Republic Day: From Madarsa in Lucknow to synagogue in Pune, tricolour flies
high across India
Reforms, Increased Political Executions Result of King Salman's Rule: Lebanese
Republic Day: From Madrasa in Lucknow to Synagogue in Pune, Tricolour Flies
High Across India
and Muslims both Love Baba Guru Nanak and the Proof Is In Kartarpur Sahib
Dead As Bombs Hit Cathedral In Philippines During Mass
Asks India, Saudi Arabia Not To Deport Rohingya Muslims
the UAE's Relationship With The Vatican Has Strengthened Ahead Of Papal Visit
Calls For Arab League To Readmit Syria
General: Whole Israel within Range of Syrian Missiles
Turkey breaching 1998 agreement by ‘occupying Syrian territory’
flee bombardment and hunger in last Syria Daesh pocket
Popular Uprising Reported against US-Backed Militants in Deir Ezzur
Civilians Killed in New US Strikes against Eastern Syria
Occupies New Region in Deir Ezzur after US Blue-on-Green Strike on SDF
Send Military Convoy to Raqqa to Suppress Popular Uprising
Army's Military Convoys Arrive in Northern Syria for Imminent Battle
Mass Grave of Victims Killed by ISIL Discovered by Syrian Army Near Palmyra
bin Sultan: Obama’s policies took the region 20 years back
strikes kill 42 in ISIS Syria holdout
killed as protesters attack Turkish base in Iraq's Kurdish region
Islamic Cultural Centre Is the Sign of Muslims’ Glorious Past
violates ceasefire along LoC
militants killed in encounter near Srinagar
Pakistan in contact on Kartarpur corridor issue: Bisaria
Says ‘Imperialist Dictation’ Impeding Progress
committed to addressing ‘genuine’ demands of Pashtuns: army
than half of Pakistan happy with PM Imran’s performance: survey
peace not possible without dialogue: FM Qureshi
to spend Rs2bn on Kartarpur corridor: Qureshi
Pakistan ties poised for quantum leap
Case Highlights Indonesia’s Blasphemy Law
lauds voters’ choice of Muslim MP to represent Cameron Highlands
Ministry not authority on religious matters, Muhyiddin says after Islamic book
group confronts Muslims outside Edmonton mosque
mulls keeping troops in Syria to counter, attack Iranians in 'self-defence':
progress made' in US, Taliban peace talks
Taliban ‘finalise draft deal’ to end Afghan conflict
the UAE's Relationship with the Vatican Has Strengthened Ahead Of Papal Visit
Merkel calls for “zero tolerance” of anti-Semitism, hate
vows to reconsider cooperation with Europe in case of new sanctions
storm Turkish military camp in north Iraq
tells Iran new sanctions loom if missile talks fail
Bashir to visit Egypt as more protests planned
injured in central Nairobi explosion
FM demands restoration of Syria’s Arab League membership
Russia call for Arab League to readmit Syria
opposition chief says time for Al Bashir to go
sentenced to jail for plot to explode Somali Muslims’ home
Taliban ‘Not Excluding Pakistan from Peace Talks’
Artisan Case: Khaled sent Tk 39 lakh to fund attack
troops to quit Afghanistan in 18 months under draft deal: Taliban officials
blast kills 5 in Afghan district held by Taliban
draft peace deal stipulates US troop pullout within 18 months
election under new scrutiny
Khalid had close ties to Indian ISIS operative
reiterates main objective of NATO’s presence in Afghanistan
forces carry out drone strikes against ISIS-K hideouts in Nangarhar
progress made on vital issues in talks with Taliban: Khalilzad
foreign snipers among 10 killed in Jawzjan clash
Investigator In Khashoggi Case Demands Access To Saudi Consulate In Istanbul,
Not Allowed Yet
enjoys West's support for killing Palestinians: Activist
struggle in Tehran ahead of post-Khamenei succession
could ‘for years’ enter Israel, group’s leader says after tunnels found
settlers kill Palestinian in the West Bank
dead after protesters storm Turkish military camp in north Iraq
‘shocked’ at ‘terror’ waged by Israeli settlers
tunnels won't save Israel in future wars: Hezbollah
ballistic missiles hit Jizan, Najran in Saudi Arabia
killed, several injured as Houthis bomb civilian house in Hodeidah
fail to implement Stockholm agreement: Yemeni government
by New Age Islam News Bureau
Arabic-language al-Akhbar newspaper reported on Saturday that nearly 50 young
men have been killed by the Saudi security forces in residential areas in
al-Qatif province in Eastern Saudi Arabia between 2015 to 2018, while political
executions have sorely increased during King Salman's ruling.
the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development announced in June 2018
that foreign investment in Saudi Arabia has decreased to $1.4bln in 2017, the
paper said, adding that the capital outflow from the country speeded up after
the death of prominent journalist Jamal Khashoggi in 2018.
also noted that 13mln people, including 9.9 foreign workers, had jobs in Saudi
Arabia in the second quarter of 2018, while the number of unemployed people
seeking job in the country stood at 1.1mln in the same period.
Salman, a son of King Abdulaziz, acceded to the throne in January 2015 after
the death of his half-brother Abdullah bin Abdul Aziz.
launched his first major cabinet reshuffle a few months later, promoting
Mohammed bin Nayef to crown prince and Mohammed bin Salman, who was relatively
unknown at that time, to deputy crown prince.
June 2017, the Saudi king appointed his son Mohammed bin Salman as crown prince
- replacing his nephew, Mohammed bin Nayef, as first in line to the throne.
Salman's decree also meant that bin Salman would become deputy prime minister
while continuing as defense minister.
Mohammed bin Nayef, 57, was removed from his role as head of domestic security.
the occasion of 70th Republic Day, the tricolour was hoisted at a Madrasa in
Uttar Pradesh's Lucknow on Saturday.
unfurling of the tricolour at the Darul Uloom Firangi Mahal Madrasa was
followed by a further celebration of the national festival.
Pune, the Bene Israeli community hoisted the Indian national flag at its
synagogue in Pune. The flag was hoisted at the Succath Shelemo Synagogue.
Ministers Rajnath Singh and Nitin Gadkari unfurled the tricolour at their
respective residences while Bhartiya Janata Party (BJP) President Amit Shah
unfurled the tricolour at the party office in the national capital
Indo-Tibetan Border Police celebrated India's 70th Republic Day at 18 thousand
feet above the sea in minus 30 degrees. The troops hoisted the national flag.
with South African President Cyril Ramaphosa watching the proceedings, India
displayed its military might and rich cultural diversity during the dazzling
70th Republic Day parade in the Capital which for the first time saw veteran
soldiers of the Indian National Army walking down the Rajpath.
Republic Day Parade Ceremony commenced with Prime Minister Narendra Modileading
the nation in paying homage to soldiers killed in combat by laying a wreath at
the Amar Jawan Jyoti at India Gate.
grand finale of the parade was a spectacular flypast by the IAF which commenced
with the 'Rudra' formation comprising three ALH Mk IV WSI helicopters in 'Vic'
formation, followed by the 'Hercules' formation comprising three C-130J Super
Hercules aircraft in 'Vic' formation. Behind the 'Hercules' formation was the
'Netra' the "Eye in the Sky".
them was the 'Sutlej Formation' which is AN 32 aircraft flying in 'Vic'
formation. Behind the 'Netra' formation was the 'Globe' formation, comprising
one C-17 Globemaster flanked by two Su-30 MKIs. One of the An-32s was for the
first time flying with bio-fuel.
in line were the Five Jaguar Deep penetration strike aircraft, in 'Arrowhead'
formation. Following the Jaguars were five MiG-29 Upgrade Air Superiority
Fighters in 'Arrowhead' formation. Three state-of-the-art, SU-30 MKIs of Indian
Air Force executed the Trishul manoeuvre.
culmination of the parade was marked by a lone Su-30 MKI flying at a speed of
900 km/hr splitting the sky with a 'Vertical Charlie' manoeuvre over the
saluting dais. The ceremony culminated with the national anthem and release of
and Muslims both love Baba Guru Nanak and the proof is in Kartarpur Sahib
Guru Nanak, the founder of Sikhism, is not only loved by Sikhs but also by
Muslims and Gurdwara Kartarpur Sahib is testament to this.
ji spent the last 18 years of his life at this gurdwara,” Rafique, a caretaker
at the gurdwara told SAMAA Digital.
Kartarpur Sahib is situated around 120 kilometers from Lahore and a few
kilometers away from Narowal. It was constructed by the Raja of Patiala
Bhupinder Singh between 1921 and 1929.
white edifice is set against lush green farms and the ‘grave’ is the first
thing people see upon entering its premises.
this structure is not an actual grave. “The people only found Baba ji’s chador
and flowers, and not his body,” Rafique explained. “The grave you see in the
veranda was built by the Muslims.”
is said that the Sikh and Muslim followers of Baba Guru Nanak started fighting
over what was left of him. The elders divided the chador and flowers, and two
graves were built. The other grave is located inside the walls of the gurdwara.
100 people, mostly Muslims, come to pay their respects to Baba ji,” Rafique
November 28, 2019 Prime Minister Imran Khan laid the foundation of the
Kartarpur Corridor. The 4km-long corridor will connect Dera Baba Nanak in
India’s Gurdaspur district with Gurdwara Kartarpur Sahib in Pakistan. The
corridor will provide Indian Sikh pilgrims visa-free access to the shrine.
are very satisfied with the step taken by the government,” said the gurdwara’s
Jathedar (the prayer leader) Gobin Singh.
gurdwara was abandoned during the time of Partition, Nisar Ahmed, a villager,
said. “It was a jungle before the place was restored 18 years ago in former
president Pervez Musharraf’s era.” Members of the Sikh community started coming
to the gurdwara to restore it.
government plans to open Kartarpur Corridor on the occasion of the 550th birth
anniversary of Baba Guru Nanak in November.
construction has started amid security.
visitor from Sambaryal praised Imran Khan for opening the gurdwara for Sikh
visitors. “India should also take similar steps and allow Pakistani people to
freely visit their sacred sites in India.”
dead as bombs hit cathedral in Philippines during Mass
Two bombs minutes apart tore through a Roman Catholic cathedral on a southern
Philippine island where Muslim militants are active, killing at least 27 people
and wounding 77 others during a Sunday Mass, officials said.
said the first blast inside the Jolo cathedral in the provincial capital sent
churchgoers, some of them wounded, to stampede out of the main door. Army
troops and police posted outside were rushing in when the second bomb went off
about one minute later near the main entrance, causing more deaths and
injuries. The military was checking a report that the second explosive device
may have been attached to a parked motorcycle.
initial explosion scattered the wooden pews inside the main hall and blasted
window glass panels, and the second bomb hurled human remains and debris across
a town square fronting the Cathedral of Our Lady of Mount Carmel, witnesses
signal was cut off in the first hours after the attack. The witnesses who spoke
to The Associated Press refused to give their names or were busy at the scene
of the blasts.
said at least 27 people died and 77 were wounded. The fatalities included 20
civilians and seven troops. Among the wounded were 14 troops, two police and 61
in armored carriers sealed off the main road leading to the church while vehicles
transported the dead and wounded to the town hospital. Some casualties were
evacuated by air to nearby Zamboanga city.
have directed our troops to heighten their alert level, secure all places of
worships and public places at once, and initiate pro-active security measures
to thwart hostile plans,'' said defense secretary Delfin Lorenzana in a
will pursue to the ends of the earth the ruthless perpetrators behind this
dastardly crime until every killer is brought to justice and put behind bars.
The law will give them no mercy,'' the office of President Rodrigo Duterte said
said that ``the enemies of the state boldly challenged the government's
capability to secure the safety of citizens in that region. The (Armed Forces
of the Philippines) will rise to the challenge and crush these godless
island has long been troubled by the presence of Abu Sayyaf militants, who are
blacklisted by the United States and the Philippines as a terrorist
organization because of years of bombings, kidnappings and beheadings. A
Catholic bishop, Benjamin de Jesus, was gunned down by suspected militants
outside the cathedral in 1997.
one has immediately claimed responsibility for the latest attack.
came nearly a week after minority Muslims in the predominantly Roman Catholic
nation endorsed a new autonomous region in the southern Philippines in hopes of
ending nearly five decades of a separatist rebellion that has left 150,000
most of the Muslim areas approved the autonomy deal, voters in Sulu province,
where Jolo is located, rejected it. The province is home to a rival rebel
faction that's opposed to the deal as well as smaller militant cells that not
part of any peace process.
governments have welcomed the autonomy pact. They worry that small numbers of
Islamic State-linked militants from the Middle East and Southeast Asia could
forge an alliance with Filipino insurgents and turn the south into a breeding
ground for extremists.
bomb attack was done in a place of peace and worship, and it comes at a time
when we are preparing for another stage of the peace process in Mindanao,''
said Gov. Mujiv Hataman of the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao. ``Human
lives are irreplaceable,'' he added, calling on Jolo residents to cooperate
with authorities to find the perpetrators of this ``atrocity.''
officials were looking ``at different threat groups and they still can't say if
this has something to do with the just concluded plebiscite,'' Albayalde, the
national police chief, told ABS-CBN TV network.
from the small but brutal Abu Sayyaf group, other militant groups in Sulu
include a small band of young jihadis aligned with the Islamic State group,
which has also carried out assaults, including ransom kidnappings and
Sayyaf militants are still holding at least five hostages _ a Dutch national,
two Malaysians, an Indonesian and a Filipino _ in their jungle bases mostly
near Sulu's Patikul town, not far from Jolo.
forces have pressed on sporadic offensives to crush the militants, including
those in Jolo, a poverty-wracked island of more than 700,000 people. A few
thousand Catholics live mostly in the capital of Jolo.
have been speculations that the bombings may be a diversionary move by Muslim
militants after troops recently carried out an offensive that killed a number
of IS-linked extremists in an encampment in the hinterlands of Lanao del Sur
province, also in the south. The area is near Marawi, a Muslim city that was
besieged for five months by hundreds of IS-aligned militants including foreign
fighters, in 2017. Troops quelled the insurrection, which left more 1,100
mostly militants dead and the heartland of the mosque-studded city in ruins.
asks India, Saudi Arabia not to deport Rohingya Muslims
Bangladesh (AA): A top UN official on Friday urged Saudi Arabia and India not
to deport members of the persecuted Rohingya Muslim community to Bangladesh but
instead to grant them refugee status.
am dismayed by Saudi Arabia’s recent deportation of 13 Rohingya to Bangladesh,”
said Yanghee Lee, UN special rapporteur on the situation of human rights in
Myanmar, at a news briefing in Bangladesh’s capital Dhaka.
briefed reporters on her week long visit to Rohingya camps in Cox’s Bazar
district and Bhasan Char island in southern Bangladesh.
expressed concern over reported arrests of Rohingya by Saudi authorities.
people have fled persecution in Myanmar and should be treated properly.”
to Saudi officials, they have in the past accepted Rohingya refugees and their
number in the Kingdom is around 300 thousand.
continues to be official policy for Rohingya born in the kingdom to generations
previously offered residency permits.
Arabia is not a signatory to the 1951 Refugee Convention,
to India’s attempt to push Rohingya across the border, she said: “I am
disturbed to see the Rohingya arrival in Bangladesh from India”.
least 1,300 Rohingya Muslims have reportedly crossed into Bangladesh from India
since the start of the year fearing forced deportation to Myanmar.
also urged formal education for Rohingya children in Bangladesh.
Myanmar’s unresponsive attitude to concerns of the international community, Lee
said: “It is clear the Rohingya refugees in Bangladesh cannot return to Myanmar
in the near future. The [general] election of Bangladesh has concluded. I urge
the government to engage in a long-term planning [in addressing the Rohingya
Rohingya, described by the UN as the world’s most persecuted people, have faced
heightened fears of attack since dozens were killed in communal violence in
to Amnesty International, more than 750,000 Rohingya refugees, mostly women and
children, have fled Myanmar and crossed into Bangladesh after Myanmar forces launched
a crackdown on the minority Muslim community in August 2017.
Aug. 25, 2017, nearly 24,000 Rohingya Muslims have been killed by Myanmar’s
state forces, according to a report by the Ontario International Development
than 34,000 Rohingya were also thrown into fires, while over 114,000 others
were beaten, said the OIDA report, titled “Forced Migration of Rohingya: The
18,000 Rohingya women and girls were raped by Myanmar’s army and police and
over 115,000 Rohingya homes were burned down and 113,000 others vandalized, it
UN has also documented mass gang rapes, killings — including of infants and
young children — brutal beatings and disappearances committed by Myanmar state
a report, UN investigators said such violations may have constituted crimes
the UAE's relationship with the Vatican has strengthened ahead of papal visit
than a decade has passed since the Holy See and the UAE announced the
establishment of diplomatic ties, setting the foundations for a flourishing
relationship and paving the way for the first visit to the Gulf by a Catholic
arrangement was made to promote what the Vatican called "bonds of mutual
friendship" and to strengthen international co-operation between the two
states. A year later, in 2008, the first high-level delegation, led by former
speaker of the Federal National Council, Abdul Aziz al Ghurair, visited the
Vatican and met Pope Benedict XVI.
Mr Al Ghurair made clear the UAE's wish to cultivate the budding friendship,
the two states had been quietly nurturing these ties for decades.
the UAE is readying itself for the first official papal visit to the GCC. Pope
Francis will touch down in the capital on February 3, where he will be welcomed
by Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme
Commander of the Armed Forces.
two are scheduled to hold talks on ‘human fraternity and peace’, as well as the
co-existence of all people and religions, the UAE government said.
by thousands of kilometres of sea and desert, and rooted in distinct histories,
Abu Dhabi and the Holy See have found common ground.
the Vatican is one of the oldest diplomatic organisations in the world and the
UAE - at 47 years old - one of the youngest, their similarities are likely to
allow them to grow closer.
parallel between the two is the sheer number of migrants. The UAE has the
second largest number of migrants after the Vatican, by percentage of
population. Because there are no births in the Vatican, its migrants make up
100 per cent of its population, which is less than 1,000 people. But more
importantly, they both believe in freedoms that include the right to religious
his 15 years at the Apostolic Vicariate of Southern Arabia - the UAE, Oman and
Yemen - Bishop Paul Hinder says he has seen progress in tolerance and mutual
understanding between communities in the UAE.
enjoy security," Bishop Hinder, who is Swiss, told The National.
"There are countries in the region where there is risk, but here in the
UAE, we enjoy remarkable security."
UAE's first Roman Catholic church, St Joseph's, was built in 1965 - a simple
cement building on the Abu Dhabi seashore. Two years later, the Church of the
Assumption opened in Dubai. Today, there are 76 churches and places of worship
in the UAE, of which nine are Catholic, with almost a million followers of the
Pope Benedict's less forthcoming approach to Islam, Francis made religious
reconciliation and inter-faith dialogue a cornerstone of his papacy. In his
first international trip of 2014, the pontiff visited Jordan, Palestine and
Israel. In 2017, his visit to Egypt came three weeks after a suicide bomb
struck two Coptic churches, killing 45 people. At the time, Pope Francis spoke
of "brotherhood and reconciliation with all the children of Abraham,
particularly the Muslim world".
the UAE's openness to inter-faith dialogue and its freedom of religious
expression are factors that have attracted a huge expatriate community.
the number of Catholics in the Emirates has grown, clergy in the UAE have
appealed for more land to serve their congregations. "We have more space
than we had at the beginning," Bishop Hinder said.
the years, both states have employed soft power to bridge gaps and appeal to
each other. In December, Emirati singer Hussain Al Jassmi became the first Arab
artist to perform at the annual Vatican Christmas concert.
and the UAE met, still meet and are making a difference in arts and culture
which integrate to create a better life for humanity," the singer wrote.
"Our goal is to enhance goodness and promote dialogue and tolerance among
religions and people in a refined manner."
concert aimed to emphasise the plight of refugees, an issue that the UAE and
the Vatican have taken to their hearts.
conveyed today in the Vatican in front of Pope Francis messages of love, peace
and tolerance among religions and people that represent my culture, community,
nation and Arabic heritage," Al Jassmi said.
2017, Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed ordered that one of Abu Dhabi's most prominent
mosques be renamed Mary, Mother of Jesus Mosque. This, Sheikh Mohamed said, was
done to "consolidate bonds of humanity between followers of different
religions". The move was widely appreciated by the Christian community.
coming trip, Bishop Hinder said, was in response to a request by Abu Dhabi.
the Pope's visit will reinforce ties between the Holy See and the UAE, it is
down to ordinary men and women to make a difference.
said Bishop Hinder, is true. "I think it's mostly the local effort. The
Vatican doesn't know exactly what is happening. I have to inform very often the
secretary of state or the Pope himself about the situation because we are not
the focus of attention and that may be one of the advantages of this visit.
it will be a step forward in the relationship between the Catholic Church and
the Muslim world. Improvement in the atmosphere is not to be
calls for Arab League to readmit Syria
“natural place” is within the Arab League, Tunisia’s foreign minister said
Saturday, ahead of the organization’s annual summit in Tunis in March.
is an Arab state, and its natural place is within the Arab League,” Khemaies
Jhinaoui said during a news conference with his Russian counterpart Sergei
Lavrov, who is on a tour of North African countries.
Arab League suspended Syria’s membership in November 2011 as the death toll in
the country’s civil war mounted.
question of Syria returning to the Arab League does not depend on Tunisia but
on the Arab League,” Jhinaoui said.
foreign ministers (of member states) will decide on this subject,” he added.
“What interests us is Syria’s stability and security.”
divisions between the Arab League’s member states have worked against Syria’s
intervention in Syria’s war since 2015 in favor of President Bashar al-Assad
has turned the tide of the conflict in the regime’s favor.
UAE reopened its embassy in Damascus in December, the same month as Sudanese
President Omar al-Bashir made the first visit of any Arab leader to the Syrian
capital since the start of the war. But Qatar earlier this month rejected
normalizing ties with Assad.
backed overtures to readmit Syria.
we have discussed in Algeria and Morocco over the past few days, we would like
Tunis to also support Syria’s return to the Arab family, the Arab League,”
Russia’s foreign minister said in Tunis, according to Interfax news agency.
who has also visited Morocco on his tour, also said Tunisia and Russia agreed
to ramp up “anti-terror cooperation”.
foreign minister is due to meet Tunisia’s president and prime minister on
missiles enjoy high capabilities and have been stockpiled in large numbers as a
deterrence against a massive war in the Middle-East region," General Reza
Shariqi was quoted as saying by the Arabic-language service of Sputnik on
added that the Israeli 'Iron Dome' defense shield cannot intercept all Syrian
missiles in case of war, saying, "Our strategic missiles can reach any
target in the occupied territories."
Shariqi said that Syria has stockpiled its missiles in secret places to remain
safe against the Israeli and terrorist groups' attacks.
remarks came after Israel deployed the Iron Dome short-range missile defense
system in the Tel Aviv metropolitan area on Thursday, The Times of Israel
reported citing the IDF statement.
deployment came the day after Syrian Envoy to the UN Bashar Jaafari suggested
that Syria might exercise its right to self-defense and launch an airstrike on
Tel Aviv Airport in response to recent Israeli air raids on Damascus
threatened to exercise its legitimate right for self-defense against Israeli
aggression and target Tel Aviv airport in a mirror response, unless the
Security Council puts an end to IDF intrusions into Syrian airspace.
up with years of Israeli impunity in the Syrian skies and regular strikes
carried out in the vicinity of Damascus International Airport, Syria has
threatened to retaliate in explicit terms.
time now for the UN Security Council to stop the Israeli repeated aggressions
on the Syrian Arab Republic territories?” the Syria’s permanent representative
to the UN wondered Tuesday.
is it required to draw the attention of the war-makers in this Council by
exercising our legitimate right to defend ourselves and respond to the Israeli
aggression on Damascus International Civil Airport in the same way on Tel Aviv
Airport?" Jaafari stressed.
Syrian government has strongly dismissed recent remarks by Turkish President
Recep Tayyip Erdogan concerning a 1998 agreement between Ankara and Damascus,
saying Turkey has been breaching the pact by supporting “terrorism” and
occupying Syrian territory since 2011.
confirms that it is in compliance with the Adana Interstate Agreement on
Combating Terrorism in all its forms and all agreements related to it, but the
Turkish regime has been violating the agreement since 2011 up to now by
sponsoring and supporting terrorism, training militants and making it easier
for them to go to [the] Syrian Arab Republic, or through the occupation of
Syrian territories with terrorist groups it controls … or directly with the
help of the Turkish Armed Forces,” an unnamed source at the Syrian Ministry of
Foreign Affairs and Expatriates said on Saturday.
source then called on the Ankara government to activate the 1998 agreement and
leave the control of border territories to Damascus as they were before the
outbreak of foreign-sponsored militancy in Syria nearly eight years ago.
Adana agreement was signed between Turkey and Syria on October 20, 1998. It
clearly stated that the Damascus government would not allow any activities of
the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) militant group on Syrian soil, and would
block any terror activities that could threaten Turkey's sovereignty.
said on Friday that Turkey would not hesitate to form a safe zone in northern
Syria by itself even if its allies broke their promises on the issue.
do not need the invitation of anyone [to enter Syria],” the Turkish leader
said, referring to the Adana deal.
has been threatening for months to launch an offensive in northern Syria
against the US-backed Kurdish People's Protection Units (YPG).
considers the YPG a terrorist organization and an extension of the PKK, which
has been fighting for an autonomous region inside Turkey since 1984.
US-backed forces advanced, 22-year-old Dima Qatran buried one of her twin
babies, then picked up the other and fled the Daesh group’s crumbling pocket in
her remaining 11-month-old daughter, she joined hundreds escaping the last
shreds of the extremist group’s “caliphate” near the Iraqi border.
fled through the cold desert on foot toward territory held by US-backed
fighters, where she boarded a truck to take her to a camp for displaced Daesh
families further north.
had twins,” Qatran told AFP on Friday, tears streaming down her face, at a pit
stop along the way.
buried one, and the second is dying. She has diarrhea and keeps vomiting. I
can’t bear it. My daughter died of cold and hunger.”
US-backed Syrian Democratic Forces are fighting to expel the last Daesh
fighters from a few hamlets in the eastern province of Deir Ezzor.
slept in the street for 11 days after my home was bombed” in Baghouz, a village
on the front line, she said.
said she arrived in Baghouz with her husband’s family a year ago after fleeing the
town of Albukamal to the west, which was retaken from Daesh by Russia-backed
regime forces in late 2017.
young mother said all she wanted was to be reunited with her husband who works
as a cook in Turkey, and claimed to have no affiliation with Daesh.
scared of them,” she said.
the Omar oil field, women and children — some of whom had faces ravaged by
rashes — descended from the back of a dozen small trucks, caked in dust and
visibly exhausted as the SDF allowed a quick break.
mother dashed down from a vehicle, rushing her two children out of sight to
relieve their bladders, while others pleaded for food and drink, saying that
with the bombardment and siege, they had not eaten for days.
screamed while their mothers did their best to soothe them.
days, hundreds have been fleeing what remains of the so-called “Hajjin pocket”
east of the Euphrates River, SDF officials said.
to the Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights war monitor more than
8,000 people have fled since Monday, including around 1,000 jihadists.
early December, some 29,000 people have escaped the fighting, the Observatory
Al-Sahar, 32, paced around with her baby trying in vain to pacify him.
“hungry and sick,” said the mother of two.
no food over there, just hunger,” she said of areas under Daesh control.
— not even nappies.”
also insisted she had nothing to do with Daesh, a claim that AFP could not
walked for six hours” in the desert before reaching SDF-controlled territory,
750 people reached SDF-held territory from Daesh-held territory on Friday,
Mohammed Suleiman Othman, an official with the Syria Democratic Council said.
included 600 civilians, mostly Iraqis related to Daesh fighters, he said.
150 men were detained on suspicion of belonging to Daesh, after screening near
women and their children of various nationalities including from Russia, Ukraine,
Kazakhstan, and Turkey were ferried off to a special center for questioning.
that center, women sat with their children in a large room. One was changing
her baby, with a nappy improvised from fabric and plastic bags.
a corner, 20-year-old Mariam from Ukraine fed her baby before she wiped her
face with her hands.
need to rest before I can remember what happened to me,” she said, speaking in
classical Arabic, reluctant to answer any questions.
the Omar oil field, women asked how much longer before they reach the Al-Hol
camp in the northeastern province of Hasakah.
it still far? We’re so tired,” one of them said.
54, said she escaped with her husband, but the SDF detained him for
fled as the frontlines started getting closer,” she said, wrinkles visible
under her black face veil.
Baraa, 20, said: “The streets are full of people who can’t find anywhere to
sleep. We were running from one neighborhood to another.”
said her husband — an Daesh fighter — died recently in an air strike.
of the town of Abu Humman in Southeastern Deir Ezzur launched massive protests
and closed the roads leading to the town, battlefield sources in Eastern Deir
sources reiterated that the civilians staged massive protests against SDF's
measures, including piling up fuel products, corruption and other offenses in
residents of Deir Ezzur called for releasing the people who have been arrested
by the SDF fighters," they said.
residents of Shaitat town in Southeastern Deir Ezzur also held massive protests
and called for their rights with regard to oil revenues.
report comes as the armed tribesmen had clashed with SDF fighters in the town
of Khasham over control of oil resources of the region.
popular uprising in Deir Ezzur is taking place while Raqqa was also scene of
protests and clashes between civilians and SDF fighters over the past three
a relevant development in early December, a large number of people poured into
the street in a key town in Northeastern Hasaka, calling for the withdrawal of
the US and Turkish troops and their allied militants from their region.
reported that a large number of civilians, social activists and parties in the
town of Qamishli took to the streets, opposing occupation of the region by the
US and Turkish troops.
further said that the protestors condemned a visit by the former French Foreign
Minister to al-Jazeera region controlled by the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF),
calling for independence of the Syrian parties from the US policies and asking
for their affiliation to Damascus again.
protestors, also, opposed US forces' illegal bases and presence of militants,
affiliated to Turkey and the US, in Syria as a violation of international law
and against Syria's national unity and integrity, SANA said, adding that the
protestors called for expulsion of the occupiers and their allied militants
a relevant development in Northeastern Syria, media activists reported last
month that protesters took to the streets and called for the expulsion of the
US army men and the SDF from the city of Raqqa in Northeastern Syria.
of Raqqa residents revolted against the US deployment and SDF forces in
al-Mansour district of Raqqa city and called for their expulsion," media
activists in Raqqa said.
sources, meantime, said that the Raqqa residents in their slogans called on the
Syrian army to free the region from the occupiers, and said that the protests
took place after the SDF forces launched attacks on civilians which resulted in
the eruption of clashes between the two sides.
the meantime, the SDF forces arrested several protesters in a new wave of
suppression of civilians.
sources in Eastern Deir Ezzur reported on Saturday that the US-led coalition
forces targeted the town of Baqouz in Southeastern Deir Ezzur and the nearby
areas with air and missile attacks.
added that as a result of the US missile strikes on the town of Baqouz Foqani
and the village of al-Morashedah in Southeastern Deir Ezzur, 13 civilians,
including a number of children were killed.
US airstrikes in Deir Ezzur inflict large casualties on the civilian population
almost on a daily basis.
Wednesday, several people were killed and many more wounded in the US-led
coalition air raids on a convoy of civilians in Southeastern Deir Ezzur.
US-led fighter jets targeted and hit a convoy of civilians who were trying to
move from the ISIL-controlled region in the town of Baqouz in Southeastern Deir
Ezzur," local sources in Eastern Syria were quoted as saying.
sources noted that most of the vehicles of the convoy were destroyed in the air
raid, adding that the attack has also left several casualties mostly women and
last Sunday, the US-led airstrikes killed at least 31 civilians in the village
of al-Baqouz Foqani.
number of civilians killed in the US airstrikes on people's houses in the
village of al-Baqouz Foqani has reached 31 so far," the Arabic-language
al-Watan newspaper quoted local sources as saying.
Arabic-language al-Baladi news website affiliated to the terrorists reported on
Friday that in a blue-on-greens air assault the US-led coalition's warplanes
targeted a group of SDF forces in the town of al-Baqouz in Eastern Deir Ezzur
with white phosphorous bombs, killing 5 and wounding 7 others.
to the report, after the attack, the ISIL militants took the chance and
occupied Baqouz after the SDF pulled out of the region.
Arabic-language service of Sputnik news agency reported that the convoy,
consisting of US-made Hummer vehicles and other military equipment supplied by
Washington, was sent to the Western parts of Raqqa city to suppress the tribal
added that thousands of SDF forces have also been stationed in regions near the
towns of Hunaideh and al-Mansoureh, noting that the US forces deployed in
Western Raqqa have withdrawn from the two towns towards Eastern Euphrates for
their fear of popular uprising.
reports also said that the SDF militants have in the past three days attacked
over 600 houses in the two towns, and detained at least 70 people, adding that
the civilians threw stones at the Kurdish vehicles to stop the arrests.
a relevant development on Thursday, the people of Raqqa in Northern Syria
poured to the streets to protest at the US-backed SDF moves in the region,
setting fire at a number of their bases.
activists in Raqqa reported that hundreds of residents of the town of
al-Mansoureh in Southwestern Raqqa staged massive protest rallies against the
SDF and set fire at some of their checkpoints and bases in the town.
added that the protest rallies were held after a young resident of the region
was killed by the SDF during forced recruitment operations.
sources said that similar rallies were also held in the towns of Hunaideh,
al-Safsafeh and Mazra'at al-Safsafeh region, adding that the residents
surrounded the US-backed forces' strongholds.
the SDF sent a large number of forces and military equipment from Raqqa city
and the town of al-Tabaqah to al-Mansoureh, wounding a number of civilians with
bullet fire to disperse the angry crowd.
Damascus Army's dispatch of convoys comes as other government troops heavily
pounded the terrorists' military positions in Northern Hama.
sources in Northern Hama reported that the Syrian Army has sent a large number
of troops and military equipment, including tanks and military vehicles as well
as heavy weaponry to the surrounding areas of Idlib.
sources pointed to the reinforcement of the Syrian Army in Northern,
Northwestern and Western Hama, and said that the Russian aircraft are
constantly monitoring areas under the occupation of the terrorists.
said that the Syrian Army is likely to kick start military operations in
Northern Syria as terrorists show no respect for the agreement on the
other Syrian Army's units in Northern Hama heavily pounded the positions of
Tahrir al-Sham and its allied militants in the surrounding areas of the towns
of al-Janabareh, al-Latamanieh and Kafar Zita, destroying several of their
Syrian troops also launched an attack on the terrorists' military positions and
movements in Hasraya and al-Arbaeen in Northern Hama, inflicting unspecified
casualties and losses on them.
a relevant development on Friday, the Syrian Army thwarted fresh attacks by
Tahrir al-Sham al-Hay'at and their allied terrorist groups from the
demilitarized zone on their positions in Northern Hama.
Syrian Army's artillery units heavily pounded the military positions of Tahrir
al-Sham al-Hay'at and Jeish al-Izza terrorist groups in the surrounding areas
of the town of al-Janabereh and al-Latamanieh in Northern Hama in response to
terrorists' attacks from the demilitarized zone.
Syrian Army troops destroyed several terrorist positions and military equipment
in their attacks, and killed a large number of the militants.
the Syrian Army's artillery units also pounded the terrorists' movements in the
towns of Mourek and Hasaraya in Northern Hama, inflicting heavy losses on the
terrorists after fending off their attack.
relevant development on Thursday, the Syrian army pounded the command center of
Tahrir al-Sham al-Hay'at in Northern Hama after the terrorist group and its
allies' attacks from the demilitarized zone on government forces.
Syrian army units responded to the terrorists' offensives against military
points in Northern Hama on Thursday, and targeted their positions near the town
of Murak, al-Latamineh, Kafr Zita, Kafr Naboudeh, Wadi al-Dorat and al-Hamirat
in Northern Hama. Meantime, field sources reported that the Syrian army forces
destroyed several command centers of Jeish al-Izza militants, killing and
wounding several of them.
in Southeastern Idlib, the army troops attacked the terrorists' moves towards
army positions in Jorjanaz, Sakik and al-Khuwain, inflicting heavy tolls on
them and wounding several other militants.
a relevant development on Wednesday, a notorious commander of Tahrir al-Sham
al-Hay'at and a close aide to leader of the terrorist group Abu Mohammad Jolani
was killed in a failed attack on the Syrian Army's military positions in
an attack by Tahrir al-Sham and their allied militants on the Syrian Army's
military positions near Abu Dhuhour Military Airport in Southeastern Idlib,
senior commander of Ajnad al-Kavkaz, nom de guerre Abu al-Bara Qafqazi, was
killed," the Arabic-language service of the Russian Sputnik news agency
quoted local sources in Idlib province as saying.
report noted Qafqazi's proximity with Abu Mohammad Jolani and that he was
second-in-command of Tahrir al-Sham who had taken part in worst possible crimes
in Northern Syria.
sources said that the mass grave contained the bodies of both civilians,
including children and women, and also the Syrian army troops.
bodies belonged to the residents of al-Jahezieh in al-Ameriya region near
Palmyra who had been massacred by the ISIL more than four years ago," a
security source said.
noted that according the primary tests signs of torture and bullets were found
from the victims' bodies.
a relevant development on Tuesday, the bodies of over 800 civilians killed in
the US-led coalition airstrikes and ISIL attacks were found in a mass grave in
media activists disclosed that the new mass grave has been discovered in the
village of al-Fakhikheh South of the city of Raqqa.
underlined that between 600 to 800 corpses have been retrieved from the mass
grave, and said that the newly-discovered mass grave was the 14th of its kind
found in Raqqa City and its outskirts.
is while Raqqa's civilian team also discovered more bodies of civilians, who
were killed in the US-led coalition's airstrikes on Raqqa City, from under the
debris of the destroyed buildings in districts of al-Tosayeh, Nazleh Shahadeh
and al-Haramieh in Raqqa City.
January 2019 T
Arabia, the newly-launched news service from London, published its inaugural
interview with Prince Bandar bin Sultan bin Abdulaziz Al Saud. The former Saudi
intelligence chief and former ambassador to the United States spoke candidly
about several sensitive issues in the Arab region.
the interview, Prince Bandar remarked that an ignorant man was his own enemy
and narrated events surrounding Saddam Hussein, Khomeini and the Shah.
would have been very different if only the Shah had not forced Saddam to expel
Khomeini - who was then under house arrest in Iraq - to Paris, according to the
Bandar also spoke about the consequences of President Obama’s misplaced
policies towards the Middle East leading to the present crisis in Syria as well
as his double-standard policy towards Iran which led to the Saudi mistrust with
the US regime.
said that he does not regret not meeting with Barack Obama because he took the
region 20 years back due to his policies in the Middle East.
the coming days, further excerpts of the interview - lasting more than 14 hours
- held at his palace in Obhor in Jeddah, west of Saudi Arabia, would be
published by Independent Arabia.
Bandar had served as director general of the General Intelligence Presidency
and also as the secretary general of the National Security Council.
the interview, he also touched on his stint of almost a quarter of a century -
from 1983 to 2005 - in Washington as the Saudi envoy to the United States.
Qatar, Prince Bandar described former Prime Minister and former Foreign
Minister Hamad bin Jassim as an “expert in half-truths”.
Bandar cited the leaked recording of the conversation between Qatar’s former
Emir Hamad bin Khalifa and Hamad bin Jassim with late Libyan leader Moammar
Qaddafi in which bin Jassim spoke about schemes to target Saudi Arabia.
Jassim’s justification of this audio “tells half the truth,” Prince Bandar
said. The truth was that it the conspiracy and plan was real and not what Doha
sought to portray when it tried to justify what transpired as an attempt to
Bandar also added that Qatar suffers from schizophrenia in terms of its
policies, and noted that the presence of an American base does not mean
protection for the regime in Doha, as the base was solely for American use and
not for Qatar.
the Turkish troop presence, Prince Bandar said their role was to help maintain
security in Qatar, adding that Doha had previously enlisted the help of Yemen,
Sudan and Saudi Arabia to preserve its security.
Bandar described Bashar al-Assad as a “kid”. Bashar’s father Hafez al-Assad was
capable of being decisive and making decisions, unlike Bashar who suffered from
a complex that he hasn’t been able to overcome and which is called “Bashar
Bandar also narrated how he interceded with the British government for Bashar
al-Assad after he graduated so that he could enroll in a specialized course in
ophthalmology in London.
former chief of General Intelligence Presidency also narrated the details of
his meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin following the Syrian
revolution when Assad began to shell civilians. Putin told him that it was the
Saudis who had “inflated Assad’s ego” when they arranged meetings for him with former
French President Jacques Chirac and White House officials, when he became
Putin also told him during the meeting that he had invited Bashar more than
once to visit Moscow but he did not respond. “Now, he will come crawling for my
help,” quipped Putin.
Bandar said the reason behind the Syrian regime’s exaggerated media coverage of
his appearance or role and linking it to developments inside Syria, is
personal. “It’s because I know Bashar before he became something, and after he
thought he became something,” he said.
also denied claims that he had a hand in the establishment of ISIS and strongly
refuted the accusations made against him in this regard.
Bandar described Iran’s Shah as a rational enemy, adding that he was better
than an ignorant friend, although there was “no friendship between us”, in
reference to Iran’s current regime and the issues that have arisen since
Khomeini came to power.
said that it was the Saudi effort under the leadership of King Faisal that
managed to convince the Shah of abandoning his move to annex Bahrain.
Bandar remarked that an ignorant man was his own enemy citing the events
surrounding Saddam Hussein, Khomeini and the Shah.
was under house arrest in Iraq when Saddam Hussein’s regime was in power and he
circulated cassettes inciting rebellion against the Shah, leading the latter to
threaten Saddam with invasion of the Shatt al-Arab if he did not expel Khomeini
out of Iraq.
Bandar said that Saddam tried to convince the Shah not to do so and told him
that he would prevent Khomeini from further issuing inciting cassettes. Not
placated, the Shah insisted that Khomeini be expelled to Paris.
on Khomeini’s rise and the establishment of the Guardianship of the Islamic
Jurist regime in Iran, Prince Bandar said Saudi Arabia waited until after
Khomeini attained power and did not take a stance until he threatened to invade
Iraq and later threatened Gulf countries.
Bandar said that at this point, Riyadh chose one of the bad options which was
to support Saddam in his war against Iran, adding that Riyadh had also secretly
sponsored negotiations in Geneva between Baghdad and Tehran as well as in the
palace of late Prince Sultan bin Abdulaziz, Saudi Crown Prince and Defense
former Saudi envoy to Washington also narrated how he met Qassem Soleimani, the
commander of the Quds Force at the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps, during a
visit to Tehran to meet Ali Larijani, Iran’s Parliament Speaker.
Bandar said: “A coincidence led me to getting to (see) Soleimani face to face.
Until then, we had (only) heard of him without seeing him.”
policies emboldened Russia, Iran
was former American President Barack Obama’s lenient policies which emboldened
Russia and Iran to interfere in Syria, Prince Bandar said.
revealed details of the last phone call between late Saudi King Abdullah bin
Abdulaziz and Obama, during which the King told Obama: “I did not expect that
(after) this long life, I would see (the day) when an American president lies
was in reference to the famous red lines which Obama spoke of when he made a
media statement on August 20, 2012, in the White House promising to stop the
Syrian regime’s violations against civilians, i.e. when the regime troops used
chemical weapons against them.
Obama “would promise something and do the opposite,” Prince Bandar revealed,
and this was the reason behind the tense relations between the US and Saudi
Arabia during the last days of Obama’s term.
Bandar noted that Obama spoke of curbing Iran’s role in the region and at the
same time he secretly negotiated with it, leading to the Saudi mistrust with
the Obama government.
Bandar said that he does not regret not meeting with Barack Obama because he
took the region 20 years back due to his policies in the Middle East.
Bandar spoke extensively about the Palestinian cause and said former
Palestinian President Yasser Arafat committed a crime against the Palestinian
cause and the Palestinians when he rejected the peace initiative and solutions
advocated by former American President Bill Clinton.
missile strikes have killed 42 people including 13 civilians in what remains of
ISIS’s last holdout in eastern Syria, a war monitor said.
Syrian Democratic Forces, with backing from a US-led coalition, are battling to
expel the last extremists from hamlets in the eastern province of Deir Ezzor.
Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said short-range missiles late Friday hit
homes on farmland near the village of Baghouz, killing 42 people.
them were 13 civilians, the Britain-based monitor said.
included seven Syrians linked to ISIS, including three children from the same
family, as well as six Iraqi non-combatants, it said.
coalition was not immediately available for comment, but has in the past said
it does everything to avoid targeting civilians.
area is a launchpad for extremist counterattacks,” Observatory chief Rami Abdel
SDF have since September been battling to expel ISIS from their last pocket of
territory on the eastern banks of the Euphrates River in Deir Ezzor.
SDF has advanced swiftly in recent weeks, taking control of a series of key
villages, with ISIS scrambling to retaliate.
Thursday, ISIS failed to retake Baghouz from the SDF in one counterattack that
left a total of 50 fighters dead on both sides, the Observatory said.
of people, mostly women and children, have fled into SDF-held territory in
recent days, according to the Britain based Observatory, which relies on a
network of contacts inside Syria for its information.
overran large swathes of Syria and neighboring Iraq in 2014, declaring a
“caliphate”, but it has since lost almost all of its territory to various
it maintains a presence in Syria’s vast Badia desert.
teenage boy has been killed in a bout of violence involving Turkish troops and
Kurdish protesters in northern Iraq.
late on Saturday said Turkish soldiers stationed in Iraqi Kurdistan region
opened fire at people who were protesting peacefully in front of the Turkish
military camp in the town of Shaladze while demanding an end to Turkey’s
airstrikes in the region.
reports said 10 people were also wounded in the violence which also saw the
protesters set military vehicles and other properties in the camp on fire.
Other reports said the shooting initiated by the Turkish troop, who left the
scene after targeting the protesters, had caused the explosions.
of those wounded in the incident were Kurds mostly in their 20s, said the
reports which also identified the boy killed in the violence as Hassan Rekan
Hussein, a 13-year-old from Shaladze. The protesters were angry at repeated
Turkish air strikes in Iraq’s semi-autonomous Kurdish region. Ankara says the
air campaign is necessary to hunt militants of the Kurdistan Workers’ Party
(PKK), a group it blames for decades of insurgency in its own territory.
Defense Ministry said troops in Shaladze defended the military camp against an
attack by militants which it said had been “provoked” by the PKK. The ministry
confirmed damage to its military vehicles and equipment.
regional government in Erbil also blamed the incident on “saboteurs” who
instigated the attack on the Turkish military camp.
was no comment from the central government in Baghdad but PKK’s political wing
said that the group had no offices in Shaladze, adding that Turkey was directly
responsible for the deadly violence in the town.
the past several years, Turkey has been engaged in a sweeping military
operation against the PKK in its southern provinces while it has also
dispatched troops to neighboring Syria and Iraq to allegedly fight the
so-called PKK extensions.
Islamic Cultural Centre is the sign of Muslims’ glorious past
Delhi: The first general body meeting of India Islamic Cultural Centre after
the election of Sirajuddin Quraishi as the president for the 4th consecutive
term was held the day before.
the occasion, former union minister of law HR Bhardwaj attended as the chief
guest and administered the oath to the newly elected office bearers. He said,
India Islamic Cultural Centre, along with the other heritage structures, is the
sign of Indian Muslims’ glorious past. Any attempt to destroy it will be
said India owes to Islam and its believers because they nurtured it with their
violated the ceasefire on Saturday, resorting to unprovoked small arms fire and
mortar shelling along the Line of Control (LoC) in the Mankote area of Jammu
and Kashmir’s Poonch district.
the beginning of the year, Pakistani troops have been violating the ceasefire
almost on a daily basis.
details, sources said Pakistani troops along the LoC started firing small arms
and mortars on Mankote area. The firing was intense till 1.30 pm, sources said,
adding that though its intensity decreased thereafter, the firing continued at
frequent intervals. However, there were no casualties or damage on the Indian
side as the mortar shells fell in the fields. The Indian Army retaliated
strongly to silence the Pakistani guns.
view of continuing tension, there was no exchange of sweets between the two
countries at any place along the International Border in the state and the LoC,
sources said. The situation is not congenial for exchange of pleasantries
between two countries on the border in view of continued incidents of ceasefire
violation by Pakistani troops, they said.
militants were killed in an encounter with security forces at Khanmoh area in
the outskirts of Srinagar on Saturday. Seven security personnel were also
injured, J&K Police said.
militants had “serious plans of a terrorist act” Saturday, they added.
total of 11 militants have been killed this week in Kashmir in separate
senior police official said on Saturday morning that a cordon and search
operation was launched in the area following inputs about the presence of
the search was going on, the militants fired at the security forces. “In the
ensuing encounter, two terrorists were killed and the bodies retrieved from the
site of the encounter. Their identities and affiliations are being
ascertained,” said a police spokesperson.
senior police official told The Sunday Express that one of the slain militants
has been identified. He said that seven security personnel who were injured in
the encounter are stable.
spokesperson at J&K Police headquarters said, “The trapped militants had
serious plans of a terrorist act today.”
encounter comes a day after militants lobbed grenades and attacked five places
in the Kashmir valley, including camps and posts of the CRPF on Friday.
Indian high commissioner to Pakistan Ajay Bisaria has said that the two sides
were in contact on the Kartarpur corridor issue and that New Delhi has already
appointed a focal person for the purpose.
made the remarks on Saturday night during an informal interaction with the
media personnel invited to attend the reception to celebrate the 70th Republic
Day of India.
said India had consented to the basic points about the Kartarpur corridor
except for its zero-point. He said both the countries were in contact over
many meetings have taken place on this matter (Kartarpur corridor)," he
he ruled out any quick resumption of talks due to upcoming election in India.
of (upcoming) elections in India, the bilateral political contacts might be
difficult for now," he said.
went on to say that trust-building was important before resuming political
dialogue between the two countries. He said a delegation from Pakistani water
commission will visit India on Sunday.
said that 2019 was important for India as it marks 550th birth anniversary of
Sikhism founder Guru Nanak Dev and the 150th birth anniversary of Mahatma
Jamaat-e-Islami (JI) chief Senator Sirajul Haq has said that people taking
dictation from imperialists could neither put the country on the path of
development nor take decisions independently.
people were unable to think independently and they always protected their own
interests instead of the interests of the nation, he said, while addressing the
concluding session of the JI central workshop at Mansoora, the party
headquarters, on Saturday.
Haq said that the same system was continuing in the country for the last 70
years. As a result of elections, only the families and faces of the rulers
changed and the system remained unchanged. Those sitting in the assemblies were
looking after their own interests and were least interested in changing the
exploitative and oppressive system, he added.
continued that the people had tried the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz and the
Pakistan Peoples Party time and again but neither of these brought any change
for the masses. Calling the government’s performance below-par and villainous,
he said that the Tehreek-e-Insaf was also following in the footsteps of the
said that the international establishment had established its control over the
educational, economic and political systems of the developing countries through
multilateral bodies like the International Court of Justice, the International
Monetary Fund (IMF) and the World Bank.
rulers of the country had made the whole nation and coming generations slave of
the IMF and the World Bank through interested-based loans and the mind of the
young generation is being enslaved through the educational curriculum and
syllabus recommended by the IMF,” Haq claimed.
said the JI was striving for the enforcement of the Islamic order to protect
the rights of the masses. He added that deviation from the ideology of Pakistan
had ultimately caused the fall of Dhaka in 1971.
said the JI was not a political party in the general sense but a movement
aiming at a revolution. He said the JI wanted the reins of power in the hands
of God-fearing and competent people who were true servants of the masses and
had the will and the capability to deliver.
said the country needed a revolution and a revolutionary and ideological
leadership which alone could free it from the clutches of the US and
of Pakistan Army’s media wing Major General Asif Ghafoor has said that the
demands of the Pashtun community are genuine and the state is committed to
an interview with Arab News, the Inter-Services Public Relations (ISPR) DG
said, “Till such time that the Pashtun Tahafuz Movement (PTM) is peaceful and
they stick to their genuine demands, which are natural in a post-conflict
environment, the state is committed to take care of them.”
however, warned that instigating people against state institutions is against
the law. “Once we have fulfilled the genuine demands that are already in the
overall plan, we will see how to deal with anyone who still tries to exploit
[the situation],” he added.
ISPR DG said that Pakistan’s enemies are exploiting the movement.
there are fault lines, enemies will always try to exploit them,” he said.
“There is an effort to exploit the PTM, whether it is with their connivance or
Gen Ghafoor also asked India not to use proxies against Pakistan, adding that
an unstable Pakistan is not in India’s interest.
there are fault lines, then enemies will always try to exploit them. So, there
is an effort to exploit PTM, whether with their connivance or not,” he said.
“Just as we are concerned that an unstable Afghanistan is not in our interest,
India should also know that an unstable Pakistan is not in its interest. They
need to change their behaviour.”
to a question about an extension in military courts first set up by the
parliament in 2015, and decried for their lack of transparency, he said they
were a “national requirement” because the country’s civilian judicial
infrastructure was ill-equipped to deal with terrorism cases.
said verdicts could be appealed at several levels, including in military
appellate and civilian courts, and those on death row had the right to file
mercy petitions with the army chief and the president of Pakistan.
courts proceed as per law; there is a laid down legal process with full transparency.
Courts decide on evidence and not emotions,” the army’s media chief said.
“Should parliament decide that military courts are not needed, then they will
not be renewed.”
Gen Ghafoor clarified Taliban are not excluding Pakistan from the peace
process. He said, “We are a facilitator. We have done our job of bringing them
to the negotiating table. What is discussed and how the process moves forward
will depend on progress during every meeting.”
asked if the Taliban had refused to meet Khalilzad in Islamabad, Ghafoor said:
“There are so many factions and stakeholders involved in the process.
Coordination takes time. One faction or party gets out of coordination, [which]
can result in changes in schedule or place.”
said Pakistan had pushed for the dialogue to restart but had “no preference for
time or place.”
sources have told media the Doha talks have focused on a roadmap for the
withdrawal of foreign forces from Afghanistan and a guarantee the country will
not be used for hostile acts against the United States and its allies.
Taliban have so far refused direct talks with the Kabul government, which it
views as an illegitimate, foreign-appointed force. Ghafoor said there was as
yet no certainty on whether the insurgents could be persuaded to engage with
the Afghan government but added that progress from the meetings would determine
also spoke about abiding fears about how Afghan government forces would
withstand the Taliban threat without US military support if US President Donald
Trump acted on his desire to bring home half of the 14,000 US troops deployed
should not go into turmoil” when US forces leave, the army’s media chief said:
“The US should leave Afghanistan as friends of the region, with a commitment to
assist Afghanistan in becoming self-sustaining and help in socio-economic
military spokesperson said “if there is peace in Afghanistan and greater
control of the area by Afghan forces, it will be difficult for TTP to continue
their sanctuaries there.”
dismissed fears that the US would lose interest in Pakistan once it exited
Afghanistan, or be free to take harsh actions when it no longer needed
Islamabad’s help to end the conflict.
has always remained relevant and will continue to be relevant,” Maj Gen Ghafoor
said. “And when the US leave Afghanistan, it will leave acknowledging
Pakistan’s role in ending the conflict. Our relationship shall further
to media reports that Pakistan was building military jets, weapons and other
hardware with funds received under the CPEC umbrella, he said the corridor was
“purely an economic project.”
many as 51 per cent of Pakistanis have a favourable opinion of Prime Minister
Imran Khan’s overall performance after the first five months in power, a new
Gallup Pakistan and the Gilani Foundation poll has revealed.
to the survey report, 38 per cent of Pakistanis rated PM Imran’s performance in
the chair as “good”, while 13 per cent thought it has been “very good”. 26 per
cent of people thought his performance was “bad”, whereas 20 per cent said it
was “very bad”; 3% did not respond.
surveyors sampled 1,141 people from both urban and rural population. The people
were asked, “What is your opinion on Prime Minister Imran Khan’s overall
performance up until now, i.e., since his victory in the 2018 general
respondents, according to the survey’s results, were found to be significantly
more upbeat about the premier’s tenure.
among urban respondents, 15 per cent were of the view that his performance has
been very good up until now, while 44 per cent said that it had been good. 23
per cent termed it “bad”, 16 per cent termed it “very bad”, and 2 per cent did
not know or did not wish to respond.
from among rural respondents, only 12 per cent said that the prime minister’s
performance had been very good, 35 per cent said that it had been good, 27 per
cent opined that it had been bad, 22 per cent said that it had been very bad,
while 4 per cent did not know or did not wish to respond.
Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi has said that Pakistan desires peace in the
region, "which is not possible without dialogue", Radio Pakistan
reported on Sunday
to reporters in Multan on Sunday, the foreign minister said that Pakistan has
pursued regional peace by reaching out to different countries and advocating
for a stable and peaceful South Asia.
said that he will go to Oman on Tuesday where he is expected to discuss the
entire spectrum of bilateral and regional cooperation with Omani leadership.
foreign minister also said that he would visit London on February 3 where he
will raise the Kashmir cause before the House of Commons and present Pakistan's
stance on it.
Qureshi said that friendly countries had agreed to provide financial assistance
to Pakistan owing to its 'successful' foreign policy.
to various delegations of his constituency here on Saturday, he said that Saudi
Arabia had agreed to give oil worth $3 billion [on deferred payment] while Qatar
now would import agricultural products from Pakistan instead of India.
Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi on Saturday said the government had
prepared the feasibility report of the Kartarpur corridor project and a total
of Rs2 billion will be spent on it.
Kartarpur corridor is a proposed border corridor between Pakistan and India,
which will connect the Sikh shrines of Dera Baba Nanak Sahib and Gurdwara
Darbar Sahib Kartarpur to facilitate thousands of Sikh pilgrims visiting the
country every year.
a public rally here, Qureshi said the Sikh community was very happy over the
opening of the Kartarpur border and Pakistan had received an overwhelming
response on the gesture from all across the globe.
of the Pakistan-United States (US) ties, the foreign minister said Washington
wanted to review its relations with Islamabad.
further said Indian occupation forces were involved in grave human rights
violations in occupied Kashmir.
: Deny Tri Basuki, counsellor and head of cultural section Embassy of Republic
of Indonesia has said Indonesia and Pakistan share strong socio-cultural and
religious bonds rooted in the history.
and Indonesia stand proudly together as two of the largest Muslim populated
countries and emerging economies of creative and talented people.
expressed these views on the occasion of a business gathering organised by
tourism ministry of Indonesia in collaboration with the Indonesian embassy. A
large number of stakeholders hailing from the travel and aviation industry of
Pakistan attended the event.
said it was very pleasing to note that both the countries aspire to maintain and
further develop their exemplary ties and transform the potential of these ties
into increased cooperation in various venues.
the countries highly value their ties and encourage all-around cooperation to
further strengthen the fraternal bond between the two nations.
said in recent years, Indonesia-Pakistan bilateral relations have seen
significant development in mutual beneficial cooperation.
two countries have endeavoured to expand their cooperation in the areas of
trade & economy, defence cooperation, academic linkages and cultural
talking about future prospects of bilateral cooperation Deny said though
Pakistan and Indonesia enjoy a deep friendly relationship, yet the scope is
extraordinary and exceptional.
he said is generally about leisure and pleasure. But it also promotes cultural
exchange and provides opportunity to people of various cultures to meet and
understand each other.
said two years ago the Embassy, in its efforts to create awareness about
tourism opportunities in Indonesia, produced a travelogue series in
collaboration with a Pakistani Entertainment TV Channel, which went very well.
travelogue series was a success as it helped in acquainting and attracting the
people in Pakistan to the rich and diverse culture of Indonesia and also helped
build tourism profile of Indonesia in Pakistan.
added, in 2017, the Embassy under its FAMTRIP program brought 10 top tour
operators of Islamabad, Lahore and Karachi to Indonesia adding recently five
journalists from Pakistan’s leading media were taken to Jakarta, Bandung and
Bali to get to know more about Indonesia’s tourism potential.
release of Basuki Tjahaja Purnama, the former governor of Jakarta, after
serving most of a two-year sentence for blasphemy, is focusing attention on the
law that brought down the popular politician best known as Ahok.
an ethnic Chinese Christian in a Muslim-majority nation, was found guilty of
blasphemy by the North Jakarta District Court, May 9, 2017, a month after he
lost his re-election bid to Anies Baswedan, who espouses a strict
interpretation of Islam.
governorship of Jakarta is widely seen as a steppingstone to higher, nationwide
office. The current president, Joko Widodo, served as governor before Ahok.
That Ahok’s campaign became a flash point in the blasphemy debate highlighted
the religious tension in the world’s most populous Muslim nation, as does
Widodo’s selection of a cleric, Maruf Amin, as his running mate in his
re-election bid. Widodo’s opponent, former Gen. Prabowo Subianto, is stressing
his ties to Islamists in the run-up to the April 8-17 vote.
troubles began on a campaign stop, Sept. 27, 2016, when he said people should
not vote for a candidate based on religious beliefs, a criticism of the notion
that Muslims cannot have a leader who is not also Muslim. A video of his
remarks appeared on social media, edited to suggest Ahok was insulting the
Quran, triggering violent street protests by fundamentalists.
lost the April 2017 vote to Baswedan. After a high-profile trial, Ahok was
convicted May 9, 2017, and later that year, on Nov. 14, a district court in
West Java found Buni Yani guilty of editing Ahok’s remarks and sentenced him to
1½ years in prison. He has yet to serve his time and is working on Subianto’s election
campaign, according to The Washington Post.
1945 constitution explicitly guarantees freedom of religion, as does the
International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, to which Indonesia is a
party,” according to a 2018 Human Rights Watch (HRW) article.
the Indonesian government has long enacted, and in recent years strengthened,
legislation and regulations that have subjected minority religions to official
discrimination. This has made minority groups extremely vulnerable to members
of the majority community who take the law into their own hands,” the article
is defined in Article 156a of Indonesia’s 1965 criminal code as “abusing or
staining a religion adhered to in Indonesia” when the act is committed with
“the intention to prevent a person to adhere to any religion based on belief of
the almighty God,” according to Rafiqa Qurrata A’yun, a lecturer in the Faculty
of Law at the University of Indonesia writing in Inside Indonesia.
short, going outside the central tenets of Indonesia’s six officially
recognized religions — Buddhism, Catholicism, Confucianism, Hinduism,
Protestantism and Islam — can mean five years in prison. Virtually all the
blasphemy cases involve Islam.
those minorities, other than Ahok, the person who has attracted the most
attention is Meiliana, a 44-year-old Chinese Buddhist, who was found guilty of
insulting Islam after asking her neighborhood mosque in 2016 to lower the
volume of its sound system used in the call to prayer. She said it hurt her
mobs responding to Meiliana’s request for a quieter azan ransacked at least 14
Buddhist temples in Tanjung Balai, North Sumatra, as ethnic Chinese fled the
area. She was jailed for 18 months.
cases included the dismissal in July by the Supreme Court of a challenge to the
blasphemy law by nine members of the Ahmadiyya religious minority who “who
sought the law’s abolition on the basis that it fuels discrimination and abuse
of religious minorities,” according to HRW.
Ahmadiyya sect was founded by Mirza Ghulam Ahmad more than a century ago in
what is today the Indian part of Punjab. He claimed to be the incarnation of a
Messiah promised in Islamic holy texts. That challenged the mainstream Muslim
belief that Muhammad is Islam’s last and final prophet.
last year, the Jayapura Churches Association, in the capital of Indonesia’s
Papua province, issued a stark ultimatum to municipal authorities: Dismantle
the minaret of the city’s al-Aqsa Mosque within 14 days or the group would
“take their own action.” The group took no action, however, after the two weeks
May 19, 2018, militant Islamists attacked and damaged eight Ahmadiyya houses on
Lombok Island, forcing 24 people from seven families to seek refuge at the East
Lombok police precinct, according to HRW.
on research done by Jakarta’s Setara Institute, which tracks religious freedom
in Indonesia, from 1965 to 2017 there were 97 cases of blasphemy, 88 of those
since 1998. Of those, 22 have occurred since Widodo took office, according to
Crouch, an associate professor at the law school at the University of New South
Wales in Australia, told the Sydney Morning Herald that the blasphemy law had
called the ‘Ahok effect,’ the use of the blasphemy law to target political
opponents,” said Crouch, who is an expert on Indonesia’s blasphemy laws.
U.S. State Department’s Annual Report on Religious Freedom from 2017 referred
to the problem of conviction for blasphemy and defamation of religion, and the
HRW Annual Report for 2018 described Indonesia’s blasphemy law as “dangerously
senior HRW researcher in Indonesia, Andreas Harsono, told VOA that he
“regretted” that Widodo “did not use the enormous political support he had to
added, “It is necessary to continue public education so that everyone is aware
of the existence of controversial laws such as the blasphemy law.”
and founder of SEA Junction in Bangkok, Dr. Rosalia Sciortino Sumaryono, echoed
Harsono's remarks. She said that in many cases, where minorities are victims
because of the politicization of religion or ethnic distrust fueled by
nationalism, too many people in the majority keep quiet out of fear.
may be afraid to face a war of ideas, but it is time to speak out and claim our
public spaces,” she said. “This is an urgent need, because otherwise such
behavior will continue to spread and eventually we will be cornered. Many
victims will fall.”
LUMPUR, Jan 26 — PAS president Datuk Seri Abdul Hadi Awang thanked Allah for
guiding Cameron Highlands voters into electing a Muslim candidate in today’s
parliamentary by-election — even though it wasn’t from his party, but former
nemesis Barisan Nasional (BN).
their mutual losses in GE14, the conservative Islamist party and the BN
coalition have joined up to take on their new common foe, Pakatan Harapan (PH)
in Parliament and in the four by-elections that have been called since.
be to Allah for His guidance to voters to choose a Muslim candidate to
represent the multiracial society in the Cameron Highlands parliamentary
congratulates the BN on its candidate’s victory by a wider margin in the
Cameron Highands by-election, and see the result as a positive development
towards better coo-operation in the Opposition bloc,” Hadi said in his Facebook
entry after the Election Commission declared Ramli Mohd Nor the winner.
Ramli Mohd Nor, we hope you will speak out in defence of the religion, race and
country in Parliament,” he added.
Marang MP also fired broadside at the defeated PH which fielded a candidate
from its DAP component.
acting BN chairman Datuk Seri Mohamad Hasan, Hadi touted the Cameron Highlands
by-election a representative of PH’s receding public support nine months after
taking federal power.
and PH’s defeat in this by-election signals the people’s rejection of PH in its
failure to fulfil its promises besides a sign of the people’s rejection of
DAP’s extremist politics.
scored 12,078 votes, besting PH candidate, lawyer M. Manogaran by 3,238 votes.
61-year-old Ramli also made history by being the first Orang Asli MP to be
LUMPUR, Jan 26 — While the Home Ministry is in charge of publications, it is
not the authority on religious content and must consult the relevant agency
before making a decision on such books, Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin said today.
home minister was commenting on the ban of the book Breaking The Silence:
Voices of Moderation: Islam in a Constitutional Democracy by pro-moderation
group G25, which is a collection of articles that touches on Islamic religious
teachings and aqidah or religious belief.
ministry is not the authority on religious issues. We must address that before
making a final decision on this,” Muhyiddin told reporters after launching the
Malay edition of Setiawangsa MP Nik Nazmi Nik Ahmad’s book 9 May 2018: Catatan
Dari Garis Depan.
said although the Pakatan Harapan government believes in human rights and
freedom of speech, it takes in to account certain factors in allowing a book
released for mass consumption.
if the book in question touches on issues concerning race, religion, relations
between different ethnic groups in Malaysia, among others,” Muhyiddin said.
he acknowledged receipt of a formal appeal from the G25 group of retired civil
servants, which he will also refer to when consulting the relevant authorities.
did not specify the relevant authority to be consulted on the Islamic book.
this month, G25 urged the government to lift the ban, which was put in place by
the previous BN administration on grounds it could alarm public opinion and be
prejudicial to public order.
in December 2015 with a foreword by former prime minister Tun Abdullah Ahmad
Badawi, the book discusses the consistency of Islamic bureaucracy in Malaysia
and with the Federal Constitution’s provisions.
Nazmi’s book 9 May 2018: Catatan Dari Garis Depan chronicles the sequence of
events leading up to the watershed May 9 general election that ended the
61-year rule of the Barisan Nasional.
particular, it details his experiences in contesting the Setiawangsa federal
seat, which until GE14, had been the sole BN seat in the national capital which
it had never lost.
book’s English version 9 May 2018: Notes from the Frontline was launched on
December 3 last year. Both editions cost RM25 a copy.
(660 NEWS) — Edmonton police have called in the hate crimes unit to investigate
an incident caught on camera.
nine-minute-long video posted to Facebook by a man named Ty Hunt, shows a group
of men standing on a sidewalk exchanging words with two Muslim men outside of a
mosque. In the video, a man off-camera describes the group as “freedom fighters”
who claim they are outside the mosque to gain knowledge of Islam.
Wheeler, one of the Muslim men filmed in the video, was on his way to prayer
when he was approached.
that came, if they wanted to seek knowledge, they would just come sincerely,”
he said, encouraging those who want to learn to visit the mosque. “Anyone can
come to the mosque and seek knowledge and no one will turn them away.”
the interaction, the group of men badgered Wheeler and another man with
questions about underage marriage and violence against non-believers. At one
point, a man from the group assumes Wheeler is not from Canada and is corrected
by Wheeler who was born in Toronto.
several points during the video, the group of white men also hurl insults at Wheeler
and another Muslim man.
man off-camera says he “doesn’t speak noodle” and “piss be upon you”– a play on
the Muslim saying, “peace be upon you”.
the group claims to be seeking knowledge of Islam, they wore clothing
emblazoned with words like “infidel”, or a person who does not believe in
religion. Others from the group wore toques with the Arabic word “kafir” on it,
a term used to describe non-believers of Islam.
you come under the guise of gaining knowledge, but you are also throwing insults
— you are basically being belligerent,” Wheeler said. “That tells me that the
sincerity is not there.”
video was filmed without consent and posted to a group called Ty’s Canadian
Infidels, which describes itself as “patriots under one umbrella according to
the Quran” serving the people of Canada. The group has shared support for
right-wing politics including anti-immigration.
video ends when Wheeler is pulled away by another Muslim man who told him
prayer was about to begin.
to the incident, two men were caught on surveillance cameras entering the
mosque. They claimed to be using the washroom, but Wheeler said it looked more
like they were canvassing the area.
Rashid Mosque, concerned for the safety of its members, contacted Edmonton police
after the incident occurred. A spokesperson for the mosque is denouncing the
would like for this situation to be resolved, and to not occur again because of
the safety of our people,” Noor Al-Henedy, a spokesperson for Al Rashid said.
“This is a place of worship and it’s not a place to tolerate this kind of
they have safety protocols in place they “are working with local authorities
and police to make sure that anyone who comes here is safe.”
incident is particularly unsettling for Muslims as the second anniversary of
the Quebec Mosque shooting is just days away.
specific references to hate crimes in the Criminal Code of Canada visit the
Calgary Police Service website.
is considering a plan to illegally maintain a force contingent at a US military
base in Syria to “combat” Iran’s influence in the region and even strike
Iranians passing by near the base while purportedly claiming “self-defense,”
despite a presidential order to pull out all US forces from the country, a
the “strategic importance” of the al-Tanf garrison – located near Syria’s
eastern border with Jordan – “the US government is considering a plan to keep
at least some forces there,” US-based Foreign Policy news outlet reported
Friday, quoting military sources that further insisted that a US presence at
the base “helps to block Iran’s hope” for what they described as “a continuous
land bridge from Iran through Iraq and Syria to Lebanon… that could threaten
is a critical element in the effort to prevent Iran from establishing a ground
line of communications from Iran through Iraq through Syria to southern Lebanon
in support of Lebanese Hezbollah,” said one former senior US military commander
as quoted in the report.
report further underlines that the significance of the garrison is not merely
its strategic location, but also a
55-kilometer exclusion zone around the garrison that allows intruding US forces
“to claim self-defense in striking Iranian or other forces moving through that
area,” citing a “source close to the discussions.”
they (Iranians) come through, we’ve claimed, I think reasonably, that they’ve
been threatening either US forces or partner forces,” said the source as quoted
in the report, which noted that legally, the US lacks the authority to attack a
state actor such as Iran without provocation.
report goes on to claim that al-Tanf sits along what it described as “a
potential Iranian supply route through Iraq to Syria,” and has also become “a
critical buttress for combating Iranian influence in the region.”
development came after US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo emphasized earlier
this month that despite the pull-out of American troops from Syria, "the
counter-Iran campaign continues," suggesting continued presence of some US
troops at al-Tanf to counter Iranian influence in the Arab country.
month, US President Donald Trump ordered the withdrawal of nearly 2,000
American military service members in Syria while claiming victory over the
foreign-backed Daesh (ISIL) terrorist group that shared Washington’s objective
of overthrowing the Syrian government, boasting: “We have won against ISIS.”
the current withdrawal plan, the more than 200 US troops who have been
collaborating with local anti-Damascus terrorists out of al-Tanf will be the
last to leave Syria, according to military officials.
6-day long talks in Qatar between the U.S. and the Taliban ended on Saturday
with significant progress, a U.S. official said.
here were more productive than they have been in the past. We made significant
progress on vital issues," Zalmay Khalilzad, top U.S. negotiator tweeted.
the meetings with Taliban representatives, Khalilzad was flying back to Kabul
for consultations with Afghan President Ashraf Ghani and other top officials.
build on the momentum and resume talks shortly. We have a number of issues left
to work out. Nothing is agreed until everything is agreed, and ‘everything’
must include an intra-Afghan dialogue and comprehensive ceasefire" Khalilzad
also appreciated Qatari government's role to break stalled talks with Taliban
a separate statement, Taliban spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid said that progress
made on the U.S. troops withdrawal and several other vital issues during the
round of negotiations revolving around the withdrawal of foreign troops from
Afghanistan and other vital issues saw progress but since issues are of
critical nature and need comprehensive discussions therefore it was decided
that talks about unsolved matters will resume in similar future meetings"
added that both side will share the details of meetings with their respective
leadership to get their guidance for further progress.
the Taliban spokesman stated that progress in other issues is impossible until
a consensus on the withdrawal of foreign troops is reached.
also rejected the reports about agreement on a ceasefire and talks with the
Kabul administration and termed it baseless.
Weeks long efforts of the United States and allies paid off on Saturday when Afghan
Taliban negotiators and the United States officials meeting in Qatar finalised
clauses to be included in a draft agreement to end the 17-year-old Afghan war.
to details provided by Taliban sources, the draft includes apparent concessions
from both sides, with foreign forces to be withdrawn from the country in 18
months from the future signing of the deal. It is unclear whether a joint
statement will be issued, or whether the provisions have been fully accepted by
the US side.
to sources, Taliban offered assurances that Afghanistan will not be allowed to
be used by al Qaeda and Islamic State militants to attack the United States and
its allies – a key early demand of Washington. In return for a ceasefire offer,
they also demanded the assurance from by the US that there will be no threat to
regional countries, especially Pakistan.
the militant outfit agreed to ceasefire clause, it asked the allies to provide
a timeline for the withdrawal of US forces from Afghanistan. They, however,
hinted at holding talks with the Afghan government in a post-ceasefire
scenario, reported Tolo News quoting sources.
clauses include a deal over the exchange and release of prisoners from the
warring sides, the removal of an international travel ban on several Taliban
leaders by the United States and the prospect of an interim Afghan government
after the ceasefire is struck, the Taliban sources said.
the talks, US Special Envoy Zalmay Khalilzad reportedly said the talks should
be aimed at reforms and not for a demand by the Taliban to control Afghanistan.
Now he will be heading to Afghan capital Kabul to brief President Ashraf Ghani
after the end of the six-day talks.
in the evening, Khalilzad hailed “significant progress” in finding a solution
to end Afghanistan’s long-running war.
here were more productive than they have been in the past. We made significant
progress on vital issues,” he tweeted. The envoy, however, added that both
sides have a “number of issues left to work out. Nothing is agreed until
everything is agreed, and “everything” must include an “intra-Afghan dialogue
and comprehensive ceasefire”.
HAVE DONE OUR PART’
an interview, Pakistan Army’s spokesperson Major General Asif Ghafoor said the
potential deal, which would facilitate the withdrawal of allied forces from
Afghanistan, would help improve ties between Pakistan and the US as “we have
made good on our word”.
political reconciliation must succeed. … We wish that the US leaves Afghanistan
as a friend of the region, not as a failure,” he said.
German Chancellor Angela Merkel underscored the urgency of combating
anti-Semitism, racism and hatred more than 70 years after the Holocaust,
calling for new ways to keep alive the memory of the millions of people killed
by the Nazis.
in a video address released ahead of Sunday’s International Holocaust
Remembrance Day, said it was everyone’s responsibility to ensure “zero
tolerance” of xenophobia and all forms of anti-Semitism.
growing up today must know what people were capable of in the past, and we must
work proactively to ensure that it is never repeated,” Merkel said.
of people were robbed of their rights, tortured and murdered — including an
estimated six million Jews — across Europe from 1933 to 1945, when the Nazis
German leader called for new forms of remembrance due to the dwindling number
of eyewitnesses from the Nazi era, and because of persistent hatred and
expressed deep regret about anti-Semitism among Germans, as well as hatred of
Jews among Muslim migrants and a hatred of Israel that she said could not be
last year appointed a commissioner to oversee efforts to combat ant-Semitism
and will also set up a central repository to collect information about such
incidents and attacks, with an eye to bolstering prevention, Merkel said.
will be crucial in the coming time to find new ways of remembrance,” she said.
“We must look more closely at the personalities of people who were victims back
then, and to tell their stories.”
cited the importance of supporting Holocaust memorials and private initiatives
such as the “stumbling stones” project, which installs brass bricks inscribed
with the names and key details of people near the homes from which they were
deported during the Nazi era.
think these forms of remembrance … are very important and will become more
significant in the future,” Merkel said.
Friday, the director of the memorial at the largest Nazi concentration camp on
German soil barred the anti-immigrant Alternative for Germany (AfD) from a
commemoration for the 56,000 people killed there during the Holocaust.
Knigge, director of the Buchenwald Memorials Foundation, told AfD politicians
in the state of Thuringia where the camp is located that he was responding to
anti-democratic, racist and anti-Semitic tendencies in the party.
AfD, whose popularity surged amid anger over Merkel’s 2015 decision to welcome
over a million mostly Muslim migrants, says Islam is incompatible with the
German constitution, but rejects charges of racism.
has strongly censured France for threatening to impose new sanctions against
the Islamic Republic over its missile program, vowing to reconsider its
relations with European countries in case such bans are imposed.
remarks were made by Iranian Foreign Ministry Spokesman Bahram Qassemi in
reaction to earlier comments by French Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian.
military capabilities are part of the country’s legitimate defense power and a
guarantor of the Islamic Republic’s national security, which is based on the
doctrine of deterrence,” Qassemi said Friday.
Islamic Republic has designed its defense capabilities based on a realistic
assessment of the existing threats,” he said, vowing that the country would
strengthen such capabilities to the extent it deems necessary.
missile capability is not negotiable, and this has been brought to the
attention of the French side during the ongoing political dialogue between Iran
and France,” he said.
further noted that Le Drian’s threat to impose new missile sanctions is against
the spirit of political talks and cooperation between the two countries.
also vowed that Iran will reconsider its interaction with European countries in
case these states impose any new sanctions against Tehran.
has always sought to consolidate peace and stability in the region, and
believes the mass sale of sophisticated and assault weapons by the US and some
European countries, including France, has undermined regional stability and
balance,” he said.
remarks came after the top French diplomat said his country is ready to impose
further sanctions on Iran if no progress is made in talks over Tehran’s
ballistic missile program.
are ready, if the talks don’t yield results, to apply sanctions firmly, and
they know it,” Le Drian told reporters.
previously told Reuters that new sanctions being considered by EU countries
over the missile issue could include asset freezes and travel bans on the Islamic
Revolution Guards Corps (IRCG) and people involved in Iran’s ballistic missile
program. Le Drian’s threatening remarks come as the European Union is expected
to launch its exclusive payment mechanism, known as Special Purpose Vehicle
(SPV), for facilitating non-dollar trade with Iran in a bid to circumvent the
US sanctions against the Islamic Republic.
SPV "should be implemented in the coming days," Le Drian told the
French parliament's foreign affairs committee on Wednesday.
will work as a sort of clearing house that will allow in euros for Iran to
benefit from some of its oil resources and at the same time buy essential
products from the main three main (European) partners," he added.
least 10 people were wounded when protesters stormed a Turkish military camp
near Dohuk in Iraq's semi-autonomous Kurdish region on Saturday, burning two
tanks and other vehicles, residents and Kurdish officials said.
crowd was demonstrating over a recent Turkish air raid that killed four
civilians, a Kurdish official in the region of Dohuk said.
Defence Ministry wrote on Twitter: "An attack has occurred on one of bases
located in northern Iraq as a result of provocation by the PKK terrorist
organisation. There was partial damage to vehicles and equipment during the
naming the base, the ministry said "necessary precautions are being taken
regarding the incident."
officials could not be reached for further comment.
carries out regular air raids near the border against the Kurdistan Workers'
Party or PKK insurgent group which has bases in northern Iraq and has fought a
decades-long insurgency in Turkey.
is ready to impose further sanctions on Iran if no progress is made in talks
over its ballistic missile programme, the French foreign minister said on
Le Drian, who this week reiterated support for a European-backed system to
facilitate non-dollar trade with Iran and circumvent US sanctions, said France
wanted to see Tehran rein in its missile activity.
are ready, if the talks don't yield results, to apply sanctions firmly, and
they know it," Mr Le Drian told reporters.
response, Iran's Foreign Ministry spokesman Bahram Qasemi reiterated that
"any new sanctions by European countries would lead to a re-evaluation by
Iran of its interactions with those countries", the state news agency IRNA
missile capability is not negotiable, and this has been brought to the
attention of the French side during the ongoing political dialogue between Iran
and France," Mr Qasemi added.
UN Security Council resolution enshrined Iran’s 2015 nuclear deal with Britain,
China, France, Germany, Russia and the United States in which Tehran curbed its
uranium enrichment programme in exchange for an end to international sanctions.
resolution says Iran is "called upon" to refrain for up to eight
years from work on ballistic missiles designed to deliver nuclear weapons. Iran
denies its missiles are capable of carrying nuclear warheads.
May, US President Donald Trump pulled out of the nuclear deal, approved before
he took office, and reimposed sanctions on Tehran, saying it was flawed as it
did not address ballistic missiles or Iran's support for armed proxies in
Syria, Yemen, Lebanon and Iraq.
European signatories to the deal stuck with it, saying it is the best way to
keep Iran's nuclear work in check.
US sanctions over dollar transactions have made investors wary about doing
business with Iran, something the European-backed special purpose vehicle (SPV)
is meant to tackle.
President Omar al-Bashir will travel to Cairo for talks with his Egyptian
counterpart, state media reported Saturday, as protesters called for more
nationwide demonstrations against his government.
visit to Cairo on Sunday will be his second trip abroad since deadly protests
erupted at home on December 19.
Wednesday, he met Qatar’s ruler Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al-Thani on a trip to
the Gulf state.
Omar al-Bashir will travel to Cairo on Sunday for a one day visit,” Sudan’s
official news agency SUNA reported.
will hold bilateral talks with Egypt’s President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi and also
discuss regional issues that concern the two countries.”
visit was also confirmed by Sudan’s Ambassdor to Cairo, Mahmoud Abdel Halim.
erupted in Sudan last month after a government decision to triple the price of
rallies swiftly mushroomed into nationwide calls for an end to Bashir’s three
decades in power, as protesters clashed with security forces.
say 30 people have died in the violence, while rights groups say more than 40
people have been killed including medics and children.
Sudanese group that is leading the protest campaign has called for more rallies
over the next few days, including night-time demonstrations on Saturday.
people suffered light injuries in an explosion in central Nairobi on Saturday,
police said, with the Kenyan capital on edge nearly two weeks after an
extremist attack claimed 21 lives.
Ndolo, regional police commander, said a roadside vendor was given a “small
box” to transport in his cart by a “Somali gentleman” which exploded.
Somali pretended to have forgotten his identity papers and told the vendor he
was fetching them and left, police said. The blast then happened near a
restaurant and a bus station.
have slight injuries to the vendor, on the right hand, and slight injuries to
the newspaper vendor (who was nearby) on the right leg,” he said.
AFP journalist at the scene said the area had been cordoned off by police, who
were conducting a search near a metal handcart.
Foreign Minister Khemaies Jhinaoui has called on the Arab League to restore
Syria’s membership, saying the “natural place” of the country is within the
22-member regional organization.
is an Arab state, and its natural place is within the Arab League,” Jhinaoui
said during a news conference with his Russian counterpart Sergei Lavrov in
Tunis on Saturday.
question of Syria returning to the Arab League does not depend on Tunisia but
on the Arab League,” he added.
foreign ministers (of member states) will decide on this subject,” Jhinaoui
said. “What interests us is Syria's stability and security.”
also called for readmitting Syria in the Arab League.
would like Tunisia to support the process of Syria’s return to the Arab family
and the Arab League,” the top Russian diplomat said.
believe that Tunis is interested in a quick return of Syrian refugees sheltered
in Tunisia,” Lavrov said. “We will do everything to create proper conditions in
Syria for that kind of return,” he added.
are around 400 Syrian refugees in Tunisia, according to estimates by the UN
is scheduled to host the 30th annual summit of the Arab League in March.
January 18, Lebanon’s Caretaker Foreign Minister Gebran Bassil called on the
Arab League to restore Syria’s membership in the organization, describing
attempts to block the move as a “historic mistake.”
Arab nations, don’t know how to look out for each other. Arab states continue
to trade blame for suffering across the region rather than assembling plans to
alleviate it,” Bassil said as he opened the first session of an Arab economic
summit in Beirut.
should return to us ... Syria should be in our embrace instead of throwing it
into the embrace of terrorism," he pointed out.
Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry said on January 8 that the current Damascus
government needed to implement a number of measures toward a political
settlement of the ongoing Syria crisis to be able to reclaim its membership in
the Arab League.
at a joint press conference with his Moroccan counterpart Nasser Bourita in
Cairo, Shoukry said such measures were required "in accordance with … UN
Security Council Resolution 2254," which endorses a road map for a peace
process in Syria, and sets out the outlines of a nationwide ceasefire.
a need to get out of the current crisis in Syria within the political framework
sponsored by the UN envoy in Geneva,” the top Egyptian diplomat pointed out.
Arab League suspended Syria's membership in November 2011, citing alleged
crackdown by Damascus on opposition protests. Syria has denounced the move as
"illegal and a violation of the organization’s charter.”
issue of possible restoration of Syria’s membership to the Arab League comes
especially after the latest move by some Arab countries to re-open their
embassies in Damascus.
Foreign Ministry announced in a statement on December 28, 2018 that work at the
kingdom’s embassy “in the Syrian Arab Republic was going on whilst the Embassy
of the Syrian Arab Republic to the Kingdom of Bahrain was carrying out its
duties and flights connecting the two countries were operational without
came a day after the United Arab Emirates officially reopened its embassy in
Emirati Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation said the
reopening of its embassy “reaffirms the keenness of the United Arab Emirates to
restore relations between the two friendly countries to their normal course.”
move “will strengthen and activate the Arab role in supporting the
independence, sovereignty and territorial integrity of the Syrian Arab Republic
and to prevent the dangers of regional interference in Syrian Arab affairs,”
the ministry pointed out.
December 16 last year, Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir became the first Arab
League leader to visit Damascus.
official news agency SANA said Bashir was greeted by his Syrian counterpart,
Bashar al-Assad, upon arrival at Damascus International Airport, before they
both headed to the presidential palace.
two leaders discussed bilateral ties and the "situations and crises faced
by many Arab countries," the Syrian presidency said in a statement.
quoted the Sudanese leader as saying during the meeting that he hoped Syria
would recover its important role in the region as soon as possible.
also affirmed Khartoum’s readiness to provide all it can to support Syria's
Syria’s “natural place” is within the Arab League, Tunisia’s foreign minister
said Saturday, ahead of the organization’s annual summit in Tunis in March.
intervention in Syria’s war since 2015 in favor of President Bashar Assad has
turned the tide of the conflict in the regime’s favor.
United Arab Emirates reopened its embassy in Damascus in December, the same
month Sudanese President Omar Al-Bashir made the first visit of any Arab leader
to the Syrian capital since the start of the war.
Qatar earlier this month rejected normalizing ties with Assad.
we have discussed in Algeria and Morocco over the past few days, we would like
Tunis to also support Syria’s return to the Arab family, the Arab League,” he
said in Tunis.
who has also visited Morocco on his tour, said that Tunisia and Russia agreed to
ramp up “anti-terror cooperation.”
reference to Franco-Italian differences on Libya, he said: “We must harmonize
the efforts of outside mediators seeking a settlement to the Libyan conflict.
must be done under the sponsorship of the United Nations and taking into
account the points of view of neighbors such as Tunisia, Algeria and Egypt.”
main opposition leader Sadiq Al Mahdi has called for President Omar Al Bashir
to step down, throwing his support behind anti-government demonstrators after
weeks of deadly protests.
have rocked the east African country since December 19, prompted by a
government decision to triple the price of bread.
then 30 people have died in protest-related violence, according to officials,
while rights group put the death toll at more than 40.
regime has to go immediately," Mr Al Mahdi told hundreds of worshippers
attending Friday prayers at a mosque in Omdurman, the twin city of the capital
Khartoum, which has seen near daily anti-government protests.
Al Mahdi, whose government was toppled by Mr Al Bashir in a 1989 coup, has been
a fixture of Sudanese politics since the 1960s. After nearly a year in exile,
he returned to Sudan last month on the same day protests began.
calls by protesters for Mr Al Bashir to resign, the opposition chief gave an
even higher death toll for the demonstrations.
than 50 people have been killed since December," said Mr Al Mahdi,
backed the Sudanese Professionals' Association (SPA), an umbrella group of
doctors, teachers and engineers which is leading demonstrations.
period of transition will come soon ... we are supporting this movement,"
said Mr Al Mahdi.
said his party had signed "a document for change and freedom" with
Mr Al Mahdi's Umma Party has served as Sudan's main opposition group, regularly
campaigning against government policies, analysts say the SPA-led protest
movement has emerged as the biggest challenge yet to Mr Al Bashir's rule.
we will hold peaceful demonstrations in Sudan and outside of Sudan," Mr Al
Mahdi said, condemning the use of "live ammunition" against
Mr Al Mahdi's address, worshippers marched out of the mosque chanting the
protest movement's slogan: "freedom, peace, justice".
the demonstrators were quickly confronted by riot police who fired tear gas,
also took to the streets in Khartoum's eastern district of Burri, burning tyres
and rubbish, according to onlookers who said the rally was also met with tear
on Friday, protesters rallied in the capital's southern neighbourhoods of El
Kalakla and Soba but there too they were confronted with tear gas, witnesses
were some illegal gatherings today in Khartoum and some other states but they
were dispersed using tear gas," police spokesman General Hashim Abdelrahim
SPA has stepped up pressure on the government with calls for daily
demonstrations. Sudan's feared National Intelligence and Security Service has
launched a sweeping crackdown on protesters that has seen hundreds jailed,
including journalists, opposition leaders and activists.
has triggered widespread international criticism, including from the United
Nations and the United States.
Al Bashir, 75, has remained steadfast in rejecting calls from demonstrators to
step down, and has blamed "infiltrators" among the protesters for the
has accused the US of causing Sudan's economic woes, but his words have fallen
on increasingly deaf ears as people have struggled to buy even basic foods and
men plotting to blow up an apartment housing three Somali Muslims have been
sentenced to at least 25 years behind bars in federal prison.
premeditated plan to use a weapon of mass destruction against their intended
victims at an apartment complex in Garden City in the US state of Kansas ended
with jail terms for Patrick Eugene Stein and Curtis Allen of Kansas as well as
Gavin Wright of Oklahoma on Friday.
sentence is a significant victory against hate crimes and domestic
terrorism," acting US Attorney General Matthew Whitaker said in a news
release Friday from the Justice Department. "The defendants in this case
acted with clear premeditation in an attempt to kill innocent people on the
basis of their religion and national origin. That's not just illegal -- it's
Somalis living in the city with a population of 26,000 have asserted that they
do not intend to harm anyone.
we need peace and love," Ifrah Farah, a member of the Somali community was
cited by CNN as saying. "Because we came here for better lives. We are
refugees. We live here. We are not bad people. We love everybody."
men who had plotted an attack after the 2016 Pulse nightclub shooting in
Florida were found guilty in April.
to prosecutors, they used offensive language to refer to Muslims and
"described in the most extreme and violent terms what they planned to do
confidential source, whom the government credited for thwarting the attack and
saving the lives of innocent victims, recorded numerous conversations during
which the defendants discussed and refined their plan," the Justice
Department said. "As the plan solidified, the defendants discussed
obtaining four vehicles, filling them with explosives, and parking them at the
four corners of the apartment complex to create an explosion that would be sure
to level the building and kill its occupants."
of the three men, Stein, apparently met with an undercover FBI agent posing as
a black market arms dealer.
Taliban ‘not excluding Pakistan from peace talks’
Paklistan: The head of the Pakistan army’s media wing has said that the Afghan
Taliban are not excluding Pakistan from US-led talks in Doha seeking a
negotiated end to the Afghan war.
Gen. Asif Ghafoor, in an interview with Arab News, said that Pakistan was a
facilitator and had fulfilled its task of coaxing the Taliban to the table for
week the Taliban resumed stalled peace talks with US special peace envoy Zalmay
Khalilzad in Doha, where they have long maintained an office. The dialogue,
originally meant to run over two days, entered its sixth day on Saturday,
raising hopes that the latest efforts to find a mechanism to end the 17-year
Afghan war might be the most serious yet.
of a settlement also increased due to a recent reshuffle in the Taliban team,
with senior leaders including Taliban co-founder Mullah Abdul Ghani Baradar put
into key positions.
US has long pressured Pakistan to use its influence over the Taliban to bring
them to the negotiating table.
Taliban are not excluding Pakistan from the peace process,” Ghafoor said during
the interview on Friday evening. “We are a facilitator. We have done our job of
bringing them to the negotiating table. What is discussed and how the process
moves forward will depend on progress during every meeting.”
if the Taliban had refused to meet Khalilzad in Islamabad, Ghafoor said: “There
are so many factions and stakeholders involved in the process. Coordination
takes time. One faction or party gets out of coordination, (which) can result
in changes in schedule or place.”
said that Pakistan had pushed for the dialogue to restart but had “no
preference for time or place.”
sources have told the media that the Doha talks have focused on a road map for
the withdrawal of foreign forces from Afghanistan and a guarantee that the
country will not be used for hostile acts against the US and its allies.
Taliban have so far refused direct talks with the Kabul government, which it
views as an illegitimate, foreign-appointed force. Ghafoor said that there was
as yet no certainty about whether the insurgents could be persuaded to engage
with the Afghan government but added that progress from the meetings would
determine all outcomes.
also discussed fears about how Afghan government forces would withstand the
Taliban threat without US military support if US President Donald Trump acted
on his desire to bring home half of the 14,000 US troops deployed in
Pakistan: Islamabad also fears that increased turmoil in Afghanistan would mean
more sanctuaries there for Pakistani Taliban (TTP) militants who have lost
control of all territory in Pakistan since a major counter-terrorism operation
was launched after a 2014 attack on an army school.
has also fenced off part of its porous 2,500 km border with Afghanistan to
prevent incursions by the Pakistan Taliban who have waged a decade-long
insurgency in the South Asian nation.
said that the Afghan government did not currently have the capacity to
eliminate all sanctuaries given that it was embroiled in fighting an
insurgency, but once the Taliban entered the political mainstream, Kabul would
be in a better position to tackle groups such as the Pakistan Taliban and the
Middle Eastern Daesh.
there is peace in Afghanistan and greater control of the area by Afghan forces,
it will be difficult for TTP to continue their sanctuaries there,” the military
general dismissed fears that the US would lose interest in Pakistan once it
exited Afghanistan, or be free to take harsh actions when it no longer needed
Islamabad’s help to end the conflict.
has always remained relevant and will continue to be relevant,” Ghafoor said.
“And when the US leaves Afghanistan, it will leave acknowledging Pakistan’s
role in ending the conflict. Our relationship shall further strengthen.”
as Pakistan’s ties with the US have soured in recent years over the war in
Afghanistan, Islamabad has turned to neighboring China. The countries are
partners in the $60 billion China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) of
infrastructure and energy projects that Beijing touts as the flagship program
in its vast Belt and Road Initiative.
to media reports that Pakistan was building military jets, weapons and other
hardware with funds received under the CPEC umbrella, Ghafoor said that the
corridor was “purely an economic project.”
have separate defense cooperation with China but that has nothing to do with
CPEC,” he said. “We had F-16 deals with the US. That was our requirement.
Later, we have jointly made the JF-17 Thunder with China. Like any sovereign
country, Pakistan takes decisions suiting its national interest.”
about a growing protest movement by Pakistan’s ethnic Pashtuns who want the
army to remove land mines and check-posts from the country’s northwest where
most Pashtuns live, and who allege extrajudicial killings, arbitrary detentions
and “disappearances” of young Pashtun men — which the army denies — Ghafoor
said: “Till such time that the Pashtun Tahafuz Movement (PTM) is peaceful and
they stick to their genuine demands, which are natural in a post-conflict
environment, the state is committed to taking care of them.”
about PTM leaders Ali Wazir and Mohsin Dawar who, along with the movement’s
founder Manzoor Pashteen, have emerged as the strongest voices against alleged
military high-handedness, Ghafoor said that the demands of the Pahstun people
were genuine and the state was committed to addressing them.
instigating people against institutions is neither within the law nor a public
sentiment,” he said. “Once we have fulfilled the genuine demands which are
already in the overall plan, then we will see how to deal with anyone who still
tries to exploit.”
said that the movement was being exploited by Pakistan’s enemies, in a veiled
reference possibly to arch-rival India and neighboring Afghanistan: “When there
are fault lines, then enemies will always try to exploit them. So there is an
effort to exploit PTM, whether with their connivance or not.”
general warned that India needed to “stop using proxies against us,” adding
that “just as we are concerned that an unstable Afghanistan is not in our
interest, India should also know that an unstable Pakistan is not in its
interest. They need to change their behavior.”
to a question about an extension in military courts set up by Parliament in
2015, and criticized for their lack of transparency, Ghafoor said that the
courts were a “national requirement” because the country’s civilian judicial
infrastructure was ill-equipped to deal with terrorism cases.
said that verdicts could be appealed at several levels, including in military
appellate and civilian courts, and those on death row had the right to file
mercy petitions with the army chief and the president of Pakistan.
courts proceed as per law; there is a laid-down legal process with full
transparency. Courts decide on evidence and not emotions,” the army’s media
chief said. However, he added, “should the Parliament decide that military
courts are not needed, then they will not be renewed.”
Islam alias Khaled, the last charge-sheeted accused arrested in the Holey
Artisan Bakery case, sent Tk 39 lakh to JMB leader Sarwar Jahan to fund the
café attack, Rab officials said.
along with Mamunur Rashid alias Ripon had gone into hiding two months before
the attack on July 1, 2016. He sent the money from hiding.
Rapid Action Battalion came up with the information yesterday, after arresting
Khaled from Nachole upazila in Chapainawabganj on Friday afternoon.
money came from the Middle East,” Mufti Mahmud Khan, director (legal and media)
of Rab, said at a press briefing at the Rab Media Centre in Dhaka.
the duo had been hiding and how they had collected the money would be known
after interrogating Khaled further, he added.
Dhaka court yesterday placed Khaled on a six-day remand in a case filed with
Mugda Police Station under the Anti-Terrorism Act.
earlier said Khaled and Ripon went to India in April 2016, just two months
before 20 hostages, 17 of them foreigners, and police officers were killed
during a terror siege at the Holey Artisan Bakery, a posh café in Gulshan.
to Rab, Khaled came back from hiding in October 2017 and was trying to reunite
him, all the eight charge-sheeted accused in the café attack case have now been
arrested. The Rab caught fugitive Ripon from Gazipur on January 20.
also led the killing of Prof Rezaul Karim, a teacher of RU English department,
on April 23, 2016, Rab says.
Rajshahi court sentenced Khaled and another JMB militant Maskawath Hasan Sakib
alias Abdullah to death and three others -- Rahmatullah, Abdus Sattar and Ripon
-- to life imprisonment over the Rezaul killing in May last year.
himself a student of the RU English department, went into hiding after
coordinating the killing of his teacher, said Mufti Mahmud.
why he led the killing of his teacher, the Rab official said, “The murder was
part of JMB's plan and there was no personal grudge.”
responsibility for the murder was reportedly claimed by the Islamic State.
from Bagmara of Rajshahi, Khaled was a talented student and got scholarship in
class V and class VIII, said his father Abdul Hakim, a teacher of Bagmara Pilot
he dropped out when he was a third-year student at Rajshahi University in 2013
and became involved with the militant group, according to Rab.
last contacted his father in May 2015. “I called him on May 23 in 2015 and
since then his phone has been switched off,” said Abdul Hakim.
father also said they used to have normal conversations before Khaled went
missing and he didn't see any change in his son back then.
wanted him to be a civil service officer,” Hakim said, adding that he never
thought that his son would end up this way.
he's involved in such crimes, he should be punished.”
inspired by Islamic State, Khaled was motivated by one of his seniors at the RU
named Ahsan Habib Shovon. First they started spreading extremist ideologies in
educational institutions based in Rajshahi and Chapainawabganj, the Rab
official said. Not engaging in the “madrasa-trend of militancy”, they mainly
targeted educated people and became active online.
Shovon introduced Khaled to top JMB leader Tamim Chowdhury in his mess at Saheb
Bazar of Rajshahi. Tamim used to stay in the mess whenever he visited Rajshahi.
claimed that Khaled started communicating with extremists of different tiers in
the country in 2013 and the next year, he worked to unite the different
2015, they held an important meeting at Mamunur Rashed Ripon's house in Bogura,
joined by Sarwar, Tamim, Saddam, Marzan and Sakib.
important decisions were taken there and Khaled was also part of it. He was
included in the media team of JMB.
also took part in a meeting of top JMB leaders in Gaibandha in February 2016.
Later that year, he also joined different meetings in Dhaka.
others charge-sheeted accused in the Holey Artisan case, who were arrested
earlier, are Jahangir Alam alias Rajib Gandhi, recruiter of the café attackers;
Rashed alias Rash, one of the planners; Sohel Mahfuz, grenade supplier; arms
suppliers Mizanur Rahman alias Boro Mizan and Rakibul Islam, a so-called
religious trainer, and Hadisur Rahman Sagar.
Taliban officials said US negotiators on Saturday agreed a draft peace deal
stipulating the withdrawal of foreign forces from Afghanistan within 18 months
of the agreement being signed.
details were provided to Reuters by Taliban sources at the end of six days of
talks with US special peace envoy Zalmay Khalilzad in Qatar aimed at ending the
United States' longest war.
have yet to be confirmed by US officials nor has either side released an
official statement. Officials at the US embassy in Kabul were not immediately
available for comment.
is heading to the Afghan capital Kabul to brief President Ashraf Ghani after
the longer-than expected talks, the sources and a diplomat said.
to the Taliban sources, the hardline Islamic group offered assurances that
Afghanistan will not be allowed to be used by al-Qaeda and Islamic State
militants to attack the United States and its allies - a key early demand of
is not known if a draft is acceptable to both sides has been completed, or when
it might take effect.
Taliban sources said a key provision to the deal included a ceasefire but they
had yet to confirm a timeline and will only open talks with Afghan
representatives once the ceasefire is implemented.
18 months if the foreign forces are withdrawn and ceasefire is implemented then
other aspects of the peace process can be put into action," a Taliban
source said, quoting from a portion of the draft.
offer to appoint an interim government in Afghanistan comes at a time when top
politicians including Ghani have filed their nominations for the presidential
polls in July this year. Ghani has repeatedly rejected the offer to agree to
the formation of an interim government.
of progress on a deal comes as the Taliban continue to stage nearly daily
attacks against the Western-backed Afghan government and its security forces.
the presence of US-led foreign forces training, advising and assisting their
Afghan counterparts 17 years after the US led an invasion to drive them from
power, the Taliban controls nearly half of Afghanistan.
United States has some 14,000 troops in Afghanistan as part of the NATO-led
mission, known as Resolute Support, as well as a US counter-terrorism mission
directed at groups such as Islamic State and al Qaeda.
Afghan officials say an accidental explosion killed four insurgents and a
civilian near a sporting event in an area controlled by the Taliban.
Hanif Rezaie, an army spokesman, says one of the fighters killed in the
northern Baghlan province was a local commander. A provincial official says
another 20 people, including Taliban fighters and civilians who had gathered to
watch a volleyball match, were wounded.
official spoke on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to speak
to the media.
in Afghanistan, a female university student was killed when a sticky bomb
attached to a vehicle was detonated, according to the office of the provincial
governor of Nangarhar province.
Taliban hold sway over nearly half of Afghanistan.
officials said US negotiators on Saturday agreed a draft peace deal stipulating
the withdrawal of foreign forces from Afghanistan within 18 months of the
agreement being signed.
details were given to a foreign news agency by Taliban sources at the end of
six days of talks – with US special peace envoy Zalmay Khalilzad in Qatar –
aimed at ending the United States’ longest war.
neither side released an official statement, Khalilzad tweeted later that the
talks had made “significant progress” and would resume shortly, adding that he
planned to travel to Afghanistan to meet government officials.
here (in Qatar) were more productive than they have been in the past. We have
made significant progress on vital issues,” he wrote, adding that numerous
issues still needed work.
is agreed until everything is agreed and everything must include an
intra-Afghan dialogue and comprehensive ceasefire,” he said in the tweets. A US
State Department spokesperson declined further comment.
was not clear if the draft described by the Taliban sources is acceptable to
both sides or when it will be completed and signed.
to the sources, Taliban officials gave assurances that Afghanistan will not be
allowed to be used by al-Qaeda and Islamic State militants to attack the United
States and its allies – a key early demand of Washington.
said the deal included a ceasefire provision but they had yet to confirm a
timeline and would only open talks with Afghan representatives once a truce was
until now, the Taliban have repeatedly rejected the Afghan government’s offer
of holding talks, preferring instead to talk directly to the US side, which it
regards as its main enemy.
18 months, if the foreign forces are withdrawn and ceasefire is implemented
then other aspects of the peace process can be put into action,” a Taliban
source said, quoting from a portion of the draft.
talks on the draft are expected in February, again in the Qatari capital Doha,
the Taliban sources said.
expect their side to be led by new political chief Mullah Abdul Ghani Baradar,
the movement’s co-founder and a former military commander who was released from
a prison in Pakistan last year.
they said his appointment had boosted momentum for a deal, it was unclear if he
joined the talks.
officials believe the US was keen to get Baradar – who was captured in a joint
Pakistani-US intelligence raid in 2010 – to the table so they could be sure of
speaking to the movement’s most powerful figures.
clauses in the draft include an agreement over the exchange and release of
prisoners, the removal of an international travel ban on several Taliban
leaders by Washington and the prospect of an interim Afghan government after
the ceasefire is struck, the Taliban sources said.
suggestion to appoint an interim government in Afghanistan comes at a time when
top politicians including Ghani have filed their nominations for the
presidential polls in July this year. Ghani has repeatedly rejected the offer
to agree to the formation of an interim government.
of progress on a deal comes as the Taliban continues to stage near-daily
attacks against the Western-backed Afghan government and its security forces.
the presence of US-led foreign forces training, advising and assisting their
Afghan counterparts 17 years after the US-led an invasion to drive them from
power, the Taliban controls nearly half of Afghanistan.
said last week that 45,000 members of the country’s security forces had been
killed since he took office in 2014.
United States has some 14,000 troops in Afghanistan as part of the NATO-led
mission, known as Resolute Support, as well as a US counter-terrorism mission
directed at groups such as Islamic State and al-Qaeda.
reports in December last year that the United States was considering pulling
out almost half of its forces, a White House spokesman said that US President
Donald Trump had not issued orders to withdraw the troops. However, the
administration has not denied the reports, which have prompted fears of a fresh
Taliban sources also confirmed provisions in the draft that have broader
implications for Afghanistan’s ties with its neighbors, particularly Pakistan,
India and China.
dust was about to settle with the election fever dissipating in Bangladesh. The
political scene was slowly returning to an atmosphere of relative calm. Then
came a damning report from the Transparency International Bangladesh (TIB) that
uncovered “serious wrongdoings” during the December 30 election.
list of irregularities in 47 out of 50 constituencies surveyed by the TIB
includes ballot stuffing in the hours to the election day, fake votes and
obstruction of voters.
TIB also said security forces on the scene silently stood by when these
irregularities took place. “Law-enforcement agencies, a section of
administrative officials and election authorities were seen playing biased
roles in the election,” Iftekharuzzaman, executive director of TIB, who uses
one name, said in a statement on January 15.
Minister Hasan Mahmud swiftly dismissed the report as fictitious, imaginary and
deliberate. Mr. Mahmud said the report reeks of propaganda by the Bangladesh
Nationalist Party (BNP) and its ally, Jamaat-e-Islami. The Election Commission
also brushed aside the TIB’s findings. “It’s a predetermined and imaginary
report,” Election Commissioner Rafiqul Islam said.
new report says activists from Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina’s Awami League
stuffed ballot boxes the night before the general election and intimidated
voters while security officials stood by
Minister Sheikh Hasina has a record of solid achievements for her two
consecutive terms. Per capita income has grown by 150%, and the proportion of
people living in extreme poverty has fallen from 19% to 9%. “All the greater
the pity that her achievements have been offset by a precipitous slide toward
authoritarianism,” The New York Times wrote in an editorial on January 14. “Ms.
Hasina’s every achievement will now be tainted by her authoritarian methods and
repressive measures; her critics, driven into exile or underground, will become
only more strident, and her foreign supporters more wary,” it wrote.
on January 22, a report published by Reuters put the election under new
scrutiny. The report cited a top official of an observer group that monitored
the election and one of its foreign volunteers as saying that they regretted
participating in the process. Both cast doubt on the credibility of the vote.
Mohammad Abdus Salam, the president of the SAARC Human Rights Foundation, was
quoted as saying that he now believed there should be a fresh vote after
hearing accounts from voters and officials presiding over polling booths that
activists from Ms. Hasina’s Awami League stuffed ballot boxes the night before
the poll and intimidated voters.
Canadian observer, Tanya Foster, who was brought in by the foundation, has also
said she now wishes she had not been involved. The foundation later issued a
statement denouncing the Reuters story. It said the news agency distorted what
Mr. Salam said in the interview. “I have been defamed by the publication of the
false story and I’m embarrassed,” he said on the foundation’s website. Reuters
later said: “We stand by our reporting on the views expressed by the election
Hasina’s political foes ratcheted up their rhetoric over the election based on
these reports. BNP leader Ruhul Kabir Rizvi said in a media briefing on January
17 the government and the Election Commission were hit hard by the TIB report.
“They have received a big blow from the TIB report. The Ministers and the EC are
now struggling to hide their faces as the TIB has exposed vote frauds,” Mr.
has been found that Shariful Islam Khalid, who was arrested by Rapid Action
Battalion (RAB) on Friday, as one of the last remaining accused in the case
filed over the Holey Artisan Bakery terror attack in 2016, visited India on at
least two occasions.
addition to being an accused on the charge sheet for the Holey Artisan Bakery
attack, Khalid is also a death row convict for the murder of Rajshahi
University (RU) teacher Prof AFM Rezaul Karim Siddique in 2016. Khalid’s
aliases include Rahat, Saifullah, Nahid, and Abu Suleiman.
Bangladeshi authorities are yet to reveal the motives for Khalid’s visits to
India, a 2016 investigation by the Indian National Investigation Agency (NIA)
established a connection between Khalid and Abu Musa, alias Md Mosiuddin, an Indian national and ISIS militant.
was arrested in India’s West Bengal in July 2016, the NIA probe report said.
and Khalid met through social media platform Facebook and were subsequently in
regular contact through encrypted internet chat platforms such as Telegram,
Chatsecure, Surespot, and Threema, the NIA found.
his arrest, Musa told Indian investigators that Abu Suleiman (Khalid) had
instructed him to carry out attacks on foreigners in India.
NIA website lists Shariful Islam from Bangladesh among its most wanted.
to NIA documents, Khalid met with Musa in India in March 2015 and May 2016.
Khalid attended Musa’s younger brother’s wedding in March 2015, while he met
Musa at Malda station and instructed him to carry out lone wolf attacks on
foreign tourists in May 2016.
Khalid’s instructions, Musa conducted reconnaissance missions in Srinagar with
the aim of killing foreigners in May 2015, while Khalid had directed him to attack
foreigners in Kolkata in May 2016.
Indian court has charged Khalid for criminally conspiring with Musa and others
to carry out subversive activities against the Government of India.
played key role in forming Sarwar-Tamim group
became involved in extremism through his friend Ahsan Habib Shovon. The
two lived together in a mess while they
were studying at RU in 2013.
a press briefing on Saturday, RAB Legal and Media Wing Director, Mufti Mahmud
Khan, said Khalid and Shovon used to work towards recruiting educated young
people to extremism through the internet. Shovon introduced Holey Artisan
Bakery attack mastermind Tamim Chowdhury to Khalid during their time at RU.
Tamim visited Rajshahi, he preferred to stay at Khalid and Shovon’s mess, the
RAB official added.
Khalid played a key role in bringing Sarwar Jahan and Tamim Chowdhury together
under the same militant platform.
Sarwar Jahan, Tamim Chowdhury, Saddam, Marjan, Shakib Master, and other
suspected militants held a meeting at Mamunr Rashid alias Ripon’s house in
Bogra in 2015. In another meeting, at a dormitory in Gaibandha in February
2016, the Holey Artisan Bakery attack was planned.
did Khalid murder Prof Rezaul?
interrogation, Khalid told RAB officials that he killed RU professor Rezaul on
the instruction of an ameer of JMB.
conducted reconnaissance of the RU area before the attack, and fled to Dhaka
the day after killing the teacher, RAB officials said.
Artisan attack: Tk39 lakh came from the Middle East
fleeing to Dhaka for a few days, Khalid went into hiding in India under
instruction from the JMB ameer. Ripon, who is also an accused in the Holey
Artisan Bakery attack and was arrested by RAB from Gazipur on January 19, accompanied
to RAB, the two arranged for Tk39 lakh to be sent to Sarwar Jahan from the
Middle East to fund the Holey Artisan Bakery attack.
RAB Director Mufti said specifics on who sent the money and from where, are yet
to be confirmed.
Mahmud Khan further said Khalid and Ripon have been trying to reorganize JMB by
recruiting new members after the deaths and arrests of many leaders of the
militant outfit in law enforcement operations.
is this Khalid?
in 1991 in Bagmara upazila of Rajshahi, Khalid completed his SSC exams from
Bagmara Pilot High School in 2008, and his HSC exams from Rajshahi Government
City College in 2010.
a meritorious student, he studied English at RU.
happened at Holey Artisan?
July 1, 2016, gunmen stormed the Holey Artisan Bakery in Dhaka’s Gulshan area
and opened fire. The attack claimed the lives of 22 hostages, including 17
foreign nationals, as well as two policemen.
July 2018, police submitted the charge sheet in the case filed over the attack,
naming eight accused.
total 21 members of militant outfit New JMB, a faction of JMB, were found to
have been involved in the planning and execution of the attack, according to
the charge sheet.
NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg reiterated that the alliance has a
presence in Afghanistan to prevent the re-emergence of the safe havens of
international terrorist networks.
Stoltenberg reiterated the objective of NATO during a press conference with the
Prime Minister of New Zealand, Jacinda Ardern on Friday.
welcome very much the close partnership. We see that in many different ways. We
see that in Afghanistan where we have been working together for many years and
New Zealand has contributed with personnel to the National Army Defence
Academy, helping to train and educate Afghan soldiers and officers,” he said.
Secretary General further added “And the purpose of our presence in Afghanistan
is to prevent Afghanistan from once again becoming a safe haven for
coalition forces have carried out drone strikes against the hideouts of ISIS
Khurasan (ISIS-K) in two districts of Nangarhar province in East of
201st Silab Corps of the Afghan Military in a statement said the coalition
forces targeted ISIS-K hideouts in Achin district of Nangarahr on Saturday.
statement further added that the drone strikes left at least 8 militants of the
terror group dead while two of their hideouts were destroyed.
201st Silab Corps in another statement said the coalition forces carried out
similar airstrikes in Khogyani district of Nangarhar province today.
to the statement of 201st Silab Corps, two ISIS Khurasan militants were killed
in today’s airstrikes.
U.S. Special Representative for Afghanistan Reconciliation Ambassador Khalilzad
has said that significant progress has been made on vital issues during the
6-day talks with Taliban political leaders in Qatar.
six days in Doha, I’m headed to Afghanistan for consultations. Meetings here
were more productive than they have been in the past. We made significant
progress on vital issues,” Khalilzad said in a Twitter post.
he said a number of issues are still left to work out, emphasizing that he will
build on the momentum and resume talks shortly.
Khalilzad also added that “Nothing is agreed until everything is agreed, and
“everything” must include an intra-Afghan dialogue and comprehensive
least ten Taliban militants including two foreign snipers who were fighting in
Taliban ranks were killed during a clash with the security forces in northern
Jawzjan province of Afghanistan.
209th Shaheen Corps of the Afghan Military in a statement said at least 13
Taliban militants also sustained injuries during the clash that took place late
on Thursday night in Baqal Village in Aqcha district.
local officials have said that two foreign snipers were originally hailing from
Pakistan but the 209th Shaheen Corps said their intelligence findings confirm
the killing of two foreigners but their identities have not been confirmed so
209th Shaheen Corps also added that the clash between the security forces and
militants broke out after a group of militants launched attacks on security
posts in the area which continue for two hours.
least two security personnel have also sustained injuries during the clash, the
209th Shaheen Corps added in its statement.
investigator in Khashoggi case demands access to Saudi consulate in Istanbul,
not allowed yet
United Nations (UN) expert who has been assigned to investigate the
state-sponsored assassination of Saudi Arabian dissident Jamal Khashoggi says
she has requested access to Riyadh’s consulate in Istanbul, where the Saudi
critic was brutally killed, but has not heard from Riyadh yet.
Callamard, the UN special rapporteur on extrajudicial, summary, or arbitrary
executions, said on Saturday that she had sought permission to visit the Saudi
diplomatic perimeter, where Khashoggi was killed in October last year, and also
to meet the Saudi ambassador to Turkey, but had not yet received a reply from
have requested access to the Saudi consulate in Istanbul and a meeting with the
ambassador of the Kingdom of Saud Arabia in Turkey,” she in an email to
Reuters. “I have also sought permission to conduct a similar country-visit to
the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.”
this week, the UN investigator announced that she would be heading “an
independent international inquiry” into Khashoggi’s murder, starting with a
visit to Turkey from January 28 to February 3.
said she would be accompanied by three experts who have forensic expertise,
among other skills, during the visit to Turkey to determine the circumstances
of the crime and “the nature and the extent of states’ and individuals’
responsibilities for the killing.”
— a late but vocal critic of Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman — was
killed and his body was dismembered by a Saudi hit squad inside the kingdom’s
Istanbul consulate on October 2, 2018.
weeks of denying the killing, the Riyadh regime eventually acknowledged the
which offered evidence of Khashoggi’s brutal murder soon after he failed to
exit the Saudi consulate, has indirectly suggested that Mohammed ordered his
the course of the scandal, Saudi Arabia has attempted to shift the blame for
Khashoggi’s murder to Mohammed’s underlings, including at least one of his
advisers. It has claimed that the criminality somehow stops short of reaching
the crown prince himself.
international suspicion remains largely directed at Mohammed. The Washington
Post, for which Khashoggi was a columnist, reported in November last year that
the CIA had concluded Mohammed ordered his killing.
in her Saturday remarks, Callamard, the UN investigator, said the probe she was
heading was “necessary.”
conceive of this inquiry to be a necessary step, among a number of others,
towards crucial truth telling about and formal accountability for the gruesome
killing of Mr. Khashoggi,” she said.
also said she had requested information from other authorities, including in
the United States.
is hoped this will help ensure accountability and transparency in this case and
may open new avenues for the prevention and protection of the right to life in
other cases, including of journalists and human rights defenders, and
accountability for their killings,” she said.
findings and recommendations are expected to be reported to the UN Human Rights
Council at a June 2019 session.
murder ‘damaged’ Saudi reputation
on Saturday, British weapons and military equipment manufacturer BAE Systems,
an arms exporters to Saudi Arabia, complained that Khashoggi’s murder and the
war on Yemen had damaged the kingdom’s reputation in the world.
issues damaged the position of Saudi Arabia in the eyes of the world — the
Khashoggi affair is one of them and also the war in Yemen,” BAE Systems
Chairman Roger Carr told Sky News.
systems has sold Eurofighter Typhoon jets and provided engineering support to
the Saudi Air Force, which has been involved in a deadly war on Yemen since
we want to see, by being a consistent and critical friend, is that Saudi
Arabia, needs to return to the pathway it was on and develop in the way it
was,” Carr said.
killing of Palestinians cannot continue without the open support of Western
governments, says an activist, adding that the goal of Tel Aviv is to take over
the entire land of Palestine.
Zionists have been very consistent, sometimes accelerated, sometimes not so
quick, but their goal has been to take over the entire land surface of
Palestine with as few Palestinians as possible and this has meant massacre
after massacre. The history of the Palestinian people since 40 is punctuated by
frequent massacres, sometimes thousands and sometime merely a few hundred
because it is necessary, the only way that a land can be cleared of its native
people and the population replaced by families coming from Europe, America and
around the world, the only way this can be done is by massive violence,” Mick
Napier from the Scottish Palestine Solidarity Campaign told Press TV in an
interview on Saturday.
universities openly discuss the demographic threat that there are too many
Palestinians still inside Palestine and so every killing –I hate to say- is a
small victory for the Zionists and it goes on and on, week after week after
week and this demographic threat is always at the forefront of everything that
the Zionists do and these snipers who are now seen weekly callously killing
demonstrators assembling to demand their rights under international law is also
something quite unprecedented. These are not warriors … this is a cold bloody
massacre of Palestinian men, women and children who are demanding their
international rights,” he added.
have held weekly protests on the Gaza border, over the siege on the enclave and
the right for refugees to return to their homes they were forcibly expelled
from during the 1948 creation of Israel.
250 Palestinians have been killed by Israeli forces ever since anti-occupation
protest rallies began in the Gaza Strip on March 30. Over 26,000 Palestinians
have also sustained injuries.
Gaza clashes reached their peak on May 14 last year, on the eve of the 70th
anniversary of Nakba Day (Day of Catastrophe), which coincided this year with
the US embassy relocation from Tel Aviv to occupied East Jerusalem al-Quds.
June 13, 2018, the United Nations General Assembly adopted a resolution,
sponsored by Turkey and Algeria, condemning Israel for Palestinian civilian
deaths in the Gaza Strip.
resolution, which had been put forward on behalf of Arab and Muslim countries,
garnered a strong majority of 120 votes in the 193-member assembly, with 8
votes against and 45 abstentions.
resolution called on UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres to make proposals
within 60 days “on ways and means for ensuring the safety, protection, and
well-being of the Palestinian civilian population under Israeli occupation,”
including “recommendations regarding an international protection mechanism.”
is no indication of Iranian Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei abdicating or being
removed from leadership in the near term but the question of political
succession in the Islamic Republic is pertinent because the process of ageing
is most likely to midwife a leadership change. What will happen after
79-year-old Khamenei passes on?
talk about it but the ruling elites have been preparing for Khamenei’s passing
for some time. As he underwent an operation on his prostate on September 8,
2014, decades-old rumours made the rounds. The supreme leader, it was said, had
prostate cancer. To quell the rumours, the head of Khamenei’s medical team
described the operation as “routine” and somewhat incredibly claimed the
supreme leader had only received “local anaesthetics.” Had he gone under
anaesthesia, the regime would have been forced to detail the chain of command
while Khamenei was incapacitated. By claiming there was no anaesthesia, the
regime kept secret the designated chain of command, if there ever was one.
about who succeeds Khamenei gained ground after the surgery and in the run-up
to the February 26, 2016, election to the Assembly of Experts. The assembly
formally appoints the supreme leader. Its discussions are accordingly seen to
December 13, 2015, Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani, former head of the Assembly of
Experts, disclosed that a working group in the body was engaged in identifying
qualified candidates to succeed Khamenei.
said: “They are getting ready… and there is a group vetting individuals so that
those who are qualified, just in case an incident should take place… [can take
over the leadership]. This is the main work of the Assembly.” Rafsanjani’s
claim was confirmed by Ayatollah Hashem Hashemzadeh Harisi and Ayatollah Sayyid
Ahmad Khatami, both members of the assembly.
in the spring of 2016, the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) and its
allies, intensified efforts to seize control of the Assembly of Experts. They
managed to disqualify Hassan Khomeini, grandson of the founder of the Islamic
Republic, and a key ally of Rafsanjani. In so doing, the IRGC countered the
magical aura of the Khomeini name and lineage. These could have brought
Rafsanjani and his allies back to the heart of the Iranian power structure.
life was cut short on January 8, 2017. The official account of his death blamed
cardiac arrest. He was said to have suffered a heart attack while swimming.
doubts were cast on the cause of death and mysterious events have been
reported. They have given credence to speculation about a purge, leading up to
a succession struggle. Rafsanjani, a former president and a great political
survivor, could have played a key role in the appointment of the next supreme
leader as and when such a choice is made. As of January 1, Rafsanjani’s death
appears still to be under investigation by Iran’s Supreme National Security
Rafsanjani gone, Iranian President Hassan Rohani, his protege and heir to his
political legacy, is continuing the fight against the IRGC. This is meant to
secure a role for himself in the post-Khamenei era.
December 2017, the IRGC and Rohani have tried to mobilise the public against
each other in anticipation of a succession battle. The IRGC and its clerical
allies mobilised impoverished shantytown dwellers against the Rohani
government’s declared policies of reducing food and fuel subsidies. Rohani’s
supporters publicly attacked the IRGC’s economic corruption. They urged
protesters to vent their anger against the IRGC, Iran’s costly military
engagements in the Middle East and even against Khamenei.
an actual succession nears, the struggle between Rohani and the IRGC may
intensify. The situation may even get out of hand and trigger anti-government
protests more extensive than those of December 2017 and January 2018. Such a
situation would force the IRGC to intervene forcefully to ensure the survival
of the regime.
Hezbollah has "for years" been able to enter Israel, the Lebanese
group's leader said on Saturday, responding for the first time to Israel's
discovery of tunnels dug into Israeli territory from Lebanon.
Nasrallah also warned Israel late Saturday over its continued attacks in Syria,
saying a miscalculation could drag the region into a war.
made the comment during a wide-ranging interview that lasted more than three
hours with the Beirut-based Al-Mayadeen TV station.
said Iran, Syria and Hezbollah could “at any moment” decide to deal differently
with Israel’s actions in Syria and hinted that Tel Aviv might be a target.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, he said: “Be cautious. Don’t
continue what you are doing in Syria. Don’t miscalculate and don’t drag the
region into a war or a major confrontation.”
played down the discoveries made by Israel’s “Operation Northern Shield” which
detected and destroyed what it has described as a vast network of Hezbollah
tunnels built for militants to sneak across the border into Israel. He said
Hezbollah would need more than a few tunnels if it ever decided to invade
also said at least one of the tunnels was built more than a decade ago.
is a 13-year-old (Israeli) intelligence failure,” Nasrallah said.
had discovered at least six tunnels, which it said were Hezbollah’s prime
strategic investment for its next potential war.
said circumstances in the region have changed as Iran and its allies, including
his group, expand their influence in the region. This means any war can be on
more than one front, Nasrallah warned.
has recently increased its attacks on suspected Iranian military targets in
Syria, confirming such targeting in a shift from its longstanding policy of
playing down or not commenting on its military activities in the war-torn
considers Iran to be its greatest enemy, and it has repeatedly warned that it
will not allow Iranian troops - who have been fighting alongside Syrian
government forces - to maintain a permanent presence in postwar Syria.
the latest violence, the Israeli military claimed responsibility for a series
of airstrikes on Iranian targets in Syria last Monday, saying it was responding
to an Iranian missile attack a day earlier. The Iranian launch followed a rare
Israeli daylight air raid near the Damascus International Airport.
said Israel has failed to realize what he said are its goals in Syria:
undermining the Syrian government, forcing Iran from Syria and preventing
Hezbollah from acquiring precision missiles. He also said Netanyahu is the
person “most disappointed” by US plans to withdraw from Syria and cited the
pullout as another “failure.”
appearance followed news reports in Israel and elsewhere that his health was
failing. He dismissed the reports as “lies.”
don’t suffer from any health problems,” said Nasrallah, who seemed relaxed and
at times joked with his interviewer and sipped on tea and water. “I have been
active, and I also lost weight,” he said.
Hezbollah leader regularly addressed his supporters and made TV appearances
about pressing issues in the region and Lebanon. But the 59-year-old Nasrallah,
who has led his group through different wars with Israel for nearly three
decades, had not appeared since November despite Israeli escalation in Syria
and along Lebanon’s borders.
settlers shot and killed a Palestinian man in the occupied West Bank on
Saturday, Palestinian officials and the Israeli military said.
incident followed a confrontation between settlers and Palestinians near the
city of Ramallah in which a settler was lightly injured, the military said.
details suggest that shortly thereafter, a conflict erupted between Israeli
civilians and Palestinians in the area, in which live rounds were fired by the
civilians. One Palestinian died and several others are injured,” the military
said in a statement, adding that an investigation has begun.
Palestinians said the settlers had entered the village of al-Mughayer and that
its residents tried to fend them off.
Israeli military said its forces dispersed the crowds. The Palestinian Health
Ministry said that the man killed was 38 years old and that nine other people
were wounded by gunfire.
protester was killed and at least 10 others wounded when they stormed a Turkish
military camp near Dohuk in Iraq’s semi-autonomous Kurdish region on Saturday,
burning two tanks and other vehicles, residents and Kurdish officials said.
Saeed, the chief health official in the area, said it was not yet clear what
caused the death. He said Turkish soldiers had shot at protesters and that the
burning of vehicles and equipment had caused several explosions.
Defense Ministry wrote on Twitter: “An attack has occurred on one of the bases
located in northern Iraq as a result of provocation by the PKK terrorist
organization. There was partial damage to vehicles and equipment during the attack.”
precautions are being taken regarding the incident,” the ministry said, without
naming the base.
carries out regular air raids near the border against the PKK insurgent group
which has bases in northern Iraq and has fought a decades-long insurgency in
Kurdish official in the region of Dohuk said the crowd was demonstrating over a
recent Turkish air raid that killed four civilians. He did not want to be
second Kurdish official, who also did not give his name, said Turkish troops at
the camp in Shiladze, east of Dohuk, had initially shot at the protesters and
then left the camp.
security forces are trying to control the situation, he said.
United Nations has voiced “shock” at the “terror” carried out by Israeli
settlers that killed a Palestinian father of four in the Israeli-occupied West
violence in al-Mughayer is shocking and unacceptable!” UN Special Coordinator
for the Middle East Peace Process Nickolay Mladenov tweeted on Sunday,
referring to a Palestinian village that was violently stormed by Israeli
settlers and where they killed one Palestinian.
must put an end to settler violence and bring those responsible to justice,” he
said. “My thoughts and prayers go out to the family of the Palestinian man
killed and those injured. All must condemn violence, stand up to terror,” the
eight-year-old Hamdi Taleb Na’san was killed and 30 others were wounded after
Israeli “settler volunteer security teams” and regime troops stormed
al-Mughayer, located 27 kilometers northeast of the city of Ramallah in the
occupied territories on Sunday.
daily The Jerusalem Post claimed that the settlers were trying to find the
“suspects” behind an alleged non-fatal stabbing of an Israeli hiker, and were
joined by the military after attacking the village.
Ashrawi, the Palestine Liberation Organization’s executive committee member,
has called the settler groups “militias” and said they “raided” al-Mughayer
Village under protection from the Israeli army, “terrorizing the defenseless
residents and wreaking havoc.”
is the fourth Palestinian killed by Israeli violence across the Palestinian
territories over three days.
Saturday, Israeli forces killed a Palestinian in the city of Jerusalem al-Quds
after he reportedly failed to heed their call to stop his car.
on Friday, Israeli forces fatally shot a Palestinian while targeting
stone-throwing “suspects” along a central highway in the West Bank. The
military killed another Palestinian when they fired at people protesting in
favor of their right to return to their occupied homeland in the
Israeli-blockaded Gaza Strip.
from Israeli soldiers, settlers engage in provocative, violent, and sometimes
deadly actions against Palestinians on a regular basis.
October 2018, an extremist teenage settler killed a Palestinian mother in the
northern West Bank by throwing a rock at her.
of the Lebanese resistance movement Hezbollah has openly mocked Israel’s claims
that it had discovered secret tunnels used by the group on the border between
Lebanon and the occupied Palestinian territories, saying Israel was deeply
wrong to think that the closure of tunnels would save it from future attacks by
the resistance movement.
to the Lebanese TV station al-Mayadin on Saturday, Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah said
some of the secret tunnels run by Hezbollah that Israel claims to have
discovered and destroyed in a recent operation had been built by the Lebanese
group over a decade ago.
surprises us is that the Israelis were late to discover these tunnels ... some
of those tunnels preceded the 2006 war,” Nasrallah said.
Lebanese leader said the tunnels formed only a small part of Hezbollah’s
strategy to target Israel in case a war erupts between the two, adding that it
was Tel Aviv regime’s fantasy to claim that destruction of tunnels has saved it
from future attacks.
it logical that Hezbollah would enter the Galilee with thousands of fighters
through four tunnels?” he said, adding, “I do not know whether we will attack
the Galilee by sea, air, land or tunnels.”
failed to uncover all tunnels
also refused to confirm the existence of other tunnels leading to the
Israeli-occupied territories, saying that should remain a “constructive
Hezbollah leader said that Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and his
military commanders failed to undermine Hezbollah through their revelations
about the tunnels, saying a two-month operation that ended this month and was
meant to expose the four tunnels had effectively helped Hezbollah because it
caused fear among Israeli settlers.
army forces, supported by allied fighters from Popular Committees, have hit
gatherings of mercenaries working for the regime in Riyadh in the kingdom’s
regions of Jizan and Najran with domestically-manufactured missiles in
retaliation for the Saudi campaign against the impoverished nation, a report
Arabic-language al-Masirah television network, citing an unnamed military
official from the missile unit of the Yemeni army, reported that a gathering of
the mercenaries in Tawal district was hit with a high-precision Badr P-1
ballistic missile on Saturday.
added that the projectile had accurately struck the designated target, leaving
an unspecified number of soldiers either killed or wounded.
report also said that a short-range Zelzal-1 missile, with an average range of
150 kilometers, was also launched against Saudi positions in Najran's al-Baqa'a
Arabia has been incessantly pounding Yemen since March 2015 in an attempt to crush
the popular Houthi Ansarullah movement and reinstate former President Abd
Rabbuh Mansur Hadi, who is a staunch ally of Riyadh.
to a new report by the Armed Conflict Location and Event Data Project (ACLED),
a nonprofit conflict-research organization, the Saudi-led war has so far
claimed the lives of about 56,000 Yemenis.
Saudi-led war has also taken a heavy toll on the country’s infrastructure,
destroying hospitals, schools, and factories. The UN has already said that a
record 22.2 million Yemenis are in dire need of food, including 8.4 million
threatened by severe hunger. According to the world body, Yemen is suffering
from the most severe famine in more than 100 years.
Two residents were killed and several others injured when a house was bombed
twice by the Houthi militia in Al-Sab’a Al-Olya village, south of Heis district
woman was killed and two of her children were seriously injured during the
first bomb attack on the house, UAE state news agency WAM reported.
later, the same house was hit by a second bomb, killing a man, who had hurried
to rescue and evacuate the victims of the first attack, according to a military
source from the Yemeni Resistance.
Sunday, Yemen’s army liberated new areas in Haydan province, west of Saada,
following fierce clashes with the Houthi militia, Saudi state-news agency SPA
units belonging to the Arabiya brigades led by Brigadier General Abdul Karim
al-Sudai have retaken control of the mountains of Natheerah, Al-Safiya, Tax,
Al-Aish, Al-Sawah, Wadi Al-Safiya, Wadi Khalb and Kubar Maran during the
battles over the past few days,” a Yemeni military source said in a statement
on the Ministry of Defense’s official site September Net.
Houthis have not kept to the Hodeidah ceasefire agreement signed in Stockholm
by refusing to hand over control of the city and its ports to the UN, the
Yemeni government has claimed.
Foreign Minister Khalid Al-Yamani also stressed the importance of a plan for
the pull out of armed troops in Hodeidah, which the Houthi militia failed to
ceasefire deal, which was agreed upon between Yemen’s warring parties in
December, prescribed the de-escalation of conflict in Hodeidah as an important
first step for sustainable peace and hope for millions of Yemenis.
said it was important to speed up the implementation of the agreement in order
to maintain the political process.
Thursday, Saudi Arabia’s envoy to the US urged the UN to take the Houthi
militia to task for “reneging on their commitments” under the agreement.
Stockholm Agreement between Yemeni parties is being violated repeatedly by the
Houthis,” Prince Khalid bin Salman said in a series of tweets.
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Reforms, Increased Political Executions Result of King Salman's Rule: