Names Masood Azhar-Led JeM in Statement Condemning 'Heinous And Cowardly'
Pulwama Attack; China Gets On Board
Presses For Pakistan to Stay On Terrorism Financing List
Foundation to Bear Education Expenses of Pulwama Martyrs’ Kids
Buckle Under Pressure: Masood Azhar Warns Pakistan Govt of Acting Against Him
FATF Action, Pak ‘Bans’ 2 Hafiz Saeed Outfits
Largest Islamist Party, Jamaat-e-Islami, In Turmoil
Refuses ‘ISIS Bride’, UK Minister Would Not Take Stateless Decision
Schools in Netherlands among Best Performing
Roots of Wahhabism Are Jewish, Linked To Isis: Islamic Revolutionary Guard
Soleimani Warns Pakistan against Saudi Attempts To Destroy It
Names Masood Azhar-Led JeM In Statement Condemning 'Heinous And Cowardly'
Pulwama Attack; China Gets On Board
Foundation To Bear Education Expenses Of Pulwama Martyrs’ Kids
Pulwama, India to put Track II initiative with Pakistan on hold
searches 10 locations in Jharkhand, WB in terror funding case
Azhar, militant leader at the heart of the Kashmir crisis
army begins preparations for conflict, tells hospitals to be ready
asks ICJ to 'dismiss' India's claim for relief to Kulbhushan Jadhav
authorises forces to respond to ‘any Indian aggression’
summons Pakistan ambassador over remark about peace talks
Taliban have not changed, warn Afghans living under their rule
Taliban, ISIS-K militants killed in Kandahar, Nangarhar operations
of a prominent terror gang of Taliban arrested in Kabul city
envoy for Afghan peace met with the First Vice President of Afghanistan
dead in Dhaka fire that ripped through apartment blocks
ambassador: Saudi Arabia a ‘strategic partner and powerful ally’
Police Raid 16 Homes of Suspected Extremists
resettles 100 Syria White Helmets members, families
Body in Morocco Slams Israel’s Racist Policies
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Security Expert: US Training ISIL in Western Iraq
Foreign Children Languishing In Northeast Syrian Camps
bombing kills 20 near anti-IS base in Syria
the latest terror incidents in Egypt a ‘last dance’ for militants or a failure
in security operations?
Several Turkish Army Soldiers, Ankara-Backed Militants Killed in SDF's Military
Operations in Afrin Region
Battalions Spokesman: US Has 31 Military Bases, 34,000 Soldiers in Iraq
US, Allied Militants Prevent Civilians' Exit from Al-Tanf Region
than 150 ISIS militants handed over to Iraq from Syria
intelligence forces nab over dozen French Daesh terrorists inside Syria
to leave 200 troops in Syria for a period of time - White House
mass grave of 3,500 people found outside Raqqa city in Syria
intelligence forces arrest 13 Daesh terrorists in western province
community has had enough of unilateral US policies: Iranian official
groups urge Congress to rein in Trump’s hawkish Iran policy
urges immediate action to stop 'racist' Israeli regime
injured in Israeli fire on Palestinian fishermen in Gaza
orders 295 military personnel arrested over Gulen links
to cut civil servant salaries after Israeli tax freeze
censures draft European report on Ankara’s accession to EU
Go or Not to Go, The Saudi Prince’s Malaysian Dilemma
wants to work with Sabah on undocumented Filipinos
making wild allegations, Mujahid tells Umno Youth chief
Siang: Is lying ‘Shariah-compliant’?
on the defensive in Semenyih
election: Muslim group tackles Atiku over plan to sell NNPC if elected
detains dozens of opposition leaders in largest crackdown
chief in south Libya town assassinated: ministry
government arrests opposition leaders ahead of protest
president threatens violence against ‘thugs’ ahead of elections
Questions Arise After Donald Trump Bars Hoda Muthana from Re-Entry to US
community tests its political muscle in Tampa elections
American journalist released after 10 day detention as a material witness
SDF hands over to Iraq 130 Daesh terrorists captured in Syria
Trump discuss Syria, economic ties over phone
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by New Age Islam News Bureau
Nations: In a strong show of international solidarity and support for India,
the UN Security Council comprising 15 nations, including China, on Thursday condemned
in the "strongest terms" the "heinous and cowardly" terror
attack perpetrated by Pakistan-based Jaish-e-Mohammed in Pulwama and stressed
on the need to hold organisers and financiers of such "reprehensible
acts" accountable and bring them to justice.
the press statement, issued by the UN body, names the Pakistan-based terror
group headed by Masood Azhar.
UNSC, which includes China as a veto-wielding permanent member that in the past
has blocked India's bids in the Security Council Sanctions committee to
designate Azhar as a global terrorist, also called on the global community to
"cooperate actively" with the Indian government in holding the
organisers and sponsors of such attacks accountable.
members of the Security Council condemned in the strongest terms the heinous
and cowardly suicide bombing in Jammu and Kashmir, which resulted in over 40
Indian paramilitary forces dead and dozens wounded on 14 February, 2019, for
which Jaish-e-Mohammed has claimed responsibility," the UNSC press
statement on the 'Suicide Bombing in Jammu and Kashmir' said.
members of the Security Council underlined the need to hold perpetrators,
organisers, financiers and sponsors of these reprehensible acts of terrorism
accountable and bring them to justice, and urged all States, in accordance with
their obligations under international law and relevant Security Council
resolutions, to cooperate actively with the Government of India and all other
relevant authorities in this regard," it said.
UNSC members expressed their deepest sympathy and condolences to the families
of the victims, as well as to the Indian people and the government, and wished
a speedy and full recovery to those who were injured.
members of the Security Council reaffirmed that terrorism in all its forms and
manifestations constitutes one of the most serious threats to international
peace and security," the statement said. The members also reiterated that
any "acts of terrorism are criminal and unjustifiable, regardless of their
motivation, wherever, whenever and by whomsoever committed".
condemnation by the UNSC comes just a day after Pakistan's Permanent
Representative to the UN Maleeha Lodhi met top UN leaders, including with
Secretary-General Antonio Guterres and the Security Council President Anatolio
Ndong Mba, briefing them about the escalating tensions in the region in the
wake of the Pulwama attack.
a major boost to India's efforts to get Azhar on the list of global terrorists,
France is expected to soon move a proposal at the UN to ban the head of the
group. The proposal, when moved, will be the fourth such bid at the UN in past
10 years. In 2009 and 2016, India moved the UN's Sanctions Committee to ban
Azhar, also the mastermind of attack on the air base in Pathankot in January
was joined by the P3 nations — the US, the UK and France — in the 2016
proposal. In 2017 also, these P3 countries moved a similar proposal at the UN.
However, China, using its veto power, has always blocked the proposal from
being adopted by the UN. Guterres too had strongly condemned the terror attack,
in which 40 CRPF personnel were killed when a suicide bomber drove his
explosives-laden vehicle into a CRPF bus, and called for those behind the
attack to be brought to justice.
Wednesday, Guterres again reiterated his strong condemnation of the Pulwama
attack, stressing that it is essential there be accountability under
international law and perpetrators of terrorist acts be brought swiftly to
Secretary-General has been following with great concern the situation in South
Asia. He reiterates his strong condemnation of the terrorist attack against
Indian security forces in Pulwama" in Jammu and Kashmir and the subsequent
violence, a statement issued by his spokesperson Stephane Dujarric had said.
said it is "essential that there be accountability under international law
and the perpetrators of terrorist acts be brought swiftly to justice". At
the same time, Guterres "urgently" appealed to the governments of both
India and Pakistan to exercise maximum restraint to ensure the situation does
not further deteriorate.
is the belief of the Secretary-General that all difficult challenges can be
resolved peacefully and satisfactorily through meaningful mutual engagement,"
the statement added. UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Michelle Bachelet
had also strongly condemned the suicide bomb attack and called on authorities
to bring those responsible to justice.
High Commissioner strongly condemns the suicide bomb attack against Indian
security forces in Pulwama...and calls on authorities to bring those
responsible to justice," Rupert Colville, spokesperson for the Office of
the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR), had said in Geneva on Tuesday.
Presses For Pakistan To Stay On Terrorism Financing List
DELHI: India is pressing for Pakistan to be kept on a terrorism financing
watchlist following an attack in disputed Kashmir that was claimed by a
Pakistan-based militant group, three Indian government officials said on
Financial Action Task Force (FATF), a global body created to counter terrorism
financing and money laundering, has been meeting in Paris this week and
Pakistan has been hoping to get off a "grey list" of nations with
inadequate controls over such activities.
two Indian government officials dealing with the issue said new information had
been provided to the FATF relating to Pakistan after the car bombing last week
in the Pulwama district of Kashmir in which 40 paramilitary police were killed.
Jaish-e-Mohammad claimed responsibility for the attack. A third Indian official
said details relating to the militant group's operations were provided to the
was a post-Pulwama brief," said one of the officials when asked about the
information provided to the watchdog. The officials declined to be named as the
talks were still underway in Paris Pakistan has been on the grey list since
June, making it harder for it to access international markets at a time when
its economy is stumbling. While there are no direct legal implications from
being on the list, it brings extra scrutiny from regulators and financial
institutions that can chill trade and investment and increase transaction
costs, experts say.
finance ministry did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
attack chilled long frosty relations between India and Pakistan, with India
accusing Pakistan of failing to crack down on militant groups operating from
its soil, and saying it would work to isolate Islamabad diplomatically.
has cancelled Most Favoured Nation trade privileges for Pakistan and imposed
200 per cent duty on goods coming from Pakistan, further squeezing the barely
$2 billion bilateral trade.
has demanded India provide evidence for its claims that it supports militant
groups and warned of retaliation if India attacks.
FATF said it would release the results of its review after a meeting of the
group's decision-making body.
will publish the outcomes from the meeting, including our updated statements
identifying high-risk and other monitored jurisdictions, at the end of the
meeting, on Friday afternoon," Alexandra Wijmenga-Daniel, FATF
communications management advisor, said in an email.
800 officials from global multilateral bodies including the IMF, World Bank are
in Paris for the six-day FATF gathering.
Indian finance ministry did not reply to a Reuters email seeking comments.
an official said India's case was that Pakistan had done very little to close
down the financing streams of militant groups, despite making assurances to the
which has opened talks with the International Monetary Fund about a possible
bailout, faces a struggle to avoid a balance of payments crisis that has left
it with growing debts and foreign exchange reserves sufficient only to cover
two months of imports.
Foundation to bear education expenses of Pulwama martyrs’ kids
DELHI: Zakat Foundation of India, has announced to bear the education expenses
children of all the CRPF Jawans martyred in the dastardly Pulwama terror attack
in Jammu and Kashmir on Thursday.
foundation announced its decision at a time when Hindutva forces busy targeting
Kashmiri and ordinary Muslims and giving communal colour to the deadliest
decision to sponsor education till Class XII was announced on Twitter three
days following the dreaded attack.
“zakatindia.org has decided to sponsor the school fee of the
children of Pulwama martyrs. Appeal: @crpfindia kindly help provide details,”
tweeted the foundation.
about this noble gesture, Dr. Syed Zafar Mahmood who is also the founder of ZFI
said to a leading daily,
have taken the decision of taking care of the school fees of the children of
the soldiers, who have given their lives for the country,” said Zafar Mahmood,
Chairman of the foundation.”
(effort) is meant for humanity and communal harmony. We should live in a
brotherly way,” said Dr. Mahmood.
Foundation of India is an Islamic group that collects “Zakat”, “Sadqa” (Islamic
charity) to uplift the Muslim community across India.
to its website, they has been working on several social (like orphanages,
charitable hospitals) and educational projects.
got a response from the CRPF and the concerned people. But we have people in
the different parts of the country, whose cost for UPSC preparations we are
bearing. We are gathering details related to the families through them.” said
about the mechanism, Dr. Mahmood said, “We generally help students for their
education. We give the cheque to the family but it is issued in the name of the
school where the children of the Pulwama martyrs are studying.”
buckle under pressure: Masood Azhar warns Pakistan govt of acting against him
terrorist and the chief of UN designated terrorist organisation Maulana Masood
Azhar on Thursday warned the Imran Khan government against buckling under
Indian pressure and taking action against him in the aftermath of the Pulwama
mastermind of multiple terror attacks against India, including the Parliament
attack, Uri, Pathankot and Pulwama attacks, Masood Azhar hit out at the
Pakistan government and media for being afraid of India, in his weekly address
of Jaish-e-Mohammed operatives.
his weekly address (that was read out by one of his men online), Masood Azhar
said, ''Pakistan's response to Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi's threats
post Pulwama was rather lukewarm and lacklustre. It appears Pakistan is scared
claims he is disappointed by Pakistan's response and warned the Pakistani
government against taking action against him buckling under India's pressure.
hit out at the Pakistani media for being afraid of Prime Minister Narendra
Modi. He said the analysis that Pulwama attacks will politically benefit the
Modi government win the upcoming general elections are wrong. He claimed that
the Pulwama attacks had instead exposed the Modi government's claims that
'Operation All Out' against terrorists in J&K was a success and that terrorists
were on the defensive.
in Srinagar see Masood Azhar's rant as a desperate attempt to boost the morale
of Jaish terrorists after the killing of two Pakistani and one local terrorist
in the Pinglan village operation in Pulwama within 100 hours of the CRPF bus
are approximately 15-20 Pakistani terrorists and 20-25 local JeM terrorists in
the areas around Pulwama. They are currently on the run. We hope to get the
main commanders soon. Azhar also fears that the Pakistan government, coming
under pressure, may be forced to act against him. So he is threatening his own
government with consequences," an official tracking Pakistan state terror
in the valley said.
in the evening, Pakistan was compelled to reinstate the ban on Fatah-e-Insaniyat
Foundation (FIF) and Jamaat-ud-Dawa, both fronts of Laskar-e-Taiba as
Pakistan's case for blacklisting comes up for discussion at the Financial
Action Task Force (FATF) tomorrow. Azhar perhaps fears under international
pressure, action against him could be next.
FATF action, Pak ‘bans’ 2 Hafiz Saeed outfits
DELHI: Fearing action from the international community at the Financial Action
Task Force (FATF) meeting on Friday, Pakistan re-imposed a ban on
Lashkar-e-Taiba’s fronts Jamaat-ud-Dawa (JuD) and Falah-e-Insaniat Foundation
(FIF), both headed by 2008 Mumbai attacks mastermind Hafiz Saeed.
Pakistani interior ministry spokesman said the decision was taken at a meeting
of the National Security Committee (NSC) chaired by PM Imran Khan.
move, however, failed to impress New Delhi. “This is cosmetic and will not be
worth the paper it is written on, unless they follow through this by arresting
JuD and FIF members wanted for terrorism, restrict the movement of those who
have not formally been booked for crime, freeze their funds and seal their
premises,” a senior government functionary said. He said Jaish-e-Muhammed
(JeM), which is also supposed to be a banned outfit, functions unhindered and
is used by the ISI to carry out attacks.
move comes against the backdrop of the mounting threat of Indian retaliation
after the Pulwama attack which has been owned up by ISI-backed JeM.
and FIF are unabashed fronts for LeT, the ISI-backed jihadi terror outfit which
carried out the 26/11 assault on Mumbai and several others on India. They were
banned in February 2018 amid international pressure to proscribe outfits
sanctioned by the UNSC. However, the ban ended in September 2018 and was
neither extended nor replaced by a full-scale law by the Imran Khan government.
the FATF meet, India is expected to again call for blacklisting Pakistan for
its support to cross-border terror.
to officials, JuD’s network includes 300 seminaries and schools, hospitals, a
publishing house and ambulance service. The two groups have about 50,000
volunteers and hundreds of other paid workers.
largest Islamist political party faces an existential crisis as its leaders
split and resign over reforms and rebranding of the party.
a long-time ally of the Bangladesh Nationalist Party (BNP), the country’s
second-largest party, has seen a series of resignations of leaders amid
infighting over the party’s course of action.
jointly ruled the country with the BNP from 2001-06, but it has been in tatters
since 2010 when Bangladesh’s ruling Awami League party set up a war crimes
tribunal to prosecute politicians, mostly from Jamaat, for their crimes against
humanity during the 1971 Bangladesh Liberation War.
opposed Bangladeshi independence from Pakistan and was accused of collaborating
with Pakistan’s army to carry out a genocidal crackdown against Bengali
civilians that saw about three million killed and tens of thousands of women
raped during the nine-month war.
tribunal found dozens of Jamaat leaders guilty of war crimes and handed down
death and life sentences. Five top leaders have been hanged since 2013.
the tribunal a tool for “political vengeance” and sentences “politically
motivated”, Jamaat supporters held violent protests that saw hundreds killed
and injured across the country.
response, the government sued and arrested thousands of Jamaat leaders and
activists. Jamaat’s offices across Bangladesh have been largely shut down.
2013, the Supreme Court banned Jamaat from contesting elections after
describing the party’s Islamist charter as “conflicting” to Bangladesh’s
secular constitution. Last year the Election Commission cancelled the
registration of Jamaat, disqualifying the party from using its weighing scale
logo for any political purpose.
dozens of Jamaat leaders contested the Dec. 30 national election in 2018 using
the BNP’s “sheaf of paddy” logo. The election saw the Awami League win by a
landslide, while the opposition alliance led by the BNP won only eight out of
300 parliamentary seats. All Jamaat candidates were defeated.
latest blow came when barrister Abdur Razzaq, an assistant secretary general of
Jamaat now living in London, resigned from the party on Feb. 15 citing its
failure to apologize for its role in the 1971 war and bring reforms to its
joined the party about 30 years ago and was the chief defense counsel for
Jamaat leaders facing war crime trials.
appealed to bring fundamental changes to Jamaat’s objectives, plans and
programs in view of the change in world politics, and particularly, the
upheavals in Muslim countries. As usual, there was no response,” Razzaq was
quoted as saying by the Dhaka Tribune on Feb. 17.
the following days, five leaders from district units of Jamaat also resigned.
On Feb. 16, Jamaat expelled a senior party leader for his alleged anti-party
media reported that Jamaat has formed a five-member committee to make reforms.
It will work on the formation of a new party, its constitution and other
strategies to make them acceptable to the country's people, the Daily Star
reported on Feb. 17.
Rownak Khan, a political analyst in Dhaka, said Jamaat must change to survive.
political landscape of Bangladesh has changed over the years and Jamaat’s
so-called Islamist politics has lost its appeal to people. Whether it forms a
new party and re-emerges, it cannot attract wider society unless it apologizes
for its mistakes and changes the party’s charter to a truly democratic party.
It’s a long way for the party,” Khan told ucanews.com.
Anthony Sen, a member of the Catholic bishops’ Justice and Peace Commission,
echoed those sentiments.
think Jamaat leaders are realizing that people won’t accept them anymore unless
they change. Most people believe in progressive and democratic politics, so
Jamaat’s politics based on religion and communalism makes no appeal to them,”
Father Sen told ucanews.com.
refuses ‘ISIS bride’, UK minister would not take stateless decision
interior minister Sajid Javid said he would not take a decision that would
leave anyone stateless, after Bangladesh said it would not accept a teenager
stripped of her British citizenship after joining ISIS.
fate of Shamima Begum, who was found in a detention camp in Syria last week,
has triggered a row over the ramifications of leaving a 19-year-old mother with
an extremist fighter’s child to fend for herself in a war zone.
had pleaded to be brought back to her family in London but ITV news published a
February 19 letter from Javid’s department to her mother saying he had taken
the decision to deprive Begum of her British citizenship on security grounds.
is only possible to deprive someone of their British citizenship if they are
eligible for citizenship elsewhere.
had reported Begum was eligible for Bangladeshi citizenship through her mother
but on Wednesday Bangladesh’s foreign ministry said she was not a citizen and
there was “no question” of her being allowed in to the country.
whether that meant she would now retain her British citizenship, Javid told ITV
late on Wednesday: “I’m not going to talk about an individual, but I can be
clear on the point that I would not take a decision ... that at the point the
decision is taken would leave that individual stateless.”
schools in Netherlands among best performing
schools in the Netherlands have performed the best among all primary schools
for five years.
to annual school research by a Dutch television news service, RTL News, Islamic
schools in the country received the highest score in 2018 with an average of
7.4 in the nationwide test at the end of primary school.
the research, RTL compared school results of the last three years.
Primary School El Boukhari in the western Leerdam city came fifth, El Habib
School in the southern Maastricht city ninth, and Islamic Primary School Bilal
in central Amersfoort city 10th, among 6,000 schools in the country.
is no coincidence that Islamic schools have been the most successful for five
years, director of Gokhan Coban Islamic School Boards Organization (ISBO), told
work hard in our schools, and we offer religious education to children two
hours a week in addition to the national curriculum," Coban added.
schools are now an indispensable part of the Netherlands. They make great
contribution to the Dutch society, he noted.
total of 12,500 student are studying at 53 Islamic school nationwide.
schools, which are funded by the states, have the same national curriculum as
public schools. However, they have a bit more freedom to add religious teaching
to their curriculum.
in the test at the end of primary education is essential for entrance into the
Seth J. Frantzman
after Friday prayers, the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps commander Qassim
Soleimani threatened Saudi Arabia and condemned Israel and the US on Friday. He
spoke in the wake of a terror attack in southeastern Iran that had killed two
dozen members of the IRGC. Soleimani claimed that Wahhabism, a conservative
version of Sunni Islam popular in Saudi Arabia, and America were the two
threats to the Middle East and claimed Wahhabism has roots in Judaism.
in the picturesque city of Babol, which is flanked by mountains near the
Caspian Sea, Soleimani praised the IRGC, who’s Quds Force he leads. He slammed
Wahhabism, and said it had distorted Muslim belief. “The Islamic Republic
[Iran] is the only Islamic-based system governed by Islam, and the Zionists
don’t dare attack us because of Hezbollah and Hamas’s strong base in the
who played a key role in recent conflicts in Iraq and Syria, sending IRGC
members to aid the Assad regime in Damascus and also helping Iraq to fight
Islamic State, said that Iraq was now a close friend of Iran. He said the
Islamic Revolution of Iran, which is marking its 40th anniversary, has had
success in Iraq via religious leaders, a reference to Shi’ite political parties
more shocking comments, which Soleimani did not elaborate on, he said that
Wahhabism was rooted in Judaism and that both are linked to ISIS. “Wahhabism
has its roots in Judaism and they are called ISIS, which destroyed two Muslim
countries in the region and destroyed 3,000 mosques and killed hundreds of
thousands,” he said.
also condemned the recent visit of the Saudi Crown Prince to Pakistan and
suggested that Pakistan should not allow itself to be bribed into supporting
Saudi Arabia. Relations between Pakistan and Iran have deteriorated after the
terror attack which was blamed on Jaish al-Adl which Iran says has links to
long speech then included a discussion about the importance of martyrdom and
how Iran’s system would prevail. Soleimani argued that the IRGC was at the
forefront of the culture, defending Iran and being willing to sacrifice for the
country, a revolutionary Islamic vanguard that in his view is not only vital
but also full of vigor after the last years of conflict in the region.
Soleimani warns Pakistan against Saudi attempts to destroy it
Major General Qassem Soleimani has cautioned Pakistan against the true
intentions behind Saudi Arabia's pumping of billions of dollars into its
troubled economy, saying the Riyadh regime is after breaking the Asian state
apart by pitting it against its neighbors.
commander of the Quds Force of Iran’s Islamic Revolution Guards Corps (IRGC)
once again vowed on Thursday that Tehran will avenge the blood of those who
lost their lives in last week's bloody attack carried out by Pakistan-based
terrorists in southeastern Iran.
worries Iran that the Pakistani nation and government allow Saudi money to end
up in the hands of these Takfiri terrorists, said the senior general, adding,
"Saudi-sponsored terrorists on Pakistani soil are causing trouble for all
of the country's neighbors, and Pakistan must fully realize this matter."
tell the people of Pakistan that they should not permit Saudi Arabia to destroy
their country with its money," said Major General Soleimani, adding that
the Asian country must not turn into a place for activities that disturb
regional states such as Iran, India and Afghanistan.
week, a bomber -- identified by the IRGC as Pakistani national Hafiz Mohammad
Ali -- slammed his explosives-laden vehicle into a bus carrying off-duty
members of the elite Iranian force in Sistan and Baluchestan Province bordering
Pakistan, killing 27 of them.
Pakistan-based Jaish ul-Adl Takfiri terrorist group -- which has ties to
al-Qaeda and the Al Saud regime -- claimed responsibility.
the wake of the fatal terror attack, the IRGC warned Saudi Arabia and its
vassal state, the United Arab Emirates (UAE), of retaliatory measures for
backing the terrorists on behalf of the US and the Israeli regime. It also
urged Pakistan to change its policy towards Jaish ul-Adl.
further said Iran does not want mere condolences, but concrete action from
neighboring Pakistan, asking, "Can't you, as a nuclear-armed state, deal
with a hundreds-strong terrorist group in the region?"
is a safe neighbor for Pakistan and we will not threaten this country, but we
will exact revenge against the Takfiri mercenaries, who have the blood of our
youths on their hands" no matter where in the world they are,"
assault preceded a controversial visit by Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin
Salman to cash-strapped Pakistan, where he received a lavish welcome.
bin Salman's stay, Riyadh and Islamabad inked several agreements in diverse
sectors worth as much as $20bn for Pakistan, which is in desperate need of cash
amid its central bank's severe lack of foreign reserves.
Saudi royal's visit also coincided with a fresh wave of tensions between India
and Pakistan over Kashmir.
tensions broke out last week when 44 Indian troops lost their lives in a bomb
attack in New Delhi-controlled Kashmir claimed by Pakistan-based militants.
Delhi accuses Islamabad of being behind the assault.
Afghanistan, Pakistan also stands accused of supporting the militants operating
against the Kabul government.
DELHI: A major Indo-Pak Track II initiative, in the absence of any formal
dialogue, is likely to be the first casualty of the Pulwama terror attack which
left more than 40 CRPF jawans dead. TOI has learnt that the government has put
on hold the proposal which was meant to promote people-to-people contact
between the two countries.
sources here said the initiative was going to be the first of its kind in the
recent past as it sought to officially promote exchanges between the youth of
India and Pakistan.
idea behind involving youth was that that they don’t carry much historical
baggage and are probably more peace and development oriented. It will have to
wait now," said a diplomatic source on the condition of anonymity. An
Islamabad based think-tank was to host a delegation from India on March 7-8 to
launch the dialogue, officially called Track II, after approval from MEA and Pakistan’s
government though does not want to have even a modicum of dialogue with
Pakistan given the latter’s denial of any role in the Pulwama attack despite
Pakistan-based JeM having claimed responsibility. India has been engaged with
Pakistan over the issue of prisoners and religious tourism, including the
proposal to open a corridor to Kartarpur Sahib in Pakistan for Sikh pilgrims.
there is no decision yet on delaying, or jettisoning altogether, the Kartarpur
project, government officials haven’t ruled out the possibility of postponing
the March 14 meeting with Pakistan officials. The meeting is meant to finalise
the modalities for the opening of the corridor.
youth exchange was going to be significant as until now Indian government’s
support to the Track II mechanism was mostly restricted to Neemrana Dialogue
involving retired diplomats, Army men and academics. India had in April last
year agreed to revive Neemrana and had sent a delegation to Pakistan to gauge
the mood there ahead of the Pakistan elections.
with a long-term perspective, this time the two sides felt it was important to
allow the youth to engage. This was just about the only 'peace initiative’ the
two countries could possibly have encouraged in terms of dialogue before the
general elections in India.
with a group of students from Pune earlier this month, Pakistan high
commissioner Sohail Mahmood had said that the youth in India and Pakistan could
play a role in transforming bilateral ties and urged them to act as ambassadors
of IndiaPakistan peace. However, after JeM carried out the Pulwama attack, the
government felt there was little such a dialogue could have achieved.
DELHI: The NIA conducted searches at 10 locations in Jharkhand and West Bengal
on Thursday in connection with a terror funding case involving the banned
People's Liberation Front of India (PLFI).
residences and offices of close aides and companies associated with PLFI chief
Dinesh Gope in Ranchi, Gumla, Khunti and Kolkata were searched for their
alleged role in the financing of the PLFI, according to an NIA spokesperson.
National Investigation Agency seized approximately Rs 3.41 lakh cash, incriminating
documents pertaining to payments and investment by PLFI chief and cadres in
various firms and immovable properties, fake PAN cards and fake identity cards,
bank accounts details and fixed deposits, documents showing payments made to
the various shell companies, 40 mobile phones and other digital devices
containing incriminating information, he said.
seized items also included diaries containing entries of investments, he said.
said the concerned persons are being examined.
case is related to depositing of extorted levy amount by Gope through
associates, namely Vinod Kumar, Yamuna Prasad, Chandra Sekhar Kumar, Nand
Kishore and Mohan Kumar, who have been arrested. Gope is absconding, the
For eight days in 1999 the world watched in horror as hijackers diverted an
Indian Airlines flight to Afghanistan and held the passengers hostage, the
drama ending only when Delhi agreed to release three Kashmiri militants.
20 years later, India is still paying the price for that decision.
of the militants freed was Masood Azhar, who later went on to found
Jaish-e-Mohammad (JeM), the militant group which claimed responsibility this
month for the deadliest attack in three decades in Indian-held Kashmir.
than 40 Indian paramilitaries were killed in the suicide blast on February 14,
kindling a fresh diplomatic crisis between nuclear-armed arch-rivals India and
is based in Pakistan, one of several anti-Indian militant groups fighting in
Kashmir which are officially banned in the country, but which are alleged to be
used by Islamabad as proxies in India.
also, is believed to be in Pakistan — but his exact whereabouts remain shrouded
was born the son of an elementary school teacher in Punjab province in 1968,
according to Amir Rana, a security analyst who has carried out extensive
research on Pakistani militant groups.
US Treasury Department website still gives Azhar’s home address as a location
in the province’s Bahawalpur district.
entered Indian-held Kashmir on a Portuguese passport, security officials there
told AFP, and established contact with numerous militant groups.
the peak of the insurgency in the early 1990s, one retired official told AFP,
he had not yet picked up arms.
common figure in the streets of Srinagar, he was known for his fiery speeches,
and for mediating between the many groups flocking to the insurgency.
greatest value for the militant groups was as a motivator and recruiter, but
more significantly he displayed a good capacity to reconcile their
differences,” the official told AFP.
was detained by Indian authorities on terrorism charges in 1994. He reportedly
bragged to his jailers that they would not be able to keep him in custody.
one point, another security official told AFP, he and other militants dug an
escape tunnel. When the moment came, Azhar insisted on going first.
he got stuck in the narrow tunnel because of his bulky physique and the whole
attempt was thwarted,” the official said.
remained in prison until the Indian Airlines flight from Katmandu to New Delhi
was hijacked on Christmas Eve in 1999 and eventually landed in the southern
Afghan city of Kandahar, at the time under Taliban rule.
of the hijackers, Ibrahim Athar, was reported to be Azhar’s younger brother.
of Al Qaeda and Taliban
reportedly met with Al Qaeda chief Osama bin Laden and Taliban founder Mullah
Mohammed Omar in Afghanistan after he was freed, said Rana.
formed JeM in 2000, Rana said. Just a year later, JeM was blamed for a brazen
attack on the Indian parliament in which militants killed 10 people, and which
brought India and Pakistan to the brink of war.
was detained and placed under house arrest. But a court in the Punjab provincial
capital of Lahore ordered his release in 2002, citing “lack of evidence.”
homegrown Pakistani militant groups turned their guns on the state after 9/11,
Rana said Azhar was one of the few who kept a low profile.
group struck again in 2016, with Delhi blaming them for an infamous attack on a
military base in Indian-held Kashmir that left seven soldiers dead and once
more sent tensions spiralling.
was again taken in to “protective custody,” but never formally charged.
whereabouts remained a mystery for months, with speculation he was being kept
under house arrest in Bahawalpur.
July he addressed supporters in Muzaffarabad, the capital of Pakistani-held
Kashmir, by telephone from an undisclosed location, claiming he had hundreds of
militants ready to fight to the death.
speech prompted Indian authorities to tighten security at airports in
anticipation of another hijacking.
meanwhile, has not been directly heard from since.
as a global terrorist
JeM is banned by the United Nations, India and Pakistan, and listed by the US
State Department as a terrorist organization. But the man himself has never
been declared a terrorist.
and others have tried multiple times to get the UN Security Council to declare
Azhar a global terrorist, including in 2016 and 2017.
move has been blocked each time by Pakistan’s ally China, however — despite its
own fears of domestic Islamist militancy.
Pakistan has begun planning its war logistics on its frontiers amid fears of
retaliation from India after the Pulwama terror strike, even as Jaish-e-Muhammed
chief Masood Azhar asked the Imran Khan regime not to make any concessions
under pressure from India.
has accessed two official documents, one by the Pakistani military based in
Balochistan and another a notice sent to local administrations in Pakistan-occupied
Kashmir (PoK), which reveal that the neighbouring country has begun
preparations for war with India.
army based in Headquarters Quetta Logistics Area (HQLA) in Quetta Cantonment
wrote to Jilani Hospital on February 20 to arrange and plan for medical support
in view of the possibility of a war with India.
case of emergency war on the eastern front, Quetta logistics area is expected
to receive injured soldiers from civil and military hospitals of Sindh and
Punjab. After initial medical treatment, these soldiers are planned to be
shifted from military and civil public sector to the civil hospital in
Balochistan till the period of availability of beds in CMHs (civil military
hospitals),” the letter to Jilani hospital’s Abdul Malik by one Asia Naz, force
commander, HQLA, said.
adds: “The Logistics Area has a comprehensive medical support plan encompassing
all military and civil hospitals in the province. In case of an eventuality
besides bed expansion of military hospital, civil hospitals have already been
assigned the responsibility to reserve and earmark 25% of their bedding
capacity for the injured soldiers.”
instructions also asked private hospitals to earmark 25% of their beds for the
said purpose along with the allied facilities.
letter ended with the claim: “We have received an overwhelming response from
all over Pakistan and anticipate the same from Balochistan.”
Thursday, the PoK government sent a letter asking the local administration in
Neelum, Jehlum, Rawalkot, Haweli, Kotli and Bhimbher areas along the Line of
Control (LoC) to issue advisories for their residents, warning them about a
possible retaliation by the Indian Army.
had on February 17 reported+ that Pakistan has relocated terrorists from
launchpads along the LoC. Intelligence sources said these relocations include
those camps opposite 19 Division on the Indian side besides those in Lipa
Valley opposite Naugam sector and Rawalkot and Khuiretta opposite Nowshera and
Poonch in India’s 25 Division in Rajouri.
PoK government letter also advised residents to take “safe routes whenever
commuting” besides avoiding congregation.
residing near the LoC and (those who) do not have bunkers should get one made
immediately,” it said, adding that they should also avoid unnecessary lighting
local administration has also been asked to advise inhabitants to avoid
unnecessary travel near the LoC. Animals should not be taken to fields near LoC
either, it said.
HAGUE: Pakistan on Thursday asked the International Court of Justice (ICJ) to
"dismiss or declare inadmissible" India's claim for relief to Kulbhushan
Jadhav, who is on a death row in the country.
48, a retired Indian Navy officer, was sentenced to death by a Pakistani
military court on charges of "espionage and terrorism" after a closed
trial in April 2017. His sentencing evoked a sharp reaction in India.
on Wednesday questioned the functioning of Pakistan's notorious military courts
and urged the top UN court to annul Jadhav's death sentence, which is based on
an "extracted confession".
the final submission in the ICJ on the last day of the hearing, Pakistan's
counsel Khawar Qureshi said, "India's claim for relief must be dismissed
or declared inadmissible."
claim for relief (in the Jadhav case) remains as far fetched now as it was then
(May 8, 2017)," he told the judges in his concluding remarks.
the arguments, Pakistan's attorney general Anwar Mansoor Khan said, "India
seeks relief which they cannot claim from this court."
that the military court in Pakistan works according to the Constitution, he
asked the ICJ to "dismiss India's request" in the case.
also assured the court that the process of judicial review in Pakistan was
robust and Jadhav can avail it if he chooses.
has been charged with terrorism for which an FIR has been registered with the
police that is a civilian agency. The
courts have sufficient proof of espionage and the said military court on the
available evidence and the judicial confession proceeded to convict him despite
he being given the option of going for a judicial review, he has refused to do
so," Khan told the court.
said India claims consular access, "surely (it) was not allowed for good
reason in terms of the agreement of 2008, specially for the reason that
commander Jadhav being involved in espionage."
also raked up the Kashmir issue and said Pakistan was awaiting India's response
on Samjhauta train blast case and has sought evidence on his country's role in
the Pulwama terror attack.
his submission, ICJ top judge Abdulqawi Ahmed Yusuf adjourned the hearing and
said a date for the judgment would be announced later.
Wednesday, Harish Salve, who was representing India in the case, said that the
time has come for the ICJ to make Article 36 a potent weapon for protecting
Pakistan's military courts, he said the International Commission of Jurists and
European Parliament have criticised their functioning and added that anything
diluting provisions of Vienna Convention must fail.
moved the ICJ in May 2017 for the "egregious violatio n" of the
provisions of the Vienna Convention by Pakistan by repeatedly denying New Delhi
consular access to Jadhav.
Pakistan gave on Thursday formal authorisation to its armed forces “to respond
decisively and comprehensively to any aggression or misadventure by India” and
said that the Pulwama terror attack of February 14 that left 44 Indian CRPF personnel
dead was conceived, planned and executed indigenously.
announcement was made after a meeting of the National Security Committee (NSC),
Pakistan’s top civil-military body tasked to make crucial decisions on security
and foreign affairs, chaired by Prime Minister Imran Khan. The meeting of the country’s
top decision-makers was convened at the PM’s office to discuss the situation
arising out of the Pulwama incident.
the meeting, a statement was issued by the PM’s office stating that the
geo-strategic, and the national security environment in particular, was
discussed in light of the Pulawama incident and its aftermath.
members of the meeting noted and established that the state of Pakistan is not
involved in any way, means or form in the Pulwama incident and that it was
conceived, planned and executed indigenously,” the statement said. The NSC, the
statement said, also gave formal authorisation to the armed forces “to respond
decisively and comprehensively to any aggression or misadventure by India”.
is a new Pakistan and we are determined to demonstrate to our people that the
state is capable of protecting them and believes that monopoly of violence
stays with (the) state,” the statement quoted Imran Khan as saying.
the call made earlier by PM Khan in his speech on the Pulwama attack, the
statement stressed on the need for India to undertake “deep introspection to
realise why the people of Kashmir have lost the fear of death”.
violence by Indian forces in Kashmir is highly counterproductive. The global
community needs to play its part in resolving the long-pending Kashmir issue in
accordance with UN resolutions and aspirations of the Kashmiris,” the statement
read that Pakistan had made a sincere offer to India to investigate the
incident and stands ready to enter into dialogue on the issue of terrorism and
other disputed matters.
expect India to positively respond to the offers (sic),” the statement said,
adding that “Pakistan shall take action against anyone found using our soil for
Afghanistan’s Foreign Ministry summoned the Pakistani ambassador on Wednesday
over his remarks that Afghan peace talks could be affected if India resorted to
violence after last week’s attack on Indian paramilitary police in Kashmir.
a statement issued after the meeting with Ambassador Zahid Nasrullah, the
Foreign Ministry said it deemed his comments to be “in contradiction with
Pakistan’s commitments with regards to realizing peace in Afghanistan”.
between India and Pakistan have risen sharply since the suicide bomb attack in
the disputed Kashmir region. India has blamed Pakistan, which has been
vehemently denied by Islamabad.
said on Tuesday that any attack by India would “affect the stability of the
entire region and impact the momentum” of the Afghan peace effort.
envoys say Pakistan has an important role to play in the peace effort, given
its links to the Taliban. At the same time, a former deputy Afghan defense
minister said on Tuesday that Nasrullah’s remarks would anger local government
officials, saying it played into fears that the country’s long-running civil
war is a proxy for rivalries by regional powers.
Afghan statement said the government “once again calls on Pakistan to act upon
its commitments with regards to Afghanistan, particularly those in relation to
peace and refrain from making irrelevant statements that do not help solve any
deputy foreign minister, Idrees Zaman, earlier tweeted that Nasrullah had been
summoned and handed a diplomatic demarche.
Afghanistan: Ali Ahmad Alizai has no choice but to obey when the Taliban come
knocking on his door demanding food, shelter or a slice of his hard-earned
harvest to fund their insurgency.
Taliban run a dictatorship here. They have their own laws. We have some security,
but no freedom,” the farmer told AFP by telephone from a militant-controlled
district of Afghanistan’s southern Helmand province.
is one of millions living under Taliban rule in Afghanistan, where the group
controls more territory than at any time since being toppled in 2001 by US-led
momentum for peace talks builds, with a fresh round of negotiations between the
Taliban and Washington set to begin in Doha on Monday, testimonies from Afghans
like him paint a picture of what life might be like should the militants return
to power as the US exits its longest war.
some ways Taliban governance appears to have evolved, with the insurgents open
to some small compromises as Afghans refuse to part with their hard-won
zeal for the harsh brand of Islamic justice that defined their former regime is
unwavering, and remains pivotal to enforcing obedience today in countryside
under its influence.
Bari, who abandoned his home in an insurgent fiefdom in Uruzgan province three
months ago, spoke darkly of life under the white flag of the Taliban.
would stage public executions from time to time,” the 66-year-old told AFP in
Kandahar, where he fled with his family.
fighters would decide the fate of people.”
courts preside over justice in huge swathes of the country — even areas
ostensibly under government control, said Ashley Jackson, a research associate
with the Overseas Development Institute.
under their own strict interpretation of Sharia law are swift, and punishments
severe, from limbs amputated for theft to condemned prisoners hung by roadsides
as a warning.
are terrified of them,” said Sayed Omar, who escaped Taliban brutality in
have not changed, they are the same as they were during their rule.”
Qasem, a shopkeeper who spoke to AFP by phone from another Taliban bastion in
Kandahar, said the militants had banned smartphones and confined women to the
home — effectively reversing the clock to 1996, when they stormed to power.
they were “a bit easier” on men having shorter beards — a floggable offense
under their former regime.
Taliban have told AFP they want to establish “an Islamic system” as opposed to
the democracy built since 2001, but that they have modified their stance on
some issues including dropping a ban on the education of women and girls.
was unable to speak to any women currently living under Taliban rule.
Rights Watch senior researcher Heather Barr said in some areas the militants
now allow girls to attend primary school, “if it was segregated by gender, the
teachers were female, and the Taliban controlled the curriculum.”
it was “ridiculous and harmful” to suggest that proved the Taliban had softened
their stance on women, she said.
girls to primary education is an extreme form of misogyny ... Too many men are
in a rush to argue that a Taliban deal will be fine for women. Women know
better — but is anyone listening to them?“
said the restrictions were unpopular. Times have changed since the Taliban were
deposed, he added.
time, if they don’t change, it might create a backlash,” he told AFP.
are some signs the insurgents are listening.
use is permitted during the day and televisions watched without fear of
punishment, a far cry from the violent Taliban purges against technology in the
they say is don’t listen to music, listen to sermons and religious programs.
But there is no smashing of TV sets anymore,” Thomas Ruttig, from the Afghanistan
Analysts Network, told AFP.
Taliban are also keen to show they can govern a modern nation.
territory where control is split with the government, the militants ensure
teachers and clinic staff show up for work and prod electricity providers to
fix power outages.
said this Taliban “shadow government” exists partly to embarrass corrupt local
politicians, but also to exert soft power and demonstrate competence.
both carrot and stick. I think they realize they have to provide... some tangible
benefit,” Jackson said.
Rauf, a former Taliban commander, said the insurgents had evolved.
can’t have a hard-line government anymore. Nowhere in the world do such
governments exist,” he told AFP by telephone from Panjwaee, a Taliban district
America pushes for a peace deal, many Afghans want to know the Taliban’s
intentions once foreign troops leave.
militants say they do not want to rule by force, but share power with other
justice is one area “where compromise will be the hardest,” Jackson said.
said the militants had not abandoned their ideology, but know “they cannot rule
against the population,” and therefore might be open to some compromise.
whether that’s good enough for most Afghans — who now have tasted completely
different freedoms than what they had under the Taliban — that will be up to
the Afghan population,” Ruttig said.
least twenty militants affiliated with the Taliban and ISIS Khurasan were
killed during separate operations conducted in southern Kandahar and eastern
to the informed military sources, Afghan Special Forces conducted a raid in
Band-e Timor area of Kandahar killing 15 Taliban fighters and destroying a
small weapons cache and bomb making materials.
an air strike in Khogyani district of Nangarhar province killed 5 ISIS-K
Afghan Special Forces also conducted a raid in Sherzad district and destroyed
five caches of hashish totaling 820 pounds, the sources added.
least four members of a prominent terror gang of Taliban group were arrested
during an operation of the Afghan intelligence operatives in Kabul city.
Taliban group members who belonged to one of the most destructive networks of
the group were arrested during an operation of the Special Forces of Afghan
Intelligence which was conducted in the vicinity of the 5th police district of
Kabul city, the National Directorate of Security, the intelligence directorate
of Afghanistan said in a statement. The statement further added that the
detained individuals have been identified as Abdullah son of Gul Rasool who is
the leader of the network, Humayoun son of Majnoon, Maiwand son of Sharbat, and
Faridullah alias AhmadZia son of Redi Gul.
detained individuals have confessed that they were recruited in Taliban ranks
by one of the Taliban group leaders Asadullah Nasrat in Paghman district of
Kabul and were busy in bombings, armed robberies, assassinations, harassments,
and lootings in Kabul city, according to the National Directorate of Security.
U.S. Special Representative for Afghanistan Reconciliation Ambassador Khalilzad
on Wednesday met with the First Vice President of Afghanistan Gen. Abdul Rashid
Dostum in Kabul.
Office of the First Vice President in a statement said the meeting was held in
the residence of the First Vice President where the two sides held talks
regarding peace process, Consultative Loya Jirga (Grand Council), and upcoming
statement further added that the First Vice President emphasized on an end to
the 40-year-old war through intra-Afghan talks and return of lasting peace in
the country with the preservation of the achievements of the past 17 years,
calling it as the main desires of the Afghan people but the nation first needs
trust building in the system and national consensus regarding peace.
also insisted that such a consensus could be built through understanding among
different segments of the society including political parties, government,
ethnic groups, and others including women and youths.
least 67 people have been killed and 40 injured after a fire tore through
apartment buildings and chemical warehouses in a historic part of the
Bangladesh capital Dhaka, according to Mohammed Nurul Islam, a senior official
with the Home Affairs Ministry.
latest such deadly blaze in the south Asian nation broke out Wednesday at 10:30
p.m. local time (11:30 a.m. ET) in Dhaka's Chawkbazar area, a district in old
Dhaka with sprawling narrow streets and densely-packed buildings.
and fire officials revised down the death toll to 67 on Friday down from 78 on
Thursday. Rasem Shikdar, officer with the Bangladesh Fire Service and Civil
Defense, said there were "around 40 people" injured in the fire.
Morad Dul Islam with the Chawkbazar police said 45 bodies have been identified.
the night, firefighters battled the blaze, which is believed to have started
when a fuel cylinder stored in a car exploded.
fire then quickly spread across the area, engulfing a restaurant and five
buildings, Ibrahim Khan, deputy commissioner of Dhaka Police told CNN. Two of
the buildings were so badly damaged that police said there are concerns they
the dead were customers of the restaurant who became caught in the fire, said
Morad Dul Islam from Chawkbazaar police station said that they do not yet have
an estimate on the number of people injured but they are transferring them to
of the structures served as a warehouse for a perfume company. Plastics and
chemicals that were being stored to manufacture the perfume ignited in the
blaze that rapidly tore through the area.
said the fire is now under control.
the morning we were able to control the fire. The fire is now over," he
began the process of identifying victims Thursday, as relatives waited at the
Dhaka College Hospital for news of their loved ones.
we are able to search the whole building then we will know the exact numbers of
victims," said Lieutenant Colonel Zulfikar, fire brigade director.
government said it would provide financial aid to the victims and their
families, with 100,000 Bangladeshi taka (approximately US$1,190) announced for
the families of fatalities and 50,000 taka for each injured person.
over 400 years ago, Chawkbazar is a commercial and industrial hub in the old
city of Dhaka that's known for its food. Over the past few decades its
population has mushroomed with houses and apartments built on top of warehouses
and factories over narrow, winding streets.
Sayeed Khokon, Dhaka South City Corporation's Mayor, said that earlier in the
week, city officials had conducted a raid in the area and had tried to close
the chemical warehouses.
two days before this happened, our mobile court team initiated raids to close
these chemical warehouses from this old part of Dhaka -- just the past
Monday!" Khokon said, adding that the city council is "fully
committed to remove these chemical warehouses from old Dhaka."
tragic history of fires
has a history of fatal building fires, especially in factories where safety and
structural standards have long been found to be inadequate.
people were found guilty of gross negligence of safety measures and charged
with "culpable homicide" after a November 2012 apparel factory fire
on Dhaka's outskirts that killed at least 117 people and spurred others to jump
from the building to escape the flames.
2015, 13 died in a fire inside a plastic factory near the in the capital Dhaka.
Two years earlier, eight people were killed in a fire at a clothing factory in
May. That October at least seven people died in another large fire that broke
out at a knitwear factory.
2012 collapse of the eight-story Rana Plaza factory complex in Dhaka was
Bangladesh's deadliest industrial disaster, killing 1,134 people.
Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman’s visit to China heralds a new era in
the relationship between the two countries, according to Li Huaxin, the Chinese
ambassador to the Kingdom.
is an important visit with a series of political exchanges at the highest
level,” Li said.
are embracing this opportunity to hold a joint, bilateral, high-level committee
meeting to guide and coordinate cooperation in all fields,” he said, referring
to the China-Saudi Arabia High-Level Joint Committee established in January
committee met for the first time in August that year in Beijing and again, 12
months later, in Jeddah.
comments came as the Saudi crown prince began a visit to China, the Kingdom’s
biggest trading partner. The visit is the last leg of an Asia tour seeking to
build economic ties, and strengthen social and cultural links.
two friendly countries enjoy a complete strategic partnership,” said Li. “Both
parties are excited to move forward.”
has responded enthusiastically to the visit, a recognition of the powerful
position the Kingdom holds in the region and globally.
Arabia is a very important country that has a big impact, whether in the region
or world,” said Li. “We consider the Kingdom to be a powerful ally in building
(China’s Belt and Road initiative) and linking it with the Saudi Vision 2030,
while preserving the stability and development of the region and the world.”
the crown prince’s launch of Vision 2030 in 2016, many in the Kingdom,
including the ambassador, have witnessed the immense change it has brought to
have seen, personally, the major developments taking place in Saudi Arabia,”
said Li. “While there are changes in its cities and economy, the most important
change is in the Saudi people. They are showing their enthusiasm and their
abilities, which have grown on a large scale. They are playing a big role in
building their country.
see a bright future for Saudi Arabia.”
highlighted the importance of the evolving strategic partnership between the
two countries and their respective strengths, saying: “China is a large country
in terms of its economy, and Saudi Arabia in its importance, whether in the
Gulf, Arab and Muslim countries or the world. Therefore, direct meetings
between the two leaderships are of vital importance.
leaderships are on the same page and their stances on many issues are similar.
I have attended many meetings where the two parties confirmed the similarity
and conformity of their positions.”
issues of particular importance to the Arab world, Li noted that China’s stance
on Palestine has not changed in decades.
have called for a solution for the two sides and the creation of an independent
Palestinian state with full sovereignty, as well as Israel’s withdrawal from
occupied lands, in keeping with UN Security Council resolutions, and the return
of Palestinian refugees to their lands.”
said that both China and the Kingdom believe in the importance of sovereignty.
country calls for sovereignty free from interference in its internal issues,”
he said, adding that each nation has its own rules and social system, which
must be respected.
both seek to find peaceful solutions to regional and world issues; in that
respect we are similar,” he said.
ambassador said that cooperation between China and Saudi Arabia is based on
global principles and international law, and with the five principles of
coexistence: Mutual respect for each other’s territorial integrity and
sovereignty, non-aggression, non-interference in each other’s internal affairs,
equality and cooperation for mutual benefit, and peaceful coexistence.
principles were first set out in a treaty between China and India in 1954.
police raid 16 homes of suspected extremists
police are searching 16 homes of alleged extremists in central and western
prosecutor Nadja Niesen said Thursday that authorities were acting on the
suspicion that the extremists were planning an attack.
said she could not give any further details because the searches were still
raided 15 homes on Thursday morning in Ruesselsheim in the state of Hesse as
well as one home in Kerpen in North Rhine-Westphalia.
has resettled some 100 members of the White Helmets aid group, which is accused
of staging fake gas attacks in Syria’s terrorist controlled areas as part of a
sophisticated smear campaign against the government of Syrian President Bashar
al-Assad. UK immigration minister Caroline Nokes told BBC on Wednesday that the
government was working with local councils to volunteer to take in White Helmet
members and their families as they arrived from Syria.
have no doubt that the UK going forward will continue to play its part in
global resettlement, that we will provide aid," she said.
July 2018, more than 400 members of the UK-funded White Helmets were forced to
flee Syria as Syrian government forces continued advancements towards their
their way out of the country, the group had to cross the Israeli-occupied Golan
Heights and enter Jordan with the help of Israeli soldiers and Western powers.
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said back then that Tel Aviv helped the
group’s evacuation after receiving request from US President Donald Trump and
other Western leaders.
White Helmets jumped to the center of media attention in April last year, when
footage emerged showing a suspected chemical attack in the town of Douma in
Syria's Eastern Ghouta.
dramatic video broadcast by BBC showed people being treated after an attack.
governments soon pointed fingers at Syria as the perpetrator of the attack but
Damascus said it had evidence that the so-called volunteer group had staged the
whole incident. On April 14, 2018, the US, Britain and France carried out a
string of airstrikes against Syria over the attack.
is while Syria surrendered its stockpile of chemical weapons in 2014 to a joint
mission led by the US and the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical
Weapons (OPCW), which oversaw the destruction of the weaponry. It has also
consistently denied using chemical weapons.
President Bashar al-Assad has denounced the White Helmets as “a branch of the
al-Qaeda and al-Nusra" militant groups and the attack as a “PR stunt” by
the US, Britain and France.
week, Russia announced that the fabricated BBC footage proved the “theater of
absurd” in Western media’s coverage of events in Syria.
culmination of this theater of absurd may be a statement by a BBC producer, who
confirmed based on his own research that the footage had been staged with
direct participation of White Helmets,” Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman
Maria Zakharova said shortly after BBC Syria producer Riam Dalati discussed the
footage on twitter.
assisting Takfiri terrorists, the White Helmets also stand accused of organ
trafficking and looting Syrian people trapped in conflict areas.
Grigoriev, director of the Russia-based Foundation for the Study of Democracy,
raised the allegations in a report to the United Nations in February last year
which featured eyewitness accounts from members of the group.
is overwhelming evidence which proves that the White Helmets centers were
permanently engaged in building fortifications for battle positions for
terrorist and illegal armed groups who had been supplying them with water and
food and evacuating wounded terrorists from the front line," said Grigoriev.
director presented harrowing accounts indicating the group's involvement in
human organ trafficking.
body in Morocco slams Israel’s racist policies
Islamic body in Morocco called on the international community Thursday to
fulfill its responsibility to stop Israel’s oppressive and racist policies
towards Palestinians and Muslim holy places.
a statement, the Council on Aiding the Issues of the Ummah condemned Israel’s
policies and criticized countries participating in the Ministerial to Promote a
Future of Peace and Security in the Middle East in Warsaw on Feb. 13-14 for
normalizing relations with Israel.
council, which is affiliated with the Al-Adl Wal-Ihsane (Justice and
Benevolence) Islamic movement, also called for a "Friday of anger" in
support of Al-Aqsa Mosque and Palestinians in Jerusalem.
Belgian government is under increasing pressure to explain why it allowed
hundreds of millions of euros to flow into Libyan government accounts – in
apparent contravention of international sanctions – after a letter from the
Foreign Minister revealed Belgium considered payments from funds frozen by
a 2012 letter obtained and published by Belgian media, Foreign Minister Didier
Reynders told the Libyan government that he wanted the bills of eight Belgian
companies to be settled after mentioning the possibility of frozen funds being
September last year, a UN panel of experts concluded Belgium violated
international sanctions and argued that the cash flow "could lead to the
misuse and misappropriation of funds.” The payments were made between 2011 and
2017, in contravention to UN sanctions.
Reynders denied the allegations saying that he did not held any power on
financial matters at that time. “This is responsibility of the finance ministry
and I have not been there since December 6, 2011. I have not taken any
decisions on this matter,” he told local media.
opposition is now attempting to gather a majority in parliament to hold a
hearing with the UN experts.
Reynders could be called in by the finance ministry to clarify his position in
the coming weeks. One of the issues he will need to explain is the listing of
CK Technology among the Belgian companies with whom the Libyan government had
an outstanding debt. Representatives of the information technology firm told
Belgian media they did not have any business in Libya at the time and are not
able to explain why their company was listed in the correspondence.
embattled foreign minister will need to respond to allegations that he allowed
payment from Libyan assets held in at least four bank accounts managed by
Euroclear, a financial institution headquartered in Brussels.
Socialist lawmaker Dirk Van der Maelen submitted official questions to Mr
Reynders on Wednesday, asking him to confirm if "proceeds of the frozen
Libyan assets at Euroclear released by the Belgian government have served to
finance weapons [for] Libyan militias."
Van der Maelen said the Belgian government was “not neutral” in the financing
of Libyan militias.
UN froze an estimated $67 billion of the Libyan sovereign wealth fund in 2011
to prevent money being seized during widespread violence that led to the
overthrow and death of dictator.
UN expert report revealed in September last year that a bank in Belgium,
reportedly holding more than $20 billion of the frozen funds, transferred
dividends and interest to accounts controlled by the Libyan Investment
Authority (LIA) outside of the country.
LIA said the UN report did not conclude there had been any breaches of
sanctions on its part and there was no evidence that any funds had been
transferred to armed groups.
US Army troops are preparing and training the ISIL militants in al-Qadaf and
Wadi al-Houran regions of Al-Anbar province with the aim of carrying out
terrorist attacks and restarting insecurity in Iraq," the Arabic-language
website of al-Ma'aloumeh quoted Kazim al-Haaj, an Iraqi security expert, as
noted that according to the intel obtained from Iraqi security forces in
Al-Anbar province, the US has transferred the ISIL terrorists on Apachi and
Chinook helicopters to Iraq.
to the occupation of several regions in Western Iraq, including Wadi al-Houran
and al-Qadaf, al-Haaj reiterated that the US Army is using this opportunity to
deploy the ISIL terrorists after training them in areas where it plans to make
relevant remarks earlier, the Iraqi security experts accused the US of
preparing a plan to use mercenaries other than the ISIL terrorists against the
Arab country's security forces and Hashd al-Shaabi in the Western parts of
said that the US is plotting to hire mercenaries other than the ISIL to
implement its plots in Iraq.
added that the US plans to use a number of Iraqi mercenaries against the
security forces and Hashd al-Shaabi as well as a number of figures in Western
Iraq and Nineveh, noting that the Iraqi nation's opposition to the US military
deployment in Iraq has made Washington use other mercenaries than the ISIL.
said that since the US is not able to directly confront Hashd al-Shaabi and the
Islamic resistance forces, it is seeking other tools to foment insecurity and
target a number of national figures in the Western provinces and Nineveh.
relevant remarks last Wednesday, a senior Syrian military expert described US
President Donald Trump's declared policy of Syria pullout as a deceitful move,
saying that Washington is setting the stage for the rise of a new generation of
ISIL terrorists in the region.
Mohammad Abbas told the Arabic-language Sputnik news agency that the US remarks
on evacuation of forces from Syria is nothing but political maneuvering and a
scenario to implement its plots to destroy the region.
added that the US intends to derail public attention from its plots to pave the
ground for the creation of a new generation of the ISIL terrorists to create a
pretext for its military intervention in Syria and the region, noting that
Trump's only goal is breaking the Syrian nation and government's resistance.
Abbas said that despite its claims of fighting terrorism, the US uses
terrorists like the ISIL and Tahrir al-Sham Hay'at (the Levant Liberation Board
or the Al-Nusra Front) to materialize its plots in Syria.
foreign children languishing in northeast Syrian camps
than 2,500 foreign children from 30 countries who have fled the ISIS’s last
redoubts are living in desperate conditions in camps in northeastern Syria,
Save the Children said Thursday.
charity urged their countries of origin to “take action to ensure the safety of
their citizens” as US-backed forces battle the extremist group in the final
sliver of territory it holds near the Iraqi border.
need specialized help to recover from their experiences and return to
normality, together with their families,” the charity said.
is impossible in overwhelmed displacement camps in a volatile war zone. The
international community must act now before it is too late.”
said the children, including 38 unaccompanied minors, were from families “with
perceived or actual associations” with ISIS.
were separated from others in the camps, affecting their access to aid and
winter conditions have left the camps in a desperate state, with children
facing life-threatening risks,” it said.
children are “victims of the conflict and must be treated as such”, said Sonia
Khush, Save the Children’s Syria response director. “All states whose nationals
are trapped in Syria must take responsibility for their citizens.”
charity said the children had already been deprived of adequate medical care
and food for months, or even years while in ISIS-held areas even before having
reached the displacement camps.
some states have begun to do so, many countries -- including several European
countries -- have yet to take steps to ensure the safety of the children and
their families,” said Khush.
the life-threatening dangers these children and their families face in Syria,
this is unconscionable.”
the Children urged countries to repatriate the children and their families “for
the purposes of rehabilitation and/or reintegration, in full compliance with
international law, including the right to a fair trial where appropriate”.
years of battling extremists and with all but a sliver of land left under ISIS
control, US-backed forces have detained hundreds of foreigners suspected of
being ISIS militants, as well as related women and children.
Kurds, whose fighters have been at the forefront of the battle, have long urged
their home countries to take them back, but many nations have been reluctant.
President Donald Trump has urged European governments to take back their
citizens who fought for the extremist group in Syria, but his administration
said on Wednesday it would refuse entry to a US-born ISIS member who wants to
return from Syria.
A car bomb on Thursday killed oil workers and fighters from a US-backed force
battling the militant Islamic State group in east Syria, the Kurdish-led
alliance said, with a monitor putting the death toll at 20.
spokesman for the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) said the attack killed mostly
oil workers, as well as fighters in the village of Shheel close to an oil field
acting as a base for the anti-IS force.
“cells are trying to stop our progress,” Adnan Afrin said.
Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said 14 oil workers and six
conscripts died after “the car bomb was detonated remotely”.
SDF fighters were escorting the workers in vehicles from the Omar oil field,
the monitor said.
SDF are fighting to expel the jihadists from the last shred of their
“caliphate” in the village of Baghouz, some 100 km south along the Euphrates
SDF took control of the Omar oil field in October 2017, and have turned it into
their main base in the area.
seized large swathes of Syria and neighbouring Iraq in 2014, declaring a
“caliphate” there, but have since lost all but the Baghouz holdout to various
forces try to free last civilians from IS holdout
Syrian forces tried on Thursday to negotiate the release of civilians still
trapped in the IS group’s last redoubt, as a car bombing killed 20 people near
their main base.
Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) are working towards evacuating civilians
remaining in the holdout in east Syria, so they can retake the last scrap of
the dying IS “caliphate” whether through an assault or a surrender deal.
jihadists overran large parts of Syria and neighbouring Iraq in 2014, but
several offensives have retaken all but half a square kilometre (a fifth of a
square mile) of the territory in the eastern Syrian village of Baghouz.
spokesman for the US-led coalition fighting IS said international forces
“continue to support the SDF as they negotiate having innocent civilians
released” and their captured fighters returned.
the SDF pressed the last IS diehards a car bomb killed 14 oil workers and six
of the Kurdish-led alliance’s conscripts near the Omar oil field which is uses
as its main base in the region, the US-backed group and a monitor said.
spokesman Adnan Afrin said the blast in the village of Shheel, some 100
kilometres north of Baghouz, was another example of IS cells attacking its
fighters behind the front line.
day after hundreds of people were evacuated from the last IS remnant, more than
50 trucks on Thursday returned near empty from Baghouz to SDF territory, a
couldn’t enter Baghouz,” said a man who had accompanied the convoy.
got to an SDF point and we found around 15 people — women and children
including a French woman and an Egyptian woman. We took them,” he said.
fighters asked us to go back tomorrow at 8 am.”
of people have escaped IS territory in recent weeks, but the flow slowed to a
trickle at the weekend, before Wednesday’s first batch of evacuees.
Bradley, from the Free Burma Rangers volunteer group, said people fleeing
painted a grim picture of life inside.
showed us this bread that’s basically mashed up wheat with water burnt on both
sides, $16 a kilo,” he said.
spokesman Afrin said most of those trucked out on Wednesday were civilians, but
they also included IS fighters.
Thursday, a reporter saw hundreds of people waiting in a screening area where
the SDF have been questioning new arrivals in recent weeks, to separate out
suspected jihadists from the civilians.
Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, a Britain-based war monitor, said on
Wednesday that negotiations were being held “for the surrender of the last IS
said there were “reports of a deal” but the details were unclear.
the height of its rule, IS imposed its brutal ideology on a territory roughly
the size of the United Kingdom, attracting thousands of supporters from abroad.
the jihadists have since lost almost all their territory, and hundreds of
foreigners suspected of being IS fighters, as well as related women and
children, are being held by the SDF. Other foreign members have been killed.
top French jihadist, who voiced an audio recording claiming responsibility for
the November 2015 attacks in Paris, was killed in an overnight air strike,
security sources said on Thursday.
Clain, who is believed to have gone to Syria in March 2015, was killed in
Baghouz, they said.
Three terrorist attacks in the space of as many days have raised questions over
whether the Egyptian security forces have brought extremist militancy in the
country under control.
attacks between Friday and Monday came after a period of relative calm. The
Egyptian military has been involved in an extensive operation against terrorist
groups in their stronghold in the Sinai Peninsula for more than a year. Police
forces have also been carrying out operations against cells in a large number
first of the three incidents was a failed attempt to plant a bomb near security
forces in Cairo on Friday. On Saturday, however, a massive blast killed 14
members of the military on a security mission near El-Arish in Sinai.
third bombing on Monday could have been just as deadly. A suicide bomber blew
himself up after he was chased by police in the densely populated Al-Hussein
district of Cairo near Al-Azhar Mosque. In the end three officers were killed.
attacks came after months of relative calm in an insurgency that began after
the Muslim Brotherhood president Muhammad Mursi was removed from power in 2012.
then, militants have targeted the Egyptian security forces, churches, coptic
Christians, tourists and ordinary Egyptians, killing hundreds.
November 2017, gunmen carried out the deadliest terror attack in Egyptian
history — killing more than 300 people at a Sufi mosque in northern Sinai.
response, the military launched a vast operation in February last year to
“eliminate terrorism in Egypt.” The operation is ongoing.
have speculated that the sudden spate of incidents is the militants lashing out
to spoil the image that Egypt is returning to stability.
want to give Egypt a bad image to foreigners living abroad, on order to make a
point. They want to abort the democratic reform process that Egypt’s been
implementing in the past period,” MP Mohamed Maher Hamed told Arab News.
and political analyst Walid Qutb said Egypt is keen to host more important
regional and international events and forums, including the African Nations
football tournament, and a drop in terror-related incidents is key to this.
said the return of terrorist operations at this time is an attempt to send a
clear message that Egypt is not a safe country. What the extremists have done
recently is a final dance and lost, Qutb said.
political analyst Nabil Omar told Arab News that the elimination of terrorism
requires more than just maintaining security forces.
needs to be improved education and the spreading of correct information to
improve the mentality of Egyptians, he said.
don’t think that the return of terrorist operations happening currently is
linked to changes in politics in Egypt,” Omar said. “It has nothing to do with
how well security is either. “Terrorist attacks are happening because the
terrorists in question have decided to do so.”
recent incidents in Cairo are both strange, Omar said. They targeted police
forces in locations packed with civilians.
could mean that terrorists want their attacks to be even bigger and deadlier,
even if that comes at the cost of the innocent or unarmed.
positive thing here is that these recent terrorist attacks came after a long
period of silence. During that period of time, the Egyptian military had the
upper hand in relation to the terrorists – who used to be more in control before,”
News reported that clashes intensified between members of Al-Bab Military
Council affiliated to the SDF and Ankara-backed Euphrates Shield militants in
Qart-Viran, Karhiuk and Kavkoli regions West of Manbij city and East of al-Bab
said that the clashes broke out after the Ankara-backed terrorists' artillery
units pounded the SDF-controlled areas in the region.
News reiterated that sporadic clashes still continue between the two sides in
Afrin region in Northwestern Aleppo.
said that at least three Ankara-backed militants were killed and five others
were severely wounded in a battle between the two sides in a region between
Basouteh and Karzileh villages in Afrin region.
a Turkish soldier was killed and two others were wounded in a roadside bomb
attack in Balbaleh region in Aleppo province.
a relevant development on Monday, a bomb-laden vehicle was exploded near the
command center of Firqa al-Sultan terrorist group in Afrin in Western Aleppo,
local sources said.
car packed with a large amount of explosives was blown up in front of Firqa
al-Sultan terrorist group's command center in Shara region in Western Aleppo,
the sources in Afrin region said.
also said that another bomb also exploded in Jandariseh region in Afrin which
resulted in the injury of several terrorists.
Turkish Army and its allied militants declared a state of alert immediately
after the explosions.
a relevant development in early February, the Turkish Army dispatched a large
number of Special Forces to Afrin region in Northwestern Aleppo concurrent with
intensified infighting among Ankara-backed militants in the region.
Kurdish-language Hawar News reported that a sum of 200 of Special Forces of the
Turkish Army have arrived in Afrin region in Northwestern Aleppo as some of them
have been stationed in Afrin and some others in the villages of Shirva and
US has 31 military bases, including seven special bases for fighter jets and
six bases for intelligence tasks," al-Hosseini told the Arabic-language
al-Mayadeen TV network.
also reiterated that the US has 34,000 soldiers, five logistics companies and
24 associate companies in Iraq.
also reiterated that Kata'ib Hezbollah are constantly monitoring the US Army
troops' movements along the borders with
Iraq, and said that according to the intel gained by Hezbollah Battalions, the
deployment of the US troops in Iraq has taken place with the aim to implement a
plan that will be implemented soon.
reiterated that the Americans will conduct military operations along Iraq-Syria
a relevant development in late December 2018, a senior Iraqi legislator leveled
strong accusations against the US army, saying hundreds of ISIL terrorists have
deployed at the US bases in the country.
al-Sayyadi, an independent lawmaker of the Iraqi parliament, told the
Arabic-language al-Ma'aloumeh news website that over 1,000 ISIL militants are
present at the US bases.
US forces entered Iraq's territories on a decision of their own and their
number now amounts to 30,000. They supported the ISIL logistically during this
period and now, over 1,000 ISIL members are present at the US military
bases," al-Sayyadi claimed.
have been frequent reports accusing the US army of cooperation with ISIL in
Southeast Syria and Western Iraq, but the accusation leveled against the US
military by the Iraqi lawmaker is the first formal statement made ever in this
terrorists stationed in al-Tanf region, including Maghavir al-Thura on
different pretexts prevented the civilians residing in al-Rakban Camp of
al-Tanf region near the border with Iraq from moving towards areas under the
control of the Syrian Army via two humanitarian corridors opened by Syria and
Russia," the Arabic-language al-Watan newspaper quoted informed sources as
daily pointed to the fact that most of the camp's residents have called for
leaving the al-Tanf region for their regions and towns, and said, "The
terrorists have threatened they will increase pressures on civilians and will
allow relocation of civilians to Northern Syria and not the areas under the
control of the Syria Army."
report blamed the US for incarceration of civilians in al-Rakban Camp, saying
that the terrorists cannot make decisions independent from the US.
a battlefield source in Homs Province's Peace Committee reported that 130
militants have laid down their arms in several districts of Homs city and its
outskirts in return for amnesty.
report comes as tens of civilians left areas under the US Army's control in
Al-Tanf region as two human corridors had been opened in the region.
human corridors were opened in the towns of Jalighim and Jbal al-Gharab after coordination
between Russia and Syria for the exit of Syrian citizens stationed in al-Rakban
Camp in al-Tanf region in Eastern Homs and near the border with Iraq.
Arabic service of Russia Today television network reported that the first
groups of civilians comprising 23 members of a family, including 17 women and
children, arrived in Syria's Southern region after exiting al-Tanf region
through Jalighim corridor.
the commander of the Center for National Defense of Russian Federation Major
General Mikhail Mizintsief also pointed to the disastrous situation of
Al-Rakban Camp in al-Tanf region, and said that the Syrian citizens have been
taken as hostage by the US-backed militants in this region and despite
evacuating two human convoys from this camp, it is still in a horrific
also pointed to lack of primary hygienic facilities in al-Rakban Camp and lack
of access by children and women to most basic medial requirements, a sum of
eight children have been killed over last month due to food poisoning.
Syrian forces fighting the ISIS group in Syria handed over more than 150 Iraqi
members of the group to Iraq, the first batch of several to come, an Iraqi
security official said on Thursday.
official said the ISIS militants were handed over to the Iraqi side late on
Wednesday, and that they were now in a “safe place” and being investigated.
transfer marks the biggest repatriation from Syria of captured militants so far
- an issue that poses a major conundrum for Europeans and other countries whose
nationals have been imprisoned as foreign fighters in Syria.
SDF is holding more than 1,000 foreign fighters in prisons it runs in the
country’s north, many of them Iraqis and Europeans.
Kurdish-led Syrian force - and more recently President Donald Trump - have
called on these countries to take back their nationals. SDF says it cannot
afford to keep the captured foreigners in Syria, but few of their countries
want them back.
this month, Iraqi Prime Minister Abdul-Mahdi said Iraq will take back all Iraqi
ISIS militants in Syria, as well as thousands of their family members.
Iraqi security official, who spoke Thursday on condition of anonymity in line
with regulations, said the SDF are holding more than 20,000 Iraqis suspected of
ISIS membership in prisons in northern Syria, adding that they will be
transferred back home in batches.
handover came as the US-backed Syrian force is involved in a standoff over the
final sliver of land held by the ISIS group in southeastern Syria, close to the
few hundred people - many of them women and terrified-looking children - were
evacuated Wednesday from the group’s tiny tent camp on the banks of the
Euphrates River, signaling an imminent end to the territorial rule of the
militants’ self-declared “caliphate” that once stretched across a third of both
Syria and Iraq.
300 ISIS militants, along with hundreds of civilians believed to be mostly
their families, have been under siege for more than a week in the tent camp in
the village of Baghouz in eastern Syria. It is not clear how many civilians
remain holed up inside, along with the militants.
trucks were sent in Thursday to the tip of a corridor leading to the camp to
evacuate more people, but Associated Press journalists on the ground outside
Baghouz said no civilians emerged.
thought more civilians will come out today and we sent 50 trucks over,” said an
SDF commander who goes by his nom de guerre, Aram. “We don’t know why they are
not coming out.”
was not immediately clear whether the 150 Iraqis repatriated late Wednesday
were among those recently evacuated from Baghouz or militants who had been
Baghouz enclave’s recapture by US-backed Syrian fighters would spell the
territorial defeat of ISIS and allow Trump to begin withdrawing American troops
from northern Syria, as he has pledged to do, opening a new chapter in Syria’s
eight-year civil war.
government forces have arrested more than a dozen French citizens over their
membership in the Daesh Takfiri terrorist group during a counter-terrorism
operation in neighboring Syria.
Iraqi national intelligence service arrested 13 French nationals, including
leaders of Daesh group, during a security operation inside Syria,” an Iraqi
intelligence source told Arabic-language al-Forat news agency on condition of
anonymity on Thursday.
Army Chief of Staff General Othman al-Ghanimi said on Wednesday that 24 Daesh
extremists, who had infiltrated from neighboring Syria, were captured in Iraq's
northern province of Nineveh.
added that four of those captured were high-ranking leaders of the terror
stressed the need to take precautionary measures to maintain security in the
provincial capital city of Mosul, located some 400 kilometers north of the
capital Baghdad, and other areas in the province.
Tuesday, Iraqi Prime Minister Adel Abdul-Mahdi said he was concerned about
developments in Syria, where Daesh terrorists have lost their last stronghold
on the eastern bank of the Euphrates River and are fleeing in droves towards
desert areas in Iraq’s Anbar.
foreign-backed militancy erupted in Syria, thousands of people streamed toward
the Arab country from around the world to fight alongside militants there, with
a particularly strong influx from European countries, including France.
nationals could buy budget tourist flights to Turkey and then sneak across the
many as 1,910 French citizens joined Daesh, according to statistics from the
Soufan Center, a US-based think tank, The Washington Post reported.
has been exploring how to return its nationals who fought alongside Daesh and
their families seeking to return from combat zones in Iraq and Syria, as well
as those who surrendered and are in detention. France is a leading member of
the US-led coalition, purportedly fighting Daesh in Syria.
dismantles largest Daesh cell
on Thursday, Iraqi media outlets reported that the national intelligence
service had “dismantled the largest Daesh cell tasked with funding the
terrorist group” several days ago.
reports said the disbanded cell members were tracked down in several countries,
and that some of them were Iraqis.
Iraqi detainees reportedly had millions of US dollars in their possession, and
used the money in investment projects to conceal their sponsorship for Daesh’s
acts of terror.
Iraqi prime minister Haider al-Abadi declared the end of military operations
against Daesh in the country on December 9, 2017.
July 10 that year, he had formally declared victory over Daesh in the strategic
northern city of Mosul, which served as the terrorists’ main urban stronghold
the run-up to Mosul's liberation, Iraqi army soldiers and voluntary fighters
from the pro-government Popular Mobilization Units (PMU) – better known by the
Arabic name Hashd al-Sha’abi – had made sweeping gains against Daesh.
The United States will leave “a small peacekeeping group” of 200 American
troops in Syria for a period of time after a US pullout, the White House said
Donald Trump in December ordered a withdrawal of the 2,000 American troops in
Syria on the defeat of the last remnants of the Islamic State militancy there.
he has been under pressure from some advisers to adjust his policy to ensure
the protection of Kurdish forces who supported the fight against Islamic State
and who might now be threatened by Turkey.
small peacekeeping group of about 200 will remain in Syria for a period of
time,” White House spokeswoman Sarah Sanders said in a brief statement.
decision was announced after Trump spoke by phone to Turkish President Tayyip
White House statement said that the two leaders agreed, regarding Syria, to
“continue coordinating on the creation of a potential safe zone.”
Two feet deep, below a plot of farmland outside the Syrian city of Raqqa, lies
a large and deadly legacy of Daesh: A mass grave holding an estimated 3,500
responders learned of the burial site in the Al-Fukheikha suburb last month,
more than a year after US-backed forces captured Raqqa from Daesh and as they
closed in on the group’s final redoubt of Baghouz further south.
belated discovery is the biggest example yet of how the violence Daesh sowed
will be harvested for years to come, diggers and activists said.
dozen mounds of dirt line one side of the Al-Fukheikha plot, marking the more
than 120 bodies already dug up by the Rapid Response Division of Raqqa’s civil
are individual graves, but behind us, by the trees, are the mass graves of
those executed by Daesh,” said Asaad Mohammad, the 56-year-old forensic
assistant at the site.
are some 2,500-3,000 bodies estimated there, plus between 900 and 1,100 bodies
in the individual graves, so at least 3,500 total,” he said.
other mass graves have already been identified around the northern Syrian city,
including one nicknamed “Panorama,” from which more than 900 bodies had been
intelligence forces have arrested more than a dozen members of the Takfiri
Daesh terror group, who were planning to carry out attacks in the country's
western province of Kordestan.
Intelligence Ministry announced Thursday that "two terrorist teams, which
were attempting to carry out bombings and acts of harassment, have been
identified and arrested in Kordestan Province," which borders Iraq.
terrorist teams, comprised of 13 Daesh-affiliated elements, intended to target
civilians and assassinate certain Sunni Muslim clerics, the report said.
number of the detainees, it added, had received training abroad.
ministry also stated that remote-controlled bombs, weapons and other ammunition
were seized during the security operation.
Kordestan Province has seen numerous cross-border incursions by Iraq-based
security forces have repeatedly disbanded terrorist grouplets and killed their
members during security operations near the western borders.
September, Iran's Islamic Revolution Guards Corps (IRCG) fired a barrage of
missiles at a gathering of terrorist commanders in Iraq's semi-autonomous
IRGC said the terrorists had been attempting to create insecurity and carry out
acts of sabotage in the Iranian provinces of West Azarbaijan, Kordestan and
senior Iranian official says the international community has grown sick and
tired of America's unilateralism, and that world nations such as China and
Russia as well as Washington's own European allies have today chosen to stand
up to the US.
fact that China, Russia and Europe are standing up to the US, at least on the
political stage, is a step forward and heralds a change in global conditions
compared to the past," Foreign Ministry spokesman, Bahram Qassemi, told
China's Global Times.
further slammed Washington's hostile sanctions policy against the Iranian
nation, emphasizing, however, that such pressure tactics will fail to affect
the country's independent decision-making process.
he added, "bases its decisions on the principles of independence and
national interests. Tehran's policies do not rely on the viewpoints of world
also blasted the US administration's destructive Middle East agenda, saying
Washington's wrong decisions in the region -- which have sowed chaos in Iraq,
Syria Afghanistan, Yemen and Palestine -- leave the Iranian nation with no choice
but resistance and steadfastness in the face of the US.
Iranian official further described Washington as the initiator of a fresh wave
of tensions in ties with Tehran, saying such problems are "rooted in the
unfair sanctions, which the US re-imposed on Iran...after leaving the JCPOA and
violating [UN Security Council] Resolution 2231."
was using an acronym for the 2015 multinational nuclear deal, named the Joint
Comprehensive Plan of Action, which the US unilaterally scrapped last year in
defiance of objections from the other signatories -- China, Russia, Germany,
France and Britain -- and the entire world community.
its exit from the JCPOA, which had been endorsed by UN Security Council
Resolution 2231, the US unleashed what it called the "toughest ever"
sanctions against the Islamic Republic.
further played down the long-term impacts of the American bans and said,
"Our people have already experienced such conditions and they remain
highly sensitive to their independence. We are capable of overcoming the
sanctions and moving on from this crisis."
50 pro-diplomacy organizations in the United States have slammed President
Donald Trump’s belligerent Iran policy, calling on congressmen to stand against
Washington’s sanctions spree and press it to return to the 2015 multinational
a statement addressed to Congress on Wednesday, the groups, which represent
millions of American people, outlined their demands, including support for the
nuclear deal, officially named the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA).
also urged Congress to oppose the sanctions, which the Trump administration
re-imposed on Iran following its pullout from the accord.
said that the anti-Iran bans “disrupt any party’s implementation of the JCPOA,”
“prevent the United States from coming back into compliance with the JCPOA in
the future,” “disproportionately impact Iranian civilians” and “block necessary
humanitarian and medical supplies from reaching the country.”
also urged members of Congress to support “good faith diplomacy” and oppose “starting
a war of choice with Iran.”
the administration of President Donald Trump, the US has stepped up its
pressure campaign against Iran.
campaign reached its peak last year, when Trump unilaterally withdrew America
from the JCPOA in defiance of international criticisms and unleashed the
“toughest ever” sanctions against the Islamic Republic.
White House has also warned its European allies in the JCPOA against seeking to
circumvent the illegal sanctions.
Action, one of the signatories to the statement, defended the JCPOA, saying,
“It’s good for US security and for our allies.”
has condemned Israel’s recent move to shut down al-Aqsa Mosque, calling on
Muslim countries and the international community to take “immediate” action and
stop the “racist” regime.
Foreign Ministry spokesman Bahram Qassemi on Thursday said Israel’s actions are
a violation of the sanctity of al-Aqsa Mosque, which is the third holiest site
process of the massacre and ethnic-religious cleansing (of Palestinians) in
al-Quds has been underway incessantly and in a systematic way since the
occupation of Palestine (in 1948),” he added.
further censured the “deadly silence” of the regional states in the face of
such violations of Palestine’s historic and Islamic sites, calling on the
international community, the UN in particular, to take “immediate” actions and
stop the “racist” regime.
hailed the Palestinian people’s resistance against the Israeli regime.
Monday, Israeli soldiers placed locks and metal chains on the al-Rahma gate of
the al-Aqsa Mosque compound in the Old City of occupied East Jerusalem al-Quds
and prevented hundreds of Palestinian worshipers from entering the site, while
several were arrested inside the holy site.
sources, requesting not to be named, told the Arabic-language Palestine al-Aan
news agency that 10 Palestinians sustained injuries on Tuesday evening after
Israeli troops assaulted them at Bab al-Rahma (Gate of Mercy).
also took a swipe at certain regional states for participating in a recent
US-organized Warsaw conference, noting that their participation and attempts to
normalize ties with Israel have emboldened the occupying regime to commit such
acts of aggression and violations.
international gathering took place in the Polish capital from February 13 to
Palestinians, who boycotted the conference, strongly denounced the summit and
the participation of Arab ministers.
Shaath, an adviser to Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, wrote in a column
published by Israel's Haaretz newspaper that the Warsaw conference lacked
credibility as aimed to "normalize" the Israeli occupation of
fully siding with the Israeli government, (the Americans) have tried to
normalize the Israeli occupation and the systematic denial of the Palestinian
right to self-determination," he said.
authorities say Israeli naval forces have injured at least three fishermen
after opening fire on their boats off the coast of the besieged Gaza Strip.
attack took place 11 nautical miles off the coast of Khan Younis, head of the
Fishermen Committees in the Union of Agricultural Work Committees, Zakaria
Bakr, told Ma'an news agency Thursday.
said at least four fishermen aboard the boats were detained, while Israeli
forces confiscated some of the boats and towed them to an Israeli port.
identified the detainees as Khader Marwan al-Saidi, Muhammad Said al-Saidi, and
brothers Haitham and Awni Tareq Bakr.
south in the Rafah port, an Israeli military vessel rammed into a Palestinian
fisherman's boat, leaving him hospitalized and his boat damaged.
recent years, Israeli forces have carried out more than a hundred attacks on
Palestinian boats, arresting dozens of fishermen and confiscating some of the
have held weekly protests near the Gaza fence over the siege on the enclave and
the right for refugees to return to their homes they were forcibly expelled
from during the 1948 creation of Israel.
than 260 Palestinians have been killed by Israeli forces ever since
anti-occupation protest rallies began in the Gaza Strip on March 30. Over
26,000 Palestinians have also sustained injuries.
Gaza clashes reached their peak on May 14 last year, on the eve of the 70th
anniversary of the Nakba Day (Day of Catastrophe), which coincided this year
with the US embassy relocation from Tel Aviv to occupied East Jerusalem
Gaza Strip has been under an Israeli blockade since June 2007. The blockade has
caused a decline in the standard of living as well as unprecedented levels of
unemployment and unrelenting poverty.
Turkey ordered the arrest of 295 serving military personnel on Friday, the
prosecutor’s office said, accusing them of links to the network of US-based
Muslim cleric Fethullah Gulen, who Ankara says orchestrated a 2016 attempted
facing detention included three colonels, eight majors and 10 lieutenants, with
around half of the suspects being in the army and the remainder in other
military forces including the navy and air force, the statement said.
prosecutor’s office said police launched simultaneous arrest operations at 1:00
a.m. (2200 GMT) under an investigation into pay phone calls between suspected
Gulen operatives. It was not clear how many suspects have been detained so far.
250 people were killed in the failed putsch, in which Gulen, a former ally of
President Tayyip Erdogan, has denied involvement. Gulen has lived in
self-imposed exile in Pennsylvania since 1999.
than 77,000 people have been jailed pending trial since the coup and widespread
arrests are still routine. Authorities have suspended or sacked 150,000 civil
servants and military personnel.
The Palestinian finance minister on Thursday announced salary cuts for civil
servants, days after Israel said it would withhold tens of millions of dollars
in tax transfers to the Palestinian Authority.
security cabinet on Sunday approved the freezing of $138 million (122 million
euros) over the PA's payments to the families of prisoners, or prisoners
themselves, jailed for attacks on Israelis.
which collects taxes on behalf of the PA, says the payments encourage further
PA claims they are a form of welfare to families who have lost their main
president Mahmud Abbas said Wednesday he would not accept anything but full
payment of the tax transfers owed by Israel.
PA, which is already running a deficit, will "pay the salaries of civil
servants in time, but they will be reduced", said PA finance minister
Shukri Bishara after a meeting with EU representatives in Ramallah.
cuts will not apply to salaries "paid to pensioners and families of
martyrs, wounded or prisoners", he added, adding that wages below 2,000
shekels ($550) would also not be affected.
Palestinians view prisoners and those killed while carrying out attacks as
heroes in their conflict with Israel. Palestinian leaders often venerate them
a 1994 agreement, Israel collects around $190 million each month in customs
duties levied on goods destined for Palestinian markets that transit through
money it then transfers to the PA is the authority's most important source of
Palestinians want EU countries to pressure the Israeli government to rescind
its decision, said Mahmoud al-Aloul, deputy of Abbas's Fatah party.
has denounced as “unacceptable” a draft report by a key European Parliament
committee that calls for the suspension of negotiations with Ankara for
accession to the European Union (EU).
a draft advisory report, the European Parliament Foreign Affairs Committee called
on the European Commission and EU member states to formally suspend years-long
accession talks with Turkey, citing numerous alleged human rights violations in
the country as well as the conduct of its judiciary system.
report is expected to be voted on by the entire European Parliament in
call in the draft report — which is not legally binding and bears only the
status of an advisory decision — to officially suspend our country’s accession
negotiations with the EU is absolutely unacceptable,” Turkish Foreign Ministry
spokesman Hami Aksoy said in a statement on Wednesday.
said the draft report exemplified the 28-member bloc’s biased attitude toward
Turkey, adding that Ankara would push for its amendment.
expect the necessary changes to be made for a more realistic, unbiased, and
encouraging final report, which will be accepted in March at the European
Parliament’s general assembly,” the official said, stressing that, “Only such a
report will be taken into consideration by our country.”
draft advisory report censured Ankara for allegedly undermining human rights
and civil liberties, also accusing the Turkish government of influencing the
judiciary and engaging in territorial disputes with neighboring countries.
members said that such policies, in combination with changes in the country’s
governing system, had made Turkey’s accession to the EU impossible at this
President Recep Tayyip Erdogan suggested in October last year that the EU was
being insincere in its accession talks with Turkey.
between Turkey and the EU have been strained for several years, especially
after the July 2016 coup attempt against Erdogan, which Ankara says was
masterminded by US-based opposition cleric Fethullah Gulen.
EU has often criticized the crackdown and alleged attacks on freedom of speech
in the wake of the botched putsch, in which tens of thousands of people,
including journalists, were arrested.
in return, has accused Brussels of being inattentive to the security threats
faced by Turkey.
go or not to go, the Saudi prince’s Malaysian dilemma
that Mohammed bin Salman (MBS) has postponed his visit to Malaysia and
Indonesia during his Asian tour, Malaysia has more time to think about how it
should welcome the Saudi prince, and indeed, if it should at all.
the eve of his visit, Malaysian state news agency Bernama published an article
about “giga-projects” undertaken by the crown prince, including a massive
anti-corruption campaign that reportedly concluded last month.
it did not mention why MBS is going on an eastern tour right now.
in the West for the murder of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi last year, as
well as for leading the dreadful military campaign in Yemen along with other
members of the coalition, MBS apparently embarked on a “Look East” policy when
relations with the West got a little cold.
Feb 14, the US Congress voted 248 against 177 to end Washington’s involvement
with the Saudis in the Yemen war, compelling American forces to withdraw within
US Senate is likely to give its “aye” before the bill faces President Donald
Trump’s opposition, as Trump has already assured Congress that he will not sign
it into law. Yet, the Congress seems determined.
bill, No Oil Producing and Exporting Cartels (Nopec), targeting Opec’s
prerogative to coordinate oil production and influence prices, is prowling
about in Congress. If it is passed, it will strip Saudi Arabia of its
significant leverage over the US in regulating oil prices.
the other side of the Atlantic, Saudi Arabia has found itself on the European
Union’s list of “high-risk” countries in terms of terrorism financing and money
such pressure from the West, MBS seems to be looking to prove that he can
rapidly turn to the East instead.
to invest US$20 billion in Pakistan, his first stop in his tour, do not look
like a grand investment plan but an attempt to get Islamabad’s support.
it be so easy for Pakistan to say “no” to involvement in campaigns like the one
in Yemen next time, as it did with its parliamentary vote before?
with its economic might, is now seen as the new colonial power. Saudi Arabia’s
prospective investment, on the other hand, might be viewed more leniently by
Muslim-majority countries, especially after the young prince earned some
political capital on the wave of his progressive outlook.
Saudi royal family used to be welcome in Malaysia during former leader Najib
has there been enough thought given to what Saudi Arabia’s investment promises
the change of government on May 9 last year, Malaysia hoped to renegotiate
several projects with China, including the US$20 billion East Coast Rail Link
and the US$2.5 billion Trans-Sabah Gas Pipeline. Putrajaya said the projects
were putting undue pressure on its finances, already troubled by the 1MDB
embezzlement and past government mismanagement.
his visit to China in August 2018, Dr Mahathir Mohamad warned of a “new version
of colonialism” with regards to China’s increasing influence in the region. If
that was the way Malaysia spoke to China, it will not hesitate to pursue its
interests when it comes to relations with Saudi Arabia, and decide prudently
about the offerings MBS would carry should he come.
asked if he would condemn MBS on the murder of Khashoggi, Mahathir said he
would first see what China and Japan – MBS’ other destinations – have to say.
a runaround is not surprising as the New Malaysia walks a tightrope between
taking a strong ideological stance on issues where justice is concerned and
prioritising the resources Malaysia needs.
was not at all equivocal in its recent strong move to deny entry to Israeli
para-athletes for the Para-Swimming Championship in Sarawak this year.
economy and reputation took a hit as a result of this decision, as the
International Paralympic Committee decided to withdraw the competition from
wonders if such an adamant position towards Israel is important even to some
Arab nations, which gladly participated in the recent US-led Middle East
Conference in Warsaw (dubbed as the Anti-Iran Summit), and sat next to Israeli
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.
also spoke out on the sore subject of the Uighur situation in China. It did so
before even Turkey dared to post a statement condemning China’s policy towards
Uighurs on the website of its foreign ministry, but it was done nice and slow.
minister-in-waiting Anwar Ibrahim raised the issue during his visit to China,
but only alongside other matters.
Malaysia started altering the course with regards to the Saudis by first
pulling out Malaysian troops from the Saudi-led operation in Yemen after
reportedly spending about US$3.5 million since its involvement in 2015.
it shut down the King Salman Center for International Peace, a Saudi-sponsored
anti-terrorism entity launched by King Salman himself in 2017.
demand to speak out against the continuation of the war in Yemen has been on
the rise, especially given the fact that Malaysia’s involvement in the war was
without approval from the Cabinet or the National Security Council.
new defence minister faced internal pressure from his own political party not
to appear anti-Saudi or pro-Shia (referring to Iran’s alleged role in
supporting Houthi rebels in Yemen) and to take action to end the humanitarian
government is, indeed, cautious not to align itself with anyone unequivocally,
giving itself sufficient space to manoeuvre.
public sentiment and Putrajaya’s sleek move to distance itself from Riyadh
perhaps showed MBS that Malaysia is not the right place to come to at the
moment, even if he wishes to get Washington’s attention by a series of smooth
visits to key Asian players.
might drag him into the unpleasant discussions that he is trying very hard to
Roknifard is a director of foreign policy at EMIR Research, a think tank
focused on data-driven policy research.
KINABALU: The Philippines has no issue working with the Sabah government to
solve the issue of undocumented Filipinos in the state despite Manila’s claim
over Sabah, a Philippine envoy said today.
ambassador to Malaysia Charles C Jose told reporters that his embassy is
focused on helping their countrymen in Sabah.
now, the embassy is cooperating very closely with the Sabah government to
address issues of mutual concern.
although the claim (over Sabah) has not been dropped, it’s not being actively
for us in the embassy, we are more focused on helping the Filipinos here,” he
after meeting Chief Minister Shafie Apdal at his office today, Jose’s
delegation expressed the embassy’s willingness to work with the state
government to solve the issue of undocumented Filipinos together.
also gave some proposals on how we can address the matter,” he said.
the proposed Philippine consulate in Sabah, Jose said the matter was still
being discussed in Manila, adding the embassy will implement any decision their
especially Sabah, and the Filipinos in Sabah have been pushing for a consular
office in Kota Kinabalu for some time now.
claim over Sabah has been a long-standing one, with the more recent assertion
taking place in January last year.
member of the Philippine consultative committee on amending the 1987
Constitution, Aquilino Pimentel Jr, had said he would propose the inclusion of
Sabah as a part of the Philippines.
chief minister Musa Aman rejected the claim and reiterated that Sabah does not
recognise or acknowledge any claim by the Philippines or any other country over
the Philippines is very keen on the establishment of the Bangsamoro Autonomous
Region in Muslim Mindanao (BARMM) as this will bring security not only to the
country but the region, Jose said.
said his government doesn’t see the Sulu province’s decision to reject BARMM as
were two dates for the plebiscite, and Sulu is the only one that voted not to
be part of BARMM. But a majority of the territories envisioned to be part of
BARMM had voted in favour.
LUMPUR, Feb 21 ― Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department Datuk Seri Mujahid
Yusof Rawa today reminded Umno Youth chief Datuk Asyraf Wajdi Dusuki to
practise the politics of prudence and to stop making wild allegations and
also described Asyraf Wajdi’s latest allegation that he (Mujahid) had kept mum
when Islam and the monarchy institution were being insulted and ridiculed by
certain quarters, as having malicious intent.
allegation is wrong. It is just another attempt to portray me, the minister in
charge of religion, as someone who neither cared nor concerned about the
I have clearly said from the very beginning that anyone who commits a crime,
let alone against Islam and the Malay Rulers, will definitely have action taken
said this in a video clip sent to Bernama in response to Asyraf Wajdi’s remark
that he would only take legal action against those who accused him of being
DAP’s political tool, but would do nothing against those who insulted Islam and
the monarchy institution.
the video clip which lasted almost four minutes, Mujahid also refuted the
allegation that he would bow to DAP’s demands and stressed that the party had
no control whatsoever over Tabung Haji (TH).
not about DAP, but it’s about the fact that TH now has 9.2 million depositors
and we are in the midst of rehabilitation. I sue those people not because I
bowed to DAP, but as a warning and to protect the integrity and interests of
another development, Mujahid urged the police to immediately investigate and
take action against those involved in placing the idol of a deity at the main
entrance of Surau Sabilul Huda in Taman Pendamar Indah 1, Port Klang,
is indeed shocking as it could trigger various perceptions and worse still,
could provoke racial and religious hatred,” he said, while expressing hope that
such an incident would not recur.
the black paint splashed on the concrete wall of Istana Anak Bukit in Alor
Setar, the minister reminded all quarters to stop making provocations.
LUMPUR, Feb 21 — Iskandar Puteri MP Lim Kit Siang pointedly asked today if
spreading lies and fabrications were consistent with Islam’s Shariah or way of
a statement alluding to Opposition party PAS, the DAP leader questioned how the
Islamists reconciled their unsubstantiated allegations against Pakatan Harapan
and its leaders with the religion’s code of morality.
the concoction of a lie out of whole cloth, like the recent fabrication that
there is a move to topple the prime minister, Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad, in the
form of a vote of no confidence by PH MPs in the forthcoming Parliament a
Shariah-compliant lie?” he said in a statement.
noted that he was also a victim of falsehood after his picture was used with an
online post speculating that DAP would leave PH if “the rot continues,” and
asked if the fabrication here was also “Shariah-compliant.”
then called for a return of decency, morality and integrity to local politics
weekend, PAS pledged the support of its 18 MPs to Dr Mahathir after claiming —
without evidence — that two PH parties were conspiring to oust his as PM via a
motion of no-confidence.
president Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim, DAP secretary-general Lim Guan Eng, and
Amanan president Mohamad Sabu have all emphatically rejected PAS’s claims.
Feb 21 — The sixth day of campaigning for the Semenyih state seat by-election
saw the four candidates meeting voters around the nearly 200km area day and
night to drive home their missions and visions.
of the audience age, they made the same pledges to serve day and night if
did not touch on national issues such as the purported conspiracy in the ruling
Pakatan Harapan (PH) leadership to topple the Prime Minister, which seems to be
picking up steam.
battle lines here were made clear on the nomination day itself: the
marginalisation of Malay-Muslims under PH, unfulfilled promises, and the rising
cost of living.
Umno president Datuk Seri Mohamad Hassan outlined the issues and clearly stated
the extent of the political cooperation with PAS that painted a scenario where
youths and Malay voters were still not satisfied with the new government.
or Tok Mad as he is fondly known, stated clearly that the result of the
by-election would be a referendum of people’s evaluation of the new government.
theme was the same as the recently concluded Cameron Highlands by-election in
Pahang that saw the ruling PH candidate from DAP losing quite badly.
being suburban seat just 45 minutes drive from cosmopolitan Kuala Lumpur, can
be considered a bellwether to determine whether the nine-month-old government
is doing fine or still grappling with issues left behind by the 60-year-old
Barisan Nasional (BN) government.
is trying hard to make an impact here, which will determine if it is returning
to the mainstream political scene or still stuck in its rut.
is allying with BN here as it did in Cameron Highlands. This will rattle PH’s
position, particularly Parti Pribumi Bersatu Malaysia (Bersatu) that is
fielding Muhamad Aiman Zainali as the coalition’s candidate.
as fighting an uphill battle from the start, Bersatu is still struggling to
penetrate the hearts and minds of voters as it must first introduce Aiman, then
get him acquainted with the voters, then reveal his unexposed leadership
qualities, and so on. As usual with Malay voters, he has to visit the whole
constituency’s suraus and mosques, perform prayers together with them, learn to
smile, and listen to grievances.
candidate, veteran Zakaria Hanafi, is known throughout the constituency as he
is an Umno branch leader who mixes well with the Malay voters, especially the
suraus and mosques.
has been an active part in handling funerals and burials as well as wedding
kenduris, with the people nicknaming him “YB” for his concern for them despite
being just an Umno member.
popularity aside, the issue of Malay-Muslim marginalisation seemed to be the
central topic in the house-to-house campaign by Umno and PAS, which is the most
popular and common method.
is done at night when the householders are back from work.
the Malay-Muslim Opposition parties have a long history of successes through
this approach whereas Bersatu is very weak, especially in Semenyih.
party depends on the PKR machinery for such campaigning and this did not seem
to go down well with some households.
Muslim Rights Concern, MURIC, on Friday, berated the Peoples Democratic Party,
PDP, presidential candidate, Atiku Abubakar, over his plan to sell the Nigeria
National Petroleum Corporation, NNPC.
had yesterday in Kaduna reiterated his earlier resoolve to sell NNPC to
Nigerians if elected on Saturday.
to this declaration, MURIC said the proposed sale of NNPC, which is the
backbone of Nigeria’s economy, bears serious economic implications for the
a statement signed by its Director, Prof Ishaq Akintola and forwarded to DAILY
POST, the body said: “We must start taking Alhaji Atiku Abubakar very
seriously, particularly on this issue of planning to sell NNPC. In view of the fact
that petroleum is the mainstay of Nigeria’s economy and NNPC is key to its
performance, the Nigerian people need to know what will happen if the former
vice president’s promise becomes a reality.
are therefore asking His Excellency to explain to Nigerians what will become of
civil servants who rely on their monthly salaries alone if NNPC is sold. If it
is true that at least 70% of Federal Government’s allocation comes from NNPC
sales and both federal and state governments rely on the allocation to pay
their employees, how will federal and state workers continue to get their
salaries regularly? Is this not an invitation to massive retrenchment,
unbridled poverty and increased crime rate? What measures have Your Excellency
put in place to ensure that our fears are not actualized?
extension, MURIC will like to know what Alhaji Atiku Abubakar means by his
widely quoted statement, ‘I will enrich my friends’. We will like to know who
the former vice president referred to as his ‘friends’ as well as the criterion
or criteria for becoming Alhaji Atiku’s friend. Also, what form will such
enrichment take? From where will the resources for enriching his friends come,
from his personal resources or from our common patrimony?
Nigerian people will love to hear an explanation before they go to the polls in
the next 48 hours. The Muslim Rights Concern is deeply concerned about the fate
of Nigerian Muslims who form a large majority of Nigeria’s population and who
are most likely to be the main victims of a general retrenchment and the
attendant widespread poverty among the masses. MURIC cannot afford to close its
eyes to a major economic policy which is capable of affecting the lives of a
large majority of Nigerians.”
security forces have detained nearly two dozen opposition leaders, who were on
their way to deliver a petition to the presidential palace calling for
President Omar al-Bashir to resign.
reports said opposition leaders belonging to several political parties were
arrested while gathering in downtown Khartoum on Thursday.
arrests took place as they were getting ready to deliver the petition, which
demanded the formation of a new transitional government to replace Bashir and
a statement, the Sudanese Congress Party confirmed that authorities
"pre-empted" demonstrations. It said deputy head of Umma Party Mariam
Sadiq al-Mahdi, the party's secretary general Sara Naqdallah and Communist
Party leader Mokhtar al-Khatib were arrested.
spokesman of the Sudanese Professionals’ Association (SPA), the main protest
organizer, was also arrested.
police fired tear gas to disperse hundreds of angry protesters who had gathered
to march near the Arab Market area in the capital city.
held anti-government placards and chanted slogans such as "Peaceful,
peaceful against the thieves" and "Fall, that's it" to send the
message that their only demand was Bashir's fall.
detentions amount to the largest crackdown against the opposition in one day
since the demonstrations began two months ago.
figures show 30 people, including some security agents, have lost their lives
since the onset of the rallies. Activists and some rights groups say nearly 60
people have died so far.
December, Sudan has been rocked by a wave of protests calling on Bashir, who
seized power in a 1989 military coup, to step down.
country’s security forces have so far used tear gas, stun grenades and live
ammunition to break up demonstrations, and detained hundreds of protesters and
president has remained defiant, addressing loyalists at a number of rallies
across the country and seeking support from regional allies.
and other senior Sudanese officials have repeatedly said that the government
can only be changed through elections. The 75-year-old veteran leader is
considering running for a third presidential term in next year's elections.
has been struggling with a worsening economic crisis, including a serious
shortage of foreign currency. The cost of some commodities, including medicine,
has more than doubled and inflation has hit 70 percent. A growing lack of food
and fuel has also been regularly reported across several cities, including
is wanted by the International Criminal Court over charges of masterminding
genocide in the Darfur region.
Armed men have murdered a security official in southern Libya, the UN-backed
government said Thursday, a day after forces opposed to it said they had
entered his town.
interior ministry of the internationally-recognized unity government branded
the murder of General Ibrahim Mohamad Kari, security head in the town of
Murzuk, a “cowardly crime” and vowed to bring the culprits to justice.
a brief statement, it said Kari was killed on Wednesday by “an outlawed armed
group,” without giving further details.
“will pursue his murderers and bring them to justice” and “will not remain idle
in the face of crimes that threaten the security and stability of the country,”
media said Kari, a member of the minority Tubu community, was killed when armed
men raided his home in Murzuk.
Wednesday night, forces loyal to Libyan strongman Khalifa Haftar said they had
entered and taken control of Murzuk as part of an offensive launched in
self-styled Libyan National Army has said the operation is intended to “purge
the south of terrorists and criminal groups” including rebels from Chad.
forces have accused Tubu of supporting the Chadian rebels.
is a stronghold of the Tubus, many of whom are opposed to Haftar’s offensive,
and lies in a region where tensions run high between them and Arab tribes, who
have largely joined LNA ranks.
murder also reflects the many divisions that have divided Libya since the 2011
NATO-backed uprising that toppled and killed longtime dictator Muammar Qaddafi.
A Sudanese opposition party says more than 10 opposition leaders have been
arrested ahead of the latest day of protests urging President Omar al-Bashir to
a statement, the Sudanese Congress Party says security forces
"pre-empted" demonstrations by arresting the deputy head of the Umma
Party, Mariam Sadiq al-Mahdi; the party's Secretary-General Sara Naqdallah;
Communist Party leader Mokhtar al-Khatib, and others.
police fired tear gas to disperse hundreds who had gathered to march, near the
Arab Market area in Khartoum.
address, broadcast live on national television, was greeted by an approving
applause from senior officials and party loyalists.
President Muhammadu Buhari said he had ordered the military to be “ruthless”
with those who engage in electoral fraud in Saturday’s rescheduled elections.
that left any room for doubt, his next words were to the point.
warn anybody who thinks he has enough influence in his locality to lead a body
of thugs to snatch [ballot] boxes or to disturb the voting system, he would do
it at the expense of his own life,” Mr Buhari said on Monday at an emergency
meeting called by his ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) in Nigeria’s
capital of Abuja.
a week's delay, Africa's most populous nation returns to the polls on Saturday.
But the president's words have some Nigeria's worried about a possible repeat
of the violence which has plagued earlier elections.
main opposition party, the People's Democratic Party (PDP), responded swiftly
to Mr Buhari's remarks, calling them a "direct call for jungle justice”.
is indeed a licence to kill, which should not come from any leader of any
civilized nation," PDP spokesman Kola Ologbondiyan said in a statement.
Centre for Social Justice (CSJ), an Abuja-based human rights advocacy group,
said in a statement: “The directive violates the constitutional guarantee of
the right to life and cannot be justified under any of the exceptions to the
the president is out of touch with the Constitution of the Federal Republic of
Nigeria 1999 which he swore to uphold and this shows that the military mindset
is still dominant in his acts and omissions,” said Eze Onyekpere Lead Director
at the CSJ.
Electoral Act does not prescribe death for those who engage in acts of
electoral fraud but rather a maximum punishment of 24 months imprisonment.
Buhari, a former military ruler in the 1980s voted into elected office in 2015,
has often been criticised for circumventing constitutional due process.
January, he suspended and replaced Nigeria’s Chief Justice Walter Onnoghen, who
could have overseen any disputes over election results, despite the judge
securing a temporary injunction.
move was condemned by Atiku Abubakar, the PDP presidential candidate, as an act
of dictatorship. The Nigerian Bar Association called it an “attempted coup”.
EU, US, and the UK all expressed concerns over the timing of the suspension, so
close to the presidential vote.
the race deadlocked according to many observers and tensions palpable, there
are legitimate fears over post-election violence.
electoral facilities housing materials needed for the vote were torched in
likely arson attacks and an ISIS-linked terror group opened fire on a convoy
carrying the governor of the northeastern state of Borno, leaving three dead.
National Peace Committee, a non-partisan group led by General Abdulsalami
Abubakar, Nigeria’s last military leader and the man who ushered in this era of
democracy, has been so concerned about the possibility of violence that it
convened two meetings where candidates and political leaders signed a National
Peace Accord pledging to accept election results and ensure a smooth process.
has a history of elections-related violence. In 2011, Human Rights Watch
recorded more than 800 people killed and about 65,000 displaced in three days
of violent attacks across 12 northern Nigerian states following the election of
Following the re-election of Goodluck Jonathan.
Buhari was then running as an opposition candidate, and after it became clear
that he had lost, his supporters rioted in northern towns to protest what they alleged
was vote rigging.
questions arise after Donald Trump bars Hoda Muthana from re-entry to US
questions have arisen following US President Donald Trump’s decision to bar
former Alabama resident and ISIS recruit Hoda Muthana from returning to the
Trump tweeted last night that that he gave instructions to his Secretary of
State Mike Pompeo to prohibit Ms Muthana from re-entering the United States.
have instructed Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, and he fully agrees, not to
allow Hoda Muthana back into the Country!
AM - Feb 21, 2019
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Muthana is currently detained in a camp in northern Syria controlled by
US-backed Kurdish forces after fleeing from the last pocket of ISIS controlled
a statement Mr Pompeo said Ms Muthana, who fled home in 2014 to join ISIS in
Syria, “is not a US citizen and will not be admitted. She does not have any
legal basis, no valid US passport, no right to a passport, nor any visa to
travel to the US,” he said.
the legality of the decision has been questioned by Ms Muthana’s lawyer and her
family, who insist that she is a US citizen and argue that the Constitution
mandates that she cannot be stripped of that citizenship.
Muthana was born in New Jersey and lived in Alabama with her parents before she
secretly renewed her passport and fled to Syria in 2014.
the occupation of her father, who was once a diplomat, at the time of her birth
could prove pivotal.
of accredited foreign diplomats born in the US are not automatically entitled
to birthright citizenship.
the New York Times reported that her father was no longer a diplomat at the
time of Ms Muthana’s birth.
Vladeck, a legal scholar and professor at the University of Texas, says the
only other case in which she could be stripped of her citizenship is if she was
shown to have committed treason or other hostile acts against the US
government. But this could only happen if she was convicted by a court martial
or another court of competent jurisdiction.
Muthana, who was 20 when she went to Syria and has conceived a child during her
five-year-stay, appeared to have incited attacks against former US President
Barack Obama and called for spilling civilian blood in her home country.
on drive-bys and spill all of their blood, or rent a big truck and drive all
over them. Veterans, Patriot, Memorial etc Day parades. go on drive by’s +
spill all of their blood or rent a big truck n drive all over them. Kill them,”
she wrote on her Twitter account before it was suspended.
now, Ms Muthana says she “deeply regrets” those statements. In interviews with
several media outlets while being held by Syrian Democratic Forces, Ms Muthana
said she would be willing to seek therapy. She told ABC she “interpreted
everything very wrong.”
lawyer Hassan Shibly told CNN his client would be willing to face jail time.
Muthana is the only US born ISIS wife whose name has come publicly.
300 US citizens joined ISIS as fighters, according to a report by George
Washington University’s Programme on Extremism. Twelve of those have returned
to the US, and nine were arrested according to the report.
The United States is asking Britain, France,
Germany and other European allies to take back over 800 ISIS fighters that we
captured in Syria and put them on trial. The Caliphate is ready to fall. The
alternative is not a good one in that we will be forced to release them........
AM - Feb 17, 2019
people are talking about this
Trump has called on “Britain, France, Germany and other European allies to take
back over 800 ISIS fighters that we captured in Syria and put them on trial.”
in the case of Ms Muthana, the US government is, for now, choosing to keep her
thousand people showed up at Waterworks Park on Sunday for the Arab American Community
Center festival, along with two mayoral candidates and more than a dozen City
Council candidates — a sign of the political influence of Tampa’s growing
Muslim and Arab-American community.
concentrated in the Temple Terrace-New Tampa area, drawn by the University of
South Florida, and community leaders want to make it into a political force.
following the strategy of the Cuban-Americans, recognizing our electorate is
very split and a one-percent swing can change the outcome of an election,” said
Laila Abdelaziz, who came to USF in 2009 because of the Muslim community and
then worked as a community organizer.
noted Bob Buckhorn’s narrow 2011 win for mayor followed an endorsement and
field work from the Muslim community.
one knows big the community is, but Tarah Saadaldin of Muslims for Democracy
and Fairness, a local PAC, said there are estimates of 5,000 to 6,000 Muslims
just in the Temple Terrace area, based on attendance at mosques and Islamic
Arab-American Lawyer Sam Badawi said on a per-capita basis, it could rival
Dearborn, Mich., one of the nation’s biggest Arab-Amerian concentrations.
said the community is politically diverse, with conservatives including
well-to-do business owners and physicians, and liberals uneasy with the
anti-Islamic rhetoric of Republicans including President Donald Trump.
post-9/11 “Islamophobia” is the biggest unifying issue, said Saadaldin, citing
incidents including hate mail sent out against a 2016 Temple Terrace City
Council candidate and a 2017 arson at a Thonotosassa mosque.
PAC has endorsed David Straz for mayor and a list of council candidates
including incumbents Guido Maniscalco and Luis Viera, whose New Tampa district
includes much of the community and who spoke against anti-Islamic sentiment at
candidate Joe Citro said he has pledged to form an Islamic citizens advisory
committee if elected.
three mayoral candidates — Straz, Topher Morrison and Ed Turanchik — came to
MDF’s endorsement interviews, Saadaldin said, but former police chief Jane
Castor spoke at the festival along with Morrison.
an interview, Morrison questioned why the group endorsed Straz despite his
former support for Trump. But Straz has publicly renounced that previous
support, saying he’s disillusioned with Trump, and Saadaldin said he apologized
for it in the interview. Hillsborough State Attorney Andrew Warren, a Democrat
who unseated Republican Mark Ober in 2016, has announced a 2020 re-election
fundraising committee that includes several prominent Republicans.
Democrats include attorney and committee chairman David Singer, Justin Day, Ed
Narain, Sean Shaw, Erin Aeble, Tom Hall, Alex Sink and others. Mixed in are
Republicans including Martin Garcia, Stuart Lasher, Andy Scaglione and David
Bekhor, along with Nikki DeBartolo, wife of GOP Sheriff Chad Chronister.
abuzz about “Hamilton,” and it’s hard not to notice it’s playing at a theater
named for a certain mayoral candidate.
caused some to wonder: Will “Hamilton” at the David A. Straz Jr. Center for the
Performing Arts help David A. Straz Jr.’s campaign?
vote with their emotions, not their heads,” said lobbyist and political insider
Todd Pressman. “You have hundreds of people from Tampa going there and having
fun, with the name Straz all over it.”
candidates aren’t worried.
sounds like a big stretch,” said a Jane Castor campaign statement. “The real
winners are the people who managed to get tickets.”
Muslim American newscaster for the Iranian Press TV network, who was detained
for 10 days by the US Government as a material witness, has complained of
Hashemi, 59, who was released on January 23, said her ordeal “is something that
needs to be condemned across the table”.
was arrested by the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) while boarding a St
Louis flight to visit her son in Denver on January 15. The cause for her arrest
was initially unknown, but according to subsequent court documents she was
being held as a material witness for a federal investigation following
testimony before a federal grand jury in Washington DC.
is not about me. It is about the US Justice Department and Government – that
they feel that they can just take people’s rights away, sweep them off of the
streets, hold them in the name of being a material witness and not charging
them … indefinitely.”
detention prompted national and international condemnation. Protests against
her arrest were held in twenty four cities in across the world.
gathered in front of the Swiss Embassy in Tehran, which oversees US interests
in Iran, Ankara, London, New York City, Copenhagen, Toronto, Sydney and at
least 16 other cities to support Marzieh Hashemi. Also a campaign to #FreeMarziehHashemi
was launched on social media to support her
freedom and Muslim-advocacy groups including the Committee to Protect
Journalists and the Council on American-Islamic Relations also condemned her
concerns were magnified when Hashemi’s family alleged that while in custody,
Hashemi, an observant Muslim, was denied halal food and had her hijab forcibly
confirmed she was made to remove her hijab during booking for her mug shot and
while walking in common areas of the detention facility.
said I want a scarf on,” Hashemi said. “I’m a Muslim woman, I have the right to
wear hijab. And I said [it’s] freedom of religion. What you’re doing is
also said she barely ate for the first three days, save for an apple given to
her by a corrections officer, while her request to be provided with halal food
I haven’t committed a crime and I’m not being charged with a crime why would I
feel [it] necessary to run?”
have not released an explanation for Hashemi’s detention but it appears related
to her primary residency being in Iran.
law allows the Government to arrest and hold “material witnesses” if a judge
agrees with prosecutors that the individual has information that is important
to a criminal proceeding and may flee if simply subpoenaed to appear in court.
denied that she constituted a flight risk and said her attorney unsuccessfully
motioned for the presiding judge to release her. Hashemi asked, “If I haven’t
committed a crime and I’m not being charged with a crime why would I feel [it]
necessary to run?”
Rights Watch’s (HRW) senior national security council, Laura Pitter, said that
one of the problems with material witness laws is that the warrants are “issued
in secret so we don’t know what they are based on”. And that appeals against
“the detention is often conducted in secret so we don’t know what the grounds
are for even using them in the first place or whether the process has been
fair,” added Pitter.
law’s usage in the federal system is currently uncommon. According to the
Washington Post, Hashemi’s case is the first such filed in federal court in
Washington this year, “and the court’s electronic docketing system indicates
only two such cases were filed last year. Both are under seal.”
other jurisdictions, usage is less rare. In Hashemi’s home city of New Orleans,
the district attorney requested more than 150 material witness warrants over an
eight-year period, many of which were filed against crime victims hesitant to
said she was not at liberty to discuss the exact nature of the case she was
detained to testify on, but said she was questioned in front of a grand jury on
four separate occasions, which was confirmed by disclosures made in a federal
said the case “had a lot to do with me being an American and where I live,
which is the Islamic Republic of Iran, and related to a job situation”.
so-called Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) have handed over more than a hundred
Iraqi members of the Daesh Takfiri terrorist group, who had been captured in
neighboring Syria, to Iraqi government forces.
spokesman for Iraq's Joint Operations Command, Brigadier General Yahya Rasoul,
told AFP on Thursday that Iraqi security forces had received 130 Iraqi Daesh
militants from the SDF.
used to fight in Iraq but when the battles were over they went to Syria where
they were captured by SDF forces during recent fighting,” he added.
al-Kaood, the head of the security department in Iraq's western province of
Anbar, also said the 130 Daesh Takfiris handed over were “wanted” by the
commander of Iraqi voluntary fighters from the pro-government Popular
Mobilization Units (PMU) – better known by the Arabic name Hashd al-Sha’abi –
said the extremists were all Iraqi nationals and were handed over to
authorities, including members of military intelligence.
groups will be handed over to Iraq, including families of the militants, the
commander, who declined to be named, said.
so-called Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said that around 150 Daesh
militants and their family members had been handed over to Iraq.
said the relatives were taken from the eastern Syrian village of Baghouz to
Iraq in trucks belonging to the US-led coalition and covered tightly with
spokesman Mustefa Bali, however, dismissed Iraq's claims. “We deny this
information part and parcel,” he said.
Observatory announced on Saturday that SDF forces had captured Daesh’s last
remaining enclave in eastern Syria.
group stated the last few hundred terrorists, many of them foreigners, had
surrendered in the past two days to the US-backed Kurdish-led forces. It said
some militants may still be hiding in underground tunnels.
President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and U.S. President Donald Trump discussed
Washington’s planned troop withdrawal from Syria in a phone call late Thursday.
two leaders agreed that the withdrawal of U.S. troops from Syria should be
carried out in line with common interests, stressing the need to support the
political process in the war-torn country, according to Turkish presidential
also reiterated their countries’ determination to fight all forms of terrorism.
also agreed to further enhance economic relations, setting a goal of $75
billion in bilateral trade.
White House said separately in a statement that Erdogan and Trump agreed to
continue coordinating on the creation of a potential safe zone in northern
also noted that Acting Defense Secretary Patrick Shanahan and Joint Chiefs of
Staff Chairman Joseph Dunford would host their Turkish counterparts within the
week for further talks.
has only just begun to emerge from a devastating conflict that began in early
2011 when the Bashar al-Assad regime cracked down on demonstrators with
years ago, Hoda Muthana left her home in Hoover, Alabama and embarked on a
journey to join Daesh's self-proclaimed caliphate.
there, she took the name Umm Jihad, or "Mother of Jihad," and
regularly used her social media accounts to stoke pro-Daesh sentiments, laud
the terror group and call on Muslim-Americans to carry out attacks against their
after being married to three Daesh fighters and giving birth to a son, Muthana,
who is now 24 years old, says the war and bloodshed she witnessed made her
realize her mistake and she wants to come home.
friends, children and the men I married dying changed me," Muthana said in
a letter to her lawyer, Hassan Shibly.
the U.S. administration says she is not a U.S. citizen and will not be allowed
back into the country, Shibly says her return could make for a powerful tool
against terrorism and radicalization.
of the things Hoda really wants to do is to be able to speak out and protect
others from those very same mistakes," he told Anadolu Agency.
think her going down the dark path that she went down, and being a witness to
how evil ISIS is, and then coming back to testify to the world how evil they
are can be very, very helpful in protecting others from making those same
mistakes," he added, using another name for Daesh.
to George Washington University's Program on Extremism, 60 Americans left the
U.S. to join Daesh in Iraq and Syria.
who want to return could become advocates against Daesh, since they have
firsthand experience in what happened there, according to David Malet,
Assistant Professor in the Department of Justice, Law and Criminology of the
School of Public Affairs at American University.
foreign fighters return with powerful stories of why others should not do what
they have done. If she were used in this way, Muthana would be a much more
credible spokesperson against ISIS than anyone in the Trump
administration," Malet told Anadolu Agency.
know that less than one-tenth of one percent of returnees have become involved
in domestic plots. My own research shows that most plots occur within the first
few months of return and that there has never been a long-term threat after
Donald Trump and his administration said Muthana would not be allowed back in
the country, calling her a "terrorist," while Shibly said she had
been manipulated by people online to brainwash her and that she did not have
full control of her social media accounts.
realizes that she had completely gone astray, that she was very ignorant and
arrogant and angry and she had lost her way. And she wants to make amends for
her mistakes and find a safe haven for her child to grow up in," he said.
argues that her U.S. birth qualifies her as a citizen, providing Anadolu Agency
with a photo of her birth certificate showing Muthana was born in New Jersey as
well as a letter from the U.S. mission to the UN saying her father was no
longer serving as a diplomat when she was born.
born to a foreign diplomatic officer is not automatically considered a U.S.
citizen at birth.
State Department, however, said the letter "only addresses" Ahmed Ali
Muthana's diplomatic privileges "during his reported length of
service" and fails to address when those "privileges and immunities
began and ended".
says the Trump administration is contradicting its own calls for other
countries to take back citizens caught in Syria and put them on trial.
administration is using the same tactics that the UK, Australia and others use
to argue that she is not a citizen because of her father's legal status. This
turnaround will discourage other countries from repatriating their citizens and
lead to longer-term problems."
is unclear whether Muthana will be allowed to return to the U.S. and face trial
for joining Daesh, and her legal status still remains a mystery.
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