Google Bans App That Featured An Introduction Of Islam By
Qatar-Based Yusuf Al-Qaradawi, Regarded As The Spiritual Head Of The Muslim
Teaches Students about Love and Marriage in Attempt to Curb Divorce
Prince Loses $350 Millions and 5 of His Wives in 6 Hours at the Casino
above All’: Muslim Man Breaks Fast To Donate Blood to Hindu Patient
Starts To Distance Itself from Militant Outfits
Parliament Designates the Muslim Brotherhood as a Terrorist Organization
Follows US Congresswoman Rashida Tlaib’s Holocaust Remarks
Taliban Chief Negotiator: 'US on Verge of Defeat'
Khamenei Says ‘There Is Not Going To Be Any War’ With The US
Bans App That Features Introduction from Muslim Brotherhood’s Al-Qaradawi
Ayman Al Zawahiri: Where Has The Al Qaeda Leader Been Hiding For 18 Years?
Arabia Says Oil Facilities Attacked By Houthis in 'Act Of Terrorism'
civilians killed, 12 IS militants arrested in Iraq
Al-Sham's Ringleader Al-Jolani Calls on Terrorist Groups for Help to Block
Syrian Army Advances in Hama
president urges ‘sacrifice’ as budget cuts debated
PM hopes tensions between Washington, Tehran will eventually subside
above All’: Muslim Man Breaks Fast To Donate Blood To Hindu Patient
draws attention to global convention on terrorism as UNGA prepares to elect new
Khan should ensure terror wiped out completely from Pakistan: Rajnath Singh
Swaraj holds talks with Iranian Foreign Minister
Orders Release of Cleric Who Led Asia Bibi Protests
Underway To Link Seminaries to Education Ministry
chief fears more loans will be taken from int’l lenders by pawing institutions
Least Three Police Killed In Taliban Attack in Pakistan's Quetta
imposes visa restrictions on three senior Pakistani officials
requisitions NA session to discuss terrorism, IMF deal
Army, Protesters Agree On Three-Year Transition: General
National Army Accuses Turkey of Supporting Terrorism
army says 54 people rescued from Boko Haram
bomb blast kills 3 Nigeria soldiers near Damboa
kill four at Catholic parade in Burkina Faso: Church
officer, five protesters killed following clashes in Sudan capital Khartoum
killed, 15 injured in anti-regime protests in Sudan
House Reviews Military Plans Against Iran, in Echoes of Iraq War
says NYT story on 120,000 troops ‘fake news’ but can send ‘hell lot more’
fundamentally do not seek a war with Iran,’ says US state secy
denies US plan to send 120,000 troops to counter Iran
envoy to UN: Reports about US Mideast deployment plan mere ‘psychological
Lanka Urged To Stem Post-Terror Revenge
Lanka police arrest 23 for targeting Muslims after Easter bombings
are dying’: UN official urges aid access for Myanmar’s Rakhine state
rock Afghanistan’s Jalalabad, killing 3, wounding 20
and hope in Colombo over church schools reopening after attacks
Too ‘Great’ To Be Intimidated, Says President Rouhani
Set To Mark Nakba Day with Mass Rallies against Israel, US
Report Shows How a Pro-Iran Group Spread Fake News Online
warring parties hold fresh talks as Houthis withdraw from Hodeidah
mosque in US suffers serious damage after anti-Muslim arson attack in Ramadan
must have found gap in Saudi defenses: Analyst
halts pumping on major oil pipeline after Yemeni drone strike
detains 2 militants trying to enter parliament
Islamist Party PAS Issues Gag Order as Embarrassing 'Bribery' Scandal Hits Home
Launches Master Plan for Sharia Economy
Plot in Malaysia against Temples and Churches Thwarted, Two Rohingyas among the
Church Serves Iftar To Mark Bombing Anniversary
Linked To Terrorist Plots Arrested In Malaysia
police arrest 4 linked to ISIS bomb plot
culture against Islamic principles but Malaysia doesn’t kill gays, deputy
minister tells George Clooney
and Macron To Host World Leaders In Paris For Summit On Online Extremism
Islamophobic Far-Right Figure To Face Fresh Charges
wants to meet Libya’s Haftar to push ceasefire: French foreign minister
calls for Libya ceasefire, warns of threat to security
FM: Paris Considers Mechanism to Try Foreign ISIS Militants
intelligence agency warns of 'Islamic State' attacks
pledges action against PKK terror group
by New Age Islam News Bureau
Google has banned from its online store a free-to-download app that featured an
introduction written by Qatar-based Yusuf Al-Qaradawi, regarded as the
spiritual head of the Muslim Brotherhood.
Fatwa App, developed by the European Council for Fatwa and Research (ECFR),
offers users a simple and concise guide “to enable the European Muslims to
adhere to the regulations and manners of Islam and to fulfill their duties as
Muslim citizens, while taking care of the legal, customary and cultural
specificities of European societies.”
ECFR, based in Dublin, launched the app last month ahead of Ramadan. The app
is, however, still available on Apple’s App Store when Arab News accessed the
the introduction to the app, the Egyptian-born cleric makes anti-Semitic
references while discussing previous fatwas, or rulings regarding Islamic law.
Al-Qaradawi, who has been residing in Qatar since 1961, was banned from the UK
and France for extolling extremist views.
we can’t comment on individual apps, we’ll take swift action against any apps
that break our policies once we’ve been made aware of them, including those
that contain hate speech,” a Google spokesperson told Arab News.
Arabia, UAE, Bahrain and Egypt have placed Al-Qaradawi in the terror list for
his support of the Muslim Brotherhood and espousal of violence across the
Middle East. The US is considering the designation of the Muslim Brotherhood as
a terrorist organization, a move that would impose economic and travel
sanctions against the Islamist political group.
has justified suicide bombings, especially in Palestine – even describing
martyrdom as a higher form of jihad in his website; was openly hostile against
Jews as a community and has issued religious edicts that demean women.
one of his declarations against the Jews, Al-Qaradawi said on Al-Jazeera Arabic
in January 2009: “Oh God, take Your enemies, the enemies of Islam … Oh God,
take the treacherous Jewish aggressors … Oh God, count their numbers, slay them
one by one and spare none.”
Teaches Students About Love And Marriage In Attempt To Curb Divorce
a recent class at Cairo University, students laughed as they watched a skit
acted out by their peers about a married couple. The husband came home from work
and asked his wife, who was sweeping the floor, why dinner wasn’t ready.
pick up the kids and I go to work ... Am I neglecting something because the
food is still on the stove?” the wife asked, to which the husband responded:
“The apartment looks like a rubbish dump.”
skit was part of a new government project called Mawadda, which offers lessons
to university students about how to pick the right partner and how to handle
conflicts in marriage.
goal is to prevent divorce after the number of divorces reached more than
198,000 in 2017, a 3.2% increase from the year before.
meaning affection, is still in a trial phase, but the goal is to target 800,000
young people yearly starting 2020 and to eventually make it mandatory for
university students to take a class before graduating.
watching the skit, some students and the teacher pointed out that the husband
should carry out more household tasks.
not her obligation to do all that,” said Salah Ahmed, the teacher, adding that
the Prophet Mohammad helped his wife with all tasks and his example should be
he also said the wife should have been more understanding and tried to look
good for her husband instead of welcoming him while sweeping the floor.
Gosef, a 23-year-old student who attended the class with her fiancé, said she
worries that Egypt’s economic hardships could harm her marriage. The couple
will not be able to rely on one income so she would be forced to work, which
could lead to arguments similar to the one in the skit, she said.
think I won’t be able to take care of our home well enough,” she said.
lessons will be accompanied by YouTube videos, a radio program and educational
plays. The church and Egypt’s top Sunni Muslim authority, Al-Azhar, are
we want to solve the problem from the root we need to target people before they
get married,” said Amr Othman, manager of Mawadda at the Social Solidarity
Ministry. He added that there’s a correlation in Egypt between divorce and
problems such as child homelessness and drug addiction.
a youth conference in July, President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi said divorce and
separation meant that millions of Egyptian children were living without one of
allows men to end their marriages verbally, only by telling their wives they
are divorcing them. Sisi has said he wants to see an end to this practice in
Egypt because the divorce rate is too high. The Mawadda project was launched in
response to Sisi’s concerns, officials said.
typifies some of Sisi’s efforts to drive social change.
is patriarchal and speaks to Egyptians as if he was their father,” Barak Barfi,
research fellow at New America, a think tank based in Washington, said of Sisi.
“It (Mawadda) reflects his belief that transformation can be instituted from
the top rather than from below at the grass roots level.”
al-Hosseiny, 26, who played the role of the husband in the skit, said he hoped
to get married in the near future.
also worries financial difficulties might lead to arguments between him and his
might cause problems after I marry is external pressure,” he said.
added: “If there are money issues in terms of affording school fees and food…
all that affects my mental state.”
Prince Loses $350 Millions And 5 Of His Wives In 6 Hours At The Casino
EL SHEIKH, EGYPT | A Saudi prince lost 1.350 Billion Riyals ($359 Million) in
six hours as well as five of his nine wives while playing poker at the casino.
Majed bin Abdullah bin Abdulaziz Al Saud is well-known around the world for
both his drug and gambling habits, but his latest betting frenzy is quite
exceptional even for him.
the week at the renowned Sinai Grand Casino, the Prince spent six hours at the
“unlimited stakes” poker table and had an incredible losing streak.
one evening, he lost hundreds of millions of dollars and was even forced to
give up five of his spouses to cover part of his debt.
to the director of the casino, Ali Shamoon, the prince pawned his wives in
exchange for $25M in credit and left them there after he lost.
or selling women is rather rare practice but it is still legal in several
Middle Eastern countries.
high profile of these particular women appears to embarrass both the Sinai
Grand Casino and the Egyptian government, however, and a diplomatic solution
remains quite probable.
is still unclear what will happen to the Prince’s wives and if they will be
able to return to Saudi Arabia, and most experts believe that other members of
the Saudi Royal family could buy them back discretely over the next few weeks.
not, they will likely be sold at auction in a few months, probably in Yemen or
isn’t the first time that Prince Majed bin Abdullah bin Abdulaziz Al Saud
attracts attention for bad reasons.
2015, the Saudi Arabian prince was accused of a having sexual relationship with
a male aide, taking cocaine and threatening to kill women who refused his
advances – as well as sexually assaulting a maid.
few days after the facts were revealed by the media, Los Angeles County
prosecutors announced that they would not be filing charges against the prince
and he was allowed to leave the country.
time, however, the prince is believed to have lost the vast majority of his
fortune, so he may finally calm down and adopt a more conservative lifestyle.
Muslims around the world observe the holy month of Ramzan, a man in Assam broke
his fast to donate blood to a Hindu man. Twenty-six-year-old Panaulla Ahmad
from Mangaldoi district decided to break his fast to help a patient in dire
need of blood.
after his ‘sehri’ (pre-dawn meal) recently, Ahmad noticed his roommate Tapash
Bhagawati was worried about something. Bhagawati, who is part of the Team
Humanity — an all-India organisation that links blood donors to patients, had
received a call the previous night about a patient who needed two units of O-positive
blood. The Assam chapter is headquartered in Jorhat and has a network of 200
active workers, 90000 members and 25,000 regular donors. However, despite a
rigorous search and online appeals, Dhemaji district’s resident Rajan Gogoi’s
family failed to procure donors.
5th, I got a call requesting blood. Next morning, I couldn’t find any donors —
as I was making numerous calls, my roommate Panaullah walked in. Since he was
observing Roza, I naturally did not ask him,” Bhagawati told indianexpress.com.
few minutes later, Panaullah offered to donate the blood himself seeing there
were no donors available. Both Ahmad and Bhagwati work at Guwahati’s Swagat
Super Speciality Surgical Hospital and immediately rushed to another hospital
where Gogoi was admitted.
made a few calls to his hometown in Sipajhar to ask village elders if it was
okay break the fast. He got varied responses but finally, he decided to go
ahead and donate,” Bhagawati added.
is a religious belief we choose to follow. My decision came with the
realisation that I could always do Roza the next day, but today was the only
chance I had to save a person. So I chose to save him,” Panaullah told
of his friend’s selfless act, 22-year-old Bhagwati said, “I am very proud to
have a friend like Panaullah. He chose humanity over religion.”
photo of the two friends was shared on Facebook by a page and it quickly went
viral. The page urged others to donate blood regularly just like the duo.
starts to distance itself from militant outfits
Madrassas, or religious seminaries, have long been considered as institutions
responsible for the spread of religious extremism in Pakistan. Several attempts
were made by successive governments since the country was ruled by military
dictator Pervez Musharraf to bring these Islamic schools under the ambit of the
government, but all such efforts were in vain.
mushrooming of madrassas and their radicalisation in Pakistan started in the
1980s. It was the brainchild of former military dictator General Zia-ul-Haq.
With the financial backing of Saudi Arabia and the US, Haq and his spy network,
Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI), established training and arming centres for
thousands of mujahideen fighting Soviet forces in Afghanistan.
the Soviet withdrawal from Afghanistan and its formal disintegration, the
seminaries that were formed to run jihadist training camps were tolerated by
the Pakistani state for strategic reasons — to use jihad as an instrument of
influence in Afghanistan and Kashmir.
idea to reform seminaries and reverse the policy of his predecessor was first
conceived by Musharraf after the US invasion of Afghanistan in the wake of a
series of massive terrorist attacks by Al Qaeda on US soil on September 11,
Musharraf had banned scores of militant outfits operating from Pakistan, he had
failed to take any drastic step to restructure the madrassas.
January 2015, after a terrorist attack on an army-run school in Peshawar that
left more than 140 people dead, mostly students, the military and all political
parties had finalised a 20-point action plan, known as the National Action Plan
(NAP), a policy aimed at elimination of terrorism and extremism. Some proposals
related to the military, like military offensives, the establishment of
military courts and capital punishment for those convicted in cases of
terrorism, were implemented. But madrassa reform, one of the most important
parts of the NAP, remained ignored.
on the NAP proposal related to action against extremist elements was witnessed
earlier this year when Pakistan, confronted with a deepened economic crisis and
pressure from global powers, had banned the Jamaat-ud-Dawah (JuD) and its welfare
wing, Falah-e-Insaniat Foundation (FIF), the two organisations headed by Hafiz
Saeed, the alleged mastermind of the 2008 Mumbai terror attacks. Since the
designation of JuD and FIF as proscribed groups, the government had clamped
down on its facilities and sealed its seminaries, besides taking administrative
control of its pharmacies, health units, schools and ambulances across the
government has arrested dozens of our workers to please India and the US.
Thousands of our workers have become jobless since we can’t pay them salaries.
The government has choked all means of our earnings, we are barred from raising
funds to continue our welfare activities,” a senior JuD leader told TOI on
condition of anonymity.
acceptance of responsibility for the February 2019 suicide attack on Indian
troops in Pulwama, Kashmir, by the Jaish-eMuhammed (JeM), a Pakistan-based
outfit, had further intensified pressure on Pakistan.
believe the announcement by Islamabad that it will introduce “madrassa reforms”
and disassociate itself from banned organisations could be the way forward to
convincing the international community that the country was serious about tackling
terrorism and religious extremism.
seems Pakistan is now serious about cutting back its connections with
hardliners and their outfits due to compulsions. It may not be in accordance
with the wishes of Islamabad but it has no other option. Even friends of
Pakistan, like China and the Gulf countries, aren’t supporting Islamabad’s
design of harbouring militants,” said Nazr ul Islam, a Pakistani journalist
working on militancy in the region.
to official figures, Pakistan currently has 30,000 registered madrassas
attended by approximately 2.5 million students. There are also believed to be
thousands more that are unregistered, including single-room schools with a
handful of students studying the Quran. All members of militant groups were
groomed, trained and indoctrinated in some of these schools which are
responsible for promoting violent extremism and maintaining ties to
transnational terrorist networks.
year, Pakistan has taken some action indicating that the country is gradually
distancing itself from the ideology of extremists and hatemongers. Just last
week Islamabad had banned at least 11 groups for having links to the JuD and
Islamabad would only reluctantly go against some small outfits or individuals
when pressured but now it is acting against the “untouchables” — JeM, JuD, FIF
and groups linked to them.
transformation can be seen in other areas as well. Pakistan had witnessed
extreme violence last year after the Supreme Court had ordered the release of
Aasia Bibi, a Christian woman who had spent nearly a decade on death row for a
false blasphemy accusation. There was not a single protest anywhere in Pakistan
when she left the country for Canada last week.
parliament designates the Muslim Brotherhood as a terrorist organization
formerly- Tobruk- based Libyan parliament on Tuesday classified the Muslim
Brotherhood as a terrorist organization.
decision came after the measure was passed with a majority vote.
Defense and Security Committee member in parliament, Tarek al-Jaroushi, said
that the Libyan National Army (LNA) has evidence of Muslim Brotherhood leaders
residing between Turkey and Qatar.
statement on the Libyan parliament’s website revealed that legal action would
be taken against a Muslim Brotherhood member Mohamed Margham who, in a
recording which was handed to the National Defense and Security Committee,
demanded Turkish military intervention in Libya.
follows US Congresswoman Rashida Tlaib’s Holocaust remarks
President Donald Trump on Monday entered the swirling debate over a US
Congresswoman’s comments regarding the Holocaust that Republicans have
condemned as anti-Semitic.
uproar began last week when Rashida Tlaib, a freshman congresswoman in the
House of Representatives whose parents are Palestinian immigrants, said in an
interview that she finds “a kind of calming feeling,” in the fact that
Palestinians were involved in creating “a safe haven for Jews.”
a kind of a calming feeling, I always tell folks, when I think of the Holocaust
and the tragedy of the Holocaust, and the fact that it was my ancestors -
Palestinians - who lost their land and some lost their lives,” she told Yahoo’s
“Skullduggery” podcast on Friday.
of it was in the name of trying to create a safe haven for Jews, post-the
Holocaust, post-the tragedy and the horrific persecution of Jews across the
world at that time,” she said, adding, “I love the fact that it was my
ancestors that provided that.”
laid in to Tlaib, saying the congresswoman “obviously has tremendous hatred of
Israel and the Jewish people. Can you imagine what would happen if I ever said
what she said, and says?”
Rep. Tlaib is being slammed for her horrible and highly insensitive statement
on the Holocaust. She obviously has tremendous hatred of Israel and the Jewish
people. Can you imagine what would happen if I ever said what she said, and
PM - May 13, 2019
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people are talking about this
House Republican Liz Cheney also seized on the remarks, saying they represented
“vile anti-Semitism” and called on the House’s Democratic leadership to take
must cross the line, even for them,” she tweeted.
said on Twitter her remarks were taken out of context and that “All of you who
are trying to silence me will fail miserably.”
was backed up by Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi, who said “Republicans’
desperate attempts to smear (Tlaib) & misrepresent her comments are
outrageous,” adding that Trump and Republicans needed to apologize.
Rosenberg, a writer for the online Jewish magazine Tablet, said Tlaib’s
comments were historically inaccurate but not anti-Semitic.
said she got a ‘calming feeling’ NOT about the Holocaust, but about how
Palestinians gave refuge to Jews from it. This is ahistorical,” he wrote on
Twitter, “but it isn’t anti-Semitic.”
The Arc, a progressive Jewish association, also defended the congresswoman.
attacks on Rashida Tlaib are vile & baseless. She did not minimize the
tragedy of the Holocaust,” the group tweeted.
The Arc added: “Shame on GOP leadership for weaponizing antisemitism &
Jewish trauma to attack progressive leaders of color and push Islamophobia.”
accusations of anti-Semitism were leveled against Ilhan Omar, who after Tlaib
is the only other Muslim in Congress, after she said earlier this year that
American support for Israel was driven by money from a pro-Israel lobbying
Taliban’s chief negotiator says in newly released remarks that the United
States is on the verge of defeat and will quit Afghanistan soon “either of
their own accord, or they will be forced out.”
Mohammad Abbas Stanekzai made the assertions in an April 28 speech to an
“internal gathering” in Doha, Qatar, just two days before he led his team of
insurgent negotiators into fresh talks with U.S. interlocutors. Pro-Taliban
social media outlets Friday released video of Stanekzai's speech, one day after
the U.S. special reconciliation envoy, Zalmay Khalilzad, and his team wrapped
up the week-long negotiations with Taliban representatives in the Qatari
the speech, Stanekzai praised what he called the bravery of the Afghan nation
for defeating past British and Soviet invasions of their country and resisting
the current foreign military presence, referring to the U.S.-led coalition,
which is training and advising pro-government forces in battles against the
has helped us defeat three super powers in the last century. The third super
power that we are currently confronted with is also on the verge of defeat,
inshallah (God willing). You will soon hear they also will withdraw (from
Afghanistan) either of their own accord or they will be forced out,” Stanekzai
told the gathering.
US defense chief warning
Saturday, former U.S. Defense Chief Robert Gates said there is a "real
risk" that if American troops withdraw from Afghanistan before the Afghan
government is stable, the Taliban might retake control of the country.
told CBS News that the Afghan insurgent group still wants to rule over the
country. "The question is, can you negotiate an arrangement whereby the
Taliban agrees to operate under the Afghan Constitution, becomes a part of the
political process?" Gates, who served as the secretary of defense under
President Barack Obama from 2006 to 2011, spoke after the U.S. announced it was
transferring $1.5 billion designated for the war in Afghanistan to build a
Special Representative for Afghan Reconciliation Zalmay Khalilzad last week
tweeted that the sides are making "steady but slow progress on aspects of
the framework for ending the Afghan war." He said, however, that the
current pace of talks isn't sufficient "when so much conflict rages and
innocent people die."
need more and faster progress. Our proposal for all sides to reduce violence
also remains on the table," he said.
Taliban's Stanekzai said, “We pray to God they (U.S.) withdraw in a manner that
results in peace and stability in Afghanistan, and an Islamic system or Sharia
is established in Afghanistan, and there is no further bloodshed among
spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid told VOA the internal gathering was organized to
commemorate the day in April 1992 when Afghan Mujahideen (holy warriors)
overthrew the Communist regime in Kabul.
criticized Afghan President Ashraf Ghani and compared him as well as other pro-government
leaders with those who had supported Moscow during the Soviet occupation of
Afghanistan in the 1980s.
ill-fated Ghani did not participate in the jihad (holy resistance) against
Russians but he still takes credit and says, ‘I am an Afghan and we defeated
Russians,'" Stanekzai said, taking note that Ghani lived outside
Afghanistan throughout the Russian occupation of the country. Ghani returned to
Kabul after the U.S.-led military coalition ousted the Taliban from power in
2001 for sheltering the al-Qaida network.
will see that tomorrow when, God willing, Americans are defeated the same
Ashraf Ghani and the same [former president Hamid] Karzai, who are their [US]
stooges and were brought to power, they will again take pride in claiming we
are Afghans and we defeated the Americans,” said the Taliban chief negotiator.
mention of past CIA support
did not mention Washington’s support for the anti-Soviet Afghan resistance in
his nearly hour-long speech.
Central Intelligence Agency funded training camps that were set up in
neighboring Pakistan for Afghan Mujahideen who were waging resistance against
Soviet forces. The CIA also supplied modern weapons, including heat-seeking
U.S. stinger missiles, assistance that observers believe played a crucial role
in forcing Moscow to withdraw from Afghanistan.
ongoing peace dialogue between Washington and the Taliban started nearly one
year ago and both sides say they have prepared a preliminary draft agreement.
The proposed document exclusively focuses on how and when U.S. troops will
withdraw from Afghanistan in return for assurances the Taliban will not allow
transnational terrorists to use Afghan soil for attacks against other
Khalilzad, however, has linked a final agreement to a comprehensive cease-fire
by the Taliban and the insurgent group’s participation in an intra-Afghan
dialogue to permanently end decades of hostilities. The Afghan government has
been excluded from the talks, a move that has angered Ghani.
Taliban want Washington to agree to and announce a withdrawal plan. The
insurgent group says it will reject cease-fire calls and formal intra-Afghan
peace talks until all foreign troops leave the country. The insurgents have
dismissed the Afghan government as a product of an “American occupation” and
say that the administration has no decision-making authority.
Khamenei says ‘there is not going to be any war’ with the US
Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei said on Tuesday that “there is not going
to be any war” with the United States, his official website reported.
a speech to state officials, Khamenei said the showdown between Iran and the
United States was a test of resolve rather than a military encounter.
face-off is not military because there is not going to be any war. Neither we
nor them (the US) seek war. They know it will not be in their interest,” he said,
quoted on the Khamenei.ir website.
also tweeted on Tuesday saying that Iran’s definite option was resistance.
nation’s definite option is resistance against US and in this confrontation, US
will have to withdraw. This is not a military confrontation because no war is
to happen. We don’t seek a war nor do they. They know a war wouldn’t be
beneficial for them,” he said.
United States has strengthened its military presence in the region, including
deploying a number of strategic B-52 bombers in response to alleged Iranian
Ayman Al Zawahiri: Where has the Al Qaeda leader been hiding for 18 years?
alongside ISIS leader Abu Bakr Al Baghdadi in the deepest ranks of the
depraved, Al Qaeda’s chief Ayman Al Zawahiri is one of the two most wanted men
in the world – both have a $25 million U.S. bounty on their heads.
while much has been speculated about when it comes to the barbaric Iraqi man Al
Baghdadi, little is known about the Al Qaeda commander who has evaded his big
bounty since it was installed immediately following the September 11 attacks.
was a conspirator of the 9/11 attacks, and like other conspirators, will always
be wanted by the United States,” said Rita Katz, Executive Director of the SITE
Intelligence Group. “Zawahiri has framed himself more as the wiser alternative
to Baghdadi and ISIS, who he characterizes as naïve and irresponsible.”
who exactly is the elusive Zawahiri?
Zawahiri, 67, took the reins as Al Qaeda’s ruler after the Navy SEAL raid that
killed the group’s long-running mastermind, Usama bin Laden eight years
ago. He also comes with a long list of
pseudonyms ranging from Abu Mohammed, The Doctor, The Teacher and Abdul Qader
Abdul Aziz Abdul Moez Al Doctor to Abu Fatma, Abdel Muaz, Nur, Ustaz and
greying, white-turban wearing eye surgeon got his start as a teenage member of
Cairo’s Muslim Brotherhood, where he formed his own underground cell devoted to
establishing an “Islamist State” called Egyptian Islamic Jihad before going on
to medical school.
went on to climb the terrorist ranks in his early 30s after a religious visit
to Saudi Arabia in 1985, in which he soon merged his outfit with Usama bin
Laden’s fighting fleet and became his personal physician and adviser around
1986. In 1993, he is reported to have even traveled to California to raise
money for Afghan children wounded in the war with the Soviets.
the ensuing years, Zawahiri ordered such attacks as the 1995 bombing of the
Egyptian embassy in Islamabad, Pakistan and played a prominent part in the
coordinated series of 1998 U.S. embassy explosions in East Africa.
first wife and two of his six children were reported to have died in a U.S
airstrike in Afghanistan in late 2001.
the stunning ISIS rise some five years ago following a split from Al Qaeda,
Zawahiri came out to denounce the rival organization’s savagery – a strategic
bid not to alienate vast segments of the population opposed to the ISIS
Baghdadi is seemingly camera shy, having surfaced in a video recording last
month for just the second time since declaring himself the “caliph” in 2014,
Zawahiri is frequently featured on the propaganda small screen – flouting the
many forces trying unsuccessfully to track him down.
Friday, Al Qaeda – through its media branch Al-Sahab – released a video with
audio footage of Al-Zawahiri paying tribute to prominent jihadist Jalaluddin
Haqqani, who died of “poor health” last September. Five days earlier, on May 5,
Al-Sahab’s Telegram channel released a rambling 44-minute long Zawahiri message
stressing unity among Muslims and reminiscing about the bin Laden era.
month earlier on April 5, Al Qaeda unveiled its new Arabic-language magazine
One Ummah on Telegram and cautioned the “mujahedeen” to ward off internal
bickering, vowing that Al Qaeda would “correct” some mistakes made in the past
and was entering a “new phase” to regain trust. In February, Zawahiri’s video
starred him delivering a long-winded spiel about the failure of the 2011 Arab
uprisings to achieve their goals and depicting the U.S., Israel, Russia,
France, China, and the Hindus as their direst of enemies.
2014, he called for the bounce back of Al Qaeda in India.
where the heck is he hiding out?
intelligence on his present location remains varied. In early 2017, according
to U.S. sources, attention was put on Pakistan as the likely sanctuary.
recently, intelligence operatives both based in the United States and the
Middle East have pinpointed his locale to the ungoverned tribal areas of
Afghanistan, neighboring Pakistan. However, one high-ranking source also told
Fox News that Syria is also being combed as a high possibility.
most accounts he is in the Waziristan region,” said Steven Stalinsky, Executive
Director of the Middle East Media Research Institute (MEMRI) and author of
“American Traitor,” documenting the life of an American close to the elusive
Zawahiri, referring to the unruly mountainous terrain on the Pakistan side of
the Afghan border. “There have been numerous reports of sightings, and even of
his capture, but these are generally considered to be false alarms.”
recent times, Stalinsky observed, there has been next to no “jihadi chatter”
concerning his coordinates or the $25 million reward.
is number one on the Tier one hit list,” noted the insider. “As you know, it
has been proven that you can lay low in war zones. But he is definitely being
early 2016, the U.S. conducted a drone strike on Zawahiri’s confirmed location
in North Waziristan’s Shawal Valley in Pakistan, Newsweek reported, but he
managed to escape. A decade earlier, the U.S was reported to have launched an
airstrike on the Pakistani border village of Damadola, near Afghanistan –
acting on intelligence Zawahiri was bunkered down there, but he was not among
those killed. A year earlier, the NSA intercepted Al Qaeda communications bound
for him from a location in Baghdad to his dwellings traced to Pakistan.
2008, Pakistani officials said they raided an area in the country’s northwest,
but the capture attempt came up empty-handed.
though the world’s eyes have been fixed on the rise and fall of ISIS as the
world’s most dangerous terrorist outfit, experts and analysts caution that Al
Qaeda has been quietly curating a revived global game plan that will likely
prove far more resilient and lethal.
Qaeda is better known for the long game, waiting out time and seemingly just
looking on as ISIS rises and ultimately falls. So for the intelligence
community, silence isn’t a sign of terror receding. It is almost as if it is Al
Qaeda’s game plan,” said Raphael Gluck, founding partner of monitoring site
branches now range from the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM), the Arabian Peninsula
(AQAP), Indian Subcontinent (AQIS) and Egypt to Al-Shabaab in Somalia, Jama’at
Nusrat al-Islam wal-Muslimin (JNIM) in Mali and West Africa, and Hayat Tahir
al-Sham (HTS) in Syria. While the latter claimed in August 2016 to have cut
ties with the extremist outfit, the U.S. State Department deems it all much of
number of fighters loyal to Al Qaeda is believed to stand at at least 40,000.
Last year, Al Qaeda executed more than 315 attacks worldwide, according to The
Armed Conflict Location & Data Project (ACLED).
over the past few years, the aging Zawahiri has been slowly passing the baton
to the younger and likely savvier recruiter Hamza bin Laden, the about
30-year-old son of the dead terror honcho. Last week, the FBI’s Justice for
Rewards listed him as a wanted man with a $1 million premium of his own
role is being eclipsed by the rise of Osama bin Laden's son Hamza, who is
expected to take over the position of his late father,” added Lina Khatib, head
of the Middle East and North Africa Program at Chatham House. “Al Qaeda is
getting a new lifeline with the decline of ISIS and will use the military
defeat of ISIS to present itself to supporters as the more successful model of
Salafi jihadism. It is likely to expand its operations against Western targets
to prove that it is influential, but without resorting to the same
opportunistic tactics of ISIS.”
Arabia Says Oil Facilities Attacked By Houthis In 'Act Of Terrorism'
Seth J. Frantzman
Arabia claimed on Tuesday that Iran-backed Houthi rebel drones targeted their
oil pumping stations in what it called a "cowardly" attack two days
after Saudi oil tankers were sabotaged off the coast of the United Arab Emirates.
Energy Minister Khalid al-Falih confirmed on Tuesday that two oil pumping
stations for the East-West pipeline had been hit by explosive-laden drones,
calling the attack "an act of terrorism" that targeted global oil
said that Saudi oil output and exports for crude and refined products were
continuing without disruption, but that the state oil giant Aramco had halted
oil pumping in the pipeline while the damage was evaluated and the stations
were repaired, according to a statement carried by the state news agency SPA.
has been leading a coalition alongside the Yemen government against the
Iranian-backed Houthis. In many cases the Houthis have used Iranian technology
and support to create a ballistic missile and drone program to fight Saudi
on Tuesday morning, Al-Masirah TV claimed that the Houthis had carried out a
“major operation” against Saudi Arabia. The report was picked up by Iran’s
Tasnim news and also by Press TV.
sources told the TV station that drones were used in the attack. Reports said
that the drones sought to attack the area of Al-Assir which is about 100 km.
north of the Yemenite border. Missiles and UAVs were both used.
is not the first time the Houthis have used drones. Since 2017 reports have
indicated that Houthi drones are Iranian-made or based on Iranian designed. In
recent years Iran has sought to expand its drone arm, either copying captured
western drones or creating its own armed and unarmed models.
Houthis have been selected by Iran as a good place to test out the drone
capabilities against a western-backed army like the Saudis who use US and other
western equipment. An Iranian drone penetrated Israeli airspace in February of
2018 and was shot down. It is part of the wider regional contest between Iran,
its allies and Iran’s adversaries. Drones are a key component of this conflict.
May 13 (Xinhua) -- At least two civilians were killed in an attack by Islamic
State (IS) militants in Iraq's eastern province of Diyala, while Iraqi forces
arrested 12 IS militants in Iraq's northern province of Kirkuk, an official and
Iraqi military said on Monday.
the early morning, IS militants attacked a car near the city of Khanaqin, some
165 km northeast the Iraqi capital Baghdad, killing the driver and his son and
set fire to their car, Sameer Mohammed Nour, head of Khanaqin city council,
a force from the paramilitary Hashd Shaabi units rushed to the scene and
clashed with the attackers, leaving two Hashd Shaabi members wounded, Nour
said, adding that the security forces launched after the incident a search
operation looking for the extremist militants.
repeated military operations in Diyala, some IS militants are still hiding in
some rugged areas near the border with Iran, and in the sprawling areas
extending from the western part of the province to the Himreen mountain range
in the northern part of the province.
in Kirkuk province, an intelligence force dismantled an IS cell and arrested 12
militants who believed to be responsible for preparing hideouts and other
logistic services, according to a statement by the Iraqi Defense Ministry.
security situation in Iraq was dramatically improved after Iraqi security
forces fully defeated the extremist IS militants across the country late in
Syrian Army troopers backed by artillery and air force units engaged in heavy
clashes with Tahrir al-Sham terrorists in Northwestern Hana, taking control of
the villages of al-Tobeh, Sheikh Idriss, Jab Suleiman and Rasm al-Ahmar Farms,
Wadi Tal Havash to West of Kafar Naboudeh town.
Arabic-language Al-Watan newspaper, meantime, reported that as the Syrian Army
continues advances in Northern Hama, Al-Jolani has called on all terrorists to
go to contact lines with the Syrian Army in Northern Hama to defend Tahrir
al-Sham's remaining bases there.
the Ankara-backed National Liberation Front (NFL) has dispatched a number of
its terrorists together with heavy military equipment from Northern Aleppo to
the battlefronts with the Syrian Army in Northern Hama.
Jeish al-Izza and Tahrir al-Sham terrorists launched their attacks on
al-Hamamiat and Tal al-Malh in Northern Hama from their military positions in
the towns of Kafar Zita, al-Arabaeen and al-Zuka.
Syrian Army's ground and air forces conducted consecutive attacks on contact
lines and movements of the terrorists in the towns of al-Latameneh and Kafar
Zita, al-Arbaeen and Hasraya, killing tens of terrorists and destroying at
least nine of their military vehicles.
a relevant development last week, Al-Jolani admitted that his terrorist group
has lost its bases in Hama after people refrained from cooperating with them as
civilians and tribal leaders in Idlib are trying to hand over their regions to
the Syrian Army.
held a meeting with 50 representatives of different terrorist groups and some
media activists in Idlib on Friday, pro-militant sources said, adding that
during the meeting al-Jolani admitted to Syrian Army's control over two key
towns of Kafar Naboudeh and Qala al-Maziq and said that the two towns fell due
to weak backup and resistance of the residents of the towns against a
reinforcement of militants' positions there.
the sources underlined that the tribal leaders of the cities of Khan Sheikhoun,
Ma'arat al-Numan and several other towns are trying to hand over these regions
to the Syrian Army concurrent with the Syrian Army's advances in Northern
a relevant development in late April, Al-Jolani threatened other terrorist
groups to avoid handing over Syria's occupied territories to the Damascus Army.
held a meeting with eight senior commanders of other terrorist groups,
including Islamic Turkistani Party, Harasuddin and Jeish al-Izza, in Atmaeh
town near the border with Turkey, the Arabic-language service of the Russian
Sputnik News Agency quoted local sources in Idlib province as saying.
al-Sham's ringleader who attended the meeting under tight security measures
strongly warned commanders of other terrorist groups that they would be
regarded as traitors if they hand over any region under any agreement to the
Syrian Army, warning of Tahrir al-Sham's revenge and lethal blow.
al-Jolani also asked other terrorist commanders to put their militants on a
state of full alert and keep their bomb-laden suicide vehicles prepared for
who was attending his first meeting after two months, was accompanied by three
Turkish-speaking militants in the meeting with other notorious terrorist
was critically wounded in twin explosions in the Center of Idlib city in late
February and went into a state of coma.
of those injured in Idlib blasts was severely suffering from brain injury and
he was transferred to a government hospital in Antakia City in Hatay
region," Sputnik quoted a medical source in Turkey as saying.
Michel Aoun urged the Lebanese on Tuesday to end protests and make sacrifices
to rescue the country from financial crisis as ministers debate a draft state
budget expected to include spending cuts.
that the budget would include wage or pension cuts have sparked protests by
public sector workers, pointing to the minefield that Lebanon’s main parties
coalition government is seeking to finalize a budget that Prime Minister Saad
al-Hariri says may be the most austere in Lebanon’s history, trying to get
spending under control and rein in public debt.
Lebanon is going through a difficult economic, financial and social crisis ...
but it is transient,” Aoun told guests at a Ramadan iftar at the presidential
we do not all make sacrifices today and waive some of our privileges that we do
not have the luxury to preserve, we will lose them all,” he added.
pledged that suffering would be balanced between the rich and poor, and called
on the government to restore the people’s confidence.
us save ourselves, accept the sacrifices that are temporarily required, and
stop the sit-ins, strikes, demonstrations and paralysis of public and private
work sectors,” Aoun said.
has one of the heaviest public debt burdens in the world, equivalent to about
150% of GDP.
reforms are seen as more pressing than ever after years of low economic growth.
Prime Minister Adel Abdul Mahdi says he believes “things would end well”
between the United States and Iran despite growing tensions between the two
arch-enemies over Tehran’s nuclear program and its missile capabilities.
at a news conference in the Iraqi capital, Abdul Mahdi said Baghdad was
communicating regularly with Tehran and Washington.
hope that things will end well and there are indications from both parties that
things will end well and there is a real desire to find out outlets for this
crisis,” he pointed out.
on Tuesday, Leader of the Islamic Revolution Ayatollah Seyyed Ali Khamenei
ruled out the possibility of war between the United States and Iran despite
heightened tensions between the two sides, saying Washington knows engaging in
such a conflict would not be in its interest.
Leader further said any confrontation between the US and Iran would not be “a
military one,” and that “there was not going to be any war.”
Leader ruled out any negotiation with the US as long as Washington sticks with
its hostile approach against the Islamic Republic, saying Washington would be
attempting to undermine Iran’s “points of strength,” such as its defensive
power or its strategic regional influence, in any such interaction.
US President Donald Trump has rejected a New York Times report that American
officials are preparing a military plan to deploy up to 120,000 troops to the
Middle East to counter any threat by Iran.
has expressed support to Nigeria’s Ambassador to the UN Tijjani Muhammad-Bande
as the next president of the General Assembly and called him to make the body
more “action-oriented” to deal with the global scourge of terrorism.
current President of the General Assembly Maria Fernanda Espinosa presided
Monday over an informal interactive dialogue with Muhammad-Bande, nominated by
Nigeria, where the Member States got an opportunity to discuss his vision
statement and question him on his priorities and plans if elected as President
of the 74th session of the 193-member General Assembly.
dialogue aims to contribute to the transparency and inclusivity of the
selection process. India expressed support for the Nigerian Ambassador,
describing him a “great friend” and a “well-known son of Africa”, with
Permanent Representative to the UN Ambassador Syed Akbaruddin tweeting that
India is looking forward to Muhammad-Bande’s election by acclamation on June 4.
“India joins in support of this effort,” he said.
the interactive dialogue, Akbaruddin highlighted that in his vision statement,
Muhammad-Bande spoke about the issue of terrorism.
drew Muhammad-Bande’s attention to the long-pending global convention on
international terrorism and called for action in the UN body to adopt it,
emphasising that terrorism is “antithetical” to everything that the UN stands
is antithetical to everything that we here at the UN stand for. It is
antithetical to peace and security, to development and to human rights. Yet all
of us seem contented only to condemn terrorism and not do anything more,”
Akbaruddin said, underlining the need for the General Assembly to be more
“action-oriented rather than talk-oriented.”
Indian Ambassador asked his Nigerian counterpart what plans he has to make the
General Assembly more “action-oriented” to deal with the global scourge of
like to draw his attention to the Comprehensive Convention on International
Terrorism (CCIT). This is being lying with the General Assembly for years, in
fact for decades. Would we see any initiative by him on this important issue,”
proposed a draft document on the Comprehensive Convention on International
Terrorism (CCIT) at the UN in 1986 but it has not been implemented as there is
no unanimity on the definition of terrorism among the member states.
Nigerian diplomat replied that “there is nothing as urgent as dealing with
terrorism because what it has done, like my friend Syed stated, it goes
completely contrary, counter to all that this organization stands for.” He stressed the necessity for the
international community to really work as one, not only as UN but as Member
States to see “why we have to really continue to collaborate very deeply with
others in dealing with this matter.”
said the UN has many mechanisms and has created a whole office – the United
Nations Office of Counter-Terrorism – to focus efforts on countering terrorism.
He added that sometimes nations are not able to find “means of communicating”
on the issue because often the traditions of different countries stand in the
way “in a matter that is so urgent and everyday affects countries regardless of
region, size or economic circumstance.”
stressed that the office of the PGA will support the Secretary-General by
getting Heads of State and Government to really appreciate deeper the need and
importance of sharing information and the issue of efforts to deal with
education relating to countering extremism.
little headway in any action to adopt the CCIT, India is reviving discussion on
the Convention at the world organisation amidst increasing terror attacks on
places of worship across the globe. Earlier this month, India had given a
clarion call at the UN for strengthening efforts to adopt the long-pending
global convention on international terrorism.
call to adopt the CCIT came just a day after it won a massive victory in the
fight against terrorism with the designation of Jaish-e-Mohammad chief Masood
Azhar as a global terrorist under the 1267 Al Qaeda Sanctions Committee of the
UN Security Council. The blacklisting of the JeM chief came 10 years after
India first moved a proposal in the UN body to sanction him.
at a solemn commemorative event for victims of the Easter Sunday attacks in Sri
Lanka, Akbaruddin had said that as a tribute to the victims in Sri Lanka, “we
can all try and strengthen efforts to achieve that objective of a putting in
place a global legal framework to counter a global scourge.”
DELHI: Union home minister Rajnath Singh took a dim view of Pakistan Prime
Minister Imran Khan's remark that a win for Narendra Modi in the Lok Sabha
elections will revive hopes for Indo-Pak peace, saying he should instead ensure
that terrorism is wiped out completely from his country.
also said that India would extend all help to Pakistan in fighting terrorism if
it shows sincerity in eradicating the menace emanating from its soil.
during an interview to PTI on Sunday whether the recent statement by Khan that
it would be good for peace between India and Pakistan if BJP and Narendra Modi
returned to power showed he was a fan of the Indian Prime Minister, Singh said,
"Only he (Khan) can reply to that".
a brief pause, Singh smilingly said if Khan was so serious of wanting Modi to
return to power and normalize relations with India then he should first
announce that terrorism would neither be nurtured nor allowed to thrive in
Pakistan and take effective steps to stamp put terrorism.
should announce that terrorism will be wiped out completely from their country
and if need be, help of India can be taken. If such a statement comes from
Pakistan, we will believe that Imran Khan is really a Modi fan and wishes to
normalise relations with India," he said.
a question whether India would be willing to help Pakistan, Singh said,
"India will whole heartedly support such a step".
day before the first phase of polling for Lok Sabha elections on April 10, Khan
met with a group of foreign journalists for an interaction in Islamabad during
which he expressed the hope that India-Pakistan peace had a “better chance
BJP veteran also accused Congress of diluting India's stand on terrorism
emanating from Pakistan.
2004, (General Pervez) Musharraf had agreed for a statement that Pakistan's
soil will not be used for terrorism. A year later, during Congress rule a
statement was made by New Delhi that Pakistan is a victim of terrorism as
India...this was a blunder."
also defended PM Modi's decision to invite the then Pakistan Prime Minister
Nawaz Sharif for his swearing-in ceremony in May 2014 and also for making an
unscheduled visit to his home in Lahore Pakistan.
wanted to experiment but things did not work the way we wanted."
whether an invitation will again be extended to the Pakistani premier if the
NDA retains power, Singh said, "It's too early to say who will be called
and who will be kept away."
Balakot air strikes in February this year, Singh said the Congress should have
refrained from repeatedly questioning the government about the number of
terrorists killed in the attack.
Singh side-stepped a reply to a pointed question that the figure of 300
terrorists being killed was first stated by BJP chief Amit Shah.
he hastened to add, "Now see even a foreign journalist has said that
nearly 170 were killed."
was apparently referring to a claim by an Italian journalist earlier this month
that the Balakot air strike killed 130-170 Jaishe-Mohammed terrorists.
Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj Tuesday held “constructive” discussions with her
Iranian counterpart Javad Zarif on all bilateral issues of mutual interests.
The talks by the two foreign ministers came 12 days after the US ended
six-month-long exemptions from sanctions to India and seven other countries to
buy oil from Iran.
is learnt that the issue figured in the talks.
@SushmaSwaraj and Iranian Foreign Minister @JZarif held constructive
discussions on all bilateral issues of mutual interest. Good exchange of views
on the evolving regional situation, including Afghanistan,” External Affairs
Ministry Spokesperson Raveesh Kumar tweeted.
the exemptions expired on May 2, India said it will deal with the issue based
on three factors -- the country’s energy security, commercial consideration and
May last year, the US had brought back sanctions on Iran after withdrawing from
the Iran nuclear deal which was struck in 2015.
US had told India and other countries to cut oil imports from the Gulf nation
to “zero” by November 4 or face sanctions. However, Washington had granted a
six-month waiver from sanctions to eight countries, including India.
the world’s third biggest oil consumer, meets more than 80 per cent of its oil
needs through imports. Iran is its third largest supplier after Iraq and Saudi
Arabia and meets about 10 per cent of its total needs.
ties have been on a upswing in the last few years. Prime Minister Narendra Modi
visited Tehran in May 2016 with an aim to craft a strategic relationship with
Iran and expand India’s ties with West Asia.
the visit, India and Iran signed nearly a dozen agreements, centrepiece of
which was a deal on development of Chabahar port.
orders release of cleric who led Asia Bibi protests
A Pakistani court has ordered the release on bail of a hardline cleric who last
year paralysed the country by orchestrating violent protests against the
acquittal of Asia Bibi, a Christian accused of blasphemy, his organisation said
on Tuesday (May 14).
decision to free the firebrand cleric, Khadim Hussain Rizvi, came days after
Bibi left Pakistan after spending eight years on death row in a case which
spotlighted religious extremism in the conservative Muslim country.
is believed to have been reunited with her family in Canada.
was detained in November last year after police launched a crackdown on
hundreds of his supporters in Punjab province and the port city of Karachi.
had been charged with terrorism and sedition offences by the Pakistani
government, after he led violent protests to oppose the Supreme Court's
decision on Oct 31 to finally overturn Bibi's conviction and death sentence.
the Lahore High Court granted bail to Allama Khadim Hussain Rizvi," Pir
Ijaz Ashrafi, a spokesman for Rizvi's group Tehreek-Labaik Pakistan (TLP), said
in a video message posted on Twitter.
Lahore High Court official confirmed to AFP that the court had granted Rizvi
bail, and said he was expected to be released late Tuesday.
and the TLP held furious protests after the Supreme Court's decision to acquit
Bibi last year.
blocked major roads in protest, burning cars and buses, and leaving large
swathes of the country paralysed as they called for her execution.
group also called for mutiny in the armed forces and assassination of the
country's top judges for acquitting her.
government managed to defuse tensions by striking a deal that allowed another
review of Bibi's case, but when the TLP threatened to launch another protest
some weeks later Rizvi and other leaders were taken into custody as part of a
have been in detention since.
has technically been a free woman since the review of her case - also conducted
by the Supreme Court - was dismissed in January.
is believed that she was held in protective custody while awaiting an asylum
deal before she finally fled Pakistan less than a week ago. The US has said she
has been reunited with her family.
is a hugely inflammatory issue in Muslim-majority Pakistan, where even unproven
allegations of insulting Islam and Prophet Mohammed can lead to lynchings and
conviction stemmed from an incident in 2009 when she argued with Muslim
consistently denied the charges, and her case rallied international rights
groups, politicians and religious figures.
spent eight years on death row before the Supreme Court decision to free her.
underway to link seminaries to education ministry
As a part of government’s campaign to register seminaries across the country,
the Ministry for Federal Education and Professional Training has started taking
measures to link them with the ministry.
on Tuesday said the ministry had decided to set up 10 directorates across the
country for the registration of the madressahs. One directorate as an
overseeing authority would be established in the federal capital. A grade 21
officer would be hired as the director general to run the office of the federal
directorate of seminaries.
sources said at least four directors would be appointed for the department of
madressahs, including finance, registration and examinations.
(Dunya News) – Jamaat-e-Islami (JI) chief and Senator Sirajul Haq on Tuesday
expressed fear saying that more loans would be taken from international lenders
by pawing Pakistan s institutions, Dunya News reported.
to details, Senator Sirajul Haq said that all three major political parties –
Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI), Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) and
Pakistan Peoples’ Party (PPP) – are part of same system.
recently inked bailout package with International Monetary Fund (IMF), JI chief
went on saying that there would be dangerous consequences of bailout package
signed with global lender as unelected persons were negotiating and signing
these accords. "Masses are right who are considering the deal with global
lender as snare and iron collar of slavery," said Sirajul Haq.
"Nothing is being done to bring the $375billion placed abroad."
Least Three Police Killed In Taliban Attack In Pakistan's Quetta
least three police officers have been killed in a blast that apparently
targeted a police vehicle near a mosque in Quetta, the capital of Pakistan's
southwestern Balochistan Province, officials said.
Shahwani, a spokesman for the provincial government, told RFE/RL that at least
six people, including three more police officers, were wounded in the blast on
banned Tehrik-e Taliban Pakistan (TTP), also known as the Pakistani Taliban,
claimed responsibility for the explosion that police say was caused by an
improvised bomb rigged to a motorcycle.
attack comes amid high security during the Muslim holy month of Ramadan. The
police officers were deployed outside the Masjid al-Huda mosque to secure the
area during the special Ramadan evening prayers.
The US has imposed visa sanctions on three senior Pakistani interior ministry
officials following a row between the two countries over deportation of dozens
of Pakistanis in America for their visa overstay and other allegations.
Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi on Tuesday informed the National Assembly's
Standing Committee on Foreign Affairs about that visa curbs by the US.
officials who are facing the visa restrictions are an additional secretary and
a joint secretary of the interior ministry as well as the director general
passports, the Dawn newspaper reported.
sanctions on the officials have been put in place after a row between Pakistan
and America over deportation of dozens of Pakistanis, currently in the US,
because of visa overstay and other allegations, it said.
said the US authorities intended to deport more than 70 Pakistanis, but the
government had asked them to fulfil the legal requirements.
US put the restrictions on three officials that are said to be overseeing the
country's policy on accepting back nationals deported from other countries.
US has over the past 18 months deported over 100 Pakistanis, all of whom were
is the first time that Pakistani authorities have insisted on a verification of
the credentials of the deportees.
foreign minister, however, clarified that there were no visa restrictions by
the US government on Pakistani citizens in general.
The opposition parties on Tuesday submitted a request to Speaker Asad Qasier to
requisition a National Assembly session as early as possible.
request signed by 96 lawmakers was submitted by Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz
leaders Khurram Dastagir and Murtaza Javed Abbasi.
opposition in its request states that the NA session should discuss the rising
wave of terrorist activities, the IMF-Pakistan loan agreement and the alarming
rate of inflation.
policemen were martyred and 11 injured in a blast near a police van in Quetta
on May 15.
May 11, terrorists stormed a five-star hotel in Gwadar. Five people were
martyred including a Pakistan Navy soldier.
Lahore on May 8, 12 people including five policemen lost their lives when a
suicide bomber targeting an Elite Force police van outside Data Darbar.
International Monetary Fund (IMF) and Pakistan on May 12 reached an agreement
on a package worth $6 billion for a period of three years.
members criticised the deal and called on the government to present it in
consumer price inflation eased in April to 8.82 per cent on annual basis from
9.41 per cent in March, which was the highest level since November 2013, the
Bureau of Statistics said on May 2.
a month-on-month basis, prices increased by 1.26 per cent in April.
army, protesters agree on three-year transition: General
army rulers and protest leaders Wednesday agreed on a three-year transition
period for transferring power to a full civilian administration, a general
agreed on a transitional period of three years,” Lieutenant General Yasser
al-Atta, a member of the military council that took power after the ouster of
longtime leader Omar al-Bashir told reporters.
said a final agreement on the sharing of power, including the forming of the
next ruling body, the sovereign council, will be signed with the protest
movement, the Alliance for Freedom and Change, within 24 hours.
vow to our people that the agreement will be completed fully within 24 hours in
a way that it meets the people’s aspirations,” Atta said.
said of the three-year transitional period, the first six months will be
allocated to signing peace accords with rebels in the country’s war zones.
army generals had initially insisted on a two-year transition period, while the
protest leaders wanted four years.
also said that during the transitional period, the parliament will be composed
of 300 members, of which 67 percent will be from the Alliance for Freedom and
Change and the rest will be from other political groups.
Libyan National Army (LNA), commanded by Khalifa Haftar, accused Turkey of
supporting terrorism in Libya.
spokesman Ahmed al-Mismari said Sunday that Turkish President Recep Tayyip
Erdogan openly makes statements against the army, adding that Ankara is
actively supporting the militias, chaos and terrorist groups in Libya.
he stated that the militias of Government of National Accord chief Fayez
al-Sarraj have now resorted to using drones to attack LNA forces after they
lost several of their jets.
realize fully that cleansing Tripoli of militias means that Turkey will lose a
golden base that is compensating it for its losses in the international arena,”
he told a press conference in the eastern city of Benghazi.
also accused Turkey of supporting the militias in Misrata city, east of the
said that the Libyan Airlines planes were delivering weapons from Turkey to
the ground, he revealed that the LNA had reached the outskirts of Tripoli and
the militias were starting to collapse after their commanders were targeted in
the threat of ISIS, he explained that the terrorist group’s movement in the
southwest was aimed at distracting the LNA from its Tripoli operations.
Nigeria – The Nigerian army says it has rescued 54 women and children held
captive by the extremist group Boko Haram.
statement issued Monday by military spokesman Sagir Musa says troops rescued
the captives during a clearance operation over the weekend in Borno State.
military spokesman said the rescued persons consist of 29 women and 25
said Boko Haram fighters had fled the villages before troops arrived.
Haram frequently abducts women and children. The jihadist group began its
insurgency in northeastern Nigeria and now has expanded its reach to the
neighboring countries of Chad, Cameroon and Niger.
least three Nigerian soldiers, including an army commander, were killed on
Monday when their truck was struck by an improvised explosive device planted by
Boko Haram militants, military sources told AFP.
military vehicle hit the mine while patrolling in a three-vehicle convoy in
Damboa area of Borno state, two military sources said.
town, the headquarters of the Local Government Area, is around 85 km (53 miles)
southwest of Borno state capital Maiduguri.
145 Task Force Battalion lost its commanding officer, a lieutenant colonel, and
two soldiers after their vehicles stepped on an IED buried by Boko Haram
terrorists,” one military officer said.
soldiers sustained serious injuries,” said a second officer, adding that they
were evacuated by air to Maiduguri for medical care, he said.
officers did not want to be named as they had not been authorized to speak to
gun trucks and a Tata truck” were damaged in the explosion which occurred at
around 9:30 a.m. north of Damboa, between Mauli and Borgozo, Premium Times
reported. Reinforcements were sent to the area from Beni Sheikh.
Nigerian military has been operating in the wider area in recent days. Colonel
Sagir Musa on Sunday said that 117 Task Force Battalion and the Civilian Joint
Task Force militia cleared Mboa, Mboa-Kura, Yarchida, Bombula, Tshata and
Bamzir villages, near Chibok, around 30 km south of Damboa town.
is unclear which faction of Boko Haram was responsible for the attack, although
the one led by Abubakar Shekau more-frequently uses roadside bombs.
fighters from the Islamic State West Africa Province faction of Boko Haram
attacked a Nigeria military base in Sabon Gari near Biu, around 50 km southwest
of Damboa on April 26. ISIS claimed 10 soldiers were killed and another
captured. Three days later, security sources told AFP at least five soldiers
were killed and around 30 were missing.
jihadist group known as Boko Haram began its decade-long bloody insurgency in
northeastern Nigeria in 2009 but it has since spread into neighboring Niger,
Chad and Cameroon, prompting a regional military response.
Haram split into two factions in mid-2016. One, led by long-time leader
Abubakar Shekau, is notorious for suicide bombings and indiscriminate killings
of civilians. Shekau pledged allegiance to ISIS leader Abu Bakr Al-Baghdadi in
March 2015, but ISIS central only gives formal backing to the other faction,
which it calls Islamic State West Africa Province.
ISWAP faction, which largely focuses on attacking military and government
targets, was led by Abu Mus’ab Al-Barnawi, but in March, audio recordings
revealed that ISIS appointed Abu Abdullah Idris bin Umar, also known as Ibn
Umar al-Barnawi, as leader. ISIS has not yet made a public statement confirming
killed four Catholics in a religious procession in northern Burkina Faso a day
after a priest and five parishioners were murdered at mass, church officials
parade with a statue of the Virgin Mary was moving through the town of
Ouahigouya on Monday when "a group of terrorists intercepted the
procession, killing four worshippers and burning the statue," said a
spokesman for the Ouagadougou Cathedral.
to the Burkina Faso news agency AIB, the assailants stopped the procession.
"They let the minors go, executed four adults, and destroyed the
statue," it quoted a local person as saying.
Ouedraogo, president of the Episcopal Conference of Burkina Faso and Niger,
told a meeting of bishops in the capital Ouagadougou the attack had claimed
killings came a day after a group of 20-30 armed men, according to witnesses,
burst into the Catholic church in Dablo, also in the Nord Region of Burkina
Faso, shooting dead five parishioners and their priest.
attackers set fire to the church, several shops and a small cafe before heading
to the health centre, which they looted, burning the chief nurse's vehicle.
days earlier, French special forces had freed four foreign hostages in Burkina
Faso during an overnight raid that cost the lives of two soldiers.
concerns all of us whatever our religion or ethnicity," said President
Roch Marc Christian Kabore.
urged his compatriots to "stick together," warning such attacks
threatened to undermine religious coexistence in a country where some two
thirds of the population are Muslim to one third Christian.
Faso is confronted by a difficult situation," said Kabore. "These
terrorists have remodelled their modus operandi. First, by creating
inter-communcal conflicts and today inter-religious conflicts as Christians
have been killed for their faith, for merely practising their religion.
has always been reputed as being a tolerant country. We must work to safeguard
this richness passed down to us by our ancestors," said Kabore, a
weeks ago, there was a similar attack against a Protestant church in Silgadji,
also in the north, when gunmen on motorbikes killed a pastor and five
has suffered from increasingly frequent and deadly attacks attributed to a
number of jihadist groups, including the Ansarul Islam group, the Group to
Support Islam and Muslims (GSIM) and Islamic State in the Greater Sahara.
raids began in 2015 in the north before targeting the capital Ouagadougou and
other regions, notably in the east.
400 people have been killed since 2015 -- mainly in hit-and-run raids --
according to an AFP tally.
groups target Christian clerics as well as Muslim ones they do not consider
sufficiently radical in a country where traditionally both religions have
month, jihadists attacked a village school in Maitaougou, in the eastern
province of Koulpelogo, killing five teachers and a municipal worker.
officer and five protesters were killed and many protesters wounded in the
Sudanese capital late on Monday, Sudan’s state TV said, as crowds of
demonstrators remain camped at a sit-in outside the army complex.
heavy gunfire was heard in Khartoum late into the evening, and the transitional
military council said a military police officer had been killed and many
flared after the military council and opposition groups said they had agreed to
a power structure for the country’s transition following the ouster of President
Omar al-Bashir last month.
council accused armed groups unhappy with progress towards a political deal of
opening fire at protest sites. Protesters said counter-revolutionaries linked
to the former regime were inciting violence.
paramilitary forces patrolled the streets, using tear gas and gunshots to
disrupt protests blocking roads.
Transitional Military Council (TMC) and the Declaration of Freedom and Change
Forces opposition alliance were due to meet on Tuesday to discuss two key sticking
points: the military-civilian balance of power in transitional bodies, and the
length of the transition before elections.
groups attacked anti-regime protesters and government troops Monday outside
army headquarters in Sudan’s capital, leaving five dead and 15 injured
were attacked by unidentified men armed with guns and sticks, said the Central
Committee of Sudanese Doctors in a statement.
opposition Freedom and Change Alliance claimed intelligence units and militia
groups of the former regime were behind the attack.
on people to peacefully gather in front of army headquarters in Khartoum and
across the country to support the protesters, the alliance urged the army to
carry out its duty and protect the demonstrators.
demonstrators claimed the attackers were from the Rapid Support Forces (RSF)
militia backing the Sudanese Army.
to a statement by the Military Transitional Council (MTC), four soldiers,
including an officer, were killed in the attack.
said the attack was carried out by groups who are “disturbed by the results”
achieved with the Freedom and Change Alliance and were trying to prevent an
agreement from being reached.
outside army headquarters are ongoing.
April 11, the Sudanese army announced the “removal” of President Omar al-Bashir
following months of popular protests against his 30-year rule.
MTC is now overseeing a two-year “transitional period” during which it has
pledged to hold presidential elections.
Eric Schmitt and Julian E. Barnes
— At a meeting of President Trump’s top national security aides last Thursday,
Acting Defense Secretary Patrick Shanahan presented an updated military plan
that envisions sending as many as 120,000 troops to the Middle East should Iran
attack American forces or accelerate work on nuclear weapons, administration
revisions were ordered by hard-liners led by John R. Bolton, Mr. Trump’s
national security adviser. They do not call for a land invasion of Iran, which
would require vastly more troops, officials said.
development reflects the influence of Mr. Bolton, one of the administration’s
most virulent Iran hawks, whose push for confrontation with Tehran was ignored
more than a decade ago by President George W. Bush.
is highly uncertain whether Mr. Trump, who has sought to disentangle the United
States from Afghanistan and Syria, ultimately would send so many American
forces back to the Middle East.
is also unclear whether the president has been briefed on the number of troops
or other details in the plans. On Monday, asked about if he was seeking regime
change in Iran, Mr. Trump said: “We’ll see what happens with Iran. If they do
anything, it would be a very bad mistake.”
are sharp divisions in the administration over how to respond to Iran at a time
when tensions are rising about Iran’s nuclear policy and its intentions in the
senior American officials said the plans, even at a very preliminary stage,
show how dangerous the threat from Iran has become. Others, who are urging a diplomatic
resolution to the current tensions, said it amounts to a scare tactic to warn
Iran against new aggressions.
allies who met with Secretary of State Mike Pompeo on Monday said that they
worry that tensions between Washington and Tehran could boil over, possibly
than a half-dozen American national security officials who have been briefed on
details of the updated plans agreed to discuss them with The New York Times on
the condition of anonymity. Spokesmen for Mr. Shanahan and Gen. Joseph F.
Dunford Jr., the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, declined to comment.
size of the force involved has shocked some who have been briefed on them. The
120,000 troops would approach the size of the American force that invaded Iraq
such a robust air, land and naval force would give Tehran more targets to
strike, and potentially more reason to do so, risking entangling the United
States in a drawn out conflict. It also would reverse years of retrenching by
the American military in the Middle East that began with President Barack
Obama’s withdrawal of troops from Iraq in 2011.
two of the American national security officials said Mr. Trump’s announced
drawdown in December of American forces in Syria, and the diminished naval
presence in the region, appear to have emboldened some leaders in Tehran and
convinced the Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps that the United States has no
appetite for a fight with Iran.
John R. Bolton became the national security adviser in April 2018, he has
intensified the Trump administration’s policy of isolating and pressuring Iran.
oil tankers were reportedly attacked or sabotaged off the coast of the United
Arab Emirates over the weekend, raising fears that shipping lanes in the
Persian Gulf could become flash points. “It’s going to be a bad problem for
Iran if something happens,” Mr. Trump said on Monday, asked about the episode.
officials are investigating the apparent sabotage, and American officials
suspect that Iran was involved. Several officials cautioned, however, that
there is not yet any definitive evidence linking Iran or its proxies to the
reported attacks. An Iranian Foreign Ministry spokesman called it a “regretful
incident,” according to a state news agency.
Brussels, Mr. Pompeo met with the foreign ministers of Britain, France and
Germany, cosignatories of the 2015 Iran nuclear deal, as well as with the
European Union’s foreign policy chief, Federica Mogherini. He did not speak to
the media, but the European officials said they had urged restraint upon
Washington, fearing accidental escalation that could lead to conflict with
are very worried about the risk of a conflict happening by accident, with an
escalation that is unintended really on either side,” said Jeremy Hunt, the
British foreign secretary.
Iranian government has not threatened violence recently, but last week,
President Hassan Rouhani said Iran would walk away from parts of the 2015
nuclear deal it reached with world powers. Mr. Trump withdrew the United States
from the agreement a year ago, but European nations have urged Iran to stick
with the deal and ignore Mr. Trump’s provocations.
high-level review of the Pentagon’s plans was presented during a meeting about
broader Iran policy. It was held days after what the Trump administration
described, without evidence, as new intelligence indicating that Iran was
mobilizing proxy groups in Iraq and Syria to attack American forces.
a precaution, the Pentagon has moved an aircraft carrier, B-52 bombers, a
Patriot missile interceptor battery and more naval firepower to the gulf
last week’s meeting, Mr. Shanahan gave an overview of the Pentagon’s planning,
then turned to General Dunford to detail various force options, officials said.
The uppermost option called for deploying 120,000 troops, which would take
weeks or months to complete.
those attending Thursday’s meeting were Mr. Shanahan; Mr. Bolton; General
Dunford; Gina Haspel, the C.I.A. director; and Dan Coats, the director of
president has been clear, the United States does not seek military conflict
with Iran, and he is open to talks with Iranian leadership,” Garrett Marquis, a
National Security Council spokesman, said Monday in an email. “However, Iran’s
default option for 40 years has been violence, and we are ready to defend U.S.
personnel and interests in the region.”
reduction of forces in the Middle East in recent years has been propelled by a
new focus on China, Russia and a so-called Great Powers competition. The most
recent National Defense Strategy — released before Mr. Bolton joined the Trump
administration — concluded that while the Middle East remains important, and
Iran is a threat to American allies, the United States must do more to ensure a
rising China does not upend the world order.
recently as late April, an American intelligence analysis indicated that Iran
had no short-term desire to provoke a conflict. But new intelligence reports,
including intercepts, imagery and other information, have since indicated that
Iran was building up its proxy forces’ readiness to fight and was preparing
them to attack American forces in the region.
new intelligence reports surfaced on the afternoon of May 3, Mr. Shanahan told
Congress last week. On May 5, Mr. Bolton announced the first of new deployments
to the Persian Gulf, including bombers and an aircraft carrier.
of Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps, which was designated a terrorist
group by the Trump administration last month.
is not clear to American intelligence officials what changed Iran’s posture.
But intelligence and Defense Department officials said American sanctions have
been working better than originally expected, proving far more crippling to the
Iranian economy — especially after a clampdown on all oil exports that was
announced last month.
in April, the State Department designated the Revolutionary Guards a foreign
terrorist organization over objections from Pentagon and intelligence officials
who feared reprisals from the Iranian military.
much of the new intelligence appears to have focused on Iran readying its proxy
forces, officials said they believed the most likely cause of a conflict will
follow a provocative act, or outright attack, by the Revolutionary Guards’
navy. The Guards’ fleet of small boats has a history of approaching American
Navy ships at high speed. Revolutionary Guards commanders have precarious
control over their ill-disciplined naval forces.
of the updated planning appears to focus on what military action the United
States might take if Iran resumes its nuclear fuel production, which has been
frozen under the 2015 agreement. It would be difficult for the Trump
administration to make a case that the United States was under imminent nuclear
peril; Iran shipped 97 percent of its fuel out of the country in 2016, and
currently does not have enough to make a bomb.
could change if Iran resumes enriching uranium. But it would take a year or
more to build up a significant quantity of material, and longer to fashion it
into a weapon. That would allow, at least in theory, plenty of time for the
United States to develop a response — like a further cutoff of oil revenues,
covert action or military strikes.
previous version of the Pentagon’s war plan included a classified subset
code-named Nitro Zeus, a cyberoperation that called for unplugging Iran’s major
cities, its power grid and its military.
idea was to use cyberweapons to paralyze Iran in the opening hours of any
conflict, in hopes that it would obviate the need to drop any bombs or conduct
a traditional attack. That plan required extensive presence inside Iran’s
networks — called “implants” or “beacons” — that would pave the way for
injecting destabilizing malware into Iranian systems.
officials said those plans have been constantly updated in recent years.
even a cyberattack, without dropping bombs, carries significant risk. Iran has
built up a major corps of its own, one that successfully attacked financial
markets in 2012, a casino in Las Vegas and a range of military targets.
American intelligence officials told Congress in January that Iranian hackers
are now considered sophisticated operators who are increasingly capable of
striking United States targets.
Mr. Bolton became national security adviser in April 2018, he has intensified
the Trump administration’s policy of isolating and pressuring Iran. The animus
against Iran’s leaders dates back at least to his days as an official in the
George W. Bush administration. Later, as a private citizen, Mr. Bolton called
for military strikes on Iran, as well as regime change.
newly updated plans were not the first time during the Trump administration
that Mr. Bolton has sought military options to strike Iran.
year, Defense Department and senior American officials said Mr. Bolton sought
similar guidance from the Pentagon last year, after Iranian-backed militants
fired three mortar rounds or rockets into an empty lot on the grounds of the
United States Embassy in Baghdad in September.
response to Mr. Bolton’s request, which alarmed Jim Mattis, then the defense
secretary, the Pentagon offered some general options, including a cross-border
airstrike on an Iranian military facility that would have been mostly symbolic.
Mr. Mattis and other military leaders adamantly opposed retaliation for the
Baghdad attack, successfully arguing that it was insignificant.
Wong and David E. Sanger contributed reporting from Washington, and Steven
Erlanger from Brussels.
States President Donald Trump on Tuesday called as “fake news” the New York
Times story on the administration’s reported plan that envisions sending as
many as 120,000 troops to the Middle East, should Iran attack American forces
or accelerate work on nuclear weapons.
however, said if the situation requires he would send “a hell lot more troops
to reporters on Tuesday, Trump said: “I think its fake news. Now, would I do
that, absolutely. But we have not planned for that. Hopefully, we are not going
to have to plan for that. And if we did that we would send a hell of a lot more
troops than that.”
I think its just, where was that story, in the New York Times? Well the New
York Times it is fake news,” Trump said.
Secretary of State Michael Pompeo says the country is not after military
confrontation with Iran, a statement running counter to Washington’s military
buildup in the Persian Gulf.
fundamentally do not seek a war with Iran," Pompeo said in Sochi during
his visit to Russia on Tuesday.
former CIA chief further repeated Washington’s threats against Tehran, claiming
that, "We have also made clear to the Iranians that if American interests
are attacked, we will most certainly respond in an appropriate fashion... We
are looking for Iran to behave like a normal country."
is while the Iranian envoy to the United Nations has dismissed the US military
buildup near Iran as mere “psychological warfare.”
are not in the business of trying to create a conflict in our neighborhood
because nobody is going to have benefit from such a conflict in our region,
except for a few, as I explained earlier, some people in Washington and some
countries in our neighborhood,” Majid Takht-e Ravanchi told CNN on Tuesday.
was pointing at war mongering by the Israeli regime and its Arab allies such as
Saudi Arabia in the Middle East.
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has appreciated his alliance with some Arab
countries against what he claimed to be “Iranian aggression.”
is a new efflorescence, a new renaissance of relations between us and many of
our Arab neighbors, and many non-Arab Muslim countries. Many more than you can
count. And it's true that we are united in our desire to stop Iranian
aggression, and I believe that Israel and all the countries of the region and
all the countries who seek peace in the world should stand together with the
United States against Iranian aggression," Netanyahu claimed at a ceremony
marking the one-year anniversary of the illegal US embassy move to Jerusalem
has been trying to reduce Iran’s oil exports to “zero,” and sent an aircraft
carrier strike group, a bomber squad, an amphibious assault ship, and a Patriot
missile battery to the Middle East to try to stack up pressure on Tehran.
US has also been trying to reduce Iran’s oil exports to “zero,” and sent an
aircraft carrier strike group, a bomber squad, an amphibious assault ship, and
a Patriot missile battery to the Middle East to try to stack up pressure on
President Donald Trump has rejected a New York Times report that American
officials are preparing a military plan to deploy up to 120,000 troops to the
Middle East to counter any threat by Iran.
think it's fake news, OK? Now, would I do that? Absolutely. But we have not
planned for that. Hopefully we're not going to have to plan for that. And if we
did that, we'd send a hell of a lot more troops than that," Trump told
reporters at the White House on Tuesday.
New York Times reported on Monday that Acting Defense Secretary Patrick
Shanahan put forward -- a plan— which he had updated on National Security Advisor
John Bolton’s orders — last week in a meeting of top national security
officials that envisions deploying some 120,000 American troops to the Middle
East region “should Iran attack American forces or accelerate work on nuclear
officials said that during the meeting, Shanahan gave an overview of the
Pentagon’s planning and then turned to US Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff
General Dunford to detail various force options.
uppermost option called for deploying 120,000 troops, which would take weeks or
months to complete,” the report said.
number of the US troops planned for the deployment “would approach the size of
the American force that invaded Iraq in 2003,” the report added.
those attending the meeting were Bolton, CIA Director Gina Haspel and Director
of National Intelligence Dan Coats in addition to Dunford and Shanahan, the
Tuesday, Iran's Ambassador to the United Nations Majid Takht-e Ravanchi on
Tuesday dismissed as “psychological warfare” a reported US military plan aimed
at Iran, under which Washington could deploy tens of thousands of troops to the
on this, American writer and political analyst Daniel Patrick Welch said he
agrees with the Iranians who believe that the US is just attempting to scare
Iran back to the table.
stated that the Pentagon hates Bolton and Secretary of State Mike Pompeo's
way they would allow a huge influx of troops in the Middle East,” he told Press
TV on Tuesday.
analyst added, however, “they have no shortage of evil motives... and they have
all played a part at some point in history.”
envoy to the United Nations dismisses as mere “psychological warfare” a
reported US military plan aimed at Iran, under which Washington could deploy
tens of thousands of troops to the Middle East.
Takht-e Ravanchi made the remarks to CNN on Tuesday in reaction to a report by
The New York Times, which said the plan for the deployment of 120,000 troops to
the Middle East had been recently discussed at a meeting of hawkish US
report said the plan, which had been prepared by Acting US Defense Secretary
Patrick Shanahan upon the orders of National Security Advisor John Bolton,
envisions sending as many as 120,000 troops to the Middle East “should Iran
attack American forces or accelerate work on nuclear weapons.”
UN ambassador said, “These are all psychological warfare in our opinion.”
is not inclined either towards triggering a regional conflict or pursuing nuclear
weapons, he asserted.
are not in the business of trying to create a conflict in our neighborhood
because nobody is going to have benefit from such a conflict in our region,
except for a few, as I explained earlier, some people in Washington and some
countries in our neighborhood,” he added.
added that questions about posing security threats to others’ interests had to
be instead “directed to those people, who have come to our neighborhood from
thousands of miles [away].”
is in the Persian Gulf area. We are not in Gulf of Mexico,” the official said.
Ravanchi further stipulated that seeking nuclear arms “is against our
cited a religious decree issued by Leader of the Islamic Revolution Ayatollah Seyyed
Ali Khamenei that prohibits such pursuit, adding, “Besides, nuclear weapons are
not within the defense structure of Iran.”
US President Donald Trump, Washington has been eagerly leading a policy of
“maximum pressure” against Tehran. The policy has Bolton as the person trying
most to escalate it into military conflict.
the approach, the US left a multi-lateral nuclear deal with Iran, which has the
UK, France, Russia, China, and Germany as its other signatories, last year.
then reinstated the sanctions that had been lifted under the accord. The moves
came while the deal had been ratified in the form of a United Nations Security
Council resolution, making Washington culpable for violating international law.
has also been trying to reduce Iran’s oil exports to “zero,” and sent an
aircraft carrier strike group, a bomber squad, an amphibious assault ship, and
a Patriot missile battery to the Middle East to try to stack up pressure on
on war footing based on fake intel.
to what is claimed to be Iran’s intention to target American interests in the
region, Takht-e Ravanchi said the US had used no more than just “fake
intelligence” to try to justify the recent military build-up.
are all fake intelligence based on certain narrow-minded agenda, as I said,
pursued by certain people in Washington as well as in our region,” he stated.
official, meanwhile, addressed Trump’s recent proposal of “talks” with Iran.
Lanka urged to stem post-terror revenge
human rights' groups have urged the Sri Lankan government to protect Muslim as
well as other foreign refugees and asylum seekers following the Easter Sunday
bombings in which Christians were targeted.
than 250 people were killed in attacks by Sri Lankan Muslim militants on April
has since been pockets of communal strife, including cases of Christians
attacking Muslim shop owners among about 1,100 refugees and asylum seekers who
mostly reside in Negombo near the capital, Colombo.
those seen as being at risk are Muslims from Pakistan and Afghanistan as well
as people from Iran and Yemen who variously fled religious, ethnic and
political persecution in their home countries.
include members of the Ahmadi community discriminated against by some
rights' groups say some Christian refugees and asylum seekers are also
endangered amid the current volatility.
joint statement was issued by international organizations including Amnesty
International, FORUM-ASIA, Franciscans International, Freedom from Torture,
Human Rights Watch and the International Commission of Jurists.
said authorities in Sri Lanka should take steps to maintain order and prevent
retaliatory vigilante action.
refugees and asylum seekers have been unfairly targeted and displaced after the
(terrorist) attacks, with landlords under local pressure to evict them from
their homes," the statement read in part.
international groups called for those who are unfairly vulnerable to acts of
retribution to be relocated to appropriate locations with adequate sanitation,
sleeping space and security.
Lanka provides refuge to foreigners while their claims for protection are
processed by the office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees
particular, the foreign rights’ bodies called for the protection of at-risk
children and for Sri Lankan officials not to deport people who fear
mistreatment if sent back to their homelands or any other place where their
lives or freedoms would be threatened.
do so would would violate the international legal principle of non-refoulement,
which means sending refugees or asylum seekers into danger.
international rights’ groups said the Sri Lankan government should state
clearly that any domestic communal attacks on these people would not be
it was important for authorities to stress that all attacks on refugees and
asylum seekers in Sri Lanka would be investigated with a view to prosecuting
Lanka was also asked by the foreign rights' organisations to help expedite resettlement
of some of the refugees to third countries.
heightened communal tensions, several Muslim shops were allegedly attacked May
5, sparked by a dispute involving the driver of a three-wheeled tuk tuk taxi
and a group of villagers near Negombo.
Sebastian's Church in the town, 40 kilometers north of Colombo, was one of
three churches and three hotels hit by jihadist suicide bombers on Easter
May 12, a mob attacked shops owned by Muslims in the western coastal town of
curfew was imposed till 4 a.m. the following day and a Muslim man accused of
posting racially charged content on social media was arrested.
refugees fearing for their safety took refuge in police stations or mosques.
government schools from grade 6 and up were re-opened on May 6, church run
schools remained closed.
churches conducted Sunday Masses, with tight security precautions in place, but
most Sunday schools for children were cancelled.
Malcolm Ranjith, who declined a government offer for him to use a bullet-proof
vehicle, assured ordinary Muslims that the Church stood against any revenge
attacks on them.
are not against you and we will not allow any harassment to be caused to you
from our faithful," Cardinal Ranjith assured Muslims.
Sri Lankan police arrested 23 people on Tuesday in connection with a spate of
attacks on Muslim-owned homes and shops in apparent reprisal for the Easter
bombings by Islamist militants that killed more than 250 people.
in armoured vehicles patrolled the towns hit by sectarian violence this week as
residents recalled how Muslims had hid in paddy fields to escape mobs carrying
rods and swords, incensed over the militant attacks.
April 21 attacks, claimed by Islamic State, targeted churches and hotels,
mostly in Colombo, killing more than 250 people and fuelling fears of a
backlash against the island nation's minority Muslims.
moved through towns in Sri Lanka's northwest on motorbikes and in buses,
ransacking mosques, burning Korans and attacking shops with petrol bombs in
rioting that began on Sunday, Muslim residents said.
said they arrested 23 people from across the island for inciting violence
against Muslims, who make up less than 10 percent of Sri Lanka's 22 million
people who are predominantly Sinhalese Buddhists.
spokesman Ruwan Gunasekera said the situation is under control and no new
incidents had been reported on Tuesday.
a nationwide curfew from 9 p.m. (1530 GMT) to 4 a.m. would be in effect for a
lone fatality was a man killed while trying to protect his home from attack.
mobs arrived in the Kottramulla area on Monday evening, Mohamed Salim Fowzul
Ameer, 49, went outside while his wife, Fatima Jiffriya, stayed with their four
37, then heard shouts and sounds of fighting.
opened the door to see my husband on the ground in a pool of blood, the police
right in front and the mob running," she said.
heart was still beating hard, I took him into my lap and started to scream for
help," she added, her voice breaking, as women consoled her children at an
uncle's house ahead of Ameer's burial.
Lanka has had a history of ethnic and religious violence and was torn for
decades by a civil war between separatists from the mostly Hindu Tamil minority
and the Sinhala Buddhist-dominated government.
recent years, Buddhist hardliners, led by the Bodu Bala Sena (BBS) or
"Buddhist Power Force", have stoked hostility against Muslims, saying
influences from the Middle East had made Sri Lanka's Muslims more conservative
year, scores of Muslim mosques, homes and businesses were destroyed as Buddhist
mobs ran amok for three days in Kandy, the central highlands district
previously known for its diversity and tolerance.
said this week's violence was more widespread.
in the town of Kottampitiya recalled how a group of about a dozen people had
arrived in taxis and attacked Muslimowned stores with stones just after midday
on Monday, with the mob soon swelling to 200, and then 1,000.
mob attacked the main mosque, 17 Muslim-owned businesses and 50 homes,
Muslim community huddled in nearby paddy fields, that's how no one died,"
said one of a group of men gathered outside the white-and-green mosque with
smashed windows and doors.
Bari, 48, told Reuters his small brick shop had been burned down with a petrol
bomb. "The attackers were on motorbikes, armed with rods and swords,"
blamed the police for failing to disperse the crowd.
police were watching. They were in the street, they didn't stop anything. They
told us to go inside," said Mohamed Faleel, 47, who runs a car paint
asked police, we said stop them. They didn't fire. They had to stop this, but
they didn't," he added.
spokesman Gunasekera rejected allegations that police had stood by while the
violence unfolded. He said the perpetrators would be punished.
police officers have been instructed to take stern action against the
violators, even to use the maximum force. Perpetrators could face up to a
10-year jail term," he said.
police source said seven of those arrested for the violence in Kottampitiya
were young Sinhalese men from nearby Buddhist villages.
were leading the charge yesterday. They were instructing people on which stores
to attack," said the police source.
men said they were seeking revenge for the militant attack in the city of
Negombo, where over 100 people were killed at the St. Sebastian's Church during
Easter prayers, the police source said.
A UN official has urged Myanmar to grant aid workers “predictable, sustained
access” to Rakhine state, where fighting between government troops and rebels
has displaced nearly 33,000 people since late last year, saying lack of aid has
Mueller, a UN assistant secretary-general for humanitarian affairs, said
authorities had turned down her requests to meet those displaced by the
conflict in a region barred to most aid groups since the fighting broke out.
need access – predictable, sustained access – to reach the people in need,”
Muller told Reuters late on Tuesday, at the end of a six-day visit to the
southeast Asian nation.
the assistance, including mobile clinics, cannot get to the people, they just
don’t have the services and their needs are not being met and some people are
could not immediately reach a government spokesman to seek comment.
has been in the global spotlight since 2017, after roughly 730,000 Rohingya
Muslims fleeing a military crackdown in response to militant attacks crossed
into neighboring Bangladesh.
investigators have called for senior military officers to be prosecuted over
allegations of mass killings, gang rapes and arson. The military denies
recently, civilians have been caught up in clashes between the military and the
Arakan Army, an insurgent group that recruits from the mainly Buddhist ethnic
Rakhine population and is fighting for greater autonomy for the state.
her visit, Mueller met senior officials in the capital, Naypyitaw, including
state counselor Aung San Suu Kyi who said she was working toward “development
and social cohesion” in Rakhine.
was pointing out the humanitarian needs that are existing that need to be
urgently met,” she added.
also visited camps outside Sittwe, the state’s capital, where thousands of
Rohingya have been confined since a previous bout of violence in 2012. Most
lack citizenship and face curbs on movement and access to basic services.
has been working with the UN on a strategy to close the camps, but it amounts
to building new, more permanent homes in the same place rather than letting
people return to areas from which they fled, Reuters reported last year.
who is also a deputy coordinator for emergency relief, said she had discussed
the strategy with officials.
Afghanistan — Three explosions ripped through an Afghan provincial capital,
Jalalabad, killing three people and wounding another 20 on Monday. All of the
casualties were believed to be civilians, said Attaullah Khogyani, a spokesman
for eastern Nangarhar’s governor.
one claimed responsibility for the attack which came as the United Nations
expressed grave concerns about the increase in violence around the country
during the first week Ramadan, the ongoing Muslim month of fasting from sunrise
the Taliban and an Islamic State affiliate operate in Nangarhar province. Over
the past year, the U.S. has stepped up its air strikes in the area to try to
dislodge IS fighters.
explosions took place in Jalalabad’s city center, but the target was not
a statement earlier Monday, the U.N. Mission in Afghanistan pointed out two
major Taliban attacks in the past week — an assault in the capital, Kabul, on a
non-governmental agency that killed five and an attack in northern Baghlan
province that struck a police headquarters, killing 13 officers.
can be absolutely no justification for deliberate or indiscriminate attacks
against civilians,” Tadamichi Yamamoto, the U.N. secretary-general’s special
representative, was quoted as saying.
Sunday, Taliban targeted security checkpoints in Afghanistan’s northern Sari
Pul province, killing at least seven members of the country’s security forces,
provincial officials said Monday.
insurgents also abducted two members of the force and left five wounded in the
attacks near the provincial capital, said Mohammad Noor Rahmani, head of the
troops were in charge of providing security for fuel wells in the area. Zabi
Amani, the provincial governor’s spokesman, said four Taliban fighters were
killed in what he said was a gunbattle that lasted several hours.
one immediately claimed responsibility for the attack, but provincial officials
blamed the Taliban insurgents who repeatedly target Afghan security forces in
recent months, the Taliban have stepped up their attacks, inflicting staggering
casualties on Afghan forces, and now hold sway over half the country. The U.S.,
meanwhile, has accelerated efforts to find a peaceful resolution to the 17-year
war — America’s longest conflict — and has pressed for direct talks between the
Taliban and Kabul.
(SRI LANKA): Catholic officials and parents in Sri Lanka are hopeful that
church-run schools will begin to reopen soon for the first time since last
month's devastating Easter Sunday attacks on churches and hotels.
of the island nation's schools were set to reopen the day after the bombings
following a two-week break, but they remained closed after the attacks, which
killed more than 250 people and injured hundreds more.
schools reopened last week, but many children stayed home, fearing another
schools, however, have stayed shut out worried that other Catholic properties
could be targeted in further attacks.
a memo to Catholic institutions earlier this month, Cardinal Malcolm Ranjith,
the archbishop of Colombo, said he had information from a trusted foreign
source that a famous church and a lay institution were to be attacked. The
church confirmed that the memo, which first appeared on social media, was
Sunday, the Catholic Church held the first regular Sunday Mass since the April
21 coordinated suicide bombings, amid tight security. Sunday services had been
canceled the two previous weekends apprehensive of more attacks, leaving the
faithful to hear Mass via live TV transmission from Ranjith's residence.
Sunday, Ranjith gave Sri Lanka's Catholic school administrators permission to
reopen on an individual basis in coordination with local security officials.
Perera, a teacher in a Catholic school where her daughter also studies, said
reopening the schools and churches was the best way to demonstrate that Sri
Lanka's Catholics hadn't been defeated by terrorism.
want to deprive us in every way and we should not help them succeed by our
fear," she said.
Rev. Ivan Perera, the priest in charge of Sri Lanka's Catholic schools, said
that Catholic school administrators have sent study packs to children by email
with exercises on a variety of subjects, but that the toll has been more than
and nuns working as counselors said Catholic school students "are very
traumatized and are very disturbed, a lot of fear in them," according to
the Rev. Perera.
will take quite a bit of time for them to get back to normal attitudes. It's
very unfortunate that at this age children should be so traumatized and be full
of fear," he said, adding that when schools reopen, administrators will
offer students psychological and spiritual help.
Easter attacks — which were carried out by radicalized local Muslims and
claimed by the Islamic State group — targeted three churches: Sri Lanka's
famous St. Anthony's Shrine in Colombo, the capital; St. Sebastian's Church in
the seaside, majorityCatholic town of Negombo, outside Colombo; and the
protestant Zion Church on Sri Lanka's east coast. Three luxury hotels in Colombo
— the Shangri-La, Cinnamon Grand and Kingsbury — were also attacked.
are currently about 40 schools run by Sri Lanka's Catholic Church, which owned
hundreds of schools by the time the Buddhist-majority island gained
independence from Britain in 1948. In the 1960s, the state nationalized
hundreds of Catholic schools amid a post-independence wave of Sinhala Buddhist
to the Rev. Perera, an estimated 10 to 15 Catholic school students died in the
blasts, including eight girls from the same convent school in Negombo. The
United Nations children's fund said 45 children were killed in the six
near-simultaneous suicide attacks, including tourists.
Sri Lankan adults lived through at least part of the brutal, decades-long civil
war that ended in 2009, in which rebels from Sri Lanka's ethnic Tamil minority
violently clashed with government forces, younger generations had never
experienced bomb attacks or armed soldiers standing guard on street corners.
the past 10 years, there weren't any of these things," said Anushka
Wijeyeratne, a mother whose two children, ages 5 and 9, attend Catholic school.
"Everything is new to them — the checkpoints and other things are
absolutely new to them. As parents we have to go back to basics and rethink, we
will have to worry about security."
to conservative UN estimates, some 100,000 people were killed in Sri Lanka's
civil war. Minority Catholics were not spared from the violence, but they were
not targeted for their religious beliefs. Since the war ended, Sri Lanka
experienced only a handful of small-scale incidents of communal violence before
the Easter attacks.
Ranjith has been an outspoken critic of the government for failing to act upon
near-specific intelligence from Sri Lanka's neighbor India that provided
details of the plot and the militants who were to be involved.
say they trust the church's leadership more than the government's when it comes
to the safety of their children.
government has failed and we don't have confidence in the government in that
aspect," said Wijeyeratne.
too ‘great’ to be intimidated, says President Rouhani
President Hassan Rouhani has declared the Islamic Republic is “too great to be
intimidated by anyone” in a late night meeting with clerics.
willing we will pass this difficult period with glory and our heads held high,
and defeat the enemy,” Rouhani said late Monday as he met Sunni clerics to mark
the holy Muslim month of Ramadan, the official government website dolat.ir
was speaking after four ships, including two Saudi oil tankers, were reportedly
attacked off the UAE coast on Sunday, in a sign of mounting regional tensions.
has called for an investigation into what it called an “alarming” incident.
and the United States have engaged in a war of words in recent weeks since
Tehran began to roll back commitments set out in a landmark 2015 nuclear deal
with world powers.
President Donald Trump withdraw the United States from the deal last year and
has unilaterally re-imposed stringent sanctions on Iran.
month, Washington designated Iran’s revolutionary guards as a “foreign
terrorist organization,” the first time that part of a foreign government has
been branded as such.
dispatch of the USS Abraham Lincoln carrier group plus an amphibious assault
ship, a Patriot missile battery and B-52 bombers by the US to the region has
triggered fears of possible military clashes.
set to mark Nakba Day with mass rallies against Israel, US
are set to commemorate the 71th anniversary of the Nakba Day (the Day of
Catastrophe) in the occupied West Bank and the blockaded Gaza Strip with mass
protests against Israel and the US, the regime’s staunch supporter.
a recent communiqué, the National and Islamic Forces, the supreme coordinating
body of major Palestinian factions, called for widespread participation in
Wednesday’s demonstrations to mark the forcible eviction of Palestinians from
their motherland by the Tel Aviv regime in 1948.
the organizing committee of the weekly anti-occupation Great March of Return
protests in Gaza urged Palestinians to join the Nakba Day rallies in the
coastal sliver and stage a general strike at schools, universities and
in Ramallah on the eve of Nakba Day, Palestinian Prime Minister Mohammad
Shtayyeh said Israel has targeted Palestine’s geography and demography, while
the US has imposed a financial war on the Palestinian nation in support of the
is waging a war of geography on us by confiscating our land on a daily basis,”
he said. “We are also facing a war of demography to expel our people from
US administration and its ally, Israel, believe that it would be possible “to
defeat us with a financial siege and other measures, including the closure of
the PLO (Palestine Liberation Organization) diplomatic mission in Washington,
and cutting aid to UNRWA, in order to force us to accept ‘the deal of shame,’”
he noted, referring to US President Donald Trump’s controversial
yet-to-be-unveiled proposal on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
Nakba Day is marked annually on May 15. It refers to the forcible expulsion of
some 700,000 Palestinians from their lands in 1948 and their scattering across
refugee camps in the West Bank, Gaza, and neighboring countries.
Ashrawi, a member of the PLO Executive Committee, said in a statement marking
the Nakba Day that the Trump administration’s unilateral measures against the
Palestinians are a new “Nakba.”
also called for a “multilateral international gathering to confront the
US-Israeli alliance and schemes,” including the so-called “deal of the
count on peace lovers all over the world to support our just cause and human
rights in the face of the fascist forces led by the Trump administration and
[Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin] Netanyahu,” she added.
Palestinian Authority’s ruling Fatah party said that as they commemorate Nakba
Day, the Palestinians are more determined to “uphold their principles and
legitimate rights, including the right of return, self-determination and the
establishment of an independent Palestinian state with east Jerusalem as its
Tuesday, thousands of Palestinians took part in a rally marking the Nakba Day
in front of the offices of the UN Relief and Works Agency for Palestinian
Refugees (UNRWA) in Gaza.
protest was held under the banner “From the ashes of the ‘Nakba’ to the
embodiment of the right of return, down with all the conspiracies.”
the crowd, Ahmed Abu Holi, a member of the PLO Executive Committee and head of
the National Committee for Commemorating the Nakba, stressed that the
Palestinians would not accept the “deal of the century.”
issues of Jerusalem [al-Quds] and the refugees are not for sale or bargaining,”
he said. “The Palestinian people will not sell their rights and principles in
return for dollars, and will not compromise on the payments to the families of
martyrs and prisoners. We will not surrender to blackmail.”
US president recognized Jerusalem al-Quds as the “capital” of Israel in
also moved the American embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem al-Quds in May 2018,
on the eve of the Nakba Day, sparking angry reactions by the Palestinians and
drew the criticism of the international community.
Scott Shane and Ronen Bergman
ANGELES — Ali Al-Ahmed is a veteran critic of the Saudi government, so late
last year he was not surprised to receive a Twitter message purporting to be
from an Egyptian woman living in London who said that she, too, was a Saudi
Mr. Al-Ahmed, who is based in Washington, was wary of the woman, who identified
herself as Mona A. Rahman. “Her picture was too made up, like the picture of a
model,” he recalled. Her Arabic was imperfect. And her messages in Arabic
included a character that indicated that she was typing on a Farsi-language
she sent him an article that appeared to be from the website of the Belfer
Center for Science and International Affairs at Harvard about an unexpected development
in Israeli politics.
article was on a site that had the exact logo, coloring and layout of the
Harvard site. But the address was “belfercenter.net” — not the real one,
“belfercenter.org.” And the article, claiming the Israeli defense minister had
been fired for being a Russian agent, was a total fabrication.
Al-Ahmed had encountered what a new report from Citizen Lab, a research group
at the University of Toronto, says is a pro-Iranian influence operation that
used elaborate look-alike websites and social media to spread bogus articles
online and to attack Iran’s adversaries. The operation had another innovative
maneuver: When the invented reports were picked up by mainstream news
organizations, the operators quickly took down the fabrications to make it
harder to track the fraud.
deleted their fake stories once they achieved some buzz,” said Gabrielle Lim, a
fellow at Citizen Lab and a lead author of the report. “This made it hard for
regular users to figure out what was happening, and hid the original source of
Lim called the pro-Iran operation “a sprawling disinformation assembly line”
that has operated since at least 2016.
article that appeared to be from the Belfer Center for Science and
International Affairs at Harvard was fabricated, a new report found.
published false stories on cloned news websites, then amplified them with
well-worn, negative tropes about Israel, Saudi Arabia and the U.S.,” she said.
They also created false personas like “Mona A. Rahman,” who targeted Mr.
Al-Ahmed, and tried to trick legitimate news outlets into publishing their
articles and even to give them bylines, Ms. Lim said.
recognition of the group’s prolific production and its transient nature,
Citizen Lab labeled it “Endless Mayfly,” after the gangly, short-lived insects
that hatch and swarm every summer. Citizen Lab said it cannot say for certain
that the operation was sponsored by the Iranian government. But it noted that
Facebook and Twitter removed hundreds of accounts last August linked to the
same operation, and Facebook said those accounts had ties to Iranian state
Maynier, another author of the Citizen Lab report, said Endless Mayfly’s
articles “frequently echoed official comments and positions of the Iranian
Iranian government denied any connection to the group.
claims are nothing but part of the propaganda campaign against Iran,” said
Alireza Miryousefi, a spokesman for the Iranian mission to the United Nations.
“The suggestion that the Iranian government is — with all the diplomatic
efforts it is engaged in on a daily basis — involved in a silly online ‘fake
news’ effort is on its face ridiculous. Linking anybody who does not agree with
Israeli or Saudi policies to the Iranian government is simply absurd.”
Zimmt, an expert on Iran at Israel’s Institute for National Security Studies, a
think tank affiliated with Tel Aviv University, and a former Israeli military
intelligence officer, said Iran has turned to cyberattacks and online influence
campaigns in part because of military weakness. In addition, he said, such
hard-to-trace operations allow Iran “to maintain the ambiguity needed to reduce
the risk of open confrontation with opponents who maintain a military superiority
setting up its ephemeral websites, the Endless Mayfly group used one tactic
familiar from phishing operations: “typosquatting,” in which a website is
created under a name a letter or two off from a well-known institution. Endless
Mayfly used “theguaradian.com” to mimic “theguardian.com” and “theatlatnic.com”
in place of “theatlantic.com.”
at Citizen Lab got their first clue in April 2017, after users on Reddit
noticed an article on Brexit that appeared to be from the British newspaper The
Independent actually came from a site spelled differently:
“http://www.indepnedent.co/.” But when readers later tried to return to the
article, they were sent to the actual newspaper’s official site. The article’s
authors had deleted the fake one but changed the link to reinforce the
impression that it had originated on the real newspaper’s site.
all, Citizen Lab said it had identified 73 web domains created by the group,
135 ersatz articles it had posted and 11 fake identities like Mona A. Rahman,
often used as bylines on the fake articles. Some of the articles had been
previously flagged as false by reporters and researchers, who sometimes pointed
at Russia as the likely culprit. But the overall operation has not previously
been described and linked to Iranian interests.
group appears to still be active, according to Citizen Lab, though most of its
operation has been shut down. “On the surface, they look like a
not-very-successful viral advertising campaign,” said John Scott-Railton, a senior
researcher at Citizen Lab.
the fabricated article on Israeli politics impressed a former senior Israeli
intelligence official, who spoke on the condition of anonymity. The fake
article concocted by the group quoted Tamir Pardo, a former director of Mossad,
the Israeli intelligence agency, as saying in a talk at Harvard that Avigdor
Lieberman, Israel’s defense minister, had been dismissed by Prime Minister
Benjamin Netanyahu after it was discovered that he was a Russian mole.
fabricated article was spread on Nov. 14, 2018, through a Twitter account for
“Bina Melamed,” a common Israeli name.
fact, Mr. Lieberman had just resigned in protest of a cease-fire ending
fighting in Gaza, and Mr. Pardo had just spoken at the Belfer Center. The rest
of the article was an invention. But the former Israel official said he was
struck by the overnight creation of the fake Harvard website and the “superfast
reaction to events.”
shows an admirable understanding of the online world,” the official said. Months
later, a search on the web for the bogus headline still turns up a few hits.
Mr. Al-Ahmed, the Saudi critic in Washington, the Citizen Lab research simply
underscored the hazards for activists online. In what appears to have been a
separate operation last year, he was contacted by a woman posing as a BBC
journalist who asked to interview him; she, too, turned out to be a fraud.
on past experience, Mr. Al-Ahmed thought at first that Mona A. Rahman might be
a Saudi operator meant to entrap him. But when he learned it appeared to be
Iranian trickery, he was not particularly surprised.
(Reuters) - Yemen’s warring parties started fresh U.N.-sponsored talks in
Jordan on Monday, Yemeni officials said, two days after Houthi forces began
withdrawing from the ports of Hodeidah, breaking a six month stalemate.
talks will focus on sharing out revenues from Hodeidah’s three Red Sea ports to
help relieve an urgent humanitarian crisis, they said.
Iran-aligned Houthi group began on Saturday a unilateral pullout from the ports
of Saleef, Ras Isa and Hodeidah, handing them over to U.N.-supervised local
forces as agreed under a pact with the Saudi-backed government last December
that had stalled for months.
U.N. and its special envoy are sponsoring talks in Amman ... to discuss the
issue of salaries and to make the economic situation neutral,” Mohammed Ali
al-Houthi, head of the Houthis’ Supreme Revolutionary Committee, said in a
Yemeni government official confirmed the talks to Reuters. A U.N. official said
the office of U.N. envoy Martin Griffiths was facilitating the meeting.
the main entry point for Yemen’s commercial and aid imports, became the focus
of the four-year conflict last year when the Saudi-led coalition tried twice to
seize the port to cut off the Houthis’ main supply line.
the Stockholm agreement for a truce and troop withdrawal by both sides from
Hodeidah, the ports’ revenues would be gathered in the Hodeidah branch of the
central bank to help pay public wages.
war has devastated Yemen’s economy, exacerbating an urgent humanitarian crisis
with millions of Yemenis on the brink of starvation.
prices have put basic commodities out of reach for many Yemenis and the central
bank has struggled to pay public-sector salaries as foreign exchange reserves
United Nations will help in the management of the Hodeidah ports, which will be
under control of Yemen’s Red Sea Port Corporation and local coast guards, and
assist in inspection of ships.
Sunni Muslim military alliance led by Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates
intervened in Yemen in 2015 to try to restore the internationally recognized
government of Abd-Rabbu Mansour Hadi, which was ousted from power in Sanaa in
late 2014 by the Houthi movement.
Muslim world was shaken by yet another anti-Muslim attack that took place
during the holy month of Ramadan and this time a Turkish mosque in the U.S.
state of Connecticut was the target.
a statement, the Religious Services Attache of the Turkish Consulate General in
New York said an investigation is underway into the fire at Diyanet Mosque in
the city of New Haven and efforts are continuing to catch the perpetrators.
fire occurred around 4 p.m. Sunday, the seventh day of Ramadan, a holy month
during which Muslims fast and pray. Fasting is one of the five pillars of the
religion of Islam.
reward of up to $2,500 has been offered for any information that leads to the
arrest or conviction of the perpetrators, according to officials.
statement said the fire started at the mosque's entrance and reached the third
floor through the exterior side of the building.
was no loss of life or injury in the fire, but it is determined that the mosque
has suffered large-scale damage. Tons of water used to put out the fire [also] caused
damage to the building's unburnt part," it said.
incident saddened the Turkish community in the United States, primarily in New
Haven, the statement added.
Perpetrators of attack should be sentenced swiftly
Foreign Minister Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu called the arson "heinous" and said
the perpetrators should be identified and "sentenced swiftly."
in Diyanet Mosque in #NewHaven during Ramadan is another example of increasing
#Islamophobia in the world. No loss of life is our only consolation," said
minister also called for a united stance against Islamophobia and racism.
advisor Ibrahim Kalın also said Tuesday that the attack was the latest
manifestation of "growing Islamophobia and anti-Muslim hatred."
discriminatory and racist climate that feeds it is a major threat to global
peace and likely to lead to new attacks. Serious action is needed now,"
Kalın said on Twitter.
ruling Justice and Development Party (AK Party) spokesman Ömer Çelik also reacted
to the attack in a tweet Tuesday saying hate does not have borders.
said the ideology of hatred is currently targeting mosques but will gradually
spread to all sanctuaries.
who treat Islam as an enemy poison all values of humanity," he stressed.
anti-Muslim act in the country is not the first one as Muslims in the U.S. were
the target of nearly 19 percent of religiously motivated hate crimes, according
to FBI data released in 2018.
criminal investigation is underway, and officials believe the fire was
intentionally set. Besides local police, the FBI and Bureau of Alcohol,
Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) are also involved.
anti-Muslim sentiment a serious threat in Western societies
mosque attack in Connecticut has become the latest example of growing numbers
of anti-Muslim attacks in the Western countries.
hatred has been on the rise for years. Far-right extremism and xenophobia have
fueled anti-Muslim hatred in Western countries, where terror attacks by Daesh
and al-Qaida are used as an excuse to legitimize those views.
the enmity toward Muslims is not a new phenomenon, it became more intensified
after 2001 when airplanes crashed into the twin towers in New York City. Since
then, for almost two decades, Islam has been unjustly tarnished with labels
that have negative connotations, and portrayed as a religion of hate, violence,
anti-Western sentiment and women's oppression. This trend of intolerance has
triggered deadly attacks against Muslims and immigrants since then.
March 15, 50 people were killed and about as many wounded when a terrorist
opened fire on worshipers during Friday prayers at the Al Noor and Linwood
mosques in Christchurch, New Zealand's third-largest city.
massacre was livestreamed on social media and was accompanied by the release of
a racist, anti-Muslim manifesto that also attacked Turkey.
Breivik, the Norwegian far-right political terrorist who killed eight people
with a van bomb in Oslo before shooting dead 69 participants of a Labour Party
Youth League summer camp on Utoya Island in 2011, became an inspiration for
many future attacks including the New Zealand terrorist attacks since then.
During the following terrorist attacks, hundreds of people lost their lives in
Sweden, a masked swordsman killed two and wounded another at the Kronan School
in Trollhattan, on Oct. 22, 2015. The perpetrator chose the school as his
target due to its high immigrant population. It was the deadliest attack on a
school in Swedish history. A teacher who was stabbed during the incident
succumbed to his wounds on Dec. 3, 2015, raising the death toll to three.
July 22, 2016, 10 people, including the perpetrator, were killed and 36 others
injured during a mass shooting in the vicinity of the Olympia shopping mall in
the Moosach district of Munich, Germany. The perpetrator expressed his
admiration for Germany's right-wing Alternative for Germany (AfD) party, and
that he was "very nationalistic," repeatedly uttering anti-Turkish
Switzerland, a man yelling "get out of our country," opened fire on
people at an Islamic center in Central Zürich on Dec. 19, 2016. The Islamic
Central Council of Switzerland issued a statement suggesting it should serve as
an "alarm" regarding the threat posed by increasing Islamophobia in
Jan. 29, 2017, a mass shooter killed six people and injured 19 at the Islamic
Cultural Centre of Quebec City, Canada. Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and
Premier Philippe Couillard called the shooting a terrorist attack, but the
perpetrator was not charged with terrorism. The incident was classified as a
hate crime and an anti-Muslim attack.
man fatally stabbed two people and injured a third on a MAX Light Rail train in
Portland in the United States on May 26, 2017. He was confronted for reportedly
"yelling a gamut of anti-Muslim and anti-everything slurs." The
Portland Police Bureau's report said the man was shouting "hate speech
toward a variety of ethnicities and religions," and directed his
inflammatory remarks at two young Muslim women, one of whom was wearing a
the U.K., a man drove into a crowd of Muslim worshipers leaving a mosque in
London after prayer on June 19, 2017. The incident, in which a person was
killed and 11 others were injured, was deemed terrorism. Several civil rights
groups and politicians claimed the perpetrator was motivated by anti-Muslim
campaign launched for restoration of mosque
was also reported that a donation campaign was launched for the Diyanet Mosque.
the Diyanet Center of America (DCA) announced on its website, a charity
campaign for the restoration of the attacked mosque has been launched under the
name "Support the New Haven Mosque."
DCA is the operating name of the Turkish American Community Center (TACC), a
nonprofit organization located in Lanham, Maryland. The community center was
established in 1993 by a group of Turkish-Americans to provide religious,
social and educational services to Turkish immigrants and Muslims living in the
United States. As an umbrella organization, the DCA has 22 local chapters with
affiliations across the U.S. and works in full coordination with the Religious
Affairs of the Republic of Turkey.
Kanca, chairman of the DCA, called on everyone who has a conscience to support
the restoration of the Diyanet Mosque.
the damage to the mosque totaled more than $500,000, the priority is to collect
$100,000 during the first phase of the donation campaign until the official investigation
on the attack, Connecticut Gov. Ned Lamont described the attack on the
religious institution as "disgusting" and "appalling."
Yemeni forces fighting back a Saudi-led war must have made a real breakthrough
by reportedly infiltrating deep into Saudi territory and hitting critical
infrastructure there, says an investigative journalist, as Riyadh has been
provided with sophisticated military capabilities, including satellite
detection, by its Western backers.
to Press TV on Tuesday, Tony Gosling referred to reports earlier in the day
indicating that Yemen had struck pumping stations in Saudi Arabia’s sprawling
central Najd region, prompting Riyadh to stop pumping crude on a major
incident was announced by Saudi Energy Minister Khalid A. al-Falih, who
nevertheless refused to assign blame for the attacks. Earlier though, Yemeni
forces had said they had been able to hit key Saudi structures, although they
did not specify the targets.
said that the reported strike had come despite “all the Western backing that
there is, all the satellite help that there is from the [US] National Security
Agency, from the United States, from the Pentagon that the Saudis have.”
security support, Gosling said, would have enabled Riyadh to detect and stop
spoke of two possibilities. “Either there’s a deliberate bringing down of the
defenses by the West to allow this kind of thing to happen to Saudi Arabia or
Yemenis have found some kind of gap in the defenses to use.”
oil prices rose in the aftermath of the reported strikes on the two pumping
stations, which belong to state oil company Saudi Aramco. Furthermore, Saudi
Arabia’s main stock index, the Tadawul, was down 1.5% at midday London time.
Saudi energy minister says the kingdom has stopped pumping crude oil on a major
pipeline across the country after retaliatory drone strikes carried out by
Yemeni army forces and their allies.
A. Al-Falih said the national petroleum and natural gas company, Saudi Aramco,
on Tuesday halted oil pumping on the pipeline from the oil-rich Eastern
Province to the Red Sea, while the damage was being evaluated and its two
targeted pumping stations were being repaired.
Aramco took precautionary measures and temporarily stopped operation of the
pipeline, as it is evaluating the situation and working on restoring the
operations of the affected pump station and the pipeline,” he said in a
statement published by state news agency SPA.
described the attack “an act of terrorism,” asserting that Saudi oil output and
exports for crude and refined products were continuing without disruption.
1,200-kilometer (750-mile) pipeline, which reportedly has a capacity of at
least five million barrels per day, carries crude oil from Saudi Arabia’s main
eastern fields to the Red Sea port city of Yanbu in the west.
targeted pumping stations are located in the towns of Dawadmi and Afif, which
lie in the Najd region west of the capital, Riyadh.
in the day, an unnamed Yemeni military source told Arabic-language al-Masirah
television network that Yemeni soldiers, backed by allied fighters from Popular
Committees, launched a major operation against the strategic economic target in
Saudi Arabia in retaliation for the Riyadh regime’s devastating military aggression
and siege of the impoverished country.
source added that seven unmanned aerial vehicles were involved in the attacks.
global oil prices rose in the aftermath of Yemeni drone strikes on the two
pumping stations belonging to state oil company Saudi Aramco.
crude futures were at $70.79 a barrel at 1035 GMT, up 56 cents or 0.80%.
West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude futures were at $61.35 per barrel, up 31
cents or 0.51%.
Saudi Arabia’s main stock index, the Tadawul, was down 1.5% at midday London
development came only two days after Saudi Arabia said two of its oil tankers
were among those attacked in an unspecified “sabotage operation” off the coast
of Fujairah in the United Arab Emirates.
Emirati official told Reuters that the UAE was working with local and
international partners from the United States, France, Norway, and Saudi Arabia
to “fully investigate the incident and to identify the people or entities
ships -- including two Saudi oil tankers, an Emirati ship and the Norwegian
tanker Andrea Victory -- were docked in the sea off the coast of Fujairah.
Fujairah port is the only terminal in the UAE located on the Arabian Sea coast.
The small emirate has an oil terminal and a pipeline that delivers crude oil
from Abu Dhabi which sits on the majority of UAE oil reserves.
drone strikes in line with right to self defense’
a member of the Political Council of the Houthi Ansarullah movement described
Yemeni drone strikes against strategic targets inside Saudi Arabia and the UAE
as in line with the right of self defense, stating that Yemeni forces will
cease such aerial assaults once the Riyadh and Abu Dhabi regime change course
and put an end to their military aggression.
Saudi Arabia and the UAE’s flagrant disregard for our demand to stop the
onslaught and persistence on the blockade of Yemen, Yemeni forces launch
attacks against targets in the heart of these countries high on their
agenda," said Mohammad al-Bukhaiti.
Deputy Yemeni Minister of Information, Fahmi al-Yusufi, said the drone strikes
carry a clear message to Saudis.
are within the range of our attacks, and US battle ships cannot rescue them.
The Yemeni army, which previously did not even have Kalashnikov rifles in
inventory, can now produce drones that infiltrate into Saudi Arabia and the
UAE. We are fully prepared to defend our soil. These attacks attest to our
military progress despite the ongoing sea, land and air blockade on Yemen,” he
spokesman for the Ansarullah movement, Mohammed Abdul-Salam, also commented on
the issue, saying, “The attacks on Saudi oil installations were in response to
the massacre of Yemeni people. The Yemeni nation has no option but to defend
itself in the face of the Saudi-led coalition’s impudence and its systematic
terrorist acts, which are being supported by the United States and other
the spokesman for Yemeni Armed Forces, Brigadier General Yahya Saree, said
Yemeni forces are ready to carry out further and more delicate operations deep
inside Saudi Arabia.
Aziz Rashid, a Yemeni military expert, also said the air raids were in response
to Saudi attacks during the holy Muslim fasting month of Ramadan, and proved
the failure of US-built Patriot missile system to protect Saudi Arabia against
added the drone strikes will seriously down Saudi and UAE stocks and will
eventually result in capital flight from the two Persian Gulf countries.
operation will fairly undermine the morale of Saudi and Emirati troops, who are
heavily depending on arsenals filled with munitions bought from the United
States, Britain, France and other Western countries,” he pointed out.
Arabia and a number of its regional allies launched a devastating campaign
against Yemen in March 2015, with the goal of bringing the government of former
president, Abd Rabbuh Mansur Hadi, back to power and crushing the Houthi
to a December 2018 report by the Armed Conflict Location and Event Data Project
(ACLED), a nonprofit conflict-research organization, the Saudi-led war has
claimed the lives of over 60,000 Yemenis since January 2016.
Turkey: Turkish officials say police have detained two suspected left-wing
militants who tried to enter the country’s parliament with sharp objects and a
hoax explosive device.
Altun, the presidential communications director, said in a tweet early
Wednesday that the suspects were members of the banned Revolutionary People’s
Liberation Party-Front, also known as DHKP-C.
called their attempt a “terrorist act against the will and the peace of the
state-run Anadolu Agency said the suspects — a woman and a man — arrived at the
parliament building on Tuesday and tried to take a security official hostage
before they were subdued.
Islamist party PAS issues gag order as embarrassing 'bribery' scandal hits home
LUMPUR - The son-in-law of PAS president Abdul Hadi Awang claimed that five
party leaders had received "bribes" and other financial benefits,
including an Audi vehicle, from former rival Umno in the past.
of pats on the back for bringing the issue to light, Mr Zaharudin Muhammad will
have to face a disciplinary committee set up by Parti Islam SeMalaysia (PAS).
launches master plan for sharia economy
Joko "Jokowi" Widodo launched on Tuesday the country's first master
plan for a sharia economy for implementation from 2019 to 2024.
master plan sets out four main strategies aimed at transforming the country
into a net producer instead of simply a market for halal goods and services.
strategies are to empower Indonesia's halal value chain by focusing on the
country's most competitive sectors, such as food and beverages and fashion, and
strengthen the presence of the sharia financial sector as a capital provider to
strategies are: enhance the role of micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs)
as the prime mover of the value chain and cooperate with e-commerce platforms
to promote Indonesia's halal goods and services.
of the main keys to achieving our goal lies in our identity as [the country
with] the world's largest Muslim population, in this sharia economy,"
Jokowi said during the launch at the National Development Planning Agency
being a Muslim-majority country, Indonesia is only the 10th largest exporter to
Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) countries at US$7.6 billion in 2017,
lagging behind non-Muslim majority countries like Brazil, the United States and
the other hand, 36 percent of domestic consumption in 2017 was halal goods,
Bappenas head Bambang Brodjonegoro said, pointing out that a large proportion
of those goods were imported.
Lumpur (AsiaNews/Agencies) – Malaysian authorities foiled a plot by the Islamic
State (IS) group to attack Buddhist and Hindu temples as well as Christian
security forces carried out two operations in Kuala Lumpur and Terengganu,
between 5 and 7 May, seizing an automatic pistol, 15 bullets and six improvised
explosive devices (IEDs).
would-be terrorists include a Malaysian, an Indonesian and two Rohingya, said
Abdul Hamid Bador, Malaysia’s new chief of police, at a news conference held
Hamid told reporters that the group received orders from a Malaysian militant
based in Syria, but his identity has not yet been determined.
man in Syria “instructed the cell members to launch the attack,” and the
suspects had “been planning it since January,” noted the police chief. “They
communicate via WhatsApp,” he added.
four terrorists wanted to avenge the death of a Muslim firefighter, an ethnic
Malay, who died last November during sectarian clashes at a Hindu temple in
Subang Jaya (Selangor).
cell was ready to go into action during the first week of Ramadan, which began
on 6 May.
of the Rohingya suspects in custody is a 20-year-old with a UN refugee card. He
admitted to supporting the Arakan Rohingya Salvation Army (ARSA), an Islamist
insurgent group operating in Myanmar’s Rakhine state.
has been blamed for the initial violence that led to the exodus of 700,000
Myanmar Rohingya to neighbouring Bangladesh.
20-year-old “was also planning to launch an attack at the Myanmar Embassy in
Kuala Lumpur,” Abdul Hamid said, adding that the second Rohingya suspect was a
25-year-old labourer who had admitted to being part of a local IS cell.
predominantly Muslim nation, Malaysia is seen as a safe haven in Southeast Asia
for Rohingya fleeing Myanmar.
to the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), the country has
taken in at least 90,200 Rohingya, but some NGOs estimate the real number could
be as high as 200,000.
year, Malaysian Defence Minister Mohamad Sabu expressed worry about the
possibility of Rohingya expatriates turning to extremism.
are concerned that the Rohingyas could be manipulated to become suicide bombers
or recruited into terrorist cells in this region,” he explained.
radicalisation of the Rohingya began in the late 1970s after a first wave of
refugees created a permanent problem.
church serves iftar to mark bombing anniversary
Muslims break the fast at the Saint Mary Immaculate Catholic Church in
Surabaya, East Java, on Monday. The interfaith gathering was held to remember
the victims of the suicide bombings carried out by an Islamic State-inspired
family a year ago.(JP/Wahyoe Boediwardhana)Hundreds of meal boxes and beverages
were prepared for iftar (breaking-of-the-fast) at the Saint Mary Immaculate
Catholic Church in Surabaya, East Java, on Monday evening.Crowds of Muslims
could be seen swarming the church, with churchgoers offering them a popular
treat for breaking the fast, kolak — a type of sweet condiment with coconut
milk and palm sugar.Joining them were hundreds of guests from varying religious
backgrounds, who were there to participate in a reflection of the deadly church
bombings that took place exactly one year ago in Surabaya.“We prepared the
meals and beverages...
Linked to Terrorist Plots Arrested in Malaysia
Two Indonesian citizens alleged to be linked to terrorist plots were arrested
in Malaysia recently, the National Police announced in Jakarta on Tuesday.
and Malaysian police worked together to capture two Indonesian citizens
suspected of involvement in terrorist plots in Malaysia," police spokesman
Brig. Gen. Dedi Prasetyo told reporters.
did not say when and where the two were arrested. They were captured along with
two Malaysian nationals.
Police announced on Monday that its counter-terrorism unit has arrested four
people – a Malaysian, an Indonesian and two Rohingyas – in a series of raids in
Kuala Lumpur, Subang Jaya and Trengganu on May 5-7.
counter terrorism unit found a 'wolf pack' allied with IS [Islamic State] that
was planning to assassinate high-profile targets and launch simultaneous terror
attacks on entertainment sites, churches and Hindu and Buddhist temples,"
Malaysian National Police Chief Insp. Gen. Abdul Hamid Bador as qouted by
the raids, the police also found a pistol, bullets and improvised explosive
Police believe the IED came from Syria.
four suspected terrorists have been charged under Malaysia's Penal Code Act.
The police there have also been searching for three mores suspects, Malaysians
Syazani Mahzan (35) and Muhammad Nuurul Amin Azizan (27), who were last seen in
Kedah, and Indonesian Fatir Tir who was last spotted in Selangor.
Indonesian police said one of the Indonesian nationals who were captured in
Malaysia is a man from North Sumatra.
of them are now being detained by the E8 team, Malaysia's equivalent of our
[anti-terror unit] Densus 88," Dedi said.
88 are investigating if these individuals have links to JAD [Indonesian terror
group Jamaah Ansharut Daulah)," he said.
police said Monday, May 13 that they have arrested four militants linked to
Islamic State who were in possession of explosives and planned to attack
non-Muslim places of worship.
suspects – a Malaysian who led the group, two Rohingya from Myanmar and one
Indonesian – were detained last week in raids around Kuala Lumpur and in
eastern Terengganu state.
national police chief Abdul Hamid Bador described them as an “Islamic State
cell” and said they planned to “assassinate high-profile individuals and attack
Hindu, Christian and Buddhist places of worship in Malaysia.”
did not give any details about who the high-profile individuals were. Police
also seized six improvised explosive devices, a pistol and 15 bullets, he said.
planned attacks were to avenge the high-profile death of a Muslim fireman
during riots at an Indian temple outside Kuala Lumpur last year, police said.
of the Rohingya admitted supporting the Arakan Rohingya Salvation Army, a
militant group blamed for attacks in Myanmar that sparked an army crackdown,
and had also planned to target the Myanmar embassy in Kuala Lumpur, police
second Rohingya was a 25-year-old laborer who admitted to being militant with
ties to ISIS, police said.
Rohingya are a Muslim minority that have long faced persecution in their
are hunting for three more members of the suspected terror cell who allegedly
planned to attack entertainment outlets.
in Muslim-majority Malaysia regularly announce ISIS-related arrests but it is
rare for police to seize explosives or weapons.
practices a moderate brand of Islam and has not seen any notable terror attacks
in recent years.
security forces are on alert for militants from Malaysia and other parts of the
region heading to the country after ISIS lost the last of its territory in the
May 14 — Deputy Foreign Minister Datuk Marzuki Yahya today sought to correct
the viewpoints of popular Hollywood actor George Clooney, pointing out that
Malaysia does not kill, and will not resort to killing sexual minorities.
said that though such lifestyles deviate from Islam, the government would not
impose such a punishment on the group.
I feel we have to hold on to our principles as a sovereign nation. An Islamic
nation. But we do not at all support such a thing.
I think, in this matter, we will take a stand as Malaysia, a country that holds
on to the principles of constitutional monarchy, with Islam being the official
things which oppose the norms of religion, we will definitely oppose,"
Marzuki said when met at Parti Pribumi Bersatu Malaysia's (PPBM) breaking of
fast event at the Putrajaya International Convention Centre (PICC) here.
better for him to be aware of what he says," Marzuki said, when asked if
he is correcting Clooney's remark.
the US actor and producer had in an interview on the Ellen DeGeneres Show,
where he said that the hotels boycott that forced the Sultan of Brunei to back
down from imposing the death penalty for homosexuality will serve as warning to
other countries considering the same legislation.
Hollywood A-lister celebrity singled out Malaysia and Indonesia as among
countries purportedly considering such laws.
earlier said that while shaming was ineffective from deterring countries from
pushing such laws, going after their finances and business ties have now been
shown to work in forcing them to reconsider.
“[...] And more important is the reason for this is
this is something that is manageable, because it sends a warning shot over to
countries like Indonesia and Malaysia who also are considering these laws, that
the business people, the big banks , those guys are going to say ‘don’t even
get into that business, so that’s the reason you do it,” Clooney said.
controversially announced on April 3 that it was imposing death by stoning for
homosexuals as part of the country’s Shariah laws.
triggered an international outcry and boycott of hotels owned by Sultan
Hassanal Bolkiah around the world, leading to the Brunei ruler to announce a
moratorium on the penalty this month.
and Macron to host world leaders in Paris for summit on online extremism
Zealand Prime Minster Jacinda Ardern and French President Emmanuel Macron will
host world leaders and internet companies in Paris at a summit on Wednesday to
discuss how to tackle online extremist content.
summit will be held in response to the Christchurch mosque attacks in March,
which killed 50 people and was streamed live on Facebook.
footage of the live stream was viewed about 4,000 times and 1.5 million copies
of the video were taken down within the first 24 hours before being removed
from the social media network.
summit will focus on international efforts to stop social media being used to
organise and promote terrorism.
attending are expected to sign a joint pledge, called the Christchurch Call to
Action, to eliminate violent extremist content online.
in The New York Times on Saturday, Ms Ardern said the “Christchurch Call” would
be a voluntary framework that committed signatories to stop the uploading of
nations are expected to sign the non-binding pledge, including Britain, Canada,
Jordan, Senegal, Indonesia, Australia, Norway and Ireland.
the US is not expected to sign because it has been reticent to regulate the
internet for fears that it would harm free speech.
Google and Microsoft are among the technology companies expected to sign the
event, which will take place two days after an inquiry into the Christchurch
massacre began hearing evidence, will be co-chaired by Ms Ardern and Mr Macron.
expected to attend are Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, European
Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker, British Prime Minister Theresa May,
King Abdullah II of Jordan, Twitter chief executive Jack Dorsey and Facebook
head of global affairs Nick Clegg.
from other internet companies including Twitter, Microsoft and Google will also
absentees are expected to include Facebook chief executive Mark Zuckerberg and
US President Donald Trump.
May is expected to raise concerns about the threat posed by the Far Right and
call for greater progress to develop solutions and collaboration between online
sickening attacks on Muslim worshippers in Christchurch shocked the
world," she said.
1.5 million copies of the video had to be removed by Facebook, and could still
be found on YouTube for as long as eight hours after it was first posted, is a
stark reminder that we need to do more to remove this content and stop it going
online in the first place.
we have seen significant progress on this issue since the terror attacks on the
UK in 2017, live-streaming of these attacks exposed gaps in our response and
the need to keep pace with rapidly changing technological developments."
May will call on governments and internet companies to collaborate in
preventing hateful comment from being shared.
wants countries to take a shared, international approach to regulation, and
follow the lead set by the UK’s Online Harms White Paper, which would impose a
legal duty of care on internet companies.
September 2017, Mrs May joined Mr Macron and then Italian prime minister Paolo
Gentiloni in convening the first UN summit of government and industry to move
further and faster in reducing the time it takes to remove terrorist content
online and stop it being uploaded in the first place.
month the British government published its Online Harms White Paper, which
stated that social media and tech companies would be legally required to
protect their users or face tough punishment.
Islamophobic far-right figure to face fresh charges
leader of the racist group English Defence League (EDL) Tommy Robinson is to
face fresh charges of contempt of court offense, Britain’s High Court said on
whose real name is Stephen Yaxley-Lennon, was jailed for 13 months last year
over charges of contempt of court when he filmed defendants in a criminal court
and published the footage online. But after serving part of this sentence, he
was released from prison based on a decision of the Court of Appeal.
case was later referred back to Attorney General Geoffrey Cox who said it was
in the public interest to bring fresh proceedings against him.
36-year-old Islamophobic far-right Robinson will now reappear in court again on
the same offenses in July and if found guilty he will face a prison term up to
group of far-right supporters of Robinson rallied outside the court building,
shouted anti-Muslim slogans and targeted journalists following the event.
group of anti-Robinson activists also rallied.
Emmanuel Macron wants to meet Libyan eastern commander Khalifa Haftar to push
for a ceasefire and resume peace talks, France’s foreign minister said on
last week called for a ceasefire in the month-long battle for Libya’s capital
Tripoli after meeting UN-recognized Libyan Prime Minister Fayez al-Serraj.
is home to the recognized administration but some European countries such as
France have also supported eastern military commander Haftar as a way to fight
militants in a country in chaos since the toppling of Muammar Qaddafi in 2011.
day after meeting Macron, the Tripoli-based government asked 40 foreign firms
including French oil major Total to renew their licenses or have their
situation in Libya is extremely worrying because the proposed UN roadmap to
both parties – and which almost reached a positive conclusion – ... has today
failed on the one hand because of Field Marshal Haftar’s initiative and
Serraj’s non-initiative,” Jean-Yves Le Drian told lawmakers.
for this reason that the president wanted to meet one and the other to support
the UN initiative.”
European Union called on Monday for a ceasefire in Libya, saying the conflict
around the capital of Tripoli is a threat to international peace and security.
Libyan National Army, led by Field Marshal Khalifa Haftar, launched an
offensive on Tripoli last month.
force, based in eastern Libya, is battling rival militias loosely allied with
the UN-recognized government in the capital, Tripoli.
a statement, EU foreign ministers called “on all parties to immediately
implement a cease-fire and to engage with the United Nations to ensure a full
and comprehensive cessation of hostilities.”
said that “indiscriminate attacks on densely populated residential areas may
amount to war crimes” and that those responsible should be held to account.
head of the Tripoli-based government, Fayez al-Serraj, met with the ministers
Salame, the United Nation’s special envoy for Libya, briefed the EU Foreign
Affairs Council on Monday about the situation in Libya and also met with the
NATO secretary-general and Germany’s foreign minister, UN spokesman Farhan Haq
said in New York.
stressed that more than a month after the outbreak of fighting, it is becoming
clear to everyone that a military solution cannot replace a political solution,
and that it is high time now to return to the negotiating table,” Haq said.
said the UN remains “extremely concerned about the mounting impact of the
fighting on civilians in and around Tripoli,” citing reports of casualties over
the weekend and the deepening humanitarian impact of clashes.
Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian announced that an international “legal
mechanism” is being studied to prosecute foreign ISIS terrorists detained in
Kurdish areas in Syria.
possibility of establishing a specific legal mechanism" that may be
inspired by other examples of the international judicial system, as happened
for Kosovo or the African continent, is being considered, Laudrian told Le
2015, a special tribunal based in The Hague was established to investigate
allegations of war crimes committed against Kosovo Albanian separatist rebels
and Kosovo political opponents in 1998 and 1999.
Africa, the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR), established
according to the United Nations Resolution in 1994, issued dozens of
convictions until its closure in 2015.
2015, the Special Criminal Court was established to look into crimes against
humanity and war crimes in Central Africa since 2003.
French Minister rejected any comparison with the Nuremberg tribunal that
prosecuted Nazi officials after 1945. “It's a historically heavy comparison,”
Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) called for the establishment of an international
tribunal in northeastern Syria for ISIS war criminals.
the situation is legally complicated because the Kurdish region, where
militants are being held, is not internationally recognized.
French government is "ready" to repatriate French ISIS children after
five “orphans” were returned to France in March.
opposes the return of men and women who will be tried “wherever they commit
their crimes,” according to the minister, who said he was only willing to study
the files of children jailed with their mothers in camps on a case-by-case
position is controversial, as families and their lawyers demand that children
be given medical, social, and psychological treatment in France, the country of
origin of their mothers.
was the first time that Thomas Haldenwang, president of the Federal Office for
the Protection of the Constitution, or BfV, had hosted his agency's traditional
symposium. The event on Monday in Berlin was titled "Mobilization
Capability in Political Extremism" — referring to issues beyond Islamic
extremists, the group that was almost the exclusive the focus under his
predecessor, Hans-Georg Maassen. Haldenwang also put right-wing and left-wing
extremists on the agenda.
this shift in focus, Haldenwang neither ignored nor trivialized religiously
motivated extremism. People should not be deceived by the fact that the
"Islamic State" has suffered a military defeat in Syria and Iraq, he
said. Referring to the Easter attacks in Sri Lanka that left several hundred
people dead, Haldenwang added that IS has gone underground as a terrorist
organization and said he feared the group's attacks could inspire potential
imitators in other regions of the world.
more: Yazidi women seek acceptance for children born of IS rape
followers in Western Europe have been spreading propaganda — including in
Germany. "This propaganda continues to call for attacks on Western
targets," Haldenwang told DW. "Unfortunately, we know of enough
Islamic terrorists who are pursuing these plans." The last — and most
serious — such attack in Germany occurred in December 2016, when Anis Amri, a
Tunisian national, killed 12 people after driving a truck into a Berlin
BfV also noted a "new dynamic" among right-wing extremists: They
address certain issues to get close to ordinary citizens and poison the
atmosphere with propaganda and disinformation. The escalating xenophobic
protests after the violent death of a German in the summer of 2018 in the city
of Chemnitz is a perfect example, Haldenwang said — the suspects were from
Syria and Iraq. Protests went on for days. Boundaries were flouted, Haldenwang
for AfD observation
naming names, Haldenwang reminded the symposium that "certain
parties" in Germany's parliament, the Bundestag, are taken with xenophobia
and hatred of immigrants. Noisy protest "fuels extremist groups," he
said, adding that is why the far-right Alternative for Germany (AfD) party's
youth organization, as well as a wing of the party linked to Thuringian AfD
boss Björn Höcke, are under suspicion. In both cases, Haldenwang said the
agency knows there have been extremist activities.
BfV plans to monitor an AfD gathering planned for early July. Observing
participation, behavior and speeches is bound to be a "very interesting
source of knowledge" for the agency, Haldenwang said.
about the NPD?
on Tuesday pledged to take stronger action against the activities of the PKK
terrorist organization as its members ramp up violence in the country.
at a news conference in Berlin, Interior Minister Horst Seehofer said criminal
offenses by foreign extremist and terrorist groups in Germany have increased
more than 50% last year, largely due to the PKK.
authorities will continue to do everything to ensure that foreign terrorist and
extremist organizations don't use Germany as a sphere of action. This also and
specifically applies to the PKK," he stressed.
followers committed 1,873 criminal offenses in Germany last year, according to
annual statistics announced by the Interior Minister -- an increase of more
than 80% over the previous year -- while violent offenses rose from 152 to 305.
being banned in Germany since 1993, the PKK remains active with nearly 14,000
followers among the Kurdish immigrant population in the country.
of the PKK and its Syrian branch the PYD/YPG claimed responsibility last year
for dozens of attacks against mosques, associations and other Turkish
institutions in Germany to protest Turkey’s counterterrorism operations in
has long criticized Berlin for not taking serious measures against the PKK and
its affiliates in Germany, which use the country as a platform for
fund-raising, recruitment, and propaganda.
Minister Horst Seehofer, an influential conservative politician, had promised a
hard stance against foreign extremist and terrorist groups after assuming his
new post in 2018.
February, two major propaganda outlets of the PKK in Germany were banned and
dissolved, following legal action by the Interior Ministry.
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