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In addition to being required to practice Christianity behind closed doors, Christians in Raqqa must now follow 11 other conditions in order to keep the agreement with their Muslim overlords. Among those conditions are prohibitions on building new sanctuaries or restoring those damaged in the civil war, aiding any faction or government opposed to ISIL, and discouraging conversions to Islam from within the Christian community….

 

The Normalisation of Syria’s Tragedy
Diana Moukalled

And yet we find ourselves unable to resist this daily flogging of the soul. We have become like addicts who, while a small dose used to satisfy their craving, now cannot get their fix no matter how much they increase the dosage of their chosen poison. Our situation is just the same, as we find ourselves unmoved by everything going on around us……

 

Sindh: Year of Horror
Ambreen Agha

We were going shopping for our sister's wedding when my cousin suddenly stopped the car in the alley where our house was located. I saw two men standing at the entrance of the lane and a group of eight to ten people, including young men aged 17-18 years approaching us, loading their guns.... I had never seen this kind of ferocity on the streets in India... my cousin, whose place I was visiting in Karachi, pleaded to me to be quiet and not to get into any argument with them. He referred to them as Balochi gangsters and exclaimed, "These are Balochis and you should not utter a word, just surrender and give whatever you have." They held my two sisters at gunpoint and put a sharp knife on my chest, making it bleed. Each of us gave whatever possessions we had. My cousin lamented, "This is the drudgery of our daily lives here. We live in fear..."...

 

These voiceless people happen to be the families, who lost their near and dear ones to TTP’s brutalities. We have no right to make deals with TTP at the cost of the victims’ families, denying them their right to seek justice and get their victims honoured by bringing those, who killed their sisters, mothers, fathers and children to the book......

 

Many of the most significant rebel militias have explicitly and unequivocally rejected the legitimacy of both the SNC and the SMC, decrying them as exogenous tools of outside interests — this despite the massive and growing reliance of the militias themselves on foreign money, supplies and fighters. They have opted instead to form the so-called Islamic Front. Relations between various armed factions have since devolved into an open civil war…

 

Russia Deals With Rise in Terrorism Linked To Syria, Mideast
Dr. Vitaly Naumkin

The charitable foundation Al-Harmain, which was founded in Saudi Arabia in 1991 under the patronage of influential figures, was also banned in Russia. Representatives of this organization were also accused of recruiting believers to take part in the anti-Russian jihad in Chechnya. In those years, Arab missionaries frequently organized youth camps to propagandise radical Islam and jihadist ideas. Today, that practice has been discontinued. Of course, the authorities and the local clergy clearly understood that the foreign, and primarily Arab, teachers were bringing the seeds of aggression and hostility to local traditions….

 

In northeast Nigeria the barbaric Islamist Boko Haram slaughtered many teenage boys based on their lust for killing. Currently it is known that 29 teenage boys were brutally murdered by Boko Haram but some sources state that 42 individuals perished in the latest attack by this Islamist terrorist organization. It is nothing to do with poverty because Nigerians irrespective of faith or no faith face the same problems. However, how can northeast Nigeria progress with maniac killers within Boko Haram frequently slaughtering for the pure fun of it?...

 

The fighter holding the microphone asked a girl no older than 5, “What do you know about ISIS?” She quickly and shyly answered, “Raqqa.” The attendees laughed and then the fighter boasted, “Did you know that Raqqa, which is ruled by ISIS, has a larger area than the state of Kuwait?”….

 

The takeover of the Syrian, Iraqi and Lebanese state by pro-Iranian forces paints a complex and dark picture for the future. If the Sunnis continue to be excluded from decision-making, more and more young men will opt for the black flag of al-Qaeda instead. This is the shared predicament that Syria, Iraq and Lebanon face....

 

Pakistan Mustn’t Surrender In front of Talibans
Haider Ali Hussein Mullick

Pakistan’s luck has run out. You can sway an insurgent to fight “injustice” in a neighbouring country like India, but once his leaders feel they have impunity, you can’t stop them from acting independently or exploiting local grievances. These days, as much as the Pakistani Taliban hates Indians and Americans, they hate other Pakistanis more. Acting in tandem with Al Qaeda, the Haqqani network, Lashkar-e-Taiba and other lethal groups, the Pakistani Taliban has slaughtered Shiites, Christians, Indians, Americans, Afghans and polio prevention workers…

 
FATA: Pernicious Policies
Tushar Ranjan Mohanty

FATA: Pernicious Policies
Tushar Ranjan Mohanty

Despite sometimes dramatic declines in many parameters of terrorist violence in FATA, there appears to be little hope of a foreseeable end to the region's misfortunes, given Islamabad's reluctance to sustain operations against the entrenched terrorist networks there. At the heart of the problem is the Government and the Army's perverse perception of the 'national interest', which has sought to keep terrorist proxies alive, even while they attempt to contain the domestic blowback of this pernicious policy....

 

Mightier nations like the United States, India, Russia and the United Kingdom will vouch that the war against terror is easier said than done. It requires much more than lip service. The bad news last week wasn't that a quirky al-Qaeda video surfaced to give us a rude awakening. Rather the bad news was how our politicians and intellectuals were fishing in muddy water, using a time of supposedly national distress to score political points….

 

The Islamic Grinch Who Stole the Olympics
Nonie Darwish

As for Muslim female athletes, just take a look at the female Saudi team trying to compete while wearing their Islamic garb. While Islamic nations claim to be close brothers, female Muslim teams hardly ever compete amongst themselves within Islamic countries. Why then do Muslim countries even bother to participate with a female team in the Olympics if female sports are discouraged and are contrary to Islamic cultural norms…

 

“Saudi Association for Civil and Political Rights, known in Arabic by its acronym HASEM, said in a statement . . . that Saudi rulers are responsible for encouraging extremist ideology in the kingdom in exchange for retaining power and support from the religious establishment. The group said the kingdom secretly tolerates citizens fighting abroad to keep them from carrying out attacks in Saudi Arabia.”….

 

Taliban Peace Talks How To Make Sense, Out Of Nonsense?
Dr. Mahboob A. Khawaja

Pakistan lives in self-inflicted turmoil of political and military intrigues- all deceiving all – all trying to gain their footing in the powerhouse either by attracting foreign interventions or creating catastrophic political up hazards to dismantle the fabric of the originality of the Muslim nation….

 

Khyber Pakhtunkhwa: Rising Graph of Violence
Tushar Ranjan Mohanty

A significant proportion of the civilians were targeted in sectarian violence. There were 10 sectarian attacks, resulting in 58 deaths and 46 injuries, in 2012. 2013 recorded nine such incidents accounting for 51 deaths and 86 injuries.....

 

Jihadis Have Treated Pakistan’s Citizens and Its Security Forces like Clay Pigeons
Irfan Husain

Unable to believe their luck, the jihadis have treated Pakistan’s citizens and its security forces like clay pigeons, slaughtering tens of thousands, and grabbing control of wide swathes of territory. In the face of this bloody campaign, the state has responded with all the ferocity of a rabbit frozen in the headlights of an oncoming car....

 
Beard or Bread?
Talimand Khan

Taliban vigil squads beat up women in the streets and even dragged them out of their houses saying there was smoke billowing from their houses in the morning in the month of Ramzan. In the name of quick justice, both in Afghanistan and in Swat, their local commanders (mostly illiterate) were acting as magistrates, police and judges without any checks and balances. Most of their actions were motivated by personal vengeance…..

 

The Paradoxes of Negotiating With Taliban
Imtiaz Gul

Private TV channels provide these Taliban apologists with hours of exposure every day, enabling them to resonate what the TTP has thus far been saying only through fax and email or video messages. Isn’t the entire process like the Shin Fen talking to the Irish Republican Army for a peace deal in Ireland on behalf of the United Kingdom, or Palestinian Al Fatah representing Israel for peace talks with Hamas?....

 

Peace Talks With the Taliban: War or Peace
Najam Sethi

So these are the facts: breakaway Taliban groups, continuing terrorist attacks, unpredictable drones, unacceptable demands, increasing confusion and rifts among Taliban committee members. Come March, we should dig in for targeted strikes by the army and a Taliban backlash in the Punjab….

Pakistan's Moral Dilemma: To Talk or Not To Talk
Malik Ayub Sumbal

It seems increasingly clear that the conditions offered by the Taliban for a settlement might prove as exaggerated as the ones offered in Swat a few years back. And the military might not stay on-board for very long. On the other hand, the Taliban could utilise the time to gather more force and win over more people in Pakistan to pose an even greater threat. A media presence could further empower the TTP to bring out its own model of government......

Washington Finally Discovered Who’s behind Al-Qaeda
Abdulrahman al-Rashed

The U.S. Treasury dropped a bomb when it announced a series of sanctions against Iran for its involvement in activities carried out in Syria by al-Qaeda, its military wing Jabhat al-Nusra and its representative Yassine al-Souri. The U.S. Treasury exposed how funding by Kuwaiti fools is being delivered to al-Souri in Iran and transferred on to Syria. If most Sunni Muslims realised the truth about al-Qaeda and that it is linked to Iran, it would quickly collapse….

The Mainstreaming Of Militancy in Pakistan
Kamila Hyat

But the fact is that people who oppose the law of the land, who publicly say it should be overthrown, have today once more been pulled into the mainstream, enabled to address gatherings. The process seems to have gained pace in recent months – and in this there has to be a link to government policy. The argument goes that the ambiguity we have been seeing has given the Taliban space to re-organise, to stage more attacks and to speak to the government from a position of strength....

 

The Pipe Dream of Peace with Taliban
Khaled Ahmed

 Almost all religious organisations — most of them with street muscle and some clearly aligned with the TTP — are convinced that Sharia is not in force, and therefore the Taliban demand for dismantling the modern state is justified. An important presence on the negotiating panel appointed by the Taliban, the Jamaat-e-Islami, has however decided not to support the Taliban’s rejection of the current constitution....

 

Militant Leaders of All Hues Are Resurfacing To Assert Themselves and Revive the Jihad Industry
Zahid Hussain

What our political leadership does not realise is that conceding their retrogressive ideology would certainly inflame religious tensions and even lead to sectarian civil war in the country. As the state loses control, militant leaders of all hues are resurfacing to assert themselves and revive the jihad industry. This culture of militancy has to be rolled back before it is too late……

 
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