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Islamic World News ( 3 Jul 2020, NewAgeIslam.Com)

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Despite Fatwa, Pak Hindus To Build Temple for Lord Krishna in Islamabad

New Age Islam News Bureau

3 Jul 2020

• U.S. Latino Muslims Speak the Language of Shared Cultures

• Russia Working with Taliban to ‘Expedite’ US Pull-out from Afghanistan, Pentagon Claims

• Malaysian Organization Backs Turkey's Hagia Sofia Move

• Centre Has Cancelled the Visas of Four Chinese Tablighis Who Were Part of The Nazimuddin Jamaat

• Hamas Urges Arab, Muslim Unity Against Annexation

• I Will Expose the Qatar Regime, ‘Terrorists’ in More Audio Leaks: Qatari Opposition Activist

• The US-Russia Blame Game: Afghan Diplomacy Needs to Be Active

• Targeting Civilians Crosses ‘Red Line’, Arab Coalition Says After Houthi Attacks



• Despite Fatwa, Pak Hindus To Build Temple for Lord Krishna in Islamabad

• Pakistan Muslim League-Q Objects to Construction Of Hindu Temple In Islamabad

• Clerics Ask People to opt For Collective Sacrifice of Animals

• Pak army rejects reports of additional deployment of troops along LoC

• Pakistan rejects allegation of ‘exporting’ virus

• Top court issues contempt notice to cleric for hurling threats at Justice Isa

• Army denies presence of Chinese troops on Pakistani territory


North America

• U.S. Latino Muslims Speak the Language of Shared Cultures

• Secretary Pompeo urges Turkey not to convert Hagia Sophia into mosque

• US Congress urges Trump administration to get tougher on China's Xinjiang crackdown

• US support for Israel since 1940s has been unmitigated disaster

• US Senate Kills Bill To End War On Afghanistan, Repeal 2001 ‘War On Terror’ Authorization

• US seeks to seize gasoline in four Iran tankers bound for Venezuela



• Russia Working with Taliban to ‘Expedite’ US Pull-out from Afghanistan, Pentagon Claims

• France leaves NATO maritime operation after probe into clash with Turkish ships

• Italy seizes 14 tons of amphetamine pills made by Daesh in Syria

• Turkey demands apology from France


Southeast Asia

• Malaysian Organization Backs Turkey's Hagia Sofia Move

• Israelis are the enemy, Muslims should fight them - Malaysian former PM

• China’s Repression Against Uighurs Muslims Minority in Xinjiang Province

• Malaysia will continue supporting Palestinian struggle, says PM



• Centre Has Cancelled the Visas of Four Chinese Tablighis Who Were Part of The Nazimuddin Jamaat

• Centre Informs Top Court About Blacklisting, Visa Cancellations of Tablighi Jamaat Members

• NIA Arrests “Transportation Module” Member of Jaish In Pulwama Attack

• Muslim Body Urges Maharashtra Government To Equip Abattoirs For Bakri Eid

• CRPF personnel killed, terrorist shot down in encounter in Srinagar’s Malabagh

• Terrorist responsible for death of minor in Kashmir killed in an encounter

• 2 Pakistan soldiers killed in retaliatory fire along LoC

• 17 foreign Tablighis in UP get bail, await trial



• Hamas Urges Arab, Muslim Unity Against Annexation

• Palestinian Hamas, Fatah Join Hands Against Israel’s Annexation Plan

• Iranian Speaker: Resistance Only Way to Stand against Zionism

• Iran says ‘no military solution’ for Syria in talks with Russia, Turkey

• Unknown group claims responsibility for incident at Natanz nuclear site: BBC Persian

• Explosion at Iran nuclear site hit new centrifuge plant: US-based analysts

• Coronavirus: Iran’s COVID-19 death toll surpasses 11,000

• Iran reports ‘accident’ in construction near Iran’s Natanz nuclear site

• Iran arrests two Swedish nationals in drug smuggling crackdown

• Turkey wants France to apologize over ‘false’ Mediterranean Libya war ship claims

• Saudi-led coalition launches new airstrikes on Yemen



• I Will Expose the Qatar Regime, ‘Terrorists’ in More Audio Leaks: Qatari Opposition Activist

• Politics, Lies and Gaddafi Tapes: The Plots Uncovered By Libyan Intelligence Leaks

• Greek FM calls for Turkey to leave Libya in Benghazi meeting

• At least 30 killed in terror attack in central Mali

• Sisi’s plan to arm Libyan tribes in Egypt to backfire


South Asia

• The US-Russia Blame Game: Afghan Diplomacy Needs to Be Active

• Ghani confers the title of Marshal on General Dostum

• From stateless to displaced, the Rohingya are still searching for hope years after fleeing Myanmar

• Over 800 civilians killed or wounded in attacks in Afghanistan during first half of 2020: UN


Arab World

• Targeting Civilians Crosses ‘Red Line’, Arab Coalition Says After Houthi Attacks

• Local, external parties pushing Lebanon into full-blown economic crisis: PM Diab

• Iraqi Prime Minister Hails Hashd Al-Sha’abi Counter-Terrorism Efforts

• Saudi Arabia supports UAE non-permanent membership of UN Security Council

• Coronavirus: Saudi Arabia’s hospitals invited to participate in four clinical trials

• Black market dollar trading forces Lebanese shops to close

• Saudi Arabia’s Khalid bin Salman: UN report shows Iran’s ‘dark vision’ for region

• Pompeo: One fewer Hezbollah judge is always a good thing

• Hezbollah supporters call for Lebanon to accept Iranian fuel offer

• Syrian army forces in Syria’s Hasakah stop US convoy, force it to return

• Fresh US military convoy enters northeast Syria from western Iraq

Compiled by New Age Islam News Bureau



Despite Fatwa, Pak Hindus To Build Temple for Lord Krishna in Islamabad

Jul 3, 2020

Foundation being laid for the first Hindu temple in Islamabad. (Picture: @OrgSarifm)


AMRITSAR: Despite the fatwa (religious decree) by a Lahore-based prominent Islamic seminary and threats of Muslims fundamentalists against construction of a new Hindu temple in Pakistan’s capital Islamabad, the tiny Hindu community has decided to go ahead with its plans. The 20,000 sq ft land plot was given by Pakistan government to the minuscule Hindu community of Islamabad, which decided to build a Sri Krishna Temple there.

While talking to TOI over phone from Islamabad, Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan-led Tehreek-e-Insaf’s member national assembly (MNA) Lal Chand Malhi said the construction of a new temple in Islamic Republic of Pakistan’s capital Islamabad was not only a matter of pride for Hindus of Pakistan or the Hindu community across the globe but was a shining example of freedom to practice one’s religion in the country.

He said a handful of ‘Mullaas’ (fundamental Islamic clerics) were opposing the construction but they didn’t have any solid grounds to do so. “There are others who dislike the construction of a Hindu temple for their own reasons, but they are quiet but not opposing,” he said.

According to media reports, the fatwa had been issued by Lahore chapter of seminary Jamia Ashrafia ordering a ban on construction of a new temple but “permitting” the minority community to carry out the repair other houses of worship.

The ground breaking ceremony of Sri Krishna Temple was held on June 23, and the Islamabad Hindu Panchayat had met Imran Khan on June 25, Malhi said.

“The work for the construction of Sri Krishna Temple is going on in full swing and for this purpose,” he added.

There were around 3000 Hindu’s living in Islamabad, the MNA said that the Islamabad Hindu Panchayat had been pursuing the cause of a new Hindu temple since 2017.

He said the Capital Development Authority had in 2017 allotted the plot to the Hindu Panchayat for a temple and crematorium and it took nearly three years in completion of formalities, including approval of site plan, for the construction of a new temple.

He said he had urged Imran Khan to sanction Rs 10 crore. “He immediately sanctioned Rs 10 lakh. If we get financial support from the government, the temple construction will complete soon else it could take some time,” he said.

Malhi said Pakistan’s religious affairs minister Pir Noorul Haq Qadri had also assured all kinds of support to the Hindu community for the construction of the temple.

There were two temples in the city, one at Sidhpur and other at Rawal Dam. “Sidhpur Hindu temple-cum-gurdwara has been turned into a tourist place, while Rawal Dam temple is under litigation,” he said.


U.S. Latino Muslims Speak the Language of Shared Cultures

July 2, 2020

The Pew Research Center says the number of Muslims living in the U.S. increased from 2.5 million to 3.5 million from 2007 to 2017. Roughly a quarter-million of them are Latinos.(GETTY IMAGES)


MIAMI – THE SMELL OF freshly made croquetas lingers in the air. The staff rush to complete orders while keeping cases stocked with hot pastries and desserts like the café's famous tres leches (milk cakes). Most of the workers are Cuban, and nearly everyone is speaking Spanish.

That was more than a decade ago, but Yasemin Kanar remembers her first day as a part-time fondant cake decorator at Vicky bakery in Miami Gardens like it was yesterday. Kanar, now a popular beauty social media influencer, was still in high school at the time. She walked into the bakery dressed modestly, wearing a hijab.

"It took awhile for people to get used to that, but everyone was really nice to me," Kanar recalls. "Once we started talking to each other in Spanish, we were on the same page."

Kanar, now known for her social media channels, was born to a Cuban mother and Turkish father in Miami. Her mother, the daughter of a prominent Cuban émigré family, converted from Catholicism to Islam in her early 20s after a spiritual search. She raised Yasemin, her brother and sister in a household strong in both culture and in faith. Her father influenced her moral outlook, Kanar says, but her personality is more Cuban.

Kanar and her siblings are part of a relatively small but fast-growing segment of the Muslim population in the United States – Latino Muslims. The Pew Research Center says the number of Muslims living in the U.S. increased from 2.5 million to 3.5 million from 2007 to 2017. Roughly a quarter-million of them are Latinos.

In 2009, just 1% of U.S. Muslims identified as Latino, reported the Institute for Social Policy and Understanding, a Washington-based advocacy group that provides research and education about American Muslims. Nine years later that figure had increased to 7%, it said. Researchers estimate that slightly more than half of Latino Muslims are former Catholics.

A growing number of mosques publish literature in Spanish. Organizations like Texas-based Islam in Spanish provide Qurans and videos to those wanting to learn about the religion. In heavily Latino South Florida, Latino Muslims are still finding a foothold. There is no prominent Latino mosque, for instance, but there is plenty of anecdotal evidence that the number of Muslims and the resources available to them are increasing.

"I've gotten messages from Latino girls on my social media channels asking me questions about Islam," Kanar says. "Some of them ask questions about converting or how to tell their families."

Kanar, now 30, is married to an Egyptian Muslim and the mother of two children. She started her YouTube channel more than a decade ago to share how she styled her hijab with close friends and family, but she was soon getting thousands of views on her videos. When she started getting messages from Cuban girls with questions about Islam, Kanar realized she needed to keep her channel as open as possible.

While the marrying of Cuban culture and Islam may seem counterintuitive to some, Kanar maintains that being Muslim doesn't make her any less Cuban. Juan Gomez, the director of an immigration clinic at Florida International University, agrees.

"You can't say that someone is more Cuban because they do one thing and you do another," he says. "It's about remembering your background and how you were brought up … It's the food, the language, the music, all of it."

Kanar grew up surrounded by both Muslim and Cuban influences. Her favorite memories include having dance parties with her girlfriends and digging into her mother's arroz imperial – a classic Cuban comfort food made with layers of yellow rice, shredded chicken, mayonnaise and melted cheese.

"(My mother) would cook it on days we had a girl party or girl gathering," she said. "It was my favorite, and such a treat … We would go crazy and have fun as long as there were no guys around."

Kanar didn't drink alcohol or wear revealing clothing like some of her Cuban friends, and as she got older, she began to surround herself with friends who shared similar values. While not all of them were Muslim, many lived their lives more conservatively. Kanar moved to the small town of Stuart a few years ago, where there are fewer Cubans. But she says her ability to speak Spanish has kept her connected to her Cuban roots.

"When (Cubans) first see me, they never think that I'm Cuban or that I can speak Spanish and so they look at me like an outsider," she says. "When they find out that I can speak Spanish, it's like they can relate to me on a new level and my hijab doesn't matter anymore. I'm one of them."

Tony Meyer, the owner of Vicky Bakery, recalled that the language bolstered his relationship with Kanar. "We had an additional connection beyond her just working for me," he says. "She talked to me in Spanish, and we had that in common."

Wilfredo Ruiz, the communications director for the Florida chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations, is a Latino convert to Islam. He agrees that language kept him connected to the Latino community after he converted to Islam.

Cultures and languages mixed during the centuries of Muslim rule in the Iberian Peninsula. "Language goes back many years, and you will see many similarities between Spanish and Arabic," Ruiz says. "Perhaps that's another reason why many Latinos feel the connection to Arabic and Islam."

Kanar's mother, Roraima, 66, fled to Miami with her family at the age of 5 after Fidel Castro overthrew Fulgencio Batista's government in 1959. Her father had served as a general under Batista.

"Many Cubans will recognize my father's name … I am as Cuban as it gets," Roraima says. "But when people see me, they see my hijab first and not a Cuban."

Roraima was brought up in a Catholic household and was proud of her faith as a child, but after she started asking questions in high school and college, she fell in love with Islam.

"I even wanted to be a nun at one point in time," she says. "Faith has always played an important role in my life. It's just that now, I believe in Islam because it had the answers that I was looking for."

Roraima is in the 56% of Latino Muslims who converted from Catholicism. The rest generally convert from Protestant faiths or secular or atheist lives, says a 2017 report on Latino Muslims in the United States published in the Journal of Race, Ethnicity and Religion.

Families may frown at a member leaving the faith they were born into, and Roraima's mother was no different. But Roraima says she made clear that she wasn't forgetting her upbringing and culture.

"In Cuban culture, women definitely enjoy being celebrated by men," she says. "When I stopped caring about that and converted to Islam, my self-esteem went up ... I am Cuban, and my religion is Islam. To me, they are very different things."

She passed those values to her daughter. Kanar says she thinks that she is able to relate well to both Muslims and Cubans because of her heritage and faith.

"As a convert, my mother instilled a lot of confidence and love for Islam in us," Kanar says. "It made me feel confident in my own body, and I want to share that with others."


Russia Working with Taliban to ‘Expedite’ US Pull-out from Afghanistan, Pentagon Claims

01 July 2020

Russia is working with the Taliban, Afghan government and others with interests in Afghanistan to hasten a U.S. military withdrawal


The Pentagon has claimed that Russia has been working with Taliban and the Afghan government to “expedite” the withdrawal of US forces from Afghanistan.

The US Defense Department made the allegation in a semiannual report to Congress released Wednesday.

“Russia very likely continues to support U.S.-Taliban reconciliation efforts in the hope that reconciliation will prevent a long-term U.S. military presence,” read the report. “As of February, the Russian government was working with the central government, regional countries and the Taliban to gain increased influence in Afghanistan, expedite a US military withdrawal, and address security challenges that might arise from a withdrawal.”

The report was released amid pressure mounting on the White House over allegations that a Russian intelligence unit offered bounties to Taliban-linked militants to kill US troops in Afghanistan.

The report also alleged that Russia “has politically supported the Taliban to cultivate influence with the group, limit the Western military presence, and encourage counter ISIS operations, although Russia publicly denies their involvement.”

Trump ‘weak-kneed’ against Putin

President Donald Trump has been evading criticism, alleging that he was not briefed on the intelligence.

Some Republican lawmakers have come out in support of the president, calling the reports “inaccurate” or based on “unverified” intelligence.

“Every single member, Republican and Democrat alike, of the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence is aware, should have been aware of the intelligence that I was briefed on. It’s long been available,” said Indiana GOP Senator Todd Young.

Democrats, meanwhile, have taken the chance to attack Trump, with Senate minority leader calling Trump “weak-kneed” against Russian President Vladimir Putin.

“If in fact Putin and his cronies have been sponsoring the murder of American and coalition forces in Afghanistan, there is no question that there should be swift and severe consequences,” Schumer claimed on the Senate floor. “But unlike every previous administration I’ve ever worked with, the Trump administration has been shockingly weak-kneed when it comes to authoritarian leaders like Putin.”

Moscow lambasted the allegations as a bunch of “lies” on Monday.


Malaysian organization backs Turkey's Hagia Sofia move

Faruk Zorlu  


Turkey's Hagia Sofia


A Malaysian Muslim organization on Thursday threw its weight behind Turkey's initiative to reopen the historical Hagia Sofia as a mosque in Istanbul.

"The Hagia Sophia is a mosque and it should be respected as a mosque" Mohammad Azmi Abdul Hamid, the head of Malaysia's Consultative Council for Islamic Organization Thursday said on Twitter.

Commenting on recent discussions in Turkey and abroad about the possible reopening of the sixth-century landmark to Muslim worship, Hamid underlined: "The EU, Italy and US should keep their hands off the issue as it is the right of Muslims in Turkey to reclaim it as a functional house of Allah.

"Muslims' rights have constantly been denied," he added.

The Hagia Sophia was used as a church for 916 years. In 1453, it was converted into a mosque by Ottoman Sultan Mehmet II when the empire conquered Istanbul.

It is one of the most important architectural works in the world and has underwent restoration work during the Ottoman era and the addition of minarets by architect Mimar Sinan.


Centre Has Cancelled the Visas of Four Chinese Tablighis Who Were Part of The Nazimuddin Jamaat

Jul 3, 2020

NEW DELHI: The Centre on Thursday informed the Supreme Court that it has cancelled the visas of four Chinese Tablighis who were part of the Nazimuddin Jamaat and registered FIRs against them for indulging in Tablighi activities impermissible under the tourist visa granted to them and violating lockdown norms enforced to contain spread of Covid-19 disease.

But, the list of Tablighis, an overwhelming majority from Bangladesh, Indonesia, Myanmar, Kyrgyzstan, Malaysia, Thailand and Iran, threw up a confusion about the number of Chinese Tablighis - were they three or four?

The list attached to the affidavit gave details of passports and type of visa granted to the foreign Tablighis. From China, the list showed four being present at Nizamuddin Jamaat - Ye Dahal, Ma Maerili, Ma Menai and Dehai Ye. While Ma Maerili and Ma Menai were shown to have different passport numbers and come on tourist visas on January 17, both Ye Dehal and Dehai Ye had come to India on January 16, the first on tourist visa and the latter on business visa. But, against both Ye Dehal and Dehai Ye, the passport number is the same - E69534664. Are they the same person?

On the Rules that empower Centre to unilaterally cancel a foreigner's visa, solicitor general Tushar Mehta told a bench of Justices A M Khanwilkar, Dinesh Maheshwari and Sanjiv Khanna that the rules banning foreigners with tourist visa from indulging in tablighi activity was issued by the Congress government headed by PM P V Narasimha Rao on April 10, 1996.

Under the 1996 Visa Rules, the Centre had asked the states and UTs that as and when any foreigner coming on 'tourist visa' is found indulging in religious activities/tablighi work, action should be taken against them under Foreigners Act and he should be deported to the country of origin.

Responding to a petition filed by 34 foreign tablighis challenging alleged arbitrary cancellation of their visas, the Centre in its affidavit before the SC on Thursday said provisions relating to tablighi activities by foreigners have been specifically incorporated and regulated in the Visa Manuals issued by the ministry of home affairs. It said Visa Manuals of 2017 and 2019 specifically provided that "foreign nationals granted any type of visa and Overseas Citizen of India (OCI) cardholders shall not be permitted to engage themselves in Tablighi work unless granted specific permission by the ministry of home affairs."


Hamas urges Arab, Muslim unity against annexation

Nour Abu Eisha  


GAZA CITY, Palestine

The head of the political bureau of Hamas on Thursday urged Arab and Muslim countries to support the Palestinian people in the face of impending Israel plans to annex large parts of the occupied West Bank.

"I call upon our Arab and Muslim nations to support the Palestinian unified position in this national struggle and to support the steadfastness of our people and their heroic resistance," Ismail Haniyeh, chief of the organization, said in a statement.

Haniyeh called upon Palestinian groups to enhance cooperation in all fields and engage in complete confrontation against Israel's occupation.

He hailed the joint-conference between Hamas and Fateh on Thursday, in which the sides agreed to unify efforts against annexation.

"It is an advanced step [the joint conference] towards achieving unity of position and effort to confront the enemy and its plans," Haniyeh said.

Hamas and Fatah have remained at odds since the former seized the control of Gaza Strip in mid-2007 after several days of street fighting.

The annexation was scheduled to be declared by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Wednesday.

However, uncertainty surrounds Netanyahu's position in light of widespread international rejection of the plan along with differences with the US administration on its application.



I Will Expose The Qatar Regime, ‘Terrorists’ In More Audio Leaks: Qatari Opposition Activist

02 July 2020

The Qatari opposition activist who has released a series of audio recordings capturing political conversations of senior Qatari officials says that he has more leaks to publish in his goal to “expose all those who conspired with the Qatari regime.”

Opposition activist Khalid al-Hail has released a series of audio leaks of undated conversations involving Qatar’s former Emir Sheikh Hamad bin Khalifa al-Thani, former Prime Minister Sheikh Hamad bin Jassim, and the late Libyan dictator Muammar Gaddafi.

The recordings, which al-Hail says he has exclusively, have brought attention to what seem to be Qatar’s plots against the rulers of neighbouring countries and ties with Gaddafi’s revolutionary Libyan regime.

In an interview with Al Arabiya, al-Hail said that the extent of plotting surprised him – and that he plans to leak more information, despite receiving death threats.

“I know that the two Hamad regimes [the two previous Qatari emirs before the current one] are traitors and liars ... You only heard a few minutes, in some of which Gaddafi’s voice was deleted, but I saw and heard it all. I know what is going on inside the [Qatari] government’s system, so I decided to expose all those who conspired with the Qatari regime and those who conspire with this terrorist group,” said al-Hail, when asked about his motivation for the leaks.

Al-Hail added that he was surprised about the extent of the “conspiracy and plotting” and that what he had currently leaked was “nothing in comparison” to what he had heard.

Rather than release all the recordings at once, al-Hail said that they would reach a wider audience following his current method of publishing a series of short leaks via his social media pages.

Khalid al-Hail: Leader of the Qatari opposition?

Al-Hail has been described as “the leader of the Qatari opposition.”

He is one of the most prominent Qatari critics of the royal family, especially the former Emir Sheikh Hamad, and

Al-Hail was imprisoned by the Qatari regime in 2010 and 2014, he told the New York Times, saying he had been tortured and electrocuted.

Now in exile in London, al-Hail heads the Qatar National Democratic Party, which calls for the establishment of a constitutional monarchy in Qatar. He frequently appears on media channels criticizing the ruling al-Thani family.

Exposing Muslim Brotherhood affiliates in Kuwait

The recordings have also captured conversations featuring senior figures associated with the Muslim Brotherhood in Kuwait.

The audio features two Kuwaiti politicians in conversation with Libyan former leader Gaddafi: Former MP Mubarak al-Duwailah, a leader of the Muslim Brotherhood-aligned Islamic Constitutional Movement, and Hakim al-Mutairi, the founder of the unofficial Kuwaiti Ummah Party who has been designated as a terrorist by the Arab Quarter.

An audio released on Sunday reportedly captured al-Duwailah meeting with Gaddafi and discussing the fall of Saudi Arabia.

Kuwait’s government responded to the leak on Monday, denying al-Duwailah’s claims that he had briefed the Kuwaiti Emir about his meeting with Gaddafi.

“Kuwait’s Amiri Diwan Sunday termed as ‘totally untrue and fabrications’ the remarks made Mubarak Al-Duwailah that he briefed His Highness the Amir about details of his meeting with ex-president Muammar Gaddafi,” said a statement posted on the official Kuwait News Agency (KUNA).

Al-Mutairi was also recorded discussing revolutionary plans for the region with Gaddafi, including “bringing down these governments.”

In the latest leak, he is heard plotting against Saudi Arabia and Kuwait.

Sources at Kuwait University, where al-Mutairi was a Sharia professor, revealed that Kuwait’s Ministry of Interior had launched an investigation into al-Mutairi based on the recording.

For al-Hail, the recordings expose two Kuwaitis as “political beggars” who went to Gaddafi for support, which al-Hail says helps expose the Muslim Brotherhood and its “climbers and fawners.”

“In the end, I think that the Muslim Brotherhood in Kuwait in particular will fall and fall strongly because what we have on them, whether documents or file or even recordings or others, all these are documented,” said al-Hail.

“Even Hakim al-Mutairi, he deceived his country, he deceived many people in the Arab Gulf region. You only heard a part of the leaks, but you don’t know the rest of it. He created a system that exists even in Saudi Arabia and even in people who are now imprisoned on terror charges who were also complicit,” he added.


The US-Russia blame game: Afghan Diplomacy Needs to be Active

02 Jul 2020

US and Russia agreed on not accepting or supporting the restoration of the Taliban regime what is so-called “Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan”, expressed in a joint statement just a week after the US-Taliban peace deal was inked.[1] But still the “blame game” did not over between US and Russia concerning issues related to Afghanistan.

However, very recently, on 30th June, many popular American media such as The NY Times and The Washington Post reported on the existence of a Russian bounty program that pays Taliban fighters who kill any American military-man/service-member, as it is claimed by US government.[2] But, Russia refuses to have any program of such kind. In wake of this allegation report, Kabul should once again pursue both (Washington and Moscow) aiming to have them remained committed in the achievement of the long-lasting goal of Afghanistan which is nothing but peace and stability. Indeed, Afghan people truly deserve to live in peace and security.

Generally, as part of their struggle for supremacy of world, there has long been many layers of high and low conflict between US and Russia (formerly as the Soviet Union) in almost all parts of the world, perhaps more than everywhere in Afghanistan throughout many decades of the warship and instability, particularly after Soviet invasion of the country in late 1979. In fact, during the 1980s US has extensively supported the Afghan resistance group called Mujahiddine, both financially and militarily, in their combat against Soviet Union’s troops and the pro-Communism regime of Dr. Najibullah. So, it is not so surprising if Russia does the same against the American military in Afghanistan’s soil.

Currently, due to the allegation of Russia’s paying cash for the lives of US service members in Afghanistan, though has not been proved yet but it carries all the potential to bring a new level of conflict between the White House and the Kremlin. If proven true, the consequence will make the US and Russia enter into a new era of hostility that can impact Afghanistan’s peace process in many ways. True or not, such allegation, since it is an external one, can be kept out of the context by a sound and active diplomatic maneuvering. In this faltered situation, it is imperative for Afghan diplomatic machinery to be more active aiming to avoid any external allegation or “blame game” that may damage the ongoing peace process of Afghanistan. For this purpose, Regional-Security-Diplomacy as means of Foreign Policy should be presented by Afghanistan to Russia and the US. Hence, it is advisable that Afghanistan should approach the US and Russia diplomatically before it gets late. 

In fact, more recently, in the previous month (mid-June), initiated by Afghanistan’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs, a trilateral virtual meeting was held among high-level officials of Afghanistan, Russia and the US. The meeting concluded by expecting an initial meeting of the negotiating teams -­­­­­ Afghan government and Taliban group – on framing the negotiation agenda.[3] Following that, a new initiative should be done by the government of Afghanistan, as soon as possible, to the ends to have Russia and the US remained committed in the facilitation of Afghanistan’s peace process.

In conclusion, it is to be noted here that despite having all sorts of competitions among themselves, the great powers, especially the US and Russia, bear a unique responsibility towards the world at large. To keep the peace and discourage the proliferation of mass destructing weapons, let be of a nuclear, biological, or chemical one, or any other global challenges such as Climate Change requires working together. The issues related to Afghanistan’s peace and security (particularly the challenges of Terrorism, Extremism and narcotic) are not an exception but necessitate all, especially the regional and global powers, to work together. To this ends, Afghan Diplomacy needs to be more active in finding the scope of cooperation rather than competition between the great powers (US and Russia) at least in issues concerning Afghanistan.


Targeting civilians crosses ‘red line’, Arab Coalition says after Houthi attacks

02 July 2020

Targeting civilians crosses a “red line” and the Arab Coalition will not allow it, the coalition’s spokesman Turki al-Maliki said at a press conference on Thursday.

“Targeting civilians is a red line and we will not allow it,” he said.

His statement came after the coalition intercepted and destroyed an Iranian-made, explosive-laden drone in Yemeni airspace launched by the Houthi militia.

While the Yemeni army had been committed to the ceasefire for a period of 45 days, but the Houthis have not abiding by the agreement, al-Maliki added.

During that period, the Houthis committed 4,276 violations, according to the spokesman.

The coalition also presented photographs of Houthi drones that were intercepted and destroyed.

Iran and the Houthis have violated the UN resolution banning the supply of arms to Yemen, he said, adding that Tehran has been supplying the militia with weapons to undermine the region’s security.

The coalition had on Wednesday launched a military operation against the Iran-backed Houthi militia after it recently launched several cross-border missile and drone attacks on Saudi Arabia.




Pakistan Muslim League-Q Objects To Construction Of Hindu Temple In Islamabad

Jul 02, 2020

The Pakistan Muslim League-Quaid (PML-Q), a ruling ally of the Imran Khan government, has opposed the construction of a Hindu temple in Islamabad, asking its coalition partner to scrap the project as it is “against the spirit of Islam”.   

Last week, the groundbreaking ceremony was held for the construction of the first Hindu temple in Islamabad. Prime Minister Khan had approved a grant of Rs 10 crore for the construction of the temple.

“Pakistan was created in the name of Islam. Construction of a new Hindu temple in its capital is not only against the spirit of Islam but also an insult to Riayasat-e-Madina (Islamic welfare state),” Punjab Assembly Speaker Chaudhry Pervaiz Elahi said.

“My party, however, supports the rights of minorities. Existing temples were renovated during my tenure as Punjab chief minister. I had got Katas Raj temple repaired,” he said.

Reacting to the objection of its ally, Punjab Information Minister Fayyazul Hasan Chohan from the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) party said that despite opposition from some parties the temple project will go ahead as per plan.                             

“The land for the Hindu temple was allocated in 2016 by the Pakistan Muslim League (N) government. Basically it was the project of the PML-N government,” he said.

PML-Q parliamentarian Moonis Elahi said that Pervaiz Elahi was suggesting that the temple should be built in Sindh province where there is a dense Hindu population.

As per plans, the Krishna temple will come up in a 20,000 sq ft plot in the capital’s H-9 area. The groundbreaking ceremony for the temple was performed by Parliamentary Secretary on Human Rights Lal Chand Malhi last week.

Malhi said there were several pre-independence era temple structures in Islamabad and its adjoining areas, including one at Saidpur village and at the hill point overlooking the Korang river near Rawal lake. However, they are all abandoned.

“While the official formalities are underway, we have decided to continue the initial ground works including the levelling of the land and erecting the boundary wall,” Malhi said.

The Hindu population in Islamabad is around 3,000, which includes government and private sector employees, members of the business community and a large number of doctors.

The Hindu Panchayat Islamabad will manage the Shri Krishna Mandir. The panchayat’s president Mahesh Chaudhry said a large number of people from various parts of the country, including Balochistan and Sindh, had shifted to Islamabad, mainly due to insecurity in those areas.

“Now when we have families here, there is a need for a crematorium, a place for collective prayers and marriage ceremonies,” Chaudhry said.

Hindus form the biggest minority community in Pakistan.

According to official estimates, 75 lakh Hindus live in Pakistan. However, according to the community, over 90 lakh Hindus are living in the country.

Majority of Pakistan’s Hindu population is settled in Sindh province where they share culture, traditions and language with their Muslim fellows. PTI


Clerics ask people to opt for collective sacrifice of animals

Imran Ayub

July 03, 2020

KARACHI: Prominent clerics and noted scholars have advised the people to prefer collective sacrifice of the animals arranged by different organisations this Eidul Azha instead of individual fulfillment of the ritual in an attempt to maintain social distancing and contain the spread of coronavirus.

Addressing a press conference at the Karachi Press Club on Thursday, Ruet-i-Hilal Committee Chairman Mufti Munib-ur-Rehman, along with other ulema and clerics, came up with a set of standard operating procedures (SOPs) which, he claimed, had been agreed between the clerics of all schools of thought and the Sindh government. He appealed to the people and the provincial administration to cooperate with each other amid the threat of the Covid-19 pandemic.

“Sacrifice of an animal is a key part of Islamic rites and prayers,” he said. “The donations or giving in the name of charity or welfare cannot be considered an alternative of this fareeza (religious duty). So the people should sacrifice animals and don’t take khairat (charity) or donation as its alternative. But to meet this commitment, we need to be cautions and follow those steps which are helpful for everyone,” he said. “We advise the people to go for collective sacrifice of the animals arranged by different welfare and religious organisations instead of doing so at their houses or neighourhoods.”

Mufti Muneeb said the clerics had held multiple meetings with the Sindh government represented by provincial ministers Nasir Hussain Shah and Saeed Ghani, which helped in devising the SOPs to meet challenges which would emerge after Eidul Azha amid the growing number of coronavirus cases.

Say only serious buyers should go to animal market

“These SOPs should be followed by everyone — from buyers and traders of animals to the local administration to organisations arranging collective sacrifice of the animals,” said Mufti Muneeb. “The two sides [clerics and the Sindh government] have agreed that all cattle markets would be set up away from cities or residential areas at open grounds or land with four walls. The traders would make arrangements to keep their animals disinfected.”

He said the provincial government had assured them of developing a quicker and vigilant system to dispose of offal and waste of sacrificial animals. He appealed to the people collecting hides of sacrificial animals to quickly perform their jobs.

“We request the people not to treat cattle markets as picnic spots. A restricted number of serious buyers should visit the markets and children should not be allowed to visit the markets. Similarly, don’t exhibit your animals in your neighbourhoods. The buyers and traders must wear face masks and maintain social distancing,” he added.

On the occasion, Maulana Adil Khan regretted the way the federal government had been handling the issue of devising SOPs for annual religious events.

He said that despite repeated attempts from the clerics and contacts with the government functionaries in Islamabad several times, the federal authorities had not been able to respond positively.

Full report at:


Pak army rejects reports of additional deployment of troops along LoC

Jul 2, 2020

ISLAMABAD: The Pakistan Army on Thursday rejected as "false and irresponsible" media reports that it has moved around 20,000 additional soldiers along the LoC in PoK and Gilgit-Baltistan to match the Chinese deployments on the LAC.

The military's media wing in a statement on Twitter "vehemently" denied the presence of Chinese troops in Pakistan and refuted reports that the Skardu Airbase in Pakistan-occupied Kashmir (PoK) was being used by China.

News claiming additional deployment of the Pakistan Army troops along the LoC in GB and alleged use of Skardu Airbase by China is "false, irresponsible and far from truth, Inter-Services Public Relations Director General Maj Gen Babar Iftikhar said.

"No such movement or induction of additional forces has taken place. We also vehemently deny the presence of Chinese troops in Pakistan," he said.

...No such movement or induction of additional forces has taken place. We also vehemently deny presence of Chinese troops in Pakistan. (2/2)

— DG ISPR (@OfficialDGISPR) 1593671790000

Amid the military stand-off between India and China in eastern Ladakh, media reports claimed that Pakistan has deployed "almost 20,000 additional soldiers" along the LoC in PoK and Gilgit-Baltistan "to match Chinese deployments on the Line of Actual Control in the east.

The report said that the level of troops Pakistan has deployed is more than what it did after the Balakot air strikes.

The ties between India and Pakistan strained following the Balakot strike when the Indian Air Force jets bombed a Jaish-e-Mohammed training camp in Pakistan on February 26 last year to avenge the killing of 40 Central Reserve Police Force personnel in the Pulwama terror attack on February 14. Pakistan retaliated on February 27 by attempting to target Indian military installations. The ties further nose-dived after New Delhi abrogated Article 370 that granted special status to Jammu and Kashmir in August last. Pakistan downgraded diplomatic relations with India and expelled the Indian High Commissioner.

Full report at:


Pakistan rejects allegation of ‘exporting’ virus

Ikram Junaidi

July 03, 2020

ISLAMABAD: Special Assistant to the Prime Minister (SAPM) on National Security Dr Moeed Yusuf on Thursday categorically rejected the allegation that Pakistan has exported the novel coronavirus to different countries, including the United Kingdom, and said any attempt to single out Pakistan would not be allowed.

At a media briefing, he also advised people to behave sensibly and not to travel to Europe without getting Covid-19 test done as it would put the reputation of Pakistan at stake. They should also avoid travelling unnecessarily, he added.

Dr Yusuf said there were some instances in which people got themselves tested at unauthorised labs and were found to be negative. However, they tested positive after reaching some countries.

“I suggest people that they should get themselves tested at the labs authorised by the embassies of different countries because otherwise they can be deported. Recently, there was a hue and cry in the UK that 50 per cent of Covid-19 cases were carried by the people who went there from Pakistan. The fact of the matter is that only 30 passengers were confirmed to have tested positive in the UK and even it cannot be said with surety that they had carried virus from Pakistan because tests are not conducted at airports of the UK,” he said.

PM’s aide advises people to have tests at labs authorised by embassies

“Who knows if those persons had contracted virus at airports of the UK or while going to their house in cabs. I have talked to the British High Commissioner in Islamabad and he informed [me] that the allegation was levelled in media reports and there was nothing from the government side. Similarly, in some other countries only 10 to 12 cases have been detected in people who travelled from Pakistan,” he added.

The SAPM said the country itself conducted tests of every passenger who came to Pakistan till the middle of June, but did not blame any nation for positive cases. Moreover, he said no one appreciated Pakistan for testing every patient.

“Now it is being claimed that 50pc of cases in the UK were being exported from Pakistan. But the fact is that only 30 passengers were detected positive there. I also suggest Pakistanis not to travel unnecessarily as some of the Pakistanis, who went abroad for tourism, have been stuck there and we are getting their requests to bring them back. I want to make it clear that our priority is to bring stranded Pakistanis first rather than those who went abroad for tourism,” he said.

Dr Yusuf said stranded Pakistanis would be brought back over the next one-and-a-half weeks and flights to the Gulf countries would not be stopped. “I suggest people to stop elective traveling abroad as we are not aware what will be the policy of Pakistan and other countries after two weeks. Pakistan has been acting with responsibility and will continue playing its role in stopping the spread of disease,” he said.

Meanwhile, 4,142 more people were infected with coronavirus and 58 lost their lives during the past 24 hours, taking the national tally of cases to 220,239 and deaths to 4,504.

Irsa Office sealed

The office of the Indus River System Authority (Irsa) in Islamabad has been sealed after an official, who was detected positive for Covid-19, visited the office without submitting a medical fitness certificate.

According to a statement, the official visited the office on Thursday. The matter was brought to the knowledge of the competent authority and he was directed to immediately return and stay home till his test report comes negative.

Full report at:


Top court issues contempt notice to cleric for hurling threats at Justice Isa

July 03, 2020

ISLAMABAD: The Supreme Court on Thursday rejected the unconditional apology offered by cleric Agha Iftikharuddin Mirza for making derogatory remarks and hurling threats at Justice Qazi Faez Isa and other judges and issued him with contempt notice.

Mirza on Wednesday had submitted an affidavit before the apex court, tendering an unconditional apology for “unintentionally” uttering some words against the honourable judges in a “private meeting”.

Rejecting his apology, a two-judge bench comprising Chief Justice Gulzar Ahmed and Justice Ijazul Ahsan directed him to respond in seven days and to personally appear in the next hearing.

During the hearing, Justice Ahsan questioned whether such language could be allowed and if an apology can be accepted in such a case.

The chief justice remarked that there was “no room for mercy” in the case while Justice Ahsan said that the video “was not made by a child but by Mirza himself”.

The court further observed that Mirza had a YouTube channel and he earned money through it.

“Such curse words are not used even in the streets. Islamic scholars recorded such a video and then made it public. He [Mirza] accepted in front of the Federal Investigation Agency that he recorded the video in the presence of seven worshippers,” Justice Ahsan said.

The judge pointed out that on the one hand Mirza had accepted his crime by submitting an apology but he still claimed he had not committed a crime.

Sarkar Abbas, Mirza’s lawyer, said his client was a heart patient and should be forgiven to which the chief justice said he [Mirza] should have kept his “tongue in check”.

The chief justice berated Mirza’s lawyer for not understanding the importance of the case and for taking it lightly. “We can send Iftikharuddin [Mirza] to jail for six months,” he said.

Justice Ahsan said according to Attorney General Khalid Jawed Khan, the video could also be classified as a crime under the Criminal Procedure Code and anti-terrorism laws, adding that there was no room for forgiveness in such cases.

“The video was planned and pictures were used as well. These words [in the video] have been used against institutions. Forgiveness cannot be asked after using such words,” Justice Ahsan remarked.

Attorney General Khalid Jawed Khan argued that Mirza had used “strong words” against the judiciary which had damaged its respect. But the AG did acknowledge that Mirza had been shifted to a hospital on complaints of heart pain and dizziness.

“He started getting dizzy after the judiciary took notice. If the court wants, it can announce punishment today if he pleads guilty,” Justice Ahsan said.

Full report at:


Army denies presence of Chinese troops on Pakistani territory

July 03, 2020

RAWALPINDI: Inter-Services Public Relations (ISPR) Director General Major General Babar Iftikhar on Thursday termed reports by the Indian media that Pakistan had deployed additional troops along the Line of Control (LoC) in Gilgit-Baltistan as “false” and “irresponsible”.

Multiple reports circulating in Indian media have claimed that Pakistan has deployed “almost 20,000 additional soldiers” along the LoC in Azad Jammu and Kashmir and GB “to match Chinese deployments on the LAC [Line of Actual Control] in the east”.

In a series of tweets, Gen Babar said that there was no truth to Chinese troops were using the Skardu Airbase, saying that the reports were “false, irresponsible and far from [the] truth”.

“The level of troops Pakistan has deployed is more than what it did after the Balakot airstrikes. Pakistani radars are believed to be fully activated all along the region too,” Economic Times reported.

“No such movement or induction of additional forces has taken place. We also vehemently deny the presence of Chinese troops in Pakistan,” the ISPR chief said.

The ET publication also claimed that meetings have been held between China and Pakistan officials and the former is also holding talks with the Al-Badr, a pro-freedom group based in held Kashmir, in order to “incite violence” in occupied territory.

The reports come after Prime Minister Imran Khan said on Tuesday that Pakistan had no doubt that its arch-rival neighbor was involved in the attempted attack on the Pakistan Stock Exchange earlier this week.

India is currently engaged in a conflict with China at the LAC in the Galwan Valey of the disputed Ladakh region. Last month, as many as 20 Indian soldiers were killed in a violent clash between the two armies, the deadliest in decades.

Pakistan has repeatedly expressed its concern that India may initiate a “false-flag operation” to divert attention from its casualties in the conflict with China.

Full report at:


North America


Secretary Pompeo urges Turkey not to convert Hagia Sophia into mosque

01 July 2020

US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo on Wednesday urged Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan not to convert the Hagia Sophia into a mosque and said Istanbul’s celebrated former cathedral should remain open to all.

“We urge the government of Turkey to continue to maintain the Hagia Sophia as a museum, as an exemplar of its commitment to respect the faith traditions and diverse history that contributed to the Republic of Turkey, and to ensure it remains accessible to all,” Pompeo said.

On Tuesday, the spiritual head of the world’s Orthodox Christians warned that converting Istanbul’s sixth century Hagia Sophia back into a mosque would sow division.

“The conversion of Hagia Sophia into a mosque will disappoint millions of Christians around the world,” said Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew, the spiritual head of some 300 million Orthodox Christians worldwide. He is based in Istanbul.


US Congress urges Trump administration to get tougher on China's Xinjiang crackdown

July 3, 2020

More than 75 US senators and House members on Thursday urged the Trump administration to take a tougher stance on China over its crackdown in that country's Xinjiang province and make a formal determination whether its treatment of Muslim Uighurs and other groups constitutes an atrocity, including genocide.

"It is time for action," members of the Senate and House of Representatives, led by Republican Senator Marco Rubio, wrote Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin, asking them to sanction the Chinese officials responsible for the mistreatment of Uighurs.

"These human rights abuses demand a response from the United States as well as the international community because evidence strongly indicates that the Chinese government is intentionally working to destroy and essentially wipe out Uyghur families, culture, and religious adherence and encouraging violence against women," said the letter, seen by Reuters.

The group also asked the administration to work with allies and partners to hold a Security Council meeting at the United Nations to appoint a special rapporteur to look into the situation in Xinjiang province.

The United States and China have been at loggerheads for months over the handling of the coronavirus pandemic and Beijing's imposition of a new security law in Hong Kong. It is also ramping up pressure on China's treatment of Muslim Uighurs in Xinjiang.

The United Nations estimates that more than a million Muslims have been detained in camps there. China has denied mistreatment and says the camps provide vocational training and help fight extremism.

Full report at:


US support for Israel since 1940s has been unmitigated disaster

02 July 2020

By Mark Dankof

As a member of the of the American old right in the paleoconservative wing of the Republican Party, which is admittedly a minority within the Republican Party, I actually agree with AOC (Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez) and her colleagues on this issue. 

I think the American support for Israel since the late 1940s has largely been an unmitigated disaster for about four or five reasons.

One is that the blowback against the United States worldwide for supporting what has basically been an ongoing land thievery since the late 1940s has not done the United States any good in terms of its relationships with most of the other nations of the world, especially in the Middle East.

And when we get into this situation, we also start looking at the economics of this.

The United States, of course, now has something like a 26 trillion dollar national debt, and more and more Americans, who are not at either end of the political spectrum, are starting to look at this relationship with Israel, and are asking fundamental questions in regard to whether or not it continues to be in the interest of the average American to be handing these people ten billion dollars a year, including 3.8 billion a year in military aid.

The fact is this has never made economic sense before. It makes even less economic sense now. We start looking at all of the political turbulence in the United States and the economic turbulence that has been created both by COVID-19 and also by the aftermath of this George Floyd tragedy in Minneapolis. It's obvious to more and more people in this country that this past relationship with Israel, at least in the form that it has taken since the 1940s, is absolutely unsustainable for the United States, and it needs to be either altered or discontinued altogether.

Two-state solution is a fraud

Thirdly, I'd say that this so-called two-state solution that people like the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) and the Democratic majority for Israel keep talking about is in fact a fraud.

It's impossible to have a two state solution when one side continues stealing all the land. And this is what this annexations situation is really all about, with the Trump administration and with the pro-Israel counterparts that they have in the Democratic Party, the United States is basically handed over East Jerusalem to the Israelis.  The United States has basically been supporting Israeli genocide in Gaza. And the United States, of course, is clearly in a circumstance where it's given a green light to Netanyahu and to the most radical elements in the settler movement in Israel to continue stealing the rest of the land in the so-called occupied West Bank.

That international law does not recognize Israel as having any claim to whatsoever. So this whole two-state solution is a fraud. It's a transparent fraud.

And I think what you're looking at the paleoconservative wing of the Republican Party with people like Robert Taft, the late Robert Taft, and so forth, I think they would certainly recognize that this is increasingly problematic and they would have a lot to say in agreement with AOC and these other people in the progressive wing of the Democratic Party who are trying to get this situation under control.

There's a fourth thing that AOC isn't talking about in her letter or any of these other ladies that have signed this letter that has gone to Mike Pompeo, and that is that Israel has had a very adversarial role with the United States when Israel has deemed its espionage and military activities to be in its interest at American expense, despite the fact that the United States is their overwhelming political and economic backer in the world.

What have I referring to? There is the Lavonne affair in the early 1950s. There was the clear Israeli link to the Kennedy assassination with Meyer Lansky and David Ben-Gurion being involved in that among some of the other principal players. There was Israel's deliberate attack on the USS Liberty in June of 1967 that killed and wounded scores of Americans.

And when we started getting into more recent tragedies, there was the new Mekka nuclear materials theft in Apollo, Pennsylvania, the Pollard spy case, the 9/11 situation, certainly we start looking at the Israeli, the obvious Israeli-Mossad links to the Jeffrey Epstein, Ghislain Maxwell pedophile ring and the list goes on and on, in regard to this sick relationship that the United States has had going with Israel and with the Israeli lobby and with Jewish financial interests involved in this for many, many decades.

The last thing I would say is that it's going to be quite fascinating to watch the Democratic Party in this regard. The overwhelming amount of money that finances the Democratic Party is provably Jewish money.  It's well over 50 percent. Unquestioned support of Israel has always been axiomatic in the Democratic Party since the days of Harry Truman.

Stunning defeat for the Israeli lobby

But now we're seeing a real change in the Democratic Party where there's a real power struggle over this whole issue of Israel versus Palestine. The recent loss of Eliot Engle, who was the House Foreign Affairs Committee chairman, a strong advocate for Israel, a tool of the Israeli lobby, he ends up losing recently in a Democratic primary to a progressive Democrat challenger who is anything but pro-Israel.

I think this fellow's name, as I recall, as Jamal Bohlmann. This was a stunning defeat for the Israeli lobby, despite the amount of money that was poured into that campaign to ensure that angle was re-nominated and ultimately re-elected. He was not.

And this obviously has implications that had the American Israel Public Affairs Committee and Democratic majority for Israel and all the rest of these groups extremely concerned in regard to what this portends for the future.

And I'm just waiting for the day -- it hasn't happened yet -- when there's going to be more traditional old right, paleoconservative old right opposition to the neoconservative pro-Zionist element that has hijacked the Republican Party in my lifetime and hijacked that the mainstream conservative movement in this country.

Support for Israel and Zionism is not historically an American right position, politically. It has been turned into that ever since the days of William F. Buckley and National Review magazine.

And what we might end up seeing in American politics with all these things going on in the Middle East and a domestic American politics, is that the ALCS, the progressive left in the Democratic Party, might increasingly be joined over time by more and more disenchanted America First conservatives who begin to recognize that Donald Trump and Mike Pompeo and John Bolton and people of this ilk are political frauds. These people are not America First. They are Israel First.

What we might eventually see is a realignment of the American right between those factions that will continue to support Israel, governed by the Protestant evangelical right wing commitment to Israel. And those conservatives in the Republican Party who have begun to see that you cannot have an America First foreign policy and domestic policy and be a supporter of Israel.

So there's a fundamental realignment of American politics on this issue that I think is just starting to happen. And that's happening now, principally for the time being in the Democratic Party. And I think that's what is so interesting about watching this from afar, both in terms of AOC’s letter to Mike Pompeo, along with the other signatories. And the other is this loss of Elliott Angle and his departure from the US Congress.

These are monumental political events and the Zionist lobby in the United States is extremely worried.

Full report at:


US Senate kills bill to end war on Afghanistan, repeal 2001 ‘War on Terror’ authorization

02 July 2020

The US Senate has overwhelmingly voted against a bipartisan bill that would have directed the Pentagon to begin an “orderly withdrawal” of US troops from Afghanistan and finally end the war in the conflict-ridden country within a year.

Lawmakers, on Wednesday, voted 60-33 to block legislation that was proposed by Senator Rand Paul, thwarting a rare attempt to wind down the longest conflict in American history.

The proposal would have removed US troops from Afghanistan and pay them a $2,500 bonus, and repealed the 2001 law authorizing the so-called War on Terror.

"Our amendment will finally and completely end the war in Afghanistan,” Paul said. “It is not sustainable to keep fighting in Afghanistan generation after generation.”

Paul noted that some of the US soldiers taking part in the conflict were not even born when it was launched in 2001.

The United States and its allies invaded Afghanistan in October 2001. Having failed to end the Taliban’s militancy, American forces have since remained bogged down in war-wracked country through the presidencies of George W. Bush, Barack Obama, and now Donald Trump.

Some 14,000 US troops and approximately 17,000 troops from NATO allies and partner countries remain stationed in Afghanistan.

Senator Tom Udall, who also sponsored the bill, said that their proposed amendment was "the responsible way" to end the 19-year-old war in Afghanistan.

Senator James Inhofe, who urged others to vote to set aside the amendment, said that amendment wasn't the "best way" to end the war.

"The amendment directs a calendar-based withdrawal from Afghanistan rather than a conditions-based,” he said.

The United Nations has recently warned of an alarming rise in violence against civilians and a “striking deterioration” in upholding international humanitarian law in Afghanistan.

The US and Afghan officials warn that the war has entered a complicated period of uncertainty as peace talks Washington and the Taliban have yet to yield results.

Official data shows Taliban bombings and other assaults have increased 70 percent since the militant group signed the deal with Washington in February.

Under the deal, the US agreed to withdraw its forces from Afghanistan, and the Taliban agreed to refrain from attacking the US forces in the country.

Full report at:


US seeks to seize gasoline in four Iran tankers bound for Venezuela

03 July 2020

US prosecutors filed a lawsuit to seize the gasoline aboard four tankers that Iran is trying to ship to Venezuela, the latest attempt by the Trump administration to increase economic pressure on the two US foes.

The government of Venezuela’s socialist President Nicolas Maduro has flaunted the fuel supply to show it remains unbowed by US pressure. Washington has been pressing for Maduro’s ouster with diplomatic and punitive measures, including sanctions on state oil company PDVSA.

The lawsuit, filed late on Wednesday in the US District Court for the District of Columbia, was followed on Thursday by a warrant issued by US District Judge James Boasberg for the seizure of the more than 1.1 million barrels of gasoline in the four vessels.

For all the latest headlines follow our Google News channel online or via the app.

Legal sources said the gasoline could likely only be seized by US authorities if the tankers enter US territorial waters. But they said the actions could help push other countries to cooperate in seizing the fuel.

Gasoline shortages in Venezuela, like Iran a member of OPEC, have grown acute due to US sanctions, and the country has undergone an economic collapse. Still, Maduro has held on.

In the civil-forfeiture complaint, US federal prosecutors aim to stop the delivery of Iranian gasoline aboard the Liberia-flagged Bella, Bering, Pandi, and Luna, according to the lawsuit, first reported by the Wall Street Journal.

Boasberg issued the warrant for the seizure of the gasoline in the tankers based on probable cause that the fuel is forfeitable, the Justice Department said.

The lawsuit also aims to stop the flow of revenues from oil sales to Iran, which Washington has sanctioned over its nuclear program, ballistic missiles, and influence across the Middle East. Tehran says its nuclear program is for peaceful purposes.

Washington has increasingly been using civil forfeiture to stop illicit trade involving Iran and Venezuela, complementing

its sanctions policy, according to Evelyn Sheehan and Beau Barnes at Kobre and Kim, a firm specialized in disputes and investigations.

“US policy towards both Venezuela and Iran is focused on denying both regimes access to foreign currency,” said Sheehan, who is also a former US Department of Justice prosecutor. “Intercepting gasoline cargoes with civil forfeiture is a novel way to achieve that goal.”

Zia Faruqui and two other assistant US attorneys allege in the lawsuit that Iranian businessman Mahmoud Madanipour, affiliated with Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps, or IRGC, helped arrange the shipments by changing documents about the tankers to evade US sanctions.

Full report at:




France leaves NATO maritime operation after probe into clash with Turkish ships

01 July 2020

France is suspending its involvement in a NATO naval operation off Libya’s coast after a standoff with a Turkish ship and amid growing tensions within the military alliance over Libya.

France’s Defense Ministry said Wednesday that France sent a letter Tuesday to NATO saying it is suspending its participation in Sea Guardian “temporarily.”

For all the latest headlines follow our Google News channel online or via the app.

A ministry official said France wants NATO allies to “solemnly reaffirm their attachment” to the arms embargo on Libya.

France has accused Turkey of repeated violations of the UN arms embargo on conflict-torn Libya and branded the Turkish government in Ankara as an obstacle to securing a cease-fire in the North African nation, which Turkey firmly denies.

France is also calling for crisis mechanism to prevent a repeat of an incident earlier this month between Turkish warships and a French naval vessel in the Mediterranean. NATO is investigating what happened.

France says its frigate Courbet was “lit up” three times by Turkish naval targeting radar when it tried to approach a Turkish civilian ship suspected of involvement in arms trafficking. The ship was being escorted by three Turkish warships. The Courbet backed off after being targeted.

The French frigate was part of Sea Guardian, NATO’s naval operation in the Mediterranean, at the time of the June 10 incident. France claims that under the alliance’s rules of engagement such conduct is considered a hostile act.

Turkey has denied harassing the Courbet. Turkey's ambassador to France was questioned in the French Senate on Wednesday and defended Turkey's actions as peaceful and crucial to restoring stability to Libya.

Libya has been in turmoil since 2011, when a NATO-backed uprising toppled leader Moammar Gadhafi, who was later killed. The country has since been split between rival administrations in the east and the west, each backed by armed groups and different foreign governments.


Italy seizes 14 tons of amphetamine pills made by Daesh in Syria

01 July 2020

Police in Italy say they have seized a 14-ton haul of amphetamine pills made by the Daesh terrorist group in Syria, in an operation they described as the biggest seizure of the drug in the world.

The drugs were in the form of 84 million Captagon tablets and worth about one billion euros, hidden in three containers found at the southern Italian port of Salerno, police said in a statement on Wednesday.

Captagon, a brand name, was originally for medical use but illegal versions have been widely used by Daesh terrorists in combat, according to the police.

It said Daesh “finances its terrorist activities mainly by trafficking drugs made in Syria, which in the past few years has become the world’s largest producer of amphetamines.”

The drug, first produced in the West five decades ago to treat hyperactivity, narcolepsy, and depression, is now prohibited in most countries due to its addictive properties.


Turkey demands apology from France

Busra Nur Bilgic Cakmak 


Turkey's foreign minister on Thursday demanded an apology from France for misleading NATO and EU about recent tensions in the Mediterranean.

“France did not tell the truth to both NATO and EU. The claim that our ships locked is not true. We proved that and gave the documents to NATO. And NATO saw the reality,” said Mevlut Cavusoglu in a joint news conference with his German counterpart Heiko Maas.

“Our expectation from France is to apologize to us for not providing the true information,” he added.

France last week claimed that Turkey harassed one of its vessels taking part in a NATO mission in the Mediterranean. Turkish military officials denied the allegations.

Cavusoglu also reiterated Turkey’s position on Libya, saying Ankara sides with the UN-recognized legitimate government of Libya.

The UN resolution states that the Sarraj government is the only legitimate party in Libya, he added.

“The only and the best solution to the Libyan conflict is political solution and permanent cease-fire,” said Cavusoglu.

Cavusoglu said Turkey is ready for dialogue with France to facilitate a political solution and maintain stabilitiy in Libya.

NATO chief Jens Stoltenberg said NATO officials were looking into the incident, adding: "Those two NATO allies have totally different views on what actually happened."

But everyone agrees "that we need to support the UN efforts to find a politically negotiated solution to the conflict in Libya," he added.

Ankara and Paris have recently been at odds due to their conflicting policies in Libya, which has been ravaged by a civil war since the toppling of Muammar Gaddafi in 2011.

While Turkey supports Libya's legitimate UN-recognized government, Turkish officials accuse France of deepening the conflict by backing warlord Khalifa Haftar.

The internationally recognized government has been under attack by Haftar's forces since April 2019, with more than 1,000 killed in the violence.

Full report at:


Southeast Asia


Israelis are the enemy, Muslims should fight them - Malaysian former PM

JUNE 30, 2020

Muslims should stop fighting among themselves or attacking the West, and should focus on "the enemy" - Israel, former Malaysian Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad has said.

In an English-language interview on Lebanon's Al-Mayadeen TV aired on June 29, captured by The Middle East Media Research Institute (MEMRI), Mahathir said that Muslim in-fighting was helping Israel and her allies.

"I know there are big powers that would like to see instability in Muslim countries," he said. "We are doing things - almost like helping Israel. Because we fight each other, the Israelis don't have to kill Muslims. Muslims are doing it for them."

Instead, he said Muslims should turn their attention on Israel itself, which he falsely claimed was created through the displacement of a Palestinian state by Western powers to rid themselves of Jews.

"The whole of Israel was created through taking Palestinian land," he said. "That is very wrong. So for that reason, we have always been against the creation of the State of Israel. Unfortunately, the big powers back Israel because they were the ones who created the State of Israel to solve their Jewish problem. They were having a problem in Europe with the Jews, so they wanted to create a homeland for the Jews, and they took Palestinian land."

But he warned against attacking Western states, insisting that the true enemy was Israel alone and that carrying out terrorist attacks against Western states will only erode support for Palestine. Therefore, Muslims should take inspiration from Palestinians who kill Israelis.

"When you commit acts of terror without due consideration as to the effect on the people concerned, for example you kill people in Europe - obviously the Europeans will not support you." he told the interviewer. "Your enemy is Israel, fight against Israel, don't fight against other countries - unless they attack you, of course. But the enemy is Israel.

"[If] you want to do anything, do it to the Israelis, like some of the Palestinians in Jerusalem who individually attack Israeli soldiers. That is the enemy. But if you go and attack the Europeans, Americans, and all that, you only create more enemies."

Instead of attacking America and other Western states, Muslims should support the movement for black persons' rights, Mahathir suggested, repeating a popular antisemitic trope claiming that Jews control the media in the West and use it to spread pro-Israel propaganda.

"If they [the American people] think we are wrong, we have to tell them that we are doing something that is right, Mahathir told viewers. "It is a propaganda campaign on the part of the Jews. They are very good. They own all the newspapers in America. They own all the TV stations, so they have tremendous influence.

"We should show support for the blacks because this is where we can show that the American society is unjust and unfair to their own people, so we will then reduce the influence of America on our own internal affairs."

The 94-year-old former prime minister has a long history of voicing antisemitic views in public, in the past calling Jews 'hook-nosed' and questioning the number of Jews killed in the Holocaust.

In September 2019 while still in office he appeared at Columbia University's World Leaders Forum where he defended his record, saying “I am exercising my right to free speech. Why is it that I can’t say something against the Jews, when a lot of people say nasty things about me, about Malaysia, and I didn’t protest, I didn’t demonstrate?

He added: "The world is talking about freedom of speech, but whenever we say anything against Israel and the Jews, it is considered antisemitism," he stated. "It is my right to criticize Israel for its policy regarding the Palestinians and say they do many bad things."


China’s repression against Uighurs Muslims minority in Xinjiang province

July 02, 2020

The Chinese government has reportedly detained more than a million Muslims in reeducation camps. Most of the people who have been arbitrarily detained are Uighur, a predominantly Turkic-speaking ethnic group primarily from China’s northwestern region of Xinjiang. More than 300,000 inhabitants of Xinjiang have been given long prison sentences since 2017. In an effort to hide the extreme abuse of the camp system and cover it with a patina of legality, in 2018 and 2019 many former camp detainees (perhaps the majority of former detainees) were also given long prison sentences as well, reported.

Many of these convicts were found guilty of “thought crimes” or “pre-crimes” as a system of immense cruelty descended on their villages.

Two Uyghur sisters Nursiman and Nur’iman fear that the reason their family members were imprisoned is because they moved to Turkey in 2015. Maybe during long interrogations their relatives had been forced to confess that someday they would like to visit them. Simply desiring to travel to a Muslim-majority country could be construed as the pre-crime of intending to hijrat, the action of immigrating to a space where Islamic piety is permitted. This action is now defined by the Chinese state as an act of terrorism, reported.

Accepting money from a family member who lives in a Muslim-majority country or attempting to learn Turkish, Arabic, or Urdu is now viewed as a terrorism-related crime. It is likely for these reasons that the sisters’ relatives, the model family of their village, have had their lives taken away from them.

For years, the sisters stayed silent, hoping that their family members would be released. They thought that speaking publicly might make things worse for them. Then in 2019 they started to hear of other Uyghurs whose parents were being released. They hoped that the same might happen to their parents and brothers. Nursiman said that now she feels like she was naive to hope for something like this.

Some eight hundred thousand to million of Uighurs and other Muslims, including ethnic Kazakhs and Uzbeks, have been detained since April 2017, according to experts and government officials. Outside of the camps, the eleven million Uighurs living in Xinjiang have continued to suffer from a decades-long crackdown by Chinese authorities.

Full report at:


Malaysia will continue supporting Palestinian struggle, says PM

July 2, 2020

KUALA LUMPUR: Malaysia will continue giving its support to the struggle of the Palestinians and has called on the world community, especially the United Nations (UN), to immediately find the best solution to the controversial peace plan in the region.

"Let's pray that all the problems and hostilities in the conflict-stricken region can be solved peacefully. InsyaAllah.

"Taking this opportunity, I would like to stress that Malaysia will continue giving its support to the struggle of the Palestinians. I also call on the international community, especially the UN, to immediately find the best solution to the peace plan in the region," Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin said in a posting on Facebook today.

Accompanying the posting were four pictures of the prime minister receiving a courtesy call from MyAQSA Foundation's delegation led by its founder and chairman, Suwardi Yaacob, at his office today.

Muhyiddin said during the meeting, which lasted almost an hour, he was also briefed about the foundation, which was established in 2017.

"Alhamdulillah, I'm very proud with the commitment and continuous efforts taken by MyAQSA in educating the people about the Israel-Palestine conflict and the importance of Al-Aqsa Mosque, which is one of the three mosques valued above all others in Islam after that of Masjidil Haram (Grand Mosque) and the Nabawi Mosque," he said.

Muhyiddin also shared that the delegation also explained to him of MyAQSA's involvement at the international level, especially in the case of the Israeli war crimes against Palestine in the International Criminal Court (ICC) and the violation of UN Security Council Resolution 2334.

He said Malaysia, through MyAQSA, is the only organisation from the Asian region which dared to file a protest against Israeli brutality at the ICC.

Full report at:




Centre Informs Top Court About Blacklisting, Visa Cancellations Of Tablighi Jamaat Members

July 02, 2020

New Delhi: The Centre informed the Supreme Court on Thursday that it has issued individual orders on a case-to-case basis for cancellation of visas and blacklisting of over 2,500 foreign nationals, for their alleged involvement in Tablighi Jamaat activities.

As per the information available, 205 FIRs have been lodged against the foreign Tablighi Jamaat members by 11 states and 2,765 such foreigners have been blacklisted so far, while visas of 2,679 foreigners (including 9 Overseas Citizen of India (OCI) card holders) have been cancelled, it said.

The top court was also informed by the centre that 1,906 Look Out Circulars (LOCs) were issued against foreign Tablighi Jamaat members and 227 left India before the issuance of LOCs/Black Listing.

The foreign nationals told the top court that around 1,500 one-liner e-mails were sent to them with regard to cancellation of visas but there was no show cause notice for blacklisting from travel to India for 10 years.

A bench of Justices AM Khanwilkar, Dinesh Maheshwari and Sanjiv Khanna posted the matter for further hearing on July 10 and asked the petitioners to file a rejoinder affidavit to the Centre's reply and make appropriate representation with the competent authority with regard to deportation.

Solicitor General Tushar Mehta, appearing for the centre, said it has filed an affidavit stating that individual orders were passed with regard to the cancellation of visas and blacklisting of individuals on case-to-case basis.

He said the grant of visa is not an enforceable right, let alone a fundamental right, and these foreigners were not only blacklisted but there are criminal charges pending against them and will be prosecuted under Foreigners Act.

Grant of visa is a plenary sovereign function of the centre and across the world and if they have committed an offence, these foreigners have to be tried, he said, adding that no foreign Tabligh Jamaat member has been deported till now as criminal proceedings are going on against them.

Senior advocate CU Singh, appearing for these citizens from over 35 countries said that if there was any violation of visa norms, they can be deported to their parent country.

He said that the centre is saying that case to case orders were passed but only around 1,500 one-liner e-mails were sent to them about the visa cancellation and there was nothing about blacklisting from travel to India for ten years.

The bench told Mr Singh that they can challenge these individual orders of centre before the High Court as the court needs to see whether it is a well-reasoned order or a mechanical one.

Mr Singh contended that they need to be deported as blacklisting would come into picture, if the foreign nationals try to enter India.

The bench, said that deportation would come into picture, if there are non-pendency of cases against these foreigners.

It asked the centre to file the orders passed with regard to visa cancellation with the court and also circulate among lawyers for the petitioners.

The centre in its affidavit filed on Thursday said that these foreign nationals are spread across various parts of the country, some of who are still to be located, the execution of the orders would take place at the time of the exit of the said foreigners at the port of exit.

"It is submitted that since the petitioners and other persons have been found to be breaching the conditions of the visa granted to them, committing criminal offences, etc..., the said persons are being investigate/ prosecuted as the procedure established by law," it said, adding that the cancellation of e-visa has been intimated to foreigners, who were one-visa, by e-mail but some on regular visa could not be intimated as their e-mail ids were not available.

On June 29, the top court had asked the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) to clarify its stand about the status of visa of these citizens from 35 countries, who were blacklisted for ten years for their alleged involvement in Tablighi Jamaat activities.

The top court had asked the centre to place on record whether individual notices were issued with regard to cancellation of visas of the foreign nationals.

It had said that the notification of MHA says the decision has to be taken on a case to case basis by the authorities and it needs to be found out whether any such orders were passed.

Four petitions have been filed by 34 individuals, including a Thai national who is seven months pregnant, challenging the centre's orders of April 2 and June 4 by which over 2,500 foreign nationals,who are currently in India, were blacklisted.

The petitions, filed through advocate Fuzail Ahmad Ayyubi and drafted by advocates Ibad Mushtaq and Ashima Mandla, have contended that the en-masse blacklisting of foreigners without any opportunity to defend themselves is a blatant violation of Article 21 (protection of life and personal liberty) of the Constitution.


NIA arrests “transportation module” member of Jaish in Pulwama attack

Jul 02, 2020

The National Investigation Agency (NIA) on Thursday arrested a member of Jaish-e-Mohammad’s “transportation module” in connection with the Pulwama terror attack of February 2109 that killed 40 CRPF troopers, an official said.

The accused, Mohammad Iqbal Rather (25), a resident of Budgam, allegedly ferried a terrorist who helped in making bomb that was used by a suicide car bomber to attack the CRPF convoy.

NIA Spokesperson Sonia Narang said in a statement that Rather had facilitated the movement of Muhammad Umar Farooq, a JeM terrorist and a key conspirator in the case, to south Kashmir after he infiltrated into the Indian territory in Jammu region in April, 2018, from the national highway near international border.

“Farooq, along with others, had assembled the bomb used in the February 14, 2019 attack (in which 40 CRPF jawans were killed). Rather had been undergoing judicial custody since September, 2018 in another Jaish-e-Mohammed related case investigated by NIA,” Narang said.

“As such, he was produced by the jail authorities before the NIA Special Court, Jammu on Thursday and was taken into seven days’ custody for his interrogation. Initial examination has revealed that Rather was in constant touch with Pakistan-based leadership of Jaish-e-Mohammed and was in communication with them over secure messaging applications. He was part of the ‘transportation module’ of Jaish-e-Mohammed,” Narang added.

Full report at:


Muslim Body Urges Maharashtra Government To Equip Abattoirs For Bakri Eid

JULY 03, 2020

Mumbai: The All India Jamiatul Quresh has urged the Maharashtra government to make necessary arrangements at government-run abattoirs for the upcoming Bakri Eid festival.

Bakri Eid will be celebrated across the country on August 1.

“We have asked the state government to set up shelter sheds for livestock keeping in mind the monsoon season and also arrange for security, electricity and water supply,” said Imran Babu Qureshi, the national vice-president of the All India Jamiatul Quresh.

Apart from this, the organisation has also sought the deployment of veterinarians and doctors for emergencies, he said, adding that the abattoirs should charge a regular fee for their services.

Social distancing norms should be strictly followed, to prevent overcrowding in markets at Mumbai and Pune amid the COVID-19 pandemic, while civic bodies should make provisions to set up ward-wise markets for sale of animals, Qureshi said.

Full report at:


CRPF personnel killed, terrorist shot down in encounter in Srinagar’s Malabagh

Jul 02, 2020

A CRPF trooper and a terrorist were killed in an encounter at Srinagar’s Malabagh locality that began late Thursday evening, police said.

Two to three terrorists are believed to be trapped in the congested locality.

A a cordon and search operation was launched in the area, near Habak Crossing, after a tip-off about presence of militants there, a police official said. The operation turned into an encounter after terrorists opened fire towards the security personnel, the official added.


Terrorist responsible for death of minor in Kashmir killed in an encounter

Jul 3, 2020

NEW DELHI: The militant responsible for the death of an eight-year-old boy and a police personnel in the Bijbehara attack last week was killed Thursday night in Srinagar.

The Thursday night's encounter in which Zahid Daas was killed at Malbagh area of Srinagar also led to the death of a Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) soldier who was severely injured.

Daas is the same terrorist who was responsible for the deaths of eight-year-old Nihan Yawar and J&K police personnel Shamal Kumar during a militant attack on June 26 at Bijbehara, Anantnag.

Yawar, a resident of neighbouring Kulgam district, was travelling with his father for some personal work when he was hit by bullets fired by Daas at Padshahi Bagh bridge in Bijbehara area.

Daas, who belongs to the Jammu Kashmir Islamic State (JKIS), was targeting a road opening party of the CRPF. The attack resulted in the deaths of Yawar and Kumar but Daas was able to escape. The area was cordoned off and a hunt was launched to nab him. Six days later, Daas died in Thursday's Malbagh encounter.

The Bijbehara attack drew widespread condemnation with National Conference vice president and former Jammu and Kashmir chief minister Omar Abdullah terming it a "dastardly" act.

Full report at:


2 Pakistan soldiers killed in retaliatory fire along LoC

Jul 2, 2020

JAMMU: At least two Pakistan soldiers were killed and several bunkers destroyed in retaliatory action by the Indian Army against the ceasefire violation by Pakistan on the Line of Control (LoC) in three sectors of Poonch district in Jammu & Kashmir.

Pakistan violated the ceasefire by firing with small arms along LoC in Shahpur and Kirni sectors of Poonch at about 9.30am, an Army spokesman said.

Indian Army fired at Pakistan posts in Rakh Chikri area in retaliation, which killed two Pakistani soldiers of the 10 Baloch Regiment, the Army spokesman said.

"No major loss or injury was reported on Indian side,” the spokesman said.

There has been a spurt in Pakistani shelling along the LoC and international border in J&K this year with over 2,027 cases of violation being reported in the first six months, till June 10.


17 foreign Tablighis in UP get bail, await trial

July 3, 2020

Days after a local court in Uttar Pradesh’s Bahraich district granted them bail, 17 foreign Tablighi Jamaat members were released from jail, the police said on Thursday. The 17 had been in jail since April for participating in the Jamaat’s congregation in Delhi the month before.

The foreigners were arrested on April 11, along with four Indians, after completing 14 days in quarantine. They were booked under the Foreigners Act for violating visa norms, and other IPC sections. The Indian members of the Islamic movement received bail the same month.

Of the 17 foreigner nationals, 10 are from Indonesia, and seven from Thailand. Responding to the court’s decision, Bahraich SP Vipin Kumar Mishra said, “The 17 were released on bail on Wednesday after they got it from CJM court. They are currently staying in mosques in the district and will only be able to return after the trial reaches a conclusion. We have their passports.”

Full report at:




Palestinian Hamas, Fatah join hands against Israel’s annexation plan

02 July 2020

Two major Palestinian groups, the Hamas resistance movement and Fatah political party, have pledged unity against Israel’s annexation of the West Bank, as signs are emerging of a purported rift between Israel and the United States over the much-condemned project.

The pledge of unity against the Israeli annexation plan was made during a joint video conference held in Ramallah, the de facto administrative capital of the Palestinian Authority (PA), in the occupied West Bank on Thursday.

"We are 100 percent consistent with Hamas to confront the challenges our cause is facing,” said Jibril Rajoub, the secretary-general of Fatah, at the presser, stressing, “We will put in place all necessary measures to ensure national unity” in efforts against annexation.

“Today, we want to speak in a single voice,” Rajoub emphasized, saying that the joint press conference with Hamas was aimed at coordinating Palestinian efforts to confront the annexation scheme.

“The decision has been approved by our President [Mahmoud Abbas],” he added.

Saleh al-Arouri, the deputy leader of Hamas, for his part, described the conference as “an opportunity to start a new phase that will be a strategic service to our people in the most dangerous stages.”

The Hamas leader, who was speaking by video-link from the Lebanese capital Beirut, also urged the Palestinian people to “continuously work on the ground and at political levels to thwart the annexation project.”

Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu had time and again announced that he would begin cabinet-level discussions for annexing more areas in the West Bank on July 1, in accordance with US President Donald Trump’s “deal of the century.”

However, Netanyahu’s much-publicized land grab plan, without clarifications, failed to be launched on the set date amid widening differences within the Israeli ruling coalition and against the backdrop of massive international opposition to the highly-provocative attempt.

Crest-fallen Netanyahu had suggested on Tuesday that there would be a delay in his annexation plan after he failed to get the green light for the move both from his key coalition partner Benny Gantz, who has been refusing to endorse Netanyahu’s scheme, and the US.

The Israeli premier, who had publicly voiced full-throated support of Trump’s plan, also said that he would continue discussions with Washington over the scheme “in the coming days.”

Experts say there is evidence emerging that Netanyahu's desired roadmap for annexing more Palestinian lands is at odds with the plan articulated by Trump.

Israel’s unilateral annexation moves have faced a near-unanimous opposition from the international community, including the European Union (EU).

Trump’s scheme, unveiled in January, largely gives in to Israel’s demands while creating a Palestinian state with limited control over its own security and borders, enshrining the occupied Jerusalem al-Quds as Israel’s “capital” and allowing the regime to annex settlements in the West Bank and the Jordan Valley.

According to the so-called peace plan, the future Palestinian state will consist of scattered lands linked together via bridges and tunnels.

Israel’s delaying annexation plan a Zio-American ruse: Hamas official

On Wednesday, former head of Hamas’s political bureau, Khaled Misha’al, warned that the postponement of the Israeli annexation plan was only a Zio-American ruse, the Palestinian Information Center reported.

He said that the alleged rescheduling was in fact a misleading tactic not intended to reverse or change the annexation plan, but to pave the way for its implementation.

“We have a great people who have never broken down or surrendered and who have been fighting for long decades and have experience not found with other peoples of the world,” added Misha’al, during an interview hosted on Al-Jazeera satellite channel.

“We have the Muslim nation that has not forgotten Palestine and its just cause, and we have an international arena that is fed up with the Israeli occupation’s insolence,” he said.

The Hamas official also voiced his belief that the Palestinian people and the Arab and Islamic nations were capable of facing the annexation plan pursued by the occupying regime.


Iranian Speaker: Resistance Only Way to Stand against Zionism

Jul 02, 2020

“Zionists only understand the language of resistance and any compromise and appeasement against them (Israelis) will not go anywhere,” Qalibaf said on Wednesday in a phone conversation with Head of the Palestinian Islamic Resistance Movement (Hamas)'s Political Bureau Ismail Haniyeh.

He praised the resistance of Palestinian and bravery of fighters of Palestinian Hamas Movement as well as the key role of Palestinian leaders in continuing the resistance and triumph over the Zionist regime.

The Islamic Republic of Iran has always supported the Palestinian people, Qalibaf said, adding, “We believe that struggles of Palestinian fighters are preventing the realization of the malicious plans such as so-called Deal of Century and recent adventurism of Zionists for the annexation of a part of the West Bank to the occupied lands and territories.”

Haniyeh, for his part, congratulated Qalibaf on his election as Iranian Parliament Speaker and put special emphasis on the resistance and perseverance of Palestinian people.

He also commemorated the name and memory of martyr Lt. Gen. Soleimani who played a very decisive and pivotal role in resistance against Zionist regime.

People of Palestine and Hamas Resistance Movement will continue their resistance until the expulsion of Zionists from the occupied lands and territories, he emphasized.

Haniyeh lashed out at the silence of some countries over the occupation of the Zionist regime and its expansionist plans taken, and added, “We strongly condemn the silence of some countries in the region that seek to normalize their relations with the Zionist regime.”

In a relevant development on Wednesday, Qalibaf in separate letters to heads of the international bodies and his counterparts in different countries had underlined the need to immediately stop Israel's hostile and expansionist policies, including annexation of the West Bank to the occupied territories.

In his letters to UN Secretary-General António Guterres, Head of the International Inter-Parliamentary Union Gabriella Coebas Baron, Secretary-General of the Parliaments Union of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation Mohammed Qureshi Nias, Secretary-General of the Assembly of Asian Parliaments Mohammad Reza Majidi and Secretary-General of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) Yousef Al-Othimin, Qalibaf stressed the Iranian parliament's firm position on the need to end Israel's occupation, provocative and illegal positions which violate the international peace and security and support for the rights of the oppressed Palestinian people.

He added that the Zionist regime's expansionist policies are clear and extensive violation of the humanitarian and international laws and conventions.

The Israeli regime plans to annex 30 percent of the West Bank to the occupied territories in early July, under the US-Israeli "Deal of the Century" plan, with the support of President Donald Trump's administration. It has angered Palestinians and international communities such as the European Union.

Full report at:


Iran says ‘no military solution’ for Syria in talks with Russia, Turkey

01 July 2020

Iran's President Hassan Rouhani said there is “no military solution” for Syria on Wednesday during a video conference with his Russian and Turkish counterparts about the war-torn country.

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“The Islamic republic believes the only solution to the Syrian crisis is political and not a military solution,” Rouhani said in a televised opening address.

“We continue to support the inter-Syrian dialogue and underline our determination to fight the terrorism of Daesh (the Arabic acronym for the ISIS group), al-Qaeda and other related groups.”

“I emphasize that the fight against terrorism will continue until it is completely eradicated in Syria and the region in general,” he added.

Rouhani made the remarks in a video conference with Russia's President Vladimir Putin and Turkish counterpart Recep Tayyip Erdogan.

After delivering opening statements, the three presidents are expected to discuss Syria in private.

The talks are the first since September in the so-called Astana format, in which the three powers discuss developments in Syria, where the conflict has entered its 10th year.

Iran and Russia have been staunch supporters of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, while Turkey has called for his ouster and backed opposition fighters.

Full report at:


Unknown group claims responsibility for incident at Natanz nuclear site: BBC Persian

03 July 2020

An unknown group claiming to be dissidents within Iran’s security apparatus has claimed responsibility for the Thursday incident at a nuclear site in central Iran, according to the BBC’s Persian service.

Iran’s nuclear body said an accident had taken place on Thursday at a construction site in the Natanz nuclear site without causing casualties, state news agency IRNA reported.

The Natanz facility is one of Iran’s main uranium enrichment plants.

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A previously unheard-of group calling itself “The Homeland’s Cheetahs” has claimed responsibility for the incident, BBC Persian said Thursday.

Full report at:


Explosion at Iran nuclear site hit new centrifuge plant: US-based analysts

02 July 2020

A fire and an explosion struck a building above Iran’s underground Natanz nuclear enrichment facility early on Thursday, a site that US-based analysts identified as a new centrifuge production plant.

The Atomic Energy Organization of Iran sought to downplay the fire, calling it an “incident” that only affected an under-construction “industrial shed,” spokesman Behrouz Kamalvandi said. However, both Kamalvandi and Iranian nuclear chief Ali Akbar Salehi rushed after the fire to Natanz, which has been targeted in sabotage campaigns in the past.

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Kamalvandi did not identify what damaged the building, though Natanz governor Ramazanali Ferdowsi said a “fire” had struck the site, according to a report by the semiofficial Tasnim news agency. Authorities offered no cause for the blaze, though Iran’s state-run IRNA news agency published a commentary addressing the possibility of sabotage by enemy nations such as Israel and the US following other recent explosions in the country.

“The Islamic Republic of Iran has so far has tried to prevent intensifying crises and the formation of unpredictable conditions and situations,” the commentary said. But "the crossing of red lines of the Islamic Republic of Iran by hostile countries, especially the Zionist regime and the US, means that strategy ... should be revised.”

A photograph later released by the atomic energy agency and state TV video showed a brick building with scorch marks and its roof apparently destroyed. Debris on the ground and a door that looked blown off its hinges suggested an explosion accompanied the blaze.

Data collected by a US National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration satellite suggested the fire broke out around 2 AM local time in the northwest corner of the Natanz compound. Flames from the blaze were bright enough to be detected by the satellite from space.

“There are physical and financial damages and we are investigating to assess,” Kamalvandi told Iranian state television.

“Furthermore, there has been no interruption in the work of the enrichment site. Thank God, the site is continuing its work as before.”

The site of the fire corresponds to a newly opened centrifuge production facility, said Fabian Hinz, a researcher at the James Martin Center for Nonproliferation Studies at the Middlebury Institute of International Studies in Monterey, California. He said he relied on satellite images and a state TV program on the facility to locate the building, which sits in Natanz’s northwest corner.

David Albright of the Institute for Science and International Security similarly said the fire struck the production facility. His institute previously wrote a report on the new plant, identifying it from satellite pictures while it was under construction and later built.

Iranian nuclear officials did not respond to a request for comment about the analysts’ comments. However, any damage to the facility would be a major setback, said Hinz, who called the fire “very, very suspicious.”

“It would delay the advancement of the centrifuge technology quite a bit at Natanz,” Hinz said. “Once you have done your research and development, you can’t undo that research and development. Targeting them would be very useful” for Iran’s adversaries.

There was no previously announced construction work at Natanz, a uranium enrichment center some 250 kilometers (155 miles) south of Tehran. Natanz includes underground facilities buried under some 7.6 meters (25 feet) of concrete, offering protection from airstrikes.

Natanz, also known as the Pilot Fuel Enrichment Plant, is among the sites now monitored by the International Atomic Energy Agency after Iran’s 2015 nuclear deal with world powers.

The IAEA said in a statement it was aware of reports of the fire. “We currently anticipate no impact on the IAEA’s safeguards verification activities,” the Vienna-based agency said.

Located in Iran’s central Isfahan province, Natanz hosts the country’s main uranium enrichment facility. There, centrifuges rapidly spin uranium hexafluoride gas to enrich uranium. Currently, the IAEA says Iran enriches uranium to about 4.5 percent purity, above the terms of the nuclear deal, but far below weapons-grade levels of 90 percent. It also has conducted tests on advanced centrifuges, according to the IAEA.

Full report at:


Coronavirus: Iran’s COVID-19 death toll surpasses 11,000

02 July 2020

Iran’s death toll from the novel coronavirus passed 11,000 on Thursday, the health ministry said, as the country struggles to contain the Middle East’s deadliest outbreak of COVID-19.

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Official figures have shown a rising trajectory in fatalities and new confirmed cases in recent months, after Iran reported a near-two month low in daily recorded infections in early May.

“In the past 24 hours, we lost 148 of our compatriots due to infection with COVID-19,” health ministry spokeswoman Sima Sadat Lari said on state TV.

That brings Iran’s overall death toll to 11,106, she added.

She also raised the country’s coronavirus caseload to 232,863, with 2,652 new confirmed cases in the past day.

“Unfortunately, the number of hospitalizations is increasing in most of the country’s provinces,” Lari said.

The resurging overall numbers have seen some previously largely unscathed provinces classified as “red” – the highest level on Iran’s color-coded risk scale – with authorities allowed to reimpose restrictive measures if required.

Full report at:


Iran reports ‘accident’ in construction near Iran’s Natanz nuclear site

02 July 2020

Iran’s nuclear body said an accident had taken place on Thursday at a construction site in a nuclear complex without causing casualties, state news agency IRNA reported.

“An accident occurred on Thursday morning and damaged a warehouse under construction in open space at the Natanz site” in central Iran, said Behrouz Kamalvandi, spokesman for the country’s Atomic Energy Organisation.

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Kamalvandi was further quoted as saying that the complex is currently inactive and there is no risk of radioactive pollution.

The accident did not result in casualties, he added, noting that the cause was under investigation.

He did not give any details on the nature of the reported accident.

Tehran announced in May last year that it was suspending certain commitments under a multilateral nuclear deal unilaterally abandoned by the United States in 2018.

The 2015 accord promised Iran sanctions relief in exchange for limiting its nuclear program.

US President Donald Trump’s withdrawal from the deal was followed by Washington reimposing biting unilateral sanctions.

Full report at:


Iran arrests two Swedish nationals in drug smuggling crackdown

01 July 2020

Iran has arrested two Swedish nationals following the dismantlement of a drug smuggling gang, according to the semi-official Tasnim news agency.

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“An international drug smuggling gang has recently been discovered and dismantled in a complex operation,” Tasnim reported on Wednesday.

“A number of key members of the gang have been arrested in the operation, including two Swedish nationals,” added Tasnim.

Tasnim did not say in which part of Iran the operation took place.

The drug shipments discovered were “dangerous industrial narcotics,” the agency said.

Iranian authorities are investigating the gang’s potential links to other international drug cartels, said Tasnim.


Turkey wants France to apologize over ‘false’ Mediterranean Libya war ship claims

02 July 2020

Turkey’s foreign minister said on Thursday that France should apologize for making “false claims” about a naval incident in the Mediterranean that has added to growing tensions between the NATO allies.

“When France makes false claims and works against Turkey, that should not be accepted,” Mevlut Cavusoglu told reporters in Berlin.

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“We expect France to apologize unconditionally,” he said, after Paris last month denounced an “extremely aggressive” intervention by Turkish ships against a French navy vessel participating in a NATO Mediterranean maritime security operation.


Saudi-led coalition launches new airstrikes on Yemen

02 July 2020

The Saudi-led military coalition waging war on Yemen has intensified its aggression by launching a new round of airstrikes on the country, including in the capital, Sana’a.

Yemen’s al-Masirah reported late on Wednesday that airstrikes had targeted the central provinces of Ma’rib and al-Bayda, the northern provinces of al-Jawf and Hajjah, and the northwestern province of Sa’ada throughout the day.

Bombings in Sa’ada left at least two civilians dead and four others injured, and also led to the death of livestock, according to al-Masirah.

An unnamed source with the Yemeni military said that during the past 24 hours, the Saudi-led military coalition and its mercenaries had violated a 2018 agreement between the warring sides 82 times.

Mohammed Ali al-Houthi, the chairman of the Supreme Revolutionary Committee of Yemen, condemned the Saudi aggression late on Wednesday and called on the Arab League to seek a comprehensive solution to the conflict in Yemen.

The new Saudi-led strikes come amid new advances by the Yemeni military. A spokesman for the Yemeni Armed Forces said on Monday that the military had retaken large swathes of land in al-Bayda and Ma’rib.

Saudi Arabia and a number of its regional allies launched a devastating war on Yemen in an attempt to subdue a popular uprising that toppled a puppet regime of Riyadh.

The US-based Armed Conflict Location and Event Data Project (ACLED), a nonprofit conflict-research organization, estimates that the war has claimed more than 100,000 lives over the past five years.

Full report at:




Politics, Lies and Gaddafi Tapes: The plots uncovered by Libyan intelligence leaks

02 July 2020

A recent flurry of audio recordings leaked by a Qatari opposition activist has again drawn attention to Qatar’s controversial foreign policy positions and ties to the Muslim Brotherhood.

The series of audio clips add further insights into some of the political conversations that Libyan dictator Muammar al-Gaddafi (r. 1969-2011) had with Qatar’s former Emir Sheikh Hamad bin Khalifa al-Thani (r. 1995-2013), Qatar’s former Prime Minister Sheikh Hamad bin Jassim al-Thani, and Kuwaiti MPs with links to the Brotherhood.

A previous leak from 2017 had captured Gaddafi with the former Emir and Prime Minister plotting against Saudi Arabia and discussing plans to create chaos in Arab countries.

But at the end of May this year, Qatari opposition activist Khalid al-Hail released the first of a new set of recordings that have recast the spotlight on Qatar’s foreign policy, including its links with Muslim Brotherhood activists, who also feature in the new leaks.

The first leak captured Qatar’s former Emir Sheikh Hamad seemingly calling former US President Barack Obama a “slave,” the first in a series of explosive revelations to be caught on audio.

Throughout June, al-Hail released further leaks that have brought renewed attention to the allegations made against Qatar by the Arab Quartet of Saudi Arabia, the UAE, Bahrain, and Egypt, who have been boycotting the small Gulf state since 2017.

These accusations include Qatar’s support for the Muslim Brotherhood and its use of the Doha-based Al Jazeera network to undermine governments in neighboring countries, especially Saudi Arabia.

Now, al-Hail says that he is still planning to release more leaks that would be “nothing in comparison” to what he leaked so far – despite receiving death threats.

Here is everything you need to know about the leaks, and their potential consequences for the region.

Who is publishing the Gaddafi-Qatar leaks?

Qatari opposition activist Khalid al-Hail has published the leaks in Arabic periodically on his Twitter page.

Al-Hail is one of the most prominent Qatari critics of the royal family, especially the former Emir Sheikh Hamad, and has been described as “the leader of the Qatari opposition.”

He was imprisoned by the Qatari regime in 2010 and 2014, he told the New York Times, saying he had been tortured and electrocuted.

Now in exile in London, al-Hail heads the Qatar National Democratic Party, which calls for the establishment of a constitutional monarchy in Qatar. He frequently appears on media channels criticizing the ruling al-Thani family.

Read the interview with Khalid al-Hail here: I will expose the ‘terrorist’ Qatar regime with more audio leaks: Opposition activist

What is the source of the Gaddafi-Qatar leaks?

Al-Hail did not reveal the source of the audio files when asked by Al Arabiya, and Al Arabiya English has been unable to access the originals for verification.

“A person would have reservations revealing their source but myself like many others who received information, the space is open, but I mean the leaks I posted are all exclusive and I am sure as I transcribed them myself, especially the ones I published myself,” he said in an interview this week.

Many of the leaks feature the voice of the Libyan dictator Gaddafi, who promoted a revolutionary ideology that advocated overthrowing other Arab leaders while he ruled Libya from 1969 until his death in 2011.

Some of the leaks also refer to the US invasion of Iraq, placing them between 2003 and 2011.

Others refer to a peace treaty between Sudan and a rebel group signed in 2006. One source, who asked to remain anonymous, said that some of the conversations might have taken place in Doha in 2009, when Gaddafi famously stormed out of the Arab summit after insulting Saudi Arabia’s King Abdullah.

One possibility is that the audio recordings come from the records of Gaddafi’s regime, many of which fell into the hands of a range of groups following the bloody coup that overthrew the dictator in 2011.

“Gaddafi was known to record conversations so it is plausible that this has come from his mukhabarat [secret police],” said Tim Eaton, a Libya expert and senior research fellow with Chatham House’s MENA Program.

Eaton also suggested that as Qatar currently backs Islamist groups in Libya’s ongoing war, it might make sense for people opposed to the Islamists to release leaks about Doha.

Many of the leaks also appear to have some redacted elements when Gaddafi is talking, potentially adding more evidence that they were conversations that took place in either Qatar or Libya that were recorded by Libyan intelligence services.

Have the leaks been acknowledged?

None of the individuals in the videos have denied their authenticity, and Qatar acknowledged the first set of recordings when they came out in 2017.

In an appearance on Qatari television, former Prime Minister Sheikh Hamad bin Jassim dismissed the conversations as Qatari officials merely humoring Gaddafi.

“[Gaddafi] asked for Al Jazeera to be part of it. He gave us tapes and everything and asked us to release them against Saudi Arabia. We didn’t release anything. After that, he said he’s preparing a conspiracy to change the rulers of Saudi Arabia. We used to laugh at him,” said Sheikh Hamad.

One of the Kuwaiti former MPs in the recordings, Mubarak al-Duwailah, tacitly acknowledged their authenticity by tweeting that he had received permission to meet with Gaddafi from the Kuwaiti government – which the government later denied.

Despite this, his brother Nasser denied the recordings authenticity on Twitter, describing a “story of fabrications, incomplete records, edited image and clips.” In response, al-Hail pointed out that both Mubarak and the Kuwaiti government had acknowledged the recordings, and Kuwait’s government has launched an official investigation into al-Duwailah’s appearance in the leaks.

Al-Hail told Al Arabiya that he had received death threats from people who did not want him to release the audio files.

“If it was matter of selling yourself like a mercenary ... and a lot of offer actually came, but the story is not just about the monetary offers but there’s been a lot of threats, telling me I will be assassinated or killed, basically acts of intimidation, etc,” he said.

What are they key takeaways from the leaks?

The leaks have attracted attention to Doha’s links with Gaddafi and other regimes, including that of Bashar al-Assad.

In one recording, the former emir can be heard saying: “As a small country we used to be ostracized by the big countries. But thank God there [are countries] like Libya standing with us, Oman, Syria recently.”

A theme that runs throughout the recordings is Gaddafi’s plan to destabilize other Arab countries, particularly Saudi Arabia, to which the Qataris appear to assent.

On more than one occasion, the conversation centers on how to overthrow the Al Saud family and carve Saudi Arabia into different states.

Saad al-Faqih, a London-based Saudi Arabian opposition dissident, is mentioned on several occasions as a tool for the conspiracy.

In the 2017 recordings, Sheikh Hamad bin Jassim and Gaddafi building a network agents in Europe, as well as the need to build ties with the US and Israel to reduce pressure from the US, which they suggest is linked to Saudi Arabian lobbying against Qatar.

According to the Saudi Arabian commentator Ali Shihabi, the leaks “confirm Qatar’s active efforts to subvert the Kingdom, which is the main issue at dispute here.”

“Let them stop that and relations can revert to normal. After all, Doha lives in the same neighborhood, and a fire it starts in Riyadh will inevitably burn Doha down too. Time to stop this nonsense and move forward as a unified GCC that faces identical threats,” he told Al Arabiya English.

The recordings also touch upon several of the points of contention between Doha and the Arab Quartet that have contributed to the ongoing boycott.

The Quartet accuses Doha of supporting the Muslim Brotherhood, which the UAE and Egypt have designated as a terrorist organization.

According to commentators, the fact that Gaddafi was having similar conversations with Qatari rulers and Kuwaiti MPs with links to the Brotherhood is evidence for Doha’s complicity in a regional conspiracy.

“[The recordings have] exposed the extent of the conspiracy plotted by the Muslim Brotherhood members, under Qatar’s guidance, as they seek to ruin their countries and spread “constructive chaos” in Arab countries, specifically the Gulf,” wrote journalist Salman al-Dossary in Asharq al-Awsat.

They also bring into question Al Jazeera’s editorial independence from Doha, with the leaks appearing to suggest that the station’s coverage was at least influenced by the former Qatar emir.

Varsha Koduvayur, a senior research analyst at the Washington-based think tank Foundation for Defense of Democracies (FDD), said that this was not the first time such allegations had emerged.

“There should be no doubt that Al Jazeera is far from independent in its coverage, especially since the Arab Spring,” she added.

Who are the Kuwaiti Muslim Brotherhood affiliated members in the leaks?

The most recent audio leaks feature three Kuwaiti former MPs.

Hakem al-Mutairi

The first is Hakem al-Mutairi, a known extremist preacher now living in exile in Turkey.

Al-Mutairi was designated as a terrorist by the Arab Quartet, which called on Doha to sever its ties with him in 2017.

In Kuwait, he had previously founded the Ummah Party, an unrecognized political party that promoted alleged extremist views. Beforehand, he was a member of the Kuwaiti Salafi Movement and a frequent critic of Saudi Arabia.

The preacher is active on Twitter, where he has both Arabic and Turkish accounts, and frequently tweets criticizing the US and Israel.

In the most recent recording, al-Mutairi is heard plotting against the Saudi Arabian and Kuwaiti governments.

This follows a previous recording in which al-Mutairi can be heard as part of a conversation with Gaddafi discussing revolutionary plans for the region, including “bringing down these governments.”

Sources at Kuwait University, where al-Mutairi was a Sharia professor, revealed that Kuwait’s Ministry of Interior had launched an investigation into al-Mutairi based on the recording.

Al-Mutairi was reached for comment but did not respond in time for publication.

Mubarak al-Duwailah

Mubarak al-Duwailah is a Kuwaiti former MP who was a member of the Muslim Brotherhood until the 1990s, and now heads the Islamic Constitutional Movement, an organization that shares a similar ideology.

Born in 1954, al-Duwailah studied engineering in the US before entering politics and becoming an MP in Kuwait in 1985.

He was a member of the Brotherhood until the first Gulf War, after which he left the organization due to its support for Saddam Hussein’s invasion of Kuwait, according to the Erem news channel.

Al-Duwailah attracted controversy for criticizing the leaders of regional countries, including Saudi Arabia and the UAE. In 2015, he was convicted to five years in prison in abstention for insulting Abu Dhabi Crown Prince Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed.

Audio released on Sunday reportedly captured al-Duwailah meeting with Gaddafi, in which he responds to the Libyan leader’s speech about the imminent fall of Saudi Arabia’s ruling Al Saud family.

“We hear from the guys there that their situation is not good, even amongst themselves they have many issues,” he says, in response to Gaddafi’s claims.

Al-Duwailah tacitly acknowledged the recording’s veracity by responding to it in a tweet, in which he claimed he had briefed the Kuwaiti Emir about his meeting with Gaddafi.

However, Kuwait’s Amiri Diwan – the name for the Emir’s royal palace – rejected al-Duwailah’s claims and launched an investigation into his conduct.

“Kuwait’s Amiri Diwan Sunday termed as ‘totally untrue and fabrications’ the remarks made Mubarak Al-Duwailah that he briefed His Highness the Amir about details of his meeting with ex-president Muammar Gaddafi,” said a statement posted on the official Kuwait News Agency (KUNA).

Al-Duwailah was reached for comment but did not respond in time for publication.

Fayez Hamed al-Baghili al-Rashidi

The third figure is the less well-known Fayez Hamed al-Baghili al-Rashidi, also a former Kuwaiti MP.

Al-Baghili is heard praising Gaddafi for his peacekeeping efforts in Sudan, where Gaddafi apparently helped broker a ceasefire between the Sudanese government and the Rashaida Free Lions, an armed group based in eastern Sudan.

Al-Duwailah claimed on Twitter that he and al-Baghili had been in Libya to help the negotiations. Both are reportedly members of the Kuwaiti branch of the Rashaida tribe.

According to al-Hail on Twitter, al-Baghili and al-Duwailah had previously claimed that Gaddafi had not been involved in the ceasefire negotiations and that the Kuwaitis had brokered them themselves.

In the recording, al-Baghili refers to the Rashaida people and praises Gaddafi, describing him as “brother leader” and praising his apparent peacekeeping efforts in Sudan.

This would place the recording after 2006, when the Free Lions signed a peace treaty with the Khartoum government.

What do the recordings tell us about the Muslim Brotherhood?

Commentators have said that the recordings give further evidence to the links between Doha and the Muslim Brotherhood across the region.

Support for the Brotherhood, which the UAE and Egypt have designated as a terrorist organization, is one of the demands of the Arab Quartet for it to restore relations with Qatar.

“Such revelations only come to underline the historic decision taken by Saudi Arabia, Egypt, the United Arab Emirates and Bahrain to boycott Qatar in June 2017 and designate the Muslim Brotherhood as terrorist. Meanwhile, Mutairi is an extremist who was included in the terrorism list announced by Saudi Arabia, Egypt, the UAE and Bahrain in 2017. It goes without saying that he is one of the main recipients of Doha’s financial and media support,” wrote journalist Salman al-Dossary in Asharq al-Awsat.

For al-Hail, the recordings expose the Kuwaitis as “political beggars” who went to Gaddafi for support, which al-Hail says helps expose the Muslim Brotherhood and its “climbers and fawners.”

“In the end, I think that the Muslim Brotherhood in Kuwait in particular will fall and fall strongly because what we have on them, whether documents or file or even recordings or others, all these are documented,” said al-Hail.

“Even Hakim al-Mutairi, he deceived his country, he deceived many people in the Arab Gulf region. You only heard a part of the leaks, but you don’t know the rest of it. He created a system that exists even in Saudi Arabia and even in people who are now imprisoned on terror charges who were also complicit,” he added.

What is the role of Al Jazeera?

The new leaks have also attracted scrutiny to the Doha-based Al Jazeera network.

In two of the leaks, Sheikh Hamad and Sheikh Hamad bin Jassim appear to discuss Al Jazeera coverage with Gaddafi.

In one, the former prime minister appears to tell Gaddafi that the network will not host guests who are critical of Gaddafi.

“Give us names ... if you give us the people that you don’t want to come out on Al Jazeera. The person that coordinates between us and you ... [inaudible] ... Abdulla,” Sheikh Hamad bin Jassim seems to be heard telling Gaddafi.

The late Libyan leader then replies: “The agreement is that anyone who attacks Libya, they’re not allowed.”

In the second, the former emir appears to tell Gaddafi that Al Jazeera has not stopped its negative coverage of Saudi Arabia.

“Al Jazeera stopped [negative coverage] of Saudi Arabia,” Gaddafi says, to which Sheikh Hamad bin Khalifa replies: “No, no, no. The stop that you’re referring to did not happen.”

Read more: Qatar assured Gaddafi Al Jazeera will not stop negative Saudi coverage: Audio leaks

After Gaddafi says that Qatar’s other television channels now have the same coverage of Saudi Arabia as Al Jazeera, seemingly implying the need for a change in the coverage, Sheikh Hamad bin Jassim interrupts, and says he agrees with the Libyan leader.

Another section of the leaks also seemed to suggest that the Muslim Brotherhood runs Al Jazeera, with Hamad bin Jassim appearing to respond to Gaddafi’s claims that Brotherhood members run programs on the station by saying “I agree with you, I am telling you this is true.”

Al Jazeera’s coverage has also been a cause of disagreement between the Arab Quartet and Doha. The Quartet accuses Qatar of using Al Jazeera to undermine the governments of neighboring countries and destabilize the region, while Qatar insists that the station’s coverage is independent.

“This would not be the first time such allegations emerged. Leaked diplomatic cables (through WikiLeaks) showed Qatari officials boasting about changing Al Jazeera’s coverage as well. There should be no doubt that Al Jazeera is far from independent in its coverage, especially since the Arab Spring,” said the FDD’s Koduvayur.

Will there be more leaks?

Al-Hail has said that there will be more revealing leaks on the way, despite receiving death threats.

Full report at:


Greek FM calls for Turkey to leave Libya in Benghazi meeting

01 July 2020

All foreign powers, especially Turkey, should leave Libya, said Greece's Foreign Minister Nikos Dendias in a meeting with Libyan Parliament Speaker Aguila Issa Saleh on Wednesday.

Dendias was in the country to meet with Saleh, who is the head of the Eastern-based Libyan parliament.

The parliament supports the Libyan National Army (LNA) in its conflict with the Tripoli-based Government of National Accord (GNA), which is backed by Turkey.

Turkey has sent thousands of Syrian mercenaries to the country and helped the GNA lift the siege of Tripoli, putting the LNA-controlled city of Sirte under threat.

The GNA and Turkey have signed a controversial maritime agreement that gives Ankara drilling rights over vast swathes of the Eastern Mediterranean.

Full report at:


At least 30 killed in terror attack in central Mali

Felix Tih  


At least 30 villagers were killed in an attack on four villages in Mali's Mopti region, local media reported late Thursday.

The attack was perpetrated by unidentified gunmen riding pickup trucks and motorbikes against vulnerable ethnic Dogon farming villages near the Burkina Faso border, local daily MaliJet reported.

The Dogon are an ethnic group living in Mali’s central plateau region, south of the Niger bend, near the city of Bandiagara and in Burkina Faso, West Africa.

The attack also caused serious material damage.

"The assailants arrived on board pickups. There were two of them on a motorcycle. They started shooting at unarmed villagers without distinction," MaliJet quoted a local resident as saying.

Since 2012, militants have carried out violent attacks in northern and central Mali, killing thousands of soldiers and civilians.

Earlier this year, President Ibrahim Boubacar Keita said his government was seeking talks with militant groups in an effort to end an insurgency that has engulfed the West African country.

Last year, at least 456 civilians were killed and hundreds more wounded in Central Mali alone, according to Human Rights Watch.

Full report at:


Sisi’s plan to arm Libyan tribes in Egypt to backfire

Aydogan Kalabalik  


Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi's scathing remarks on the situation in Libya have added a new dimension to the ongoing crisis.

Last month, Sisi said that Libya's Sirte and al-Jufra airbases were a "red line" and he would arm Libyan tribes in his country to fight in the ranks of East Libya-based warlord Khalifa Haftar.

He also suggested that Cairo could launch "external military missions" into Libya "if required," saying that "any direct intervention in Libya has already become legitimate internationally".

Plans have been made to settle Libyan-origin bedouin tribes, who live in the northwest of Egypt, in Libya and to increase the population density in the east of the country.

However, historical hostilities among tribes of Libyan origin show that Sisi's plan is unlikely to be implemented.

Libyan-origin tribes in Egypt

There are many Libyan-origin tribes in Egypt. The largest is known as the Awlad Ali tribe with a population of over a million.

This tribe migrated from Libya to Egypt 130 years ago. The war which took place in 1860 between Awlad Ali and the Abidat tribes in Libya’s Brega region lasted for 30 years.

Awlad Ali had to emigrate to Egypt in 1890 after they lost the war. This forced migration was called Tejridet Habib, a folklore in Libyan culture.

Most members of the Awlad Ali settled in the Egyptian city of Marsa Matruh, which is located between the city of Alexandria in the Mediterranean coast of Egypt and and the al-Sellum district on the Libyan border.

The coexistence of these two tribes is considered a weak possibility due to historical reasons.

The United Arab Emirates and Egypt are planning to substitute the seat of Haftar with Aguila Saleh Issa, the speaker of the pro-Haftar House of Representatives in the eastern city of Tobruk.

However, Issa, who backs Haftar, belongs to the Abidat tribe.

A possible support of Awlad Ali tribe to Haftar would mean that they back the Abidat tribe who exiled their ancestors from their lands.

Therefore, Awlad Ali tribe, which mostly resides in the regions close to the Libyan border, is not expected to send its members to Libya to fight in the ranks of Haftar.

Further dissent

Other Libyan-origin tribes living in Egypt include Beraisa, Fevayid, Henadi, Furcan, Behce, Jamiat, Katan, Jabaliye, Rimah, Habbun, Awlad Sheikh, Jalalat, Mecabira and Al-Jawazi.

Pasha Yusuf Karamanli (1795-1832), the most famous name of the Karamanli Dynasty which ruled Tripoli from 1711 to 1835, exiled the Al-Jawazi tribe to Egypt.

According to Egyptian sources, members of the Al-Jawazi tribe mostly live in Zagazig and Tanta cities in the northeastern Egypt.

Members of the Al-Jawazi tribe do not see themselves as bedouins as they are well integrated into the Egyptian society. Rather, they mostly describe themselves as Egyptians.

Full report at:


South Asia


Ghani confers the title of Marshal on General Dostum

03 Jul 2020

President Mohammad Ashraf Ghani conferred the title of ‘Marshal of Afghanistan’ on General Abdul Rashid Dostum, the former first vice president of Afghanistan.

The Office of the President in a statement said President Ghani issued a decree in this regard late last month.

According to a copy of the decree which has been published online, President Ghani approved the conferment of the Marshal title on Gen. Dostum as per the Article 19 and Item 64 of the constitution of Afghanistan.

The decree further added that the title on Gen. Dostum has been conferred for his services in resolving the political stalemates and ensuring security in the country.

The issue of conferment of Marshal title remained a hot topic during the negotiations to resolve political tensions which arose following 2019 controversial presidential elections.

The former first vice president Mohammad Qasim Fahim was previously holding the title of the Marshal of Afghanistan.


From stateless to displaced, the Rohingya are still searching for hope years after fleeing Myanmar

JUL 3 2020

Joanna Tan

The Rohingya are among the world’s most persecuted ethnic minorities — haunted by the past and denied a future.

As the coronavirus pandemic sweeps across the world and into their squalid refugee camps, they’re confronted by another grim prospect: separation from loved ones.

“There’s Covid-19, it’s quite clearly spreading in the camps. But the Rohingya will not go to get tested,” said Phil Robertson, deputy director of Asia at Human Rights Watch.

“They are afraid of being taken from their family, they are afraid of being isolated, they’re afraid of being taken to this horrible detention island called Bhasan Char — which is in the middle of nowhere... It’s like a Rohingya Alcatraz,” he said, referring to the former island prison in San Francisco.

The Rohingya are a Muslim minority from Rakhine state in western Myanmar — formerly known as Burma. Most fled their homes after the military launched a brutal crackdown in August 2017.

Today, nearly a million Rohingya refugees live in cramped, temporary housing in the Bangladesh district of Cox’s Bazar, home to one of the world’s largest settlement camps.

The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees told CNBC there were 50 confirmed cases of Covid-19 and 5 deaths among the refugees in Cox’s Bazar as of July 1. Testing was ramped up to 700 a day, and about 0.06% of the 860,000 Rohingya in the camps have been tested. Additionally, Myanmar’s health ministry reported 10 confirmed cases in Rakhine, UNHCR said.

It’s hard to know the true extent of the outbreak among the Rohingya, argued Robertson.

“People are refusing to go. I think the only people you’re really seeing that turn up and get tested are the people who are gravely ill, and have no other choice ... they need to get treatment or they may die.”

“We have noticed a decline in the number of refugees approaching health facilities for COVID-19 symptoms in the last weeks,” said Louise Donovan, a communications officer at UNHCR. She said there appears to be “fear and anxiety among refugees,” as those who volunteered to be tested had to be isolated for precautionary reasons.

Additionally, an internet shutdown in camps in Bangladesh and some towns in Rakhine “has meant that people in some villages are unaware of the Covid-19 outbreak,” Human Rights Watch said.

Flight from Rakhine

Often referred to as “the most persecuted minority in the world,” the Rohingya have endured decades of oppression and human rights abuses.

A citizenship law in 1982 stripped them of their nationality, making them one of the world’s largest stateless communities.

While there have been large migrations to Bangladesh since the 1970s, none was as rapid and massive as the August 2017 exodus that thrust the Rohingya crisis onto the world stage.

More than 740,000 Rohingya were violently uprooted in the months that followed, driven by a brutal military crackdown that reportedly killed thousands of Muslims.

At least half of those who arrived in Bangladesh were children. It was a migration that was “unprecedented in terms of volume and speed,” the UN said.

Hundreds of victims and witnesses described scenes of indiscriminate killing, including of children and the elderly. Victims spoke of torture, rape, looting and destruction. Satellite images showed hundreds of villages razed.

Myanmar’s security forces said it was a counter-offensive aimed at rooting out terrorism. What sparked the campaign was a series of attacks carried out by Rohingya extremists, who killed 12 members of the Burmese security forces in August 2017.

The UN condemned the operation as a “textbook example of ethnic cleansing” and its High Commissioner for Human Rights at that time slammed the response as “clearly disproportionate” and “without regard for basic principles of international law.”

Approximately 600,000 Rohingya are still inside Myanmar “living under threat of genocide,” said the UN’s fact-finding mission on Myanmar.

Calls for accountability

The Rohingya want justice, Robertson said. They want those who committed the crimes against them to be held accountable. 

Myanmar’s de facto leader, Aung San Suu Kyi, has been accused of failing to protect the Rohingya. The Nobel Peace Prize laureate, once touted as the embodiment of democracy, has been criticized for forsaking the oppressed.

In a January op-ed for the Financial Times, Suu Kyi defended her government. She noted that the UN’s independent commission interviewed close to 1,500 witnesses, but she claimed the report said that “some refugees may have provided inaccurate or exaggerated information.”

While acknowledging that “the report details killing of civilians, disproportionate use of force, looting of property, and destruction of abandoned homes of Muslims,” she maintained that the commission “found no evidence of genocide.”

Robertson from Human Rights Watch strongly criticized the former democracy icon.

“She has moved beyond just being a bystander — or someone who wasn’t involved — to become part of the cover-up,” he said.

The Myanmar government did not respond to CNBC’s request for comment.

What the future holds

Education brings hope for a brighter future to the Rohingya children, said Shairose Mawji, Bangladesh chief of field services at UNICEF.

“Education not only brings knowledge and skills, it also brings hope to children and help counter the frustration and despair of their situation,” Mawji told CNBC in an email. “Without adequate opportunities for learning, they are more exposed to dangers of trafficking, child marriage, exploitation and abuse.”

There are currently more than 465,000 Rohingya refugee children in Bangladesh.

The country agreed in January to grant 10,000 Rohingya students access to a formal school curriculum, a pilot program targeted at those from grades six to nine. It will eventually expand to others, Mawji said.

Still, only about 13% of teenage boys and 2% of adolescent girls have access to education in the camps, said the UN children’s agency, pointing out that girls were disproportionately affected.

Rights groups hailed the pilot program as a small victory, but Robertson was quick to point out that 10,000 kids “is not a lot when you’re talking about over a million refugees.”

“What you see is a stunting of the educational aspirations of the Rohingya — an entire generation of children who are not getting educated,” he added.

The UNHCR was more hopeful.

Full report at:


Over 800 civilians killed or wounded in attacks in Afghanistan during first half of 2020: UN

Thursday, 02 July 2020

Over 800 people have been killed or wounded in "deliberate attacks" targeting civilians across war-torn Afghanistan during the first half of this year, the UN says, voicing concerns the rising violence was aimed at derailing planned peace talks between the Kabul government and Taliban.

"In the first six months of 2020, preliminary figures indicate more than 800 civilians were killed and injured in deliberate attacks against civilians," the Assistance Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA) said in a statement on Thursday.

The mission said the Taliban were responsible for half of those casualties.

UNAMA chief Deborah Lyons urged the Taliban and Afghan authorities not to target civilians and push on with efforts to de-escalate the conflict ahead of upcoming talks.

"It's taken enormous work and some brave decisions for Afghans to reach the point of being on the eve of unprecedented intra-Afghan negotiations," Lyons said, adding, "There are spoilers who do not wish to see an end to war. No matter what tactics they employ to de-rail the peace process, they cannot be allowed to succeed."

The United Nations has recently warned of an alarming uptick in violence against civilians and a “striking deterioration” in upholding international humanitarian law in Afghanistan.

In recent weeks, attacks have targeted prosecutors, religious leaders, worshipers, journalists, healthcare and human rights workers.

Violence has surged despite a deal between the Taliban and the United States. Official data shows that Taliban bombings and other assaults have increased 70 percent since the militant group signed the deal with the United States in February.

Under the agreement, the US will withdraw its forces from Afghanistan, and the Taliban will refrain from attacking international occupying forces. The militants have made no pledge to avoid attacking Afghan forces and civilians.

The Taliban militants had been refusing to recognize the Afghan government until they reached a deal with the United States on February 29 under which they agreed, among other things, to sit down for peace talks with the Afghan government.

The Afghan government was a party neither to the negotiations nor to the deal, but it has been acting in accordance with its terms, including by agreeing to free Taliban prisoners.

However, the militants have not stopped attacking government targets and civilians.

The deal envisages a complete withdrawal of US forces from Afghanistan.

The US and its allies invaded the Asian country to topple a Taliban regime in 2001, accusing it of harboring the al-Qaeda terrorist group. The militants now control or hold influence over more Afghan territory than at any point since that time and have carried out near-daily attacks against US-led foreign forces and Afghan military outposts throughout the war-ravaged country.

But insecurity has spiked, and US forces have remained bogged down there through the presidencies of George W. Bush, Barack Obama, and now Donald Trump.

The Daesh terrorist group has also emerged in the Asian country more recently.

Full report at:


Arab World


Local, external parties pushing Lebanon into full-blown economic crisis: PM Diab

03 July 2020

Lebanese Prime Minister Hassan Diab says certain internal elements together with foreign parties are seeking to push the cash-strapped Arab country deeper into economic crisis as the local currency has been on a downward trajectory for weeks, losing more than half of its value.

“Unfortunately, there are internal parties that do not care about the future of the country. They are only seeking personal interests, which are shrouded in political and sectarian calculations.

“Such parties are either mercenaries working to drag Lebanon into regional conflicts and use it as a bargaining chip, or are encouraging external parties to exert control over the country and bargain over it for the sake of regional and international interests,” Lebanon’s official National News Agency quoted Diab as saying at a cabinet session on Thursday.

He added, “A political and financial blockade is imposed [on Lebanon], and it is aimed at starvation of the Lebanese nation. At the same time, they (local and external parties) claim that they want to help the Lebanese people.

“They ask for reforms, but protect corruption, grant corrupt people immunity and do not allow us to pursue financial files and recover stolen assets.”

“They are increasing the dollar value against Lebanese pound, and are trying to disrupt the government's measures to counter the price surge. Whilst they demand financial measures, they smuggle money abroad, prevent incoming transfers, and block the opening of letters of credit for fuel, medicine and flour in order to deprive Lebanese people of electricity, starve them and let them die because of scarcity of medical supplies,” Diab highlighted.

“To add insult to injury, they claim to be supportive of Lebanon and eager to offer assistance to the Lebanese people,” he argued.

Diab went on to say that certain parties “are blatantly interfering in Lebanon's affairs. There have been secret and public meetings, letters written with secret ink, encrypted messages, WhatsApp messages as well as plots and operations” in order to impede government plans.

“The government is working to break the link between the dollar price and the cost of living. We are in the final stage of accomplishing this task. We will continue to disburse financial aid to needed families every month. We are gradually increasing the number of beneficiary families,” the Lebanese prime minister said.

Diab’s remarks came amid local media reports that intensive contacts are underway to push some ministers to tender their resignations before the entire government steps down.

“Negotiations have been ongoing for the past 24 hours with former prime minister Saad Hariri over the possibility of his return as premier,” Arabic-language Akhbar al-Yawm news agency quoted informed sources, requesting anonymity, as saying.

Lebanon is facing its worst economic crisis in decades. The Lebanese pound has continued to plummet against the US dollar, losing more than 60 percent of its value over the last weeks while sources of foreign currency have dried up.

The economic situation is fueling inflation, which the Finance Ministry has estimated will reach 27 percent later this year.

Diab assured Lebanese citizens on April 16 that at least 98 percent of bank deposits will not be affected by any financial measures that his government plans to take.

Some economists have, however, cast doubts on such promises, terming them as “out of touch with reality.”


Iraqi prime minister hails Hashd al-Sha’abi counter-terrorism efforts

02 July 2020

Iraqi Prime Minister Mustafa al-Kadhimi has praised the Popular Mobilization Units (PMU), better known as Hashd al-Sha’abi, for their key role in defeating the Daesh Takfiri terrorist group in the Arab country.

An informed source told Iraqi Alsumaria television that Kadhimi held a meeting with commanders of PMU and Iraq's Counter-terrorism Service (CTS) on Wednesday night, highlighting their role in eradicating terrorism.

The Iraqi prime minister said that he did not differentiate between the country's counter-terrorism forces, including the army, police, PMU and CTS.

The meeting came after Iraq released a dozen members of PMU following an unprecedented raid on the headquarters of Kata'ib Hezbollah, which is said to have been dictated by the US.

The PMU members were released on Monday and all charges against them were dropped, Kata'ib Hezbollah's military spokesman Jaafar al-Husseini told AFP.

The arrests had been made last Thursday for allegedly planning a rocket attack on Baghdad's Green Zone, where the US and other embassies as well as state buildings are located.

Despite Washington’s accusations, Kata'ib has never claimed responsibility for the attacks.

The Thursday raid on Kata’ib headquarters raised serious questions about Iraq's direction under the new government, as Iraqi leaders described it as an attempt dictated by the US occupiers.

In November 2016, the Iraqi parliament recognized Hashd al-Sha’abi as an official force with similar rights as those of the regular army, therefore legally establishing it as part of the National Armed Forces.

The PMU has long rejected Washington’s military presence in the country as an obstacle impeding long-lasting security and stability in Iraq.

In January, the Iraqi parliament unanimously approved a bill, demanding the withdrawal of all foreign military forces led by the United States from the country following the assassination of Iran's top military commander, Lt. Gen. Qassem Soleimani, and the second-in-command of Iraq's PMU, Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis.

Iraqi resistance groups have vowed to take up arms against US forces if Washington fails to comply with a parliamentary order calling for the expulsion of US troops following the assassination.

Iraq launches new anti-Daesh operation north of Baghdad

Meanwhile, Iraqi forces began a large-scale security operation against the remnants of Daesh terrorist north of the capital Baghdad on Thursday.

Citing a statement by Iraq's Security Media Cell, Mawazin news said that the prime minister, as commander-in-chief of the armed forces, ordered the operation under the supervision of the Joint Operations Command.

The statement added that the new military operation is aimed at enhancing security and stability in those areas while chasing terrorists and arresting them.

Daesh began a campaign of terror in Iraq in 2014, overrunning vast swathes in lightning attacks.

Iraq declared victory over Daesh in December 2017 after a three-year counter-terrorism military campaign, which also had the support of neighboring Iran.

Recently, however, Daesh has launched a string of terrorist attacks targeting civilians and Iraqi forces, among them Hashd al-Sha’abi fighters.

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Saudi Arabia supports UAE non-permanent membership of UN Security Council

02 July 2020

Saudi Arabia supports the United Arab Emirates in its candidacy for non-permanent membership in the UN Security Council for 2022-2023, Deputy Permanent Representative of the Kingdom to the UN Dr. Khalid bin Muhammad Manzalawi said.

The Kingdom shares the UAE’s vision of bringing peace and security in the world, Manzalawi said during the Asia-Pacific Group’s virtual meeting.

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The UAE has addressed several major issues related to international cooperation, peace, security and sustainable development, and has closely cooperated with the UN and international partners to achieve lasting peace in the Middle East and around the world, the deputy permanent representative added.

He also called on other countries to support the UAE’s candidacy.

The UNSC has fiver permanent members, which includes: China, France, Russia, the United Kingdom and the United States and ten non-permanent members. The non-permanent members include Belgium, Dominican Republic, Estonia, Germany, Indonesia, Niger, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, South Africa, Tunisia, and Vietnam.


Coronavirus: Saudi Arabia’s hospitals invited to participate in four clinical trials

02 July 2020

Hospitals in Saudi Arabia have been invited to participate in several antiviral clinical trials conducted by the King Abdullah International Medical Research Center (KAIMRC) to help develop effective treatments for the coronavirus, the center’s executive director told Saudi Gazette.

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The center will be conducting four different studies, all of which have been approved by the Saudi Food and Drug Authority (SDFA).

The first study, called Avi Mild 19, is a trial that will be testing the use of the antiviral medication favipiravir, which was developed in Japan and used to treat mild viruses.

The second study, which is being carried out in cooperation with the Ministry of Health, is named “FACT.”

It is based on a combination of favipiravir and hydroxychloroquine and is used on patients with moderate malaria.

“Since there is still no antiviral for coronavirus approved by the SFDA, any medicine that is currently available is a subject of experiment,” KAIMRC Executive Director Dr. Ahmed al-Askar told Saudi Gazette.

The health ministry has also been supervising the third study, which involves extracting plasma from the blood of recovered coronavirus patients.

The fourth study involves collecting data on the effectiveness of different coronavirus countermeasures to determine which ones are the most efficient.

The rise in the number of clinical trials being conducted in the Kingdom is an indication of the country’s medical and scientific development, al-Askar said.

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Black market dollar trading forces Lebanese shops to close

02 July 2020

A string of top retail shops in Lebanon announced temporary closures on Thursday after the country's currency lost five-sixths of its value, triggering sharp price hikes.

In a series of posts on social media, the popular stores said they would temporarily halt sales as the Lebanese pound reached more than 9,000 to the dollar on the black market.

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Although the currency is officially pegged at 1,507 pounds to the greenback, a shortage of hard currency has seen its street value plummet to record lows since October.

That has left retailers have struggling to price their wares.

"We'd rather shut down than significantly increase our prices and lose your trust," said the Lebanon franchise of Korean lifestyle brand Mumuso, which is headquartered in China.

MikeSport also closed its doors, saying it did not want to "get involved in the game of buying and selling the dollar" on the black market.

Several supermarkets, retail stores and butcher shops have closed in recent days because of the currency crisis.

"The retail industry is going in the direction of a total shutdown or a temporary closure until things become clearer in terms of (the) exchange rate," said Nabil Gebrael, head of the Calia Group, which operates more than 20 retail stores in the country.

Some of the brands' managers protested Thursday in a central Beirut square that was the epicenter of anti-government protests last year.

Lebanon, burdened by sovereign debt equivalent to 170 percent of its GDP, defaulted in March for the first time in its history.

The economic crunch has sparked months of unprecedented protests against official corruption and the banking sector.

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Saudi Arabia’s Khalid bin Salman: UN report shows Iran’s ‘dark vision’ for region

01 July 2020

Saudi Arabia urges the international community to extend the UN Security Council arms embargo on Iran after the recent UN report showed Tehran’s “dark vision” for the region, said the Kingdom’s Vice Minister of Defense Prince Khalid bin Salman on Wednesday.

“The UN report confirming the Iranian regime's involvement in sabotage attacks on the Kingdom illustrates the regime’s dark vision for the region, while countries in our region work to promote positive relations, and provide stability and security,” the Prince said on Twitter.

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He added: “The Kingdom's decision to request an independent UN investigation confirmed what we already knew about the Iranian regime. The international community must do its part in maintaining the arms embargo in order to end the crimes and hostility of this regime.”

The UNSC had discussed in a virtual meeting on Tuesday a report by UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres that determined that cruise missiles used in several attacks on oil facilities and an international airport in Saudi Arabia last year were of “Iranian origin.”

Later on Tuesday, Saudi Arabia’s Minister of Foreign Affairs Prince Faisal bin Farhan said that “the UNSC’s discussion of the UN report that confirmed Iran’s involvement in the attack on the Kingdom’s oil facilities is a reminder for the international community to take a firm stance against the Iranian regime’s aggression and terror.”

He added: “The details and facts laid out in the UN report reinforce our support for a continued ban on arming the Iranian regime and confronting its developing nuclear and ballistic programs.”

The United States has been pushing to extend the arms embargo on Iran before it expires in October.

"Don't just take it from the United States, listen to countries in the region… Countries in the Middle East – who are most exposed to Iran's predations – are speaking with one voice: Extend the arms embargo," US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo told the UNSC meeting.

"Iran is already violating the arms embargo even before its expiration date. Imagine if Iranian activity were sanctioned -- authorized -- by this group if the restrictions are lifted," Pompeo added.

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Pompeo: One fewer Hezbollah judge is always a good thing

01 July 2020

US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo Wednesday welcomed the recent resignation of the Lebanese judge that ordered a ban on media appearances for the US ambassador to Lebanon after she criticized Hezbollah.

“As for this judge no longer being the judge, one fewer Hezbollah judge is always a good thing,” Pompeo told reporters during a briefing.

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Last weekend, a Lebanese judge ordered a media ban on US Ambassador Dorothy Shea one day after she called out Hezbollah for destabilizing Lebanon and jeopardizing its economic recovery.

In his order, the judge said that Shea spoke about “a Lebanese party represented in parliament and cabinet and that enjoys a wide popular base,” referring to Iran-backed Hezbollah.

Asked if there were fears of any military escalation between Hezbollah and Israel in the near future, Pompeo said, “we’re always concerned about the space between Hezbollah and Israel, but related to this incident with our ambassador and her ability to speak freely there, I’m – that doesn’t raise my concerns greatly.”

Pompeo added: “I don’t think that greatly increases the risk of conflict between the two.”

After the judge’s order last Saturday, US Embassy spokesperson Casey Bonfield said it was “disappointing that, with these challenging economic times, some are attempting to distract and censor. We, as Americans, embrace freedom of speech, and the important role of a free media, and we know Lebanon does as well.”

Shea said that a senior official in the Lebanese government apologized to her for Judge Mohammad Mazeh’s move.

A senior official from President Michel Aoun’s office criticized Mazeh, saying his order contradicted international and diplomatic treaties. “This judge should get a warning of some sorts from the Higher Judicial Council,” the official previously told Al Arabiya English, adding that it was out of the judge’s prerogatives to make such a decision.

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Hezbollah supporters call for Lebanon to accept Iranian fuel offer

02 July 2020

Hezbollah supporters launched a hashtag in Lebanon Thursday, calling for Lebanon to accept an Iranian offer for fuel.

The hashtag, translated to English, #thelightrisesfromtheast, comes in response to reports that Iran has put forward an offer to send fuel tankers to Lebanon to resolve an electricity crisis.

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Cash-strapped Lebanon faces a crisis due to a shortage of available US dollars, making imports more difficult.

Using the hashtag that was circulated on Twitter, a picture was posted by one user accusing Washington of “wanting darkness in Lebanon.” A rope with the flag of the US appears on the image, turning off a light switch.

Pro-Hezbollah newspaper, Al Akhbar, published an article on Wednesday titled, “Iran is ready: Take the fuel in Lebanese pounds!”

The daily said that Iran's Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei promised Nasrallah that Tehran would help Lebanon during what Al Akhbar said was an “American blockade.”

In his last speech, Hezbollah’s secretary-general, Hasan Nasrallah, said that China and Iran had offered to help Lebanon and that Beirut needed "to look East" since, he claimed, the United States was looking to “starve” the Lebanese people.

Nasrallah said China was prepared to build new power plants in Lebanon, while the Iran-backed leader hinted that Iran would accept payments for fuel in Lebanese currency.

However, the US and European countries have offered to help Lebanon during its unprecedented crisis once the government implements reforms that would crackdown on corruption and wasted public funds.

American company, General Electric, and Germany's Siemens have both expressed their willingness to help build new power plants in Lebanon.

Lebanon’s energy minister, Raymond Ghajar, said Wednesday that “a problem between Lebanon and supply companies” was the reason for increased power cuts over the last few days.

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Syrian army forces in Syria’s Hasakah stop US convoy, force it to return

02 July 2020

Syrian government forces have block a US military convoy in the country’s northeastern province of Hasakah and forced it to turn back amid seething resentment of locals over the presence of American troops in the region.

Syria’s official news agency SANA reported that the US convoy was confronted by Syrian troops stationed at al-Dardara bridge as American forces were traveling along the road linking the small town of Tal Tamr to Abu Rasin town on Thursday.

SANA added that government forces did not allow the US convoy to move ahead, and ordered it to “go back to the base it came from.”

No one was hurt in the confrontation and there was no immediate comment from the US military.

A similar incident took place on June 25, when a US convoy of armored vehicles headed back to its base after residents of Khirbet Bunyan village, which lies in the al-Malikiyah district of the same Syrian province, did not allow it to move and pelted it with stones. There were no reports of injuries.

Two days earlier, local people in Faris Kabir village in the same province had prevented a convoy of US military vehicles from passing through their village, and hurled stones at the foreign soldiers.

Since late October 2019, the United States has been redeploying troops to the oil fields controlled by Kurdish forces in eastern Syria, in a reversal of President Donald Trump’s earlier order to withdraw all troops from the Arab country.

The Pentagon claims the move aims to “protect” the fields and facilities from possible attacks by Daesh. That claim came although Trump had earlier suggested that Washington sought economic interests in controlling the oil fields.

The presence of US forces in eastern Syria has particularly irked the civilians, and local residents have on several occasions stopped American military convoys entering the region.

Full report at:


Fresh US military convoy enters northeast Syria from western Iraq

02 July 2020

The US military has sent a new convoy of trucks loaded with military hardware and logistical gears to Syria’s northeastern province of Hasakah as Washington seeks to control and loot crude resources in the war-torn country.

Syria’s official news agency SANA, citing unnamed local sources in al-Ya'rubiyah town, reported that a convoy of 30 vehicles, including trucks and armored personnel carriers, rumbled through the Waleed border crossing, located in the al-Rutba district of Iraq’s western province of Anbar, into Syrian territories on Thursday.

The sources added that the convoy drove by Tel Hamees town and headed toward the provincial capital city of Hasakah.

According to SANA, the US forces have also built an airstrip in Geweran neighborhood of Hasakah province to allow their military aircraft to land and take off. They have also occupied a large number of state buildings in the area with the help of Kurdish-led members of the so-called Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF).

This came only a day after the US military dispatched a convoy of dozens of tankers to the small Syrian city of al-Malikiyah in Hasakah province.

The vehicles headed toward the Iraqi territory after being loaded with crude oil, according to SANA.

Since late October 2019, the United States has been redeploying troops to the oil fields controlled by Kurdish forces in eastern Syria, in a reversal of President Donald Trump’s earlier order to withdraw all troops from the Arab country.

The Pentagon claims the move aims to “protect” the fields and facilities from possible attacks by Daesh. That claim came although Trump had earlier suggested that Washington sought economic interests in controlling the oil fields.

Syria, which has not authorized the presence of the US military in its territory, says Washington is “plundering” the country’s oil.

The presence of US forces in eastern Syria has particularly irked the civilians, and local residents have on several occasions stopped American military convoys entering the region.

Syrians protest deployment of US-backed SDF militants

Separately on Wednesday, dozens of people in Tel Hamees town in Syria’s northeastern province of Hasakah staged a demonstration in protest at the deployment of US-sponsored SDF militants in the area and their arbitrary practices.

SANA reported that the residents blocked the main road to the town with burning tires and blocks of stone, demanding the withdrawal of the militants from the region.

Security conditions are reportedly deteriorating in the areas controlled by the SDF in Hasakah and Dayr al-Zawr provinces amid ongoing raids and arrests of civilians by the US-backed militants.

Locals argue that the SDF’s constant raids and arrest campaigns have generated a state of frustration and instability, severely affecting their businesses and livelihood.

Residents accuse the militants of stealing crude oil and failing to spend money on service sectors.

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