced concern over the scale of the
crackdown, saying President Tayyip Erdogan was using the putsch as a pretext to
Pakistani youth activist who survived the brutal 2014 attack on Peshawar that
killed 132 schoolchildren is to be given a UK award recognising his
“outstanding” anti-radicalisation work.
Nawaz has spoken to thousands of UK students where he has urged local communities
to collectively tackle extremism. He is currently working with the UK’s home
office and will become only the third Pakistani to receive a Point of Light
a letter commending Mr Nawaz’s work, prime minister Theresa May said: “The work
that you do to educate young people about extremism and radicalisation is
invaluable – and the fact that it comes from your own experience is testament
to your incredible personal strength and resolve.”
was recently appointed to the board of a UK counter-extremism board.
am deeply honoured to be recognised as a ‘Point of Light’ by the Prime
Minister. It has propelled me to do more of the positive work that I do for the
society. I would like to encourage other young people to do the same in order
to have a society free of extremism and violence,” said Mr Nawaz.
December 2014 six Taliban gunmen, all foreigners, stormed an Army public school
in Peshawar killing 149 including 132 children.
Points of Lights are daily awards that recognise volunteers who make a
difference to their community and “whose story can inspire others to creative
innovative solutions to social challenge.”
originally began in the US under president George H.W Bush and today more than
6,000 US Points of Lights awards have been given.
Pakistan foreign minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi on Friday raised the Kashmir
issue during his meeting with the visiting UN General Assembly President Maria
arrived in Islamabad on her first official trip to the Asia-Pacific region
since assuming office in September last year. She met Qureshi in the Ministry
of Foreign Affairs where the two sides also held talks on different issues.
said that he discussed the regional and international issues.
Kashmir with the UNGA chief and "apprised her of Pakistan's grave concern
over the gross human rights violations" in Kashmir.
called for implementing the UN Security Council's resolutions on Kashmir in
letter and spirit to resolve this longstanding issue.
alleged that India was continuously violating the ceasefire agreement on the
Line of Control (LoC) and urged the international community to help resolve the
said Pakistan agreed with the UNGA president that a strong and vibrant UN was
vital for lasting peace and stability in the world.
Foreign Office said in a statement that the two sides had useful discussions on
the on-going process of UN Security Council reform and "the need for this
process to be led by Member States and consensus-based way forward”.
also briefed her about Pakistan hosting more than three million Afghan refugees
for the last four decades.
said Pakistan is actively engaged with Afghanistan for a long and durable
solution to the Afghan conflict as it believes peace in the neighbouring
country is also in its own best interest.
appreciated Pakistan for hosting the Afghan refugees.
will be in Islamabad till January 22 and will call on President Arif Alvi and
Prime Minister Imran Khan.
DELHI: India on Friday summoned the deputy high commissioner of Pakistan and
lodged a strong protest on a recent order by Pakistan Supreme Court extending
its jurisdiction over Gilgit-Baltistan.
Pakistani official was conveyed that the entire state of Jammu and Kashmir,
which also includes the so-called 'GilgitBaltistan', "has been, is and
shall remain an integral part of India", the ministry of external affairs
an order, the Pakistan Supreme Court has said that its jurisdiction and power
extend to Gilgit-Baltistan.
deputy high commissioner of Pakistan was summoned today and a strong protest
was lodged on recent order by Supreme Court of Pakistan on the so-called
'Gilgit-Baltistan' which is an interference in India's internal affairs,"
the MEA said.
also said Pakistan was asked to immediately vacate all areas under its illegal
government or judiciary have no locus standi on territories illegally and
forcibly occupied by it. Any action to alter the status of these occupied
territories by Pakistan has no legal basis whatsoever," the MEA said in a
said India rejected such continued attempts by Pakistan to bring material
change in these "occupied territories and to camouflage grave human rights
violations, exploitation and sufferings of the people living there".
International Airlines (PIA), the national flag carrier of Pakistan, will stop
playing soft music or muzak during flights.
news channel ARY News reported that the airline’s Chief Operating Officer Air
Marshal Arshad Malik has ordered that the music be replaced by Qaseeda Burda
Shareef (religious praise for the prophet of Islam).
not clear whether the decision has been influenced by the Wahhabi Islam’s sense
of piety. Hardline Islamists consider music as haraam (sinful) and denounce
music as a vice that leads people astray.
is clear is that decision is part of PIA’s revamp plan. In deep debt and
suffering recurring losses, PIA has been asked to shape up and soon after
taking over Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan had asked the PIA chairman to
submit a detailed plan to revive the ailing airline. At the time, PIA’s total
losses had ballooned to over Rs 400 billion.
has been in news recently for negative reasons. Its staffers have been caught
smuggling drugs to the UK. Nearly 200 of its officers were dispatched home for
being in the job after submitting bogus certificates. This included at least
seven flying officers who were not even graduates, five of them had not even
gone to college.
year, a pilot and a crew member were engaged in a public brawl over smuggling.
The flight from Lahore to London took off 3 hours past departure time because
the pilot refused to allow a crew member to fly, openly accusing the latter of
flight steward of PIA was caught by the French police in Paris for smuggling
heroin. That staffer is in French prison after being sentenced for 2 years in
A drone was sighted hovering over a Sukkur-bound commercial aircraft of
Pakistan International Airlines (PIA) only minutes after it took off from the
Karachi airport on Friday.
said the PIA flight PK-536, an ATR aircraft, was at an altitude of 4,300 feet
when the drone emerged 100 feet above it for a brief period at 5.27pm. They
said the drone was a three-foot dark purple object. It was also seen on the
radar screen of the air traffic control that immediately communicated the
information to the Pakistan Air Force as per the standard operating procedure.
PIA spokesperson confirmed the incident and said the pilot of PK-536 witnessed
the drone at a very close distance. He said the plane landed at Sukkur safely
and returned to Karachi the same evening as per schedule.
said the incident had been reported to the Civil Aviation Authority and other
authorities concerned but so far the PIA was not communicated anything about
Pakistan on Friday decided to host the next round of talks between the United
States and the Afghan Taliban in Islamabad during a meeting between Foreign
Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi and the visiting US Special Representative for
Afghanistan Reconciliation Zalmay Khalilzad at the Foreign Office (FO).
to reports, during the meeting, the US envoy informed the foreign minister that
the Afghan Taliban did not want to sit with the Afghan government nor were they
agreeing to a ceasefire. The envoy requested Pakistan’s assistance in this
matter. Reportedly, the foreign minister agreed to invite the Afghan Taliban to
hold talks with the US in Islamabad. Saudi Arabia, UAE and Qatar are also
likely to be part of the talks.
foreign minister assured the special US representative that Pakistan will
continue its sincere efforts to facilitate the Afghan reconciliation process to
bring peace and stability to the region. He said that establishing peace in
Afghanistan is a shared responsibility of all the stakeholders.
have a shared responsibility to work towards bringing peace in Afghanistan,” he
who is currently on his fifth visit to the country since assuming the post,
thanked the foreign minister for Pakistan’s continued efforts for arranging
talks between the US and the Taliban. He said that the US leadership values
Pakistan’s endeavours for peace and reconciliation in Afghanistan. A US
delegation comprising the representatives of American State Department and
Defence and National Security Council also attended the meeting.
also called on Prime Minister Imran Khan on Friday who reiterated Pakistan’s
commitment to facilitate the peace process in Afghanistan. He briefed the prime
minister on his recent visits to the region to muster support for the Afghan reconciliation
process. PM Khan reiterated Pakistan’s commitment to facilitate the peace
process in Afghanistan.
Thursday, Khalilzad held meetings with Pakistan’s civil and military
leadership. During a meeting with Foreign Secretary Tehmina Janjua, Khalilzad
discussed his recent engagements in the region. He lauded Pakistan’s efforts in
facilitating direct talks between the Taliban and the US in Abu Dhabi last
month. The foreign secretary reiterated Pakistan’s commitment to facilitate the
Afghan reconciliation process to realise the shared goal of peace and stability
in the region. It was noted that taking the Afghan peace process forward
remained a shared responsibility. Both sides agreed that ultimately the
intra-Afghan dialogue would be vital to agree upon the contours of a future
Afghan polity where Afghanistan becomes a stable and prosperous country and at
peace with its neighbours.
US delegation headed by Khalilzad and Commander Resolute Support Mission
General Austin Scott Miller also met Chief of the Army Staff (COAS) General
Qamar Javed Bajwa at the General Headquarters (GHQ). Regional security
environment and Afghan peace and reconciliation process was discussed.
delegation appreciated Pakistan’s efforts towards the peace process. The army
chief reiterated that peace in Afghanistan is important for Pakistan and
assured continued efforts for bringing peace and stability in the region.
Pakistani-American Republican Party activist and worker Sajid Tarar, along with
American cricketer Jessy Singh, called on Prime Minister Imran Khan at his
office on Friday.
the meeting, Jessy Singh expressed gratitude to the premier over the opening of
the Kartarpur Corridor on behalf of the Sikh community.
role of the Muslim community in the United States (US) also came under
Governor Imran Ismail and Special Assistant to PM on Political Affairs Naeemul
Haq were present on the occasion as well.
Public Relations Director General Major General Asif Ghafoor Friday said the
military courts have not been set up on the army’s wish but were needed by the
nation and approved by the parliament following a national and political
was a wave of terrorism in the country. After the 2008 military operations
gained momentum, many terrorists were arrested,” the ISPR DG told a private TV
channel. “Country’s criminal justice system at that time was not quite
effective in dealing with the terrorism cases, hence the military courts were
established after a unanimous approval from the parliament,” he said. “It was
decided through national consensus that military courts should be established
and death penalty be revived,” he said.
Gen Ghafoor said 717 cases were referred to the military courts in the last
four years, 646 of which have already been disposed of. He said there is a
transparent system through which the cases are transferred to the military
courts. “The accused are also provided an opportunity to defend themselves” he
revealed. “These cases have no link with the missing persons,” he asserted.
ISPR chief said terrorism incidents have decreased after the establishment of
the military courts which have also created a sense of fear among the
terrorists. “Military courts have sent a clear message to the terror outfits,
militants and their handlers that they will be punished,” he said.
Gen Ghafoor said it is up to parliament to decide if an extension should be
granted to the military courts. “The decision on extension to military courts
rests with the parliament,” he said, adding that the lawmakers will decide the
fate of the military courts “keeping in view the current security situation,
and the impact produced by these courts”. “We will do what parliament tells us
to,” he said, adding that the previous extension to the military courts was
also given by the public representatives. “The decision has to be taken with
consensus,” he said. “However, it needs to be seen whether the country’s
criminal justice system has now become effective enough to deal with the
terrorism cases,” he added.
Saudi Arabia (Reuters) - The old quarter of Awamiya, a town on Saudi Arabia’s
oil-producing eastern shore that was once the centre of Shi’ite protests, was
levelled in 2017 following a security campaign against gunmen the authorities
accuse of having links to Iran.
district’s maze of mud brick homes and narrow alleyways, which militants used
for years to launch surprise attacks against police, have now been replaced by
a shopping complex, events hall and expansive plazas dotted with palm trees.
Riyadh government, supportive of a puritanical strain of Sunni Islam that
considers Shi’ite Muslims heretics, hopes investing in the broader area of
Qatif after decades of alleged neglect will finally snuff out the violence.
efforts are a test for the policies of Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, who
has struck a conciliatory tone toward the kingdom’s Shi’ite minority while
confronting arch-rival Iran in a decades-long struggle for influence across the
have long complained of discrimination they say keeps them from senior
government jobs, reduces state investment in their areas and leads to closures
of centers of worship.
forces have repeatedly quashed mass protests in Qatif, starting with a 1979
uprising inspired by the Iranian revolution of the same year. At the time,
another district in Awamiya was destroyed and turned into a parking lot.
2011, Arab Spring uprisings in other Arab countries sparked more fighting,
drawing Qatif deeper into Saudi Arabia’s regional contest with Iran and
ultimately leading to the demolition of a district in Awamiya known as
government has spent more than $60 million to rebuild the 18-hectare (45-acre)
al-Musawara and another $230 million to compensate residents for hundreds of
razed homes. More money is being pumped in to rehabilitate schools, hospitals
and malls as well as beaches, a fish market, and an old fort.
Mohammed, known as MbS, won Western plaudits for social and economic reforms
that include committing the country to a more moderate form of Islam than the
semi-official Wahhabi school, which has often been criticized as the ideology
of radical Islamists worldwide.
the reforms have been accompanied by a crackdown on dissent and a purge of top
princes and businessmen on corruption charges. The murder of journalist Jamal
Khashoggi at the kingdom’s Istanbul consulate last October has further raised
doubts about whether MbS is serious about real change.
decades of repression, any attempt to improve sectarian relations will take
time. And it is likely to face suspicion from Shi’ites, say Western diplomats
the government is going after people like Khashoggi and the business elite in
that harsh way, then just imagine how they would go after some Shia who makes
trouble,” said Toby Matthiesen, a research fellow of Islamic and Middle Eastern
Studies at the University of Cambridge.
becoming defense minister in 2015, the crown prince has taken a more assertive
stance against Tehran, launching a war against Yemen’s Iranian-aligned Houthis
and cutting ties with Qatar in part over accusations it is cozying up to Iran.
has tried to distance that from domestic unrest, telling an American magazine
last year that Riyadh’s problem was with the ideology of the Iranian regime,
not Shi’ites. But critics say the government’s heavy-handed tactics have not
human rights activists from Qatif, including a woman, are facing the death
penalty in a trial condemned by rights groups and the United Nations.
military vehicle sitting at the edge of al-Musawara, now rebranded Wasat
(Central) Awamiya, is a reminder of street battles that left buildings
pockmarked with bullet holes.
day before Reuters visited the quarter on a government media tour last week,
six people were killed in a security operation in another part of Qatif,
raising concerns that militants quashed in one area will pop up in others.
Jubeir, mayor of Eastern Province, said he is confident that residents will
embrace the government initiative.
expect it will have the magical effect of changing the area from a shelter for
terrorists into a beacon of civilization,” Jubeir said, voicing hope that all
traces of violence would disappear “very soon”.
project manager said designers consulted with locals to faithfully replicate
historical architecture amid concerns over the demolition of centuries-old
buildings in a region where heritage is rarely preserved.
are the covered passageways too tight for vehicles to pass, replaced by more
than 5.5 hectares of green spaces.
the scholar who has written a book about sectarianism in the Gulf, said even if
residents are unsatisfied they are unlikely to resist amid growing repression.
doesn’t mean that it’s somehow going well or that it’s a new approach to the
Shi’a. There’s just a general sense of frustration and fatigue,” he said.
Khalid: Saudi Arabia strongly condemns targeting of UN team by Houthis
Arabia’s Ambassador to the United States, Prince Khalid bin Salman, said on
Friday that the kingdom strongly condemns the targeting of United Nations
personnel by the pro-Iranian Houthi militias in Yemen.
a tweet, Prince Khalid said: “Houthi militias violated their signed commitments
in Stockholm and continue to flout International Law and escalate their
aggression against the Yemeni people.”
Thursday, the Houthi militias fired at the convoy of Patrick Cammaert, the UN’s
head of ceasefire monitor group in Hodeidah, while he was on his way back to
Hodeidah’s downtown following a meeting with the legitimate government’s
the attack, the UN spokesperson tweeted confirming that the UN team was safe.
Syrian civilians killed as new US-led airstrikes target Dayr al-Zawr
two dozen civilians, mostly women and children, have been killed after the
US-led coalition purportedly fighting the Daesh Takfiri terrorist group carried
out a series of aerial assaults in Syria’s troubled eastern province of Dayr
sources, speaking on condition of anonymity, told Syria’s official news agency
SANA on Friday that 20 people were killed when US-led warplanes bombarded
residential buildings in al-Baghuz al-Tahtani village.
US-led coalition has been conducting airstrikes against what are said to be
Daesh targets inside Syria since September 2014 without any authorization from
the Damascus government or a UN mandate.
military alliance has repeatedly been accused of targeting and killing
civilians. It has also been largely incapable of achieving its declared goal of
has on numerous occasions condemned airstrikes by the US-led coalition, asking
the UN to force Washington and its allies to put an end to their military
intervention in the Arab country.
November 13, the Syrian Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Expatriates stated that
continued airstrikes by the US-led coalition against ordinary people and
civilian targets show the alliance’s reckless disregard for the UN Charter as
well as international law.
ministry, in two separate letters addressed to UN Secretary General Antonio
Guterres and the rotating president of the Security Council Francisco Antonio
Cortorreal, said that the crimes being perpetrated by the US-led coalition
attested to the fact that the alliance had only sought to nurture Daesh and
help it expand.
ministry then called on the UN Security Council to shoulder its
responsibilities, and adopt immediate and effective measure to stop US-led
airstrikes, mass killings and systematic destruction of Syria’s infrastructure.
also demanded the establishment of an independent and impartial international
mechanism to investigate the crimes, punish the perpetrators and compensate the
families of victims.
The work of Saudi sculptor Wafa Alqunibit is on display in a Jeddah art
gallery. A small glass box holds objects that have the appearance, shape and
texture of dates. Only they are wrought from metal and glint silver and gold.
concedes that art can sometimes be a taboo subject in Saudi society, but says
her work has its place.
do this to promote and represent our culture and religion as I belong to a very
religious family. We have our freedom and we have open minds and I just wanted
to portray this image to the world,” she told Arab News.
Instagram feed shows other examples of her art, including sculptures featuring
the distinctive ringed and slightly curled horns of the Arabian oryx, and
videos of her carving, sanding and sawing using machinery that can be seen in
any carpentry or masonry workshop.
her journey toward the arts — specifically sculpture — has not been
went to Portland (in the US) to complete my doctorate in human resources. But I
ended up changing my major to arts and moved to Atlanta, Georgia, and they
accepted me as a painter.”
her professors thought she had different strengths — with one telling her she
was born to be a tough person.
first I thought he was referring to me as an aggressive person, but later when
I started sculpting I found out what he meant.”
uses her work to communicate with people, especially those who misunderstand
Islam, and recalled living in the US at a difficult time for Muslims.
took support from the arts, to tell people what we really are and now my
artwork is displayed in so many galleries and I have been given the title of
artist taking inspiration from culture and religion is 26-year-old author Allaa
Awad, who has taken the 99 names of Allah and turned them into poetry.
debut work, “Ninety-Nine: The Higher Power,” includes poems about purity,
mercy, blessings and peace.
have encountered many people in life. They have a negative concept about life
and God and I just wanted to turn that around and put my own perceptions of
what I think God is, who He really is and how we should perceive Him,” she told
also experienced a struggle in her artistic journey, like Alqunibit did, but in
a different way.
of the four Americans killed in a suicide bomb attack in Syria this week was a
Navy sailor and married mother of two whose father is a high-ranking officer in
the New York State Police, officials said Friday.
attack targeted US-led coalition forces in the northern Syrian city of Manbij
on Wednesday. Manbij has been held by US-backed fighters allied to the Kurdish
YPG militia since they took it from ISIS in 2016. It is located near areas held
by Russian-backed Syrian government forces and by anti-Assad fighters backed by
Pentagon identified three of the four Americans killed in Wednesday’s attack in
the northern Syrian town of Manbij.
are Army Chief Warrant Officer 2 Jonathan R. Farmer, 37, of Boynton Beach,
Florida, who was based at Fort Campbell, Kentucky; Navy Chief Cryptologic
Technician (Interpretive) Shannon M. Kent, 35, of Pine Plains, New York, and
based at Fort Meade, Maryland; and a civilian, Scott A. Wirtz, from St. Louis.
Pentagon hasn’t identified the fourth casualty, a civilian contractor.
attack, claimed by ISIS, also wounded three US troops and was the deadliest
assault on US troops in Syria since American forces went into the country in 2015.
Pentagon’s statement said Kent was from upstate New York but didn’t give a
hometown. New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo said in a statement Friday that she was
from Pine Plains and was the daughter of state police field commander Col.
Stephen Smith, the agency’s third-highest position.
among Arab states over Syria, and internal Lebanese disputes, have overshadowed
a summit to be held in Beirut this weekend, with several leaders who had
planned to come now staying away.
least eight heads of state were originally expected in Beirut, said a source in
the organising committee, but only the Somali and Mauritanian presidents will
now join Lebanese President Michel Aoun in attending.
big point of contention, in a region plagued by bellicose politics, is whether
to welcome Syria back into the Arab fold now that President Bashar al-Assad has
restored control over most of his country.
Foreign Minister Gebran Bassil, at a pre-summit meeting on Friday, called for
Syria to return to “our embrace” in the Arab League after being suspended for
group’s secretary general, Ahmed Aboul Gheit, was cited by Lebanese state media
on Thursday as saying there was “no Arab agreement over the return of Syria”.
issue has played into divisions inside Lebanon, as has a row over Libya’s
attendance, harking back to the disappearance of a Lebanese cleric there in the
leaders had hoped to agree a new government before the summit to showcase a
fresh political dynamic after months of gridlock. But government formation
talks drag on amid fears for the Lebanese economy.
closed down many Beirut streets, shutting schools and businesses in the city
centre, the summit was on Friday portrayed in Lebanese media as a let down.
summit of excuses and Arab disappointment,” was the headline in al-Jumhuriya
daily newspaper. That of another daily, al-Nahar, was: “Beirut’s shock... a
summit without presidents”.
some of the 20 countries taking part in the Arab Economic and Social Development
Summit are sending prime ministers, foreign ministers or finance ministers, and
officials played down the notion that the meeting would be poorly attended.
doesn’t take away from the importance of the issues (to be decided at the
meeting),” said the Arab League assistant secretary general Hussam Zaki.
and Libya disputes
the economic summit has a lower profile than the Arab League summit, to be held
in Tunisia in March, it still attracted numerous leaders when it was last held,
in Saudi Arabia, in 2013.
was suspended from the Arab League in 2011, but some members are pushing for
its reinstatement and others have reopened shuttered embassies in Damascus.
Lebanon, where Syrian forces were present for about three decades, the extent
of relations with Damascus remains controversial.
powerful Iran-backed Hezbollah fought alongside Assad in Syria and wants Arab
states to normalize ties with Damascus. Some other Lebanese parties are wary of
Arabs without Damascus,” was the headline on Friday in the pro-Hezbollah
members of the Amal party, a Hezbollah ally, on Sunday tore down a Libyan flag
near the summit venue and burned it. They are angry over the disappearance of
Shi’ite cleric Imam Musa al-Sadr while visiting Libya in 1978.
was then ruled by Muammar Gaddafi, who was overthrown in 2011, but Amal
politicians accuse the internationally recognized government in Tripoli of not
cooperating with investigations into Sadr’s disappearance.
Libyan government has boycotted the summit in protest and pointed out that
thousands of Libyans also disappeared under Gaddafi’s four decades of
don’t think this was necessary. It’s just two or three presidents,” said chocolate
shop employee Mustafa Shatila in Beirut, bemoaning the closure of streets.
court in Bahrain has handed down prison sentences to three anti-regime
protesters and stripped them of their citizenship as the ruling Al Khalifah regime
does not shy away from its heavy clampdown on political dissidents and
pro-democracy activists in the tiny Persian Gulf kingdom.
court sentenced the first two defendants to ten years in jail each, while the
third received a seven-year prison sentence after the trio was found guilty of
“joining a terrorist group and traveling to Iraq in 2017 to receive military
three convicts were later stripped of their Bahraini citizenship.
inmate goes on hunger strike at Bahraini jail over ill-treatment
a female dissident has launched an open-ended hunger strike at a detention
center in Bahrain to protest her dire situation and mistreatment by prison
son-in-law and London-based Sayed Ahmed Alwadaei, who is the founder of the
Bahrain Institute for Rights and Democracy (BIRD), said high-profile activist
Hajer Mansoor Hassan could no longer tolerate inhumane conditions and degrading
treatment, which include being denied phone calls, at the Women’s Detention
Center in Isa Town.
this month, the Working Group on Arbitrary Detention described Mansoor Hassan’s
imprisonment and that of two other members of Alwadaei’s family as unlawful.
body of independent human rights experts stated that Alwadaei’s relatives were
“deprived of their liberty, interrogated and prosecuted for their family ties
with him and that these were acts of reprisals.”
of anti-regime protesters have held demonstrations in Bahrain on an almost
daily basis ever since a popular uprising began in the country in mid-February
are demanding that the Al Khalifah regime 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.
of people have lost their lives and hundreds of others sustained injuries or
got arrested as a result of the Al Khalifah regime’s crackdown.
March 5, 2017, Bahrain’s parliament approved the trial of civilians at military
tribunals in a measure blasted by human rights campaigners as being tantamount
to imposition of an undeclared martial law countrywide.
young activist who had been detained in a Saudi jail since March 2011 has died
Ahmed al-Omran, an activist from the Shia-populated region of Qatif in Eastern
Province, was buried on Friday morning amid media blackout enforced by the
were no further details available on how he passed away.
to Saudi activists, Nayef had been imprisoned since March 17, 2011 and was
subjected to torture.
activists said the number of deaths among the detainees in Saudi prisons has
increased over the past two years.
Province has been the scene of peaceful demonstrations since February 2011.
Protesters have been demanding reforms, freedom of expression, the release of
political prisoners, and an end to economic and religious discrimination
against the oil-rich region.
protests have been met with a heavy-handed crackdown by the regime. Regime
forces have increased security measures across the province.
the past years, Riyadh has also redefined its anti-terrorism laws to target
January 2016, Saudi authorities executed Shia cleric Sheikh Nimr Baqir al-Nimr,
who was an outspoken critic of the policies of the Riyadh regime. Nimr had been
arrested in Qatif in 2012.
Caretaker Foreign Minister Gebran Bassil has called on the Arab League to
restore Syria’s membership in the regional organization, describing attempts to
block the move as a “historic mistake.”
Arab nations don’t know how to look out for each other. Arab states continue to
trade blame for suffering across the region rather than assembling plans to
alleviate it,” Bassil said as he opened the first session of an Arab economic
summit in Beirut on Friday.
the biggest challenges facing Arab nations, the top Lebanese diplomat said, are
war, malnutrition and poverty, in addition to extremism and the denial of
women’s basic rights.
build a united Arab economic vision, based on the political principle of not
attacking each other,” Bassil said.
should return to us... Syria should be in our embrace instead of throwing it
into the embrace of terrorism," he pointed out.
Foreign Minister Mohammad al-Hakim recently said the Baghdad government
supports the restoration of Syria's membership in the Arab League.
discussed solutions to eliminate terrorism in Syria and support the Syrian
government, its territorial integrity and sovereignty,” Hakim said at a joint
press conference with his Iranian counterpart Mohammad Javad Zarif in Baghdad
also discussed supporting Iraq's efforts to restore Syria's (membership) to the
Arab League,” he added.
January 8, Egyptian Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry said the incumbent Damascus
government needs to implement a number of measures toward the political
settlement of the ongoing Syrian crisis in order for the conflict-plagued
country to reinstate its membership in the Arab League.
at a joint press conference with his Moroccan counterpart Nasser Bourita in
Cairo, Shoukry said such measures are required "in accordance with the UN
Security Council Resolution 2254," which endorses a road map for a peace
process in Syria, and sets out the outlines of a nationwide ceasefire.
a need to get out of the current crisis in Syria within the political framework
sponsored by the UN envoy in Geneva,” the top Egyptian diplomat pointed out.
Arab League suspended Syria's membership in November 2011, citing alleged crackdown
by Damascus on opposition protests. Syria has denounced the move as
"illegal and a violation of the organization’s charter.”
Foreign Ministry announced in a statement on December 28, 2018 that work at the
kingdom’s embassy “in the Syrian Arab Republic was going on whilst the Embassy
of the Syrian Arab Republic to the Kingdom of Bahrain was carrying out its
duties and flights connecting the two countries were operational without
came a day after the United Arab Emirates officially reopened its embassy in
Emirati Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation said the
reopening of its embassy “reaffirms the keenness of the United Arab Emirates to
restore relations between the two friendly countries to their normal course.”
move “will strengthen and activate the Arab role in supporting the
independence, sovereignty and territorial integrity of the Syrian Arab Republic
and to prevent the dangers of regional interference in Syrian Arab affairs,”
the ministry pointed out.
December 16 last year, Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir became the first Arab
League leader to visit Damascus.
official news agency SANA said Bashir was greeted by his Syrian counterpart
upon arrival at Damascus International Airport, before they both headed to the
two leaders discussed bilateral ties and the "situations and crises faced
by many Arab countries," the Syrian presidency said in a statement.
quoted the Sudanese leader as saying during the meeting that he hoped Syria
will recover its important role in the region as soon as possible.
also affirmed Khartoum’s readiness to provide all it can to support Syria's
The concerns of the people of Palestine, Syria, Iraq and Yemen were the main
topic of the opening session of a meeting of Arab ministers held in preparation
for the Arab development summit on Sunday in Beirut.
meeting in the Lebanese capital’s Phoenicia Hotel saw unprecedented security
measures covering a large area, including the summit’s venues and the
accommodation of guests and journalists.
three presidents have so far confirmed their attendance at the summit — those
of Lebanon, Somalia and Mauritania.
the Arab League’s Assistant Secretary-General Hossam Zaki called for
“separating between the attendance and the summit itself, and the importance of
its topics and the resolutions it will produce.”
a media briefing, Zaki said: “The attendance of Arab leaders will undoubtedly
increase the importance of the summit, but their absence, which has spurred
media commentary, does not diminish the importance of the topics addressed by
the summit — and many summits are not attended by presidents.”
summit’s media spokesman Rafic Chlala told Arab News: “The presidents who decided
not to attend the summit have sent their delegates, which means the summit
hasn’t failed, as some are trying to portray it.”
said Lebanese President Michel Aoun will propose at the summit “a funding
project for the reconstruction of all Arab countries devastated by war.” Chlala
added: “We’re waiting for states that requested amendments to the initiative.”
Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry on Friday conveyed President Abdel Fattah
El-Sisi’s apology for not being able to attend the summit “due to commitments
that obliged him to stay in Cairo.”
whether Egypt will support Aoun’s initiative at the summit, Shoukry said:
“Egypt supports all that would achieve the common Arab interest.”
said: “The Syrian displacement issue is on the agenda but the visions are
dissimilar.” At the meeting, Syria’s seat was empty due to its suspension from
the Arab League, and Libya’s seat was empty because it is boycotting the summit
after supporters of the Lebanese Amal Movement tore down the Libyan flag in Beirut.
return to the Arab League requires an Arab consensus, as in the case of the
suspension of its membership,” said Zaki.
return to the Arab League is natural and normal, as it has not lost its seat
and has not been expelled, but its membership was suspended.”
to the ministerial session, Lebanese Economy and Trade Minister Raed Khoury
said: “Most of the agenda items have been approved... but there are some
matters that are being discussed.”
added: “A discussion is being held on the safe and dignified return of Syrian
refugees, and the mechanism for financing countries that have suffered from
Abdul Aziz Kattan, Saudi Arabia’s minister of state for African affairs, handed
over the chairmanship of the ministerial meeting to Lebanese Foreign Minister
invited all delegates to observe a minute’s silence in memory of the late
Lebanese Prime Minister Rafik Hariri, and all Lebanese killed while fighting
his opening speech, Bassil called on Arabs “to embrace Lebanon and not abandon
it.” He thanked Saudi Arabia for presiding over the previous summit and for its
spoke of “big challenges in the Arab world, including wars, hunger and poverty
as well as intolerance, extremism, terrorism, and women and child abuse.”
asked: “If we have caused wars for each other, is it not time to end them?
Shouldn’t we consider construction instead of destruction?”
said: “Let us put a unified Arab economic vision that is based on a political
principal that ensures we do not attack one another or intervene in each
added: “Syria is the biggest gap today in our conference, and we feel the
weight of its absence instead of the lightness of its attendance. Syria must
return to us so that we end the loss for ourselves before we end it for Syria.”
League Secretary-General Ahmed Aboul Gheit said: “The enormous challenges
facing the Arab region compel us to develop new visions and come up with
innovative ideas for the future.”
added: “No Arab country can cope with the developments on its own. Economic
integration and policy coordination are a necessity, not a luxury.”
Foreign Minister Riyad Al-Maliki stressed the need to end the Israeli
occupation, implement UN resolutions and intervene to bring justice to his
is facing the worst Judaization scheme that aims to change its legal, political
and religious features,” he said.
need our Arab brothers to support the promising economy of Palestine, which has
investment opportunities in many areas.”
Foreign Minister Ayman Safadi said: “Jerusalem is the key to peace.” He
highlighted the need to ensure the continuation of the work of the UN Relief
and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA), and to reach
a political solution to the Syrian war that is accepted by Syrians, preserves
their country’s unity and allows the voluntary return of the displaced.
Foreign Minister Mohammad Ali Al-Hakim urged Arab states to “fulfil their
commitments in accordance with the Iraq reconstruction conference,”
highlighting the importance of food security as a pillar for stability.
The Arab coalition supporting Yemen’s internationally recognized government did
not want the war in that country, said the Saudi minister of state for foreign
coalition’s priority is Yemen’s security and stability, and the war was imposed
on it by the Houthi coup, said Adel Al-Jubeir, who is also a Cabinet member.
a visit to the UAE, he toured the Emirates Diplomatic Academy, where he met
with its staff and students, and was briefed on the programs taught there.
praised Saudi and Emirati efforts to ensure the success of Sweden’s
consultations between Yemeni parties and the resulting agreement reached. He
said he looks forward to its implementation.
described Saudi-Emirati ties as strong and unique, and stressed both sides’
efforts to promote their relations to an unprecedented level, especially as the
Saudi-Emirati Coordination Council is working to enhance ties in various
June 2018, Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman and Abu Dhabi Crown Prince
Mohammed bin Zayed Al-Nahyan chaired the first meeting of the council.
council seeks to develop a joint vision to deepen bilateral relations in line
with the objectives set by the GCC to strengthen economic integration between
the two sides and develop innovative solutions for optimum use of resources.
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